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How to Repair and Restore Fogged Up Motorbike Headlights


(Image Source: Flickr)

Over time, the headlights on your motorcycle can become yellowed and foggy. As well as making your machine look old and dirty, a foggy headlight can also present a safety hazard, as it can cut down on how bright your headlight is and reduce your nighttime visibility. Headlights can either become cloudy on the inside or the outside. Luckily, this problem can be quickly fixed. Below is a guide on how to repair a cloudy or yellowed headlight.

Cloudiness on the Outside of your Headlight

Modern motorcycle headlights are made using polycarbonate, which is a strong and durable plastic. Polycarbonate headlights do not shatter as easily as traditional glass headlights, but the material will begin to fog up and become yellow when exposed to the sun’s UV rays for an extended period.

To help to prevent this from happening, many motorcycle manufacturers spray a UV protective coating onto new headlights. However, this coating can be worn away when it is repeatedly exposed to the wind and rain.

You can check if your headlight is fogged up on the inside or the outside by running your hand over its surface. If it feels rough and pitted, then the problem is on the outside. If it feels smooth, the problem is on the inside.

Headlight Restoration Kit

If the problem is on the outside of your headlight, you should invest in a headlight restoration kit. You should be able to pick one of these up from your local garage or hardware store. The kit will contain headlight shampoo, sandpaper, a buffing wheel and a polishing compound.

You will first need to wash the headlamp with the shampoo and water. Attach the sandpaper disc to a drill and use it to sand down the surface of the headlight. Next, buff the headlight using the buffing wheel attachment. Finally, use a soft cloth to apply the polish to achieve a great finish.

Cloudiness on the Inside of your Headlight

The inside of the headlight isn’t exposed to wind and rain. However, it can still become cloudy due to gas residues which accumulate inside the headlight. This residue is relatively easy to remove. The difficult part of cleaning fogging from the inside of your headlight is gaining access to the surface. Before you attempt to remove and dismantle the headlight on your motorbike, you should consult the owners manual.

Once you have removed the headlight and taken out the bulb, you should pour some denatured alcohol into the body of the headlight and swill it around. This alcohol will cause the residue to dissolve. If the headlight remains cloudy, you may need to rub the inside of it using a soft cloth. The cloth should lift the residue from the inside of your headlight. Before reinstalling your headlight, you will need to allow it to dry. You can do this by leaving it to sit in the sun, or you can use a hairdryer if you don’t want to wait for it to dry naturally.

By keeping your headlights clean, you can ensure you can see and be seen when riding at night.