Mobile Detailing Tips: Keeping Your Headlights Clean - MDP Blog

Mobile Detailing Tips: Keeping Your Headlights Clean

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You might only think of your headlights when a bulb goes out, but giving your headlights a bit of love and care before this can go a long way to prevent accidents and make driving in snow and fog a lot easier. Whether you get mobile detailing services or do all your car maintenance DIY, here’s everything you need to know to keep your headlights clear and shining bright.

Clean Headlights Improve Safety

Did you know that, given the road conditions and a clear night, a driver with their headlights on can see somewhere between 160 to 500 feet in front of their vehicle? While this sounds impressive, that number gets lower if your headlights are dirty or discolored, and this can make driving at night unsafe.

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Discolored and cloudy headlights will not give you the proper visibility you need at night to see far up the road. This reduced visibility will increase a driver’s reaction and recovery time significantly, and this will lead to more accidents on the road. Maintaining clean headlights by restoring them yourself or making sure the service is a part of your mobile detailing will increase your visibility at night and reduce the risk of an accident.

How to Clean Headlights

When cleaning your headlights, it’s best to get a restoration kit which includes several grades of sandpaper, plastic cleaner, and a protective coating. Make sure your kit includes enough materials to clean both headlights; this will usually be the case, but it’s best to double check.

Before You Clean

The first step to get properly clean headlights is to read the directions provided in your restoration kit. Read carefully and make sure you have enough time to clean up the years of buildup that might be on your headlights. This will usually take 15 to 20 minutes, but make sure you have as much time as you need.


When sanding your headlights, it’s helpful to first run your hand over your headlights after you wet them. If you feel spots which are particularly rough, focus on them first and sand them until smooth. While you’re sanding, make sure to not damage your paint! Sandpaper can easily scratch the paint around your headlights, so you want to make sure to not damage the area surrounding your headlights.

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Sanding is a crucial step to get clean headlights, and you want to make sure you keep the surfaces you’re sanding wet throughout the process. If your headlights look hazy during or after the sanding process, don’t fret. This will clear up in later steps; read your kit’s directions carefully and trust it!

Applying Sealant

While you want to make sure your headlights are wet during sanding, the opposite is true for applying the sealant – you want your headlights to be completely dry. Time will also be an important factor here. After application, the sealant will require several hours to dry, so it might be best to let your car sit overnight to avoid getting your headlights dirty during a drive while the sealant is drying.

Now that you have clean headlights that look great and will help reduce the chance of an accident at night, you will want to make a note of how often the sealant needs to be reapplied. This will vary from kit to kit and depend heavily on the environment you drive and keep your car in.

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If you feel uncomfortable sanding your headlights, that’s perfectly understandable, and you should always consider having your headlights restored as part of a mobile detailing service. Getting this done right is what’s most important as it will make driving at night and in poor weather a lot safer. If you do choose to take the DIY route though, make sure you apply your sealant correctly and know how often to replace it; otherwise, your headlights will get dirty sooner than you expect, and your visibility will be diminished at night!

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