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rob's garage

Hi Rob,

My headlight covers are fogged over. What can I do to fix this? I priced out new headlights at the dealer for my 2000 Chevy