Can You Use Car Wax on Headlights: Car Headlight Maintenance 101
Car wax is an essential product designed to keep your car paint beautiful, shiny, and protected from the elements.
However, you might be wondering, can you use car wax on headlights?
It's a very sensible question since most car wax products don't get easily used up until they expire, so using them on headlights might be a way to maximize their use.
Can You Use Car Wax on Headlights?
Generally, yes, you can use car wax on headlights.
Take note that headlights are made of plastic with very similar properties to paint.
However, some manufacturers do not recommend applying car wax on headlights and taillights.
While the reason for this is unclear, it could be that the plastic used on a particular headlight may be sensitive to specific ingredients or compounds present in car wax.
Thus, the best way to go is to check your car's manual.
Always follow the instructions of the manufacturer to be sure.
Meanwhile, some people think that applying wax on headlights will cause them to yellow.
Well, not really. The main reason why headlights turn yellow is UV damage.
Over time, the plastic containing the bulbs and wires is exposed to ultraviolet light, causing it to turn yellow.
Applying car wax is a great way to decrease UV damage and keep your headlights in good condition for longer.
In fact, some car owners use wax along with toothpaste to remove yellow stains or substances from headlights.
All you need to do is apply toothpaste on the surfaces and scrub them.
Then, rinse the headlights and wipe them dry.
At this point, you can now apply car wax.
Together, these substances help remove and prevent oxidation to make your headlights crystal clear.
How Often Should You Wax Headlights?
There's no exact rule on how often you should wax headlights and taillights.
Ideally, it would help if you do it as often as possible or at least every three months for the best results.
Why Wax Your Car Headlights?
Now that you know the answer to "Can you use car wax on headlights?", let us discuss why waxing headlights are essential.
Waxing headlights are as important as waxing the exterior surfaces of your car.
The same way with car paint, headlights feature a protective coating that helps protect them from damage caused by ultraviolet rays.
Unfortunately, the protective coating weakens over time.
You can re-apply it, but the restoration process involves a lot of work.
For example, you have to sand it down, clean it, and polish it before finally applying the protective film.
As a preventive measure, many car owners apply car wax on headlights and taillights.
The wax serves as an extra barrier, enhancing the coating that protects headlights against harsh elements, including sun damage, dirt, and abrasion.
Prevents Lens Clouding Up
Another advantage of waxing headlights is it helps prevent the lenses from clouding up.
The wax will remove at least minimal haze off your headlight assemblies, helping you stay safe on the road.
Lastly, wax helps keep debris and dirt from sticking to the plastic surface of your headlights that can cause scratches.
Preventing oxidation is not only important to keeping your car looking clean from the outside.
It's also a way of ensuring safety when you're driving.
Severely foggy headlights can reduce visibility by up to 50 percent.
Waxing is one of the best methods of preventing the oxidation of headlights.
Once you've removed the yellow stains on your headlights, applying some wax will help preserve its shine and clarity.
The reason is that wax can prevent oxidation by creating another layer of coating.
This strengthens the protective properties of the headlights against sun damage.
What About Sealant, Clay Bars, and Headlight Restoration Kits?
Instead of waxing, some car owners prefer using sealant or clay bars to maintain bright and clear headlights.
Sealants are easier to apply than wax because they have a softer or more fluid texture.
They also come with a plastic bottle and spray nozzle that helps users apply the product to the headlight quickly and efficiently.
Meanwhile, clay bars are a special type of detailing raisin that grabs and pulls contaminants from the exterior surface of a car.
It's usually used to deep clean a car's paint finish and prep it for polishing.
Besides car paint, clay bars are used to remove stubborn contaminants from headlights.
Moreover, there are products similar to car wax specifically made for headlights.
Some are designed to clean the haze and yellowing from headlights, while others only act as a sealant that will keep your new or restored headlights clean and clear.
If DIY restoration techniques seem a bit complicated, restoration kits come in handy.
They are beneficial when it comes to dealing with yellowish headlights.
These kits cost around $10 to $20.
Essentially, they help you clean, sand off damaged lens coating, and re-apply the protective layer.
Some kits require an electric drill and others require a bit of elbow grease.
However, note that whether you choose DIY restoration techniques or make use of a restoration kit, neither of them is a permanent solution.
You have to remember that the hazing effect will return, typically after a year.
What Are the Other Ways To Clean Headlights?
Aside from waxing, other techniques can help prevent foggy headlights.
For example, you can use baking soda and vinegar. Both are popular cleaning substances that homeowners and car owners swear by.
Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Before you get started, use some dish soap to clean the surface of your headlights.
- Then, add a few teaspoons of baking soda in a cup of vinegar and stir.
- Next, pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Alternatively, use a damp cloth to apply the cleaning solution to your headlight.
Some people use bug spray to clean headlights and remove the foggy appearance.
However, you shouldn't try this method unless you want permanent damage to the plastic.
The reason is that bug sprays contain chemicals that can remove the film or protective coating on headlights, which make them more prone to damage.
How Do You Clean Foggy Headlights?
Remember that wax won't keep your headlights clean or remove clouding.
It can only strengthen the coating that protects them from UV damage.
If you're dealing with foggy headlights, here are the steps to take:
Step #1: Clean the Surface of Debris
You want to be certain that you're working with a clean surface.
Spray a mild cleanser on your headlights and wipe down dirt, gunk, mud, grease, and particulates that may be present.
Step #2: Towel Dry the Surface
After cleaning, wipe your headlights with a dry towel until they are moisture-free.
Step #3: Apply Headlight Cleaner or Restorer
Put a fair amount of cleanser on the lenses and leave it on for a few minutes.
You can let it dry for a little bit to allow the cleaning solution to do its work.
Remember the vinegar-baking soda solution?
It works as an excellent substitute for the cleanser.
Step #4: Brush the Surfaces
Gently brush the surfaces of the headlights in circular motions.
As you work your way around it, you will see the yellowness or fogginess disappearing from the lens.
Step #5: Clean off Excess Cleanser
Lastly, remove any residual cleanser using a clean rag or towel.
Spritz any dried bits of cleanser with water and then dry the surfaces with a clean cloth.
You Can Use Car Wax on Your Headlights
Car wax makes a handy product for keeping your headlights in pristine condition.
In particular, it helps protect headlights against UV damage and contaminants, as well as dirt that could scratch its surfaces.
Applying wax on headlights also helps prevent oxidation and clouding that are not only ugly to look at but can also compromise your safety on the road.
Unless your car manual states otherwise, it’s recommended that you wax your headlights every three months.