How to Clean Headlights with Brake Fluid (Without Damaging the Headlights) |

what kind of brake fluid on a headlight

You may have noticed your car headlights looked less clean, but like most car owners, you probably don’t see it as much of a big deal until late at night, on a road that is poorly, and you can hardly see anything. UV rays from the sun and road debris are the two significant factors that lead to foggy headlights. They take a toll on the plastics of the headlight, creating an oxidized layer and wearing away the protective coating on the headlights.

You need to remove and add a new protective coating to fix the situation. One of the most common DIY methods to clean your headlight is with brake fluid. Brake fluid is perfect for your headlights, and when done right, it will leave them shining like brand new. Here is everything you need to know about cleaning headlights with liquid brake.


Why Your Headlights Get Foggy

Oxidation: When headlights are exposed to UV light, it oxidizes. Headlights lenses feature a sharp top coat that helps prevent oxidation, but the coating over a certain period wears off, and sunlight makes the headlight plastic foggy and yellow.

Chemicals and dirt: Over the years, chemicals and a thin layer of dirt take a toll on the headlight and form on the lenses. The opaque layer form on the headlight dims the beam projected by the headlights.

Flying debris: Headlights comes across a lot of road salt, gravel, and other debris on the road that sticks to your headlights as you drive. The debris wears down the headlights’ top coat and creates scratches and pits on your headlights, and this adds to the cloudy headlight appearance.

Water vapor: Headlights come with a watertight seal, but as the result of wear and tear, it can break. And due to this opening, water vapor can form inside the lens. As a result, the condensation causes the beam of light to scatter, further impairing nighttime visibility.

Benefits of Cleaning a Foggy Headlight

Taking care of foggy headlights can offer significant benefits that affect how much you enjoy driving. Besides, it can keep your family safe on the road. That said, here are some of the significant benefits of cleaning a foggy headlight.

Enhance the appearance of your car

Truth be told – yellowing headlights will make your car less appealing. On the other hand, clear headlight looks great, and they can add to your car profile and personality. And the best headlight can deliver the wow factor.

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Maximize headlights performance

By getting rid of the haze and scratches; restoration helps your headlight works at the maximum level. Moreover, if you invest a lot in high-performance LEDs, you want the light to shine as luminously as possible. A clean headlight offers more illumination both during the day and at night.

Keep you safe

Good light visibility while driving is vital for road safety. The more and farther you see down the road, the more time you have to react to any sudden change in the event. With a clear highlight, you can swerve swiftly to avoid animals on the road, apply brake more quickly, dodge potholes, and avoid any potential accidents.

Drive more comfortably

Foggy headlights can be infuriating since you will find it difficult to see as far as you want. This can affect the way you drive and force you to ease off on your speed. When you clean your headlight, both the low and high beams from the headlights illuminate the road clearly. With that, you can save a significant amount of time and have more fun while driving at night.

Save a lot of money

Cleaning headlight with brake fluid is friendly on your budget. This type of cleaning will save you a lot of money compared to the costs of purchasing new headlights. Moreover, you won’t need to bother about headlight installation.

Cleaning Headlights with Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is one of the most effective DIY and inexpensive hack for cleaning headlights. However, brake fluid has a warming effect that can turn your lens milky white if not properly done. So, try to follow the instruction below strictly to avoid damaging your leadlight lenses.

Moreover, it is important to note that these are temporary fixes. Without further ado, here is how to clean headlights with brake fluid without damaging it.

Step 1: Clean with car wash soap and warm water

Standard road grit and grime can make your headlights look hazy and dirty to a certain degree, and this can make it difficult to accurately diagnosis the extent of the fogginess. So, the first thing to do is to clean the headlights and the surrounding area with car wash soap and warm water.

Then, wipe down the headlights with a clean cloth and leave it to dry. Now, examine the headlights closely to look for specific problems.

Step 2: Apply car-grade masking tape

Cautiously apply tape to the area around your headlight to protects its paint. If you want to avoid damaging your car finish, it is vital to use a masking tape designed for vehicles. Car-grade masking tape can be found at the local auto parts store.

Step 3: Start sanding with wet sandpaper

Using a small bucket or water spray bottle, thoroughly wet sand the headlights with coarse-grit sandpaper. When sanding the headlight, ensure the pressure applied is even until you have an even and dull finish.

If the coating start coming off, you will see a hazy line that starts appearing as you sand off. It is usually best to completely sand off the coating.

Step 4: Change to a finer grade of sandpaper

When you are done sanding with a coarse paper, change to finer sandpaper and start the process again until the finish has been changed from dull to smooth.

Step 5: Add brake fluid to a clean microfiber cloth and scrub gently

Take a clean towel, apply a quarter-sized brake fluid, pick a small area of the headlight to concentrate on, say 10 x 10, and use light to medium pressure, move your hand in circular motions. Then clean uniformly and repeatedly in your little square. This should take a few minutes for the section of the headlight to start looking sharper. Once you are done with a part, move on to the next one.

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Step 6: Continue cleaning until your headlights look clear

Don’t rush through the cleaning process. Depending on the level of the foggy headlights, you may want to repeat the process as much as you want to get your headlights as clean as you want them. However, you need to be careful when using brake fluid because too much of it can turn your lens milky white. When you are done, you can test your headlights by shining then on some flat surface.

Step 7: Consider adding plastic adhesion

If you want to genuinely seal and keep your headlights in good shape, consider spraying the headlights with a plastic adhesion promoter. This helps extend the life of your headlights considerably, and it doesn’t cost much.

How to Prevent Headlights from Turning Foggy and Yellow

Park your car in the shade

You can prevent your headlights from turning foggy and yellow by parking under a shade or in the garage. Generally, you should park your car in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. This can be more challenging if you rely on public parking alternatives.

Though garages are an effective option for shielding cars against sunlight but note that moisture can also play a role, if you have damp air in your parking garage, the headlights could collect water vapor.

Clean frequently

Just like every part of your vehicle, you also need to clean your headlights periodically. Even if your headlights don’t look dirty to the naked eye, make sure you wash it when you wash the rest of your vehicle. Remember that the layer of road grime accumulates slowly that you won’t notice until it becomes too obvious.

Use a protective layer

The fewer harmful elements your headlights come in contact with, the longer they will last. An additional layer of protection from road debris and UV rays is always a good idea, especially for headlights that have already been cleaned. Cleaning the headlights with brake fluid or any other cleaning solution would have removed the original protective layer along with the surface oxidation. Headlight protection comes in handy.

The Wrap Up

Cleaning your headlight may be time-consuming, but with brake fluid and a few tools, you can avoid an expensive headlight replacement. When properly done, you are going to achieve high quality lasting results with the steps discussed above.

As was mentioned, headlights eventually turn foggy and yellow again after cleaning. If you find that your headlights have oxidized again, repeat this cleaning process. However, make sure to exercise caution when using brake fluid to clean your headlights because if caution is not taken, you could run the risk of damaging your headlights. [external_footer]