How to Make Headlights Brighter in Minutes

Dim or foggy headlights are a nuisance to many drivers as they affect visibility. The headlights are crucial, especially when driving at night or in poor weather conditions, allowing you to focus clearly on the road ahead. With the dimming or foggy issue, you need to pull every trick on how to make headlights brighter for better visualization when driving. Failure to deal with the problem can compromise your safety and that of other road users. It also affects the look of your car and can lower its value.

The good thing is that dealing with this issue is a simple affair, as we will see in this article. Before looking at how to make the headlights clear, you should understand the problem at hand, which is the first step in achieving the desired brightness. Highlighted below are some of the probable causes of having a faulty headlamp when looking at light clarity.

how to clean your headlights to make them brighter

What Causes Headlights to Yellow and Dark?

Oxidation Of The Lights

Oxidation is the most common cause of yellowing headlights. It mostly affects acrylic headlights upon exposure to ultraviolet rays. The lamp’s lenses usually come with a clear coat to prevent oxidation; however, it may wear over time and expose the plastic covering to these rays. Prolonged exposure to the beams will cause the lens to take a yellow hue, making the headlights foggy and affecting their lighting power.


Is your headlight covering dark? If the answer is yes, then there is a huge probability that it is dirty. The darkening may come about due to the exhaust fumes from other vehicles, mud, and other debris present on the road. The good thing is that it is easy to deal with dirt, where a quick wash will do the trick.

Burnt-Out Bulbs

If the headlight appears dark, a probable cause may be burnt-out bulbs. The bulbs wear over time, and they go dimmer until they finally give in. If you have a case of burnt-out bulbs, you have to make replacements for safe travel. This issue may be a pointer to other underlying problems, especially if it is consistent. Dimming lights may be a sign of alternator problems, and you should check it.

Water Vapor

The headlight is usually airtight, and water cannot get in. However, with wear and tear, some water droplets may find their way into the bulb compartment as vapor; when the vapor settles, it forms water droplets, which, when combined with dirt, can make the lamp be yellow or have a brownish shade.

How To Make Headlights Brighter: Step By Step Guide

how to clean your headlights to make them brighter

Here are the several moves to make, with highlighted steps to improve the brightness of your headlights.

Cleaning Your Headlights

When dealing with oxidized or dirty headlights, the best move is to clean them. Follow the below steps to clean these car lights.

Step 1: Get Your Cleaning Materials Ready

The first step in cleaning requires you to have all the necessary cleaning materials. In this case, you will need water, a cleaning cloth, two magnets, detergent, some wax, and toothpaste.

Step 2: Cleaning the Exterior Part

Start by removing the residual dirt from the headlight using soap and water. Make some lather, and using the rug; gently wipe dirt off the headlight’s exterior surface. Focus more on getting rid of grime, mud, and other dirt that may coat the lamp’s surface.

Step 3: Clearing Oxidation

You now get on the stubborn stain, which is oxidation. When dealing with oxidation, inspect the surface to see if the yellowing is inside or outside. If it is on the outside, noticeable by a rough texture, you should know how to make headlights brighter with toothpaste. It is advisable to use toothpaste with a gritty feeling to it and with some whitening capability.

If it is not gritty, you can add some baking powder to improve its oxidation removal quality. Apply a gentle amount of toothpaste all around the lamps. You can use an old toothbrush to spread it out evenly. Once well covered, let it rest for like five minutes, then spray it off using warm water from a spray bottle. Wipe it off using a dry cloth.

Once the surface is dry, apply a wax coat, which will prevent oxidation, and wipe it off after 15 minutes. You can use several coats of toothpaste, depending on how pronounced the yellowing is. You can also use a headlight restoration kit, which performs the same role as the toothpaste in removing the oxidation. The SYLVANIA headlight restoration kit is one of the best for such a task.

Permanently Removing the Yellowing From Your Headlights

The above method is temporary, as you may notice the yellowing coming back after a few months. There is a long-term solution to this, and here are some of the materials you will need.

