Keeping headlights from clouding

Not exactly life-or-death, but my 2000 Chrysler LHS is being booted out of its garage berth to spend the summer months in the driveway. I already have one of those foil dash covers, but one thing I don’t want to happen is to have the plastic headlight covers to get all yellow and cloud over. They are pretty clear now. Are there any products out there that would protect them? Does sunscreen or UV ray protectants really work?

I think that most of the damage to the headligfht lens’s are from the small dust particles and sand that you drive through…not the sunshine.

I’ve had real good luck clearing some of these with a lint free, clean rag and some Lacquer thinner.
Wet an area of the rag and make one or two passes over the lens. Don’t keep rubbing.
Let dry and repeat if needed.

The lacquer starts to melt the plastic and those tiny scratches and imperfections melt back to a clear lens, and if you continue to rub, the sticky drying plastic will pick up lint and melt it to the lens.

I’ve had some that you couldn’t see the bulb through the lens. When finished…it’s not 100% like new, but much clearer.
I’ve had real bad ones that I’ve used rubbing compound on first, then the lacquer.


If it is road dirt scratching the lenses, then there is nothing to do. Parking outside will do nothing to change that. UV light will affect the lenses though, but only during the day and without clouds. If this is a commuter car, parking outside will make very little difference.

Nice Car!
I Wouldn’t Lose Sleep Over It. Last I Checked Online, One Could Purchase Replacement Headlight Capsules For These Older Models At A Very Reasonable Price. If My Memory Serves Me, Installation Is Quite Simple, Too, Takes Minutes.

Check it out, if you haven’t, before getting too concerned.


Modern headlamp modules are replaceable, but they’re expensive… often $200 and more for each module. Look yours up and you may be shocked at the price. And they often require removal of the front bumper cover and more to replace. It is not a 10 minute job.

What fogs lenses is the UV rays from the sun. Fortunately, it’s primarily a surface condition and can be easily buffed out. There are kits available at all parts stores, but I’ve had my best success using polishing compound with a well-wetted sponge in a variable speed drill. It makes them as close to new as possible. I buy the sponge in the bath section of the dollar store and punch a hole in it for a standard arbor… parts stores get $25 for a polishing sponge.

A few people here have suggested waxing the headlights when waxing the car. I’ve been doing it for the past few years and it seems to help.

I got a new $50 headlight housing on eBay. Junk. Sure looks good though. Pretty hard to screw up making new, clear plastic lenses. Too bad the chrome reflector inside has zero focusing specs. The old, headlight was 2X better on light output. Wish I would have gotten a projector style lense and a hid bulb kit. But I don’t drive a 94 Honda.

I don’t generally recommend shopping for car parts on EBay. It’s a real crapshoot. You never know what you’re going to get.

A quick check shows each unit for the LHS well over $200. Mine don’t need polishing right now; I’m trying to keep them that way when subjected to the sun. Do you think the vinyl treatment spray I have that has UV protectant in it would help, hurt, or do nothing?

When I wax my cars twice a year, I polish the headlights and other lights with Meguires Plastix. I’ve never had a problem with cloudy lights.

I have some Plastix I bought to use on the plastic back window on my Corvair convertible and it did a great job. Thanks for the suggestion.

@mistertudball, this handle comes from a Carol Burnett & Tim Conway routine, yes?

Yup. Ages ago my wife briefly temped at my workplace as receptionist and her desk was right outside my office. A call came in (for me) and she THOUGHT she’d intercom’d me correctly but I could hear her saying “hellooo … hellooo” to me and I finally yelled out “Pusha da button Mrs. Whiggans” and that was that!

My Sienna lens got really bad, I brought one of those kits from O’Reilly’s or Advanced Auto. My nephew here, is a builder, but he also happens to be an artist. By that I mean when he paints your house using his choices of colors and pattern, everyone goes OOOOOOHH and AAAAAHHHHH.

So, I translated the instructions and it came out as good as new.

You should see the tile on the floor and walls in the last two or our bedrooms! Colors matching and pattern was incredible. His dad says when the tax people see it we are going to be paying taxes through the nose.

So, once he understood the sequence of polishing the lenses it came out perfect.

When I had my 04 Sienna in for some minor paint work the shop offered to sand and clear coat the headlights. They came out looking like new and, a year later, they still look new. Check with your local collision shop to see if they offer the same service. Expect to pay about $50 per headlight.

3M sells do-it-yourself kits to get those lenses shiny again. It’s a legitimate product.

Where is your car normally parked during the day at work? If it’s outside anyway during the work day then there shouldn’t be any difference by adding a few hours a day in the driveway.

I’m retired, and before that I parked in a dark office parking garage, so my LHS rarely sees outside. Maybe I’ll just rub some Coppertone SPF 70 on the headlight covers.

3M also offers a product you can use to coat the nose of your car, inclusing the heaslight lenses. Sort of a liquid “bra.”

I had a bent, and headlight scrape form a windblown ladder fixed, $100 for everything, That might be a feasonable alternative to get the lenses buffed out. The scrape vanished entirely. I tried 2 top brand mac something and turtle something, did a fair job, but I did not even think about the repair guy at the time, as I got the products as hand me downs, going to follow my advice and check with the paintless dent repair guys. EDIT just got a price $100 per pair. maybe i will check some others.