There is a lot of confusion as to whether headlights and taillights should be waxed or not. Most car owners when waxing their vehicles, do apply wax to the headlights as well as taillights.
The reason why motorists do this is that they hope the wax’s UV protection abilities will protect the headlights and taillights from the sun.
Despite this being true, there are concerns that some waxes may contain harsh chemicals that can haze or dull the clear plastic that covers your car’s headlights and taillights.
Do you feel even more confused? Below we are going to look at whether it is okay to wax your headlights and taillights, as well as other tips on how to take care of your car lights.
Table of Contents
- Is It Wrong to Wax Headlights and Taillights?
- Why Is It Indicated in My Car Manual that I Shouldn’t Wax My Headlights or Taillights?
- So, Should I Wax My Headlights and Taillights?
- What about Sealant and Clay Bars?
- Do All Car Owners Wax Their Headlights?
- Does Wax Cause Headlights to Turn Yellow?
- Can Wax Help Clear Yellowing of Headlights?
- What about Headlight Restoration Kits?
- How Can I Prevent Oxidation of Headlights?
- How Often Should I Wax Headlights and Taillights?
- What Else Can I Do to Prevent Yellow and Cloudy Headlights?
Is It Wrong to Wax Headlights and Taillights?
It is okay to wax the lights on your car. However, you need to be very mindful about the wax you apply to the lights. Plastic has similar properties to paint.
Your headlights feature a protective spray that acts as a clear coat. Its role is to protect the plastic from UV damage.
However, the same way the clear coat weakens with time so does the protective coat on your taillights and headlights weakens.
You can reapply it. But you will have to sand it down and this really is a lot of work.
To avoid such from happening, car owners apply the wax they use for their paint to the lights, in hopes that it will create a protective barrier.
Car owners have been applying wax to their headlights for years and most have never encountered any adverse side effects.
This however doesn’t give you the green light of smearing any wax you come across on plastic taillights. You should be very wary of synthetic waxes.
These may contain harsh chemicals that can dull the plastic. This won’t occur immediately but the more you expose your headlights to these waxes, the sooner you will notice hazing.
And because prevention is better than cure, you should be very keen on the wax you use on the headlights.
Why Is It Indicated in My Car Manual that I Shouldn’t Wax My Headlights or Taillights?
Always follow the instructions of the manufacturer. They made the car and for sure know better than you, the effects of waxing the headlights.
There are some cars such as the 2020 Ascent, when you look at the manual, it is clearly written that you should not wax the headlights or taillights.
Obviously, there is a reason for this, and going against what the manufacturer has said could result in negative effects.
The plastic used on the headlights of such cars may be sensitive to a certain ingredient found in wax. So, applying it may have negative side effects.
So, Should I Wax My Headlights and Taillights?
That will depend on a couple of factors. First, if your manufacturer has warned you against doing so, please refrain. However, if they have not, you may go ahead and protect your lights from UV damage.
It’s important to know that wax wasn’t formulated for taillights and headlights. It is meant to be used on paint which is on a metal surface.
With the above information in mind, you shouldn’t be surprised when a certain wax ruins your headlights. They may fog up or turn yellowish with time.
Different car owners have had varying experiences with waxing headlights. Some have done this for years and others can’t even entertain the thought of putting wax on their lights. At the end of the day, the choice remains to be yours.
Waxing the taillights and headlights will protect the plastic from UV damage. However, if the plastic lights are sensitive to an ingredient found in wax, it may cause them to haze up.
What about Sealant and Clay Bars?
If there are concerns regarding the use of wax on taillights and headlights, should you be worried about sealant and clay bars?
Similar to waxing, a good number of car owners also apply sealant and clay the lights when performing these processes on their cars.
Unlike waxing where you are worried about hazing, a sealant makes the lights easier to clean.
Also, thanks to the sealant, rain or morning dew will clear faster off your headlights and taillights. And you won’t have trouble removing the snow from the lights during winter.
