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Dim Lights

I have a 1997 Dodge Caravan whose lights are dim. I have been told I will need to replace the entire light units, but I heard that I can also use a chemical to clean the lenses somewhat. Replacement is expensive. Can you recommend a cleaning solution if one exists? Thanks, Joe from Montana

Toothpaste works great at removing the haze from headlight lenses. It’s gotta be regular toothpaste, not the gel type.

Rub the toothpaste vigoriously on the lens, let it dry, and buff it off.


I’ve also heard a report that Brasso, used for polishing metal, also is supposed to work well.

For me, I simply resort to wet sanding with increasingly fine sandpaper. It’s more work but the results are long-lasting.

You charge by the hour don’t you :wink:

I wouldn’t reccommend the wet sanding unless you know what you’re doing… toothpaste won’t ruin your lenses - sanding done incorrectly will.

is this on the inside?

if on the inside remove the bulb socket. spray in a little bleach /water mix in the inside of the housing. you may have to get creative getting the spray in there.

i had to do this on mine years ago, and a combination of drilling drain holes in the bottom of the lens so the cleaner could drain out also helped it not fog up later.

Is it actually the lenses making the headlights dim? The bulb dims as it gets older before going out. You may just need new bulbs. Sometimes you can just go to a brighter bulb, but please don’t go overboard and blind oncoming traffic.

I am guessing the headlamp lenses look a little frosted and maybe a little yellow. If so That is the cause and often you can get a lot of improvement by buying and using one of the kits that are sold at the auto parts stores. It takes a little time, but it is not hard to do. It will not last a long time (it may last a few years and you can do it again, but it is far cheaper than replacing the lenses which is the only better choice.

Know what you’re doing?! What’s to know? It’s back and forth, up and down, round and round. Switch to a finer grit and repeat. Even a bumbling amateur cannot blow this simpleton’s job.

To all who responded…THANKS! To Joseph M. This is what I have heard as well. Do you have any particlular brand name that you have used that has gaiven you the results you looked for?

I’ve used both lens polishing compound and regular (paint) polishing compound, using a drill mounted buffer pad, with great success. Toothpaste, or any other micron sized abrasive in a suspension media would probably work just as well. Wet sanding with 1500 grit paper (and lots of wet) would probably work great too.

Folks, you’re just buffing the surface of a plastic lens. It ain’t rocket science.

McGuire’s makes an excellent product called Plasticlear or something like that. It will quickly get the yellow out and make a big improvement. Todays headlights are certainly no improvement over the Glass Sealed Beams of yesterday…

I’ve used two different products to clear the headlight lenses on my family’s car. The cheapest is toothpaste, as Tester mentioned. It works okay. The other product is Mequiar’s PlastX, which worked amazing. It costs about $10 at any auto parts or department store (WalMart, Canadian Tire, etc.)

I might also recommend changing the bulbs anyway. They do get dimmer over time, so new bulbs combined with a thorough lens cleaning will make a big difference.

No special brand.  They should all be about the same, it is basically the same stuff they used to sell for the back windows one convertibles.

Todays headlights are certainly no improvement over the Glass Sealed Beams of yesterday…

You can say that again. I which we could go back and require the old style again.