Driving with clouded lenses is like driving with foggy eye glasses. Almost every motor vehicle on the road in North America has headlights that are made out of a hard polymer, or plastic material. This is done because it cuts down on weight, and its cost effective for manufacturing reasons. But the major issue with these plastic lenses, is they tend to degrade, and almost become foggy.
With this fog-like covering the headlights, you are more or less choking out the visibility for your car as you are driving at night. If you have had your car for more than five years, you likely have noticed that your visibility at night in your car has worsened. That isn’t because you are getting older and your vision is going, but because your lens is actually clouding up.
So what causes these headlight lenses to cloud up?
Would you believe me if I told you the #1 reason for the lens fogging up was actually sunlight? The UV from the sun is actually fading the lens out and actually creating a residue behind the lens. The UV Radiation actually breaks down the chemical bonding that keeps the plastic so strong. So not only does it cause the lens to become cloudy, but the sun is slowly eating apart the lens.
So what can you do to clean or restore your lens?
There are a couple methods to restoring headlight lens, says Reedman Chrysler. The most common is simply using an all-in-one cleaner and some elbow grease. Just apply a bit to sponge or a rag with some water, and simply scrub until the lens is now clean.
Another common method to cleaning your lens is simply trying out a Plastic Polish product like a 3M Plastic Cleaner, and yes they have polish for plastic. Who knew right? The polish has an abrasive material that actually allows you to really lift off the residue that has cause your lens to fog up. You can opt to using an orbital buffer, but with how small the lens are we just recommend using your hands, and again, some good ol’ elbow grease.
There you have it! Yes you’re not going completely blind with age, it’s just your headlights are fogging up over time, and it is recommended you do clean them so you can make your night time driving a bit safer.