Headlight Headaches: How to Save Money and See Clearly

November 13, 2017

As winter approaches, the world gets darker earlier every night. That means you’ll be getting a lot more use out of your headlights than you were this summer. What’s that, you say? Your headlights look like a foggy mirror? Well that’s no good. It’s a danger for you and other drivers on the road. Let’s fix it.

Any headlight can need a little extra attention, though older model vehicles may experience seal looseness that can create additional issues. If your headlights have water inside the housing, near the bulbs, it may be time to start looking for a new pair. Replacement, in most vehicles, is an easy task. In fact, youtube often has videos to show you how to do it rather than paying a mechanic a few hundred dollars. Sites like Rockauto have premium quality headlights for replacement at warehouse prices.

Let’s say that you want to repair the headlight rather than replace it. Quick lube places like Walmart and Jiffy Lube offer headlight cleaning for $80-$200 on average, with the price often going up during the winter months. You’ll probably be stuck there for a number of hours while they get to your car, too. There is no reason to pay these prices or waste your time if you have a simple electric drill or screw gun. You can do this yourself. We believe in you.

Your local car parts store, such as O’Reilly’s or Advance Auto Parts, will have a number of kits to clean your headlights. This usually consists of 1-2 caustic fluids and 1-2 screw-in buffing cloths or sponges. These kits usually run under $25, which is a far leap from the prices quoted above. Remember to look for coupons for 5 to 20% off your whole purchase at these retailers, as these are often easy to find and will make your cost out of pocket all the sweeter.

These kits are incredibly easy to use and are exactly what the quick lube businesses are using. Simply read the instructions on the back and get to work. Seriously muddled headlights may take a few hours to clean, so be sure to charge your screw or drill’s battery before you get to work. We also recommend sitting down on a chair to do this even if you feel your headlights aren’t “that” dirty. It may take longer than you think.

Do remember not to bear down on your headlight with a significant force. This can damage the housing, the plastic, or even your car’s front bumper if the drill were to slip. Cleaning your headlights should not take any more force than buffing wax off of your car’s hood. Another perk: the soft buffer on these kits often works as a great wax buffer after you’ve used it to clean your headlights! Clean it off, twist it back on to your drill and see for yourself.

For a few hours of your Saturday afternoon and some elbow grease, you’ll have sparkling headlights and loads of savings.

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