  • P600, p400, and p2000 sandpapers.
  • Rubbing alcohol and paper towels.
  • Clear coat.
  • Warm water in a spray bottle

Step 1: Clean the Headlight Surface

Start by cleaning up the headlight surface to remove residual dirt and give you a clear working area. Soap and water will do the trick.

Step 2: Scrubbing the Surface Using Sandpaper

The oxidation results in having a rough outer surface on this frontal car light. To help remove the haziness, you use sandpaper. The P400 sandpaper is very coarse, and you can use it for extreme pitting. The p600 is fine and ideal for minimal pitting, while the extra-fine p2000 is suitable for a finisher. Spray water on both the sandpaper and the headlight to reduce friction, which can further degrade the exterior.

Step 3: Apply Some Rubbing Alcohol

After you complete the scrubbing, wash the area with some water and use a paper towel to remove excess water. Then apply some rubbing alcohol to remove any oils or dirt on the surface. It also promotes the fast drying of the lights. Now bring in the clear coat, which you shake first, then spray evenly on the headlamp. Do not put thick layers of the clear coat as it may affect the light’s glow. Put the first coat, and then let it rest for five minutes before putting the next coat. You now allow the work rest for a day; then, it will be all good. When applying the clear coat, you have to cover other parts of the car to prevent the coat from coming in contact with your paint job.

Focusing On the Interior of The Bulb

At times, the problem may be on the inside, which is hard to deal with. In case of dirt or vapor, you use a soft cloth tied to a magnet and insert it through an opening above or on the side of the headlamp. Getting the opening may be a difficult task, but it is possible. With the magnet inside the light, use another magnet to lead it in removing the dirt.

If the bulb is the issue, you can replace it and go for powerful or efficient bulbs like the 9007 headlight bulb. After replacement, use a headlight sealant to secure the lamp to prevent dirt or vapor entry.

Frequently asked questions

Why Are My Headlights Not So Bright?

There are several causes of a low-intensity headlight, such as an oxidized lens, battery problems such as discharging, burnt-out bulbs, and many more. You should look into the issue and sort it out as a dim bulb can affect your visibility when driving.

How Can I Increase the Power of My Car Light?

When you want to increase your car light’s power, you should first identify why it is dim or hazy. If it is the car battery discharging, you should replace the battery. Other moves to pull include cleaning the headlight or replacing the bulbs.

What Makes One Headlight Brighter Than The Other?

If you come across a situation where one headlight is brighter than the other, there are several causes to look at. First, it may be a loose connection in the dimmer bulb, which you can check out to ascertain. The second cause may be a burnt-out bulb, which you may conclude by checking the filament’s state or if there is a darkening.

What Is The Brightest Light Bulb That Is Legal?

The legality of bulbs is one thing you need to understand before picking a specific type for your car. They have to be bright enough to light up the way, but not too bright to the point of blinding other road users. The HID bulbs are some of the brightest and have xenon gas, which gives out a blue color but not of a stronger intensity, making them legal for road use.

Can You Use Coke To Clean Headlights?

Coke is one of the household items to use to deal with foggy headlights. When using coke, you put it in a spray bottle and first clean the headlights with soap and water to remove excess water. Spray the coke generously over the lamp and let it rest for five minutes, then wipe it off using a damp cloth.

How Do You Make Headlights Brighter With Toothpaste?

Toothpaste is an excellent solution to oxidized headlights, which comes about due to extended exposure to UV rays. You need to have gritty-textured toothpaste, which you evenly apply on the headlamp’s surface. You let it rest for a while before wiping it off with warm water. Follow up with a coat of wax, let it rest for a short time, and wipe it before it starts to dry.

Final Words

The headlight is among the critical car light types, playing a role in illumination in poor lighting conditions. For the headlight to serve you well, you need to deal with typical issues like hazy lights, which can come about through dimming or oxidization. From this piece, we see how to deal with the problems to have a clear headlight. Still, on how to make headlights brighter, do not forget to bring along cleaning and restoration kits like the 3M Headlight Lens restoration kit. This ensures a long-term fix where poor vision will be a thing of the past.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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