When things are getting foggy, you know what to do: turn on your fog lights. But what if your fog lights are getting foggy? To avoid getting in a foggy Inception situation, it is time for a DIY project!
Foggy Road, Clear Situation
Fog lights are an important part of your vehicle’s safety system. They allow you to see more clearly in fog, rain, and snow, which can be life-saving when you encounter these conditions.
If they get dirty or damaged, you may not be able to use them to help keep yourself safe on the roads. Moreover, if they get too dirty or damaged, you might even have to replace them—and that’s not cheap. So before you go out and buy new ones (or try unsuccessfully to sell your car with the old ones), read up on how to clean fog lights and make them as good as new ones!
Check your owner’s manual
Since there are a bunch of fog lights models available on the market, the materials from which your auxiliary lighting system has been designed may be more or less sensitive to certain materials.
In such a scenario, if you have an owner’s manual for your car, consult it to see if there are any instructions on cleaning your fog lights. Your owner’s manual might also tell you the best products to use or how often to clean them.
If you don’t have an owner’s manual, take a deep breath and keep reading.
NOTE: To ensure you don’t damage your lens with any cleaning agent, test it on an inconspicuous area first to see what happens.
Assess the situation
First, ensure sure the fog lights are clean and free of fog. To altogether remove any dirt, dust, or grime that may have accumulated on the headlights, take a clean rag and your regular automotive soap and wipe the area around them. Make sure you rinse them thoroughly and let them air dry before moving to the next step.
How to clean the outside of your fog lights’ lens
- The distilled vinegar, water, and baking soda method
This may be the best bet for you if you’ve got a lot of foggy light lenses. Simply mix 1/3 vinegar, 2/3 water, and a bit of baking soda, then dip a soft cloth into it. Wipe the lens with your mixture, being careful not to get it on any other area of your car’s bodywork or paint! Once you’re done cleaning them, rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Dampen a soft cloth with water and wring it out tightly so that it’s not dripping wet but still damp. Dab the fabric with your vinegar/baking soda mixture and gently rub over your headlights until they are shiny again. Allow them to air dry for a few minutes before moving on to the next step if necessary, then wipe down the rest of your car using another clean rag sprayed with water only this time!
- Toothpaste for your fog lamps’ smile
Use an abrasive, such as toothpaste, and vigorous scrubbing to attempt to clear the headlights if they are only slightly cloudy. Start by using soap and water or Windex to clean the headlights. After that, apply toothpaste to the wet headlight using a soft cloth and a fingertip’s worth of pressure. You could also add some baking soda into the mix in case the composition is too watery.
Start by cleaning your fog lights with some soap from your standard car-washing materials. Before proceeding to the following stage, give them some time to air dry.
Just to be safe, you could use some masking tape to seal up the area surrounding your fog lights. This will shield the paint and plastic components of your car from the drying toothpaste’s moderate abrasiveness.
Apply a small amount of toothpaste onto a microfiber cloth and carefully clean your fog lights by further damping your rag with small amounts of water. To achieve the perfect level of cleanliness, give each fog lamp at least 5 minutes of tender love and care.
Use fresh water to rinse each fog light. Before polishing each headlamp with a second clean towel, let them air dry.
For an extra effect, finish with a small amount of automotive glass wax. By doing this, an extra layer of protection will be added, and they will also maintain their clarity for longer.
- The WD-40 way
If you’ve tried the above methods and your fog lights are still dirty, consider trying WD-40. This product is a lubricant, degreaser, cleaner, rust remover, and glass cleaner/window cleaner all in one! I’m not kidding when I say it can do anything!
This should also help get rid of those nasty scratches that can appear on your lens coverings. Just squirt some into a bowl and start scrubbing away at your fog lights with a soft microfiber cloth until they sparkle again!
Once every part has been meticulously cleaned, use a clean sponge and some warm, soapy water to clean your fog. This will assist in removing any residue from lamps as well as any extra cleaning agent that could have been left behind. Once finished, don’t forget to dry with a towel or microfiber cloth.
In the end, apply a sealant once you’ve taken off the protective covering.
- Clean windows, clean fog lights
Instead of simply wiping away foggy headlights with a cloth, you can use glass cleaner to clean them. The ammonia in car polish will dry out the headlight surface and make it easier than ever to create a smooth finish.
If you don’t have any glass cleaner on hand, you can opt for an ammonia-free window cleaning product instead. After applying some lint-free towels, buff your headlights until they shine like new!
Protect the surface with masking tape and use a window-cleaning solution to remove grime and oxidation. Polish the headlight with a quality cleaner or rubbing compound before applying a protective coating of car wax to prevent future clouding.
Make sure to use a microfiber cloth to wipe off the window cleaner before applying a shiny layer of wax. After everything gets cleaned, rinse off any excess wax with a clean microfiber rug.
You can skip the waxing stage, but that would prevent future clouding.
Replace the fog lights if they are still foggy.
If your fog lights are still foggy after cleaning, it might be time to replace the bulbs. You can buy new ones at any auto parts store and install them yourself. Fog lights are easy to purchase and install yourself—you can get new ones at any auto parts store or order them online if you want to save some money. The same goes for the glass lenses that cover your fog lights: these are also inexpensive and easy to replace on your own.
If you don’t want to go through all that work, there are also plenty of online retailers that sell OEM-quality replacement bulbs for your vehicle’s specific make and model (and some even have installation guides).
A cloudy fog lamp is an eyesore and worse for your car’s visibility, and, when it comes to driving with dirty fog lights during inclement weather conditions – a safety risk too.
Fog lights are designed to help you see better in foggy and rainy conditions. If they’re dirty, they won’t do their job correctly, and you might find yourself getting into a fender-bender with someone who pulls out in front of you.
Now you know how easy it is to clean your fog lights. What are you waiting for?