Claying on the other hand works to remove impurities that bond to the surface of your headlights and taillights.
You, therefore, need not worry about any harmful effects of claying or applying sealant to your car’s headlights and taillights.
Do All Car Owners Wax Their Headlights?
Not all, but most of them do. Waxing a car is just like washing it. Most of the time, you find yourself applying the wax to the entire car even without realizing it.
Many people have done this and they haven’t experienced any hazing. If you too have been doing it, it’s not too late to stop.
To ensure that your headlights are protected from UV damage, opt for a plastic protectant instead. You can find one at your nearest store.
Spray the plastic protectant after cleaning your car and you will never deal with hazing caused by wax.
Does Wax Cause Headlights to Turn Yellow?
Not really. The main thing that causes headlights to turn yellow is UV damage. The plastic used on headlights plays a very crucial role. It protects the bulbs and wires found inside the light.
Failure to take proper care of headlights can cause them to turn yellow and this is very dangerous because it will limit your vision especially when driving at night.
Other than personal opinions, research is yet to show that wax can cause headlights to turn yellow. The main cause as mentioned earlier is UV damage and failure to take proper care of the headlights.
Dirt and other harmful elements that your headlights may pick up from the environment are what accelerates the yellowing of lights.
Can Wax Help Clear Yellowing of Headlights?
Are you familiar with the DIY hack of clearing yellow substances from headlights using toothpaste and wax? By itself, wax can’t clear the yellow in headlights. However, when used alongside toothpaste, you can make the headlights look crystal clear and remove oxidation.
To remove oxidation with toothpaste, you will apply some on the plastic and rub it with a sponge. Depending on the level of oxidation, you may have to scrub for a little longer before the yellowing fades.
Once you are contented, rinse the headlights or taillights with water and apply some wax which makes the lamps look as good as new.
Another solution to fixing yellowing headlights is through sanding. With the help of sandpaper, you can grind the damaged plastic off the surface and restore the original condition of the plastic.
Sanding can also help with the removal of scratches on the surface of headlights. One of the benefits of waxing is that it prevents scratches from forming on the surface of headlights.
What about Headlight Restoration Kits?
If the DIY headlight restoration techniques seem a bit complicated, you can always choose the professional way out which entails the use of restoration kits.
These offer a quick fix when it comes to dealing with yellowish headlights. There are many headlight restoration kits and you will need to do some slight research so that you can find the best.
Reviews can help with that. A good kit should contain sandpaper and some UV-blocking polymer.
Most of these kits are easy to use and you don’t need any experience. Should you encounter any challenges, you can always turn to an expert detailer for help.
How Can I Prevent Oxidation of Headlights?
You will be surprised to know that waxing is one of the proven methods of preventing the oxidation of headlights.
For cars that already have the yellowish substance on the plastic, you will need to sand it or use a restoration kit. Then when you are done, apply some wax. Or if you can get your hands on a plastic protectant, that would be better.
Preventing the oxidation of headlights isn’t only ideal at ensuring safety when driving. But, your car will look great.
How Often Should I Wax Headlights and Taillights?
As often as you can. Though wax bonds to the surface of your car, weather and other elements strip it off with time.
And the minute wax is removed from your headlights and taillights, there is no UV protection and oxidation starts to occur gradually.
The best thing to do when waxing taillights or headlights is to do it as frequently as you can.
Whenever you are waxing your car, don’t forget to apply some on the headlights. Also, if you can invest in a plastic protectant for your headlights, you will enjoy ultimate protection from UV damage.
What Else Can I Do to Prevent Yellow and Cloudy Headlights?
Having identified UV rays as the leading cause of oxidation, parking your car as far as possible from the sun can significantly prevent this.
Because the sun is everywhere and you may not always be lucky to get a great parking spot, invest in a plastic protectant or a plastic-friendly wax. You can also opt to cover the headlights in a protective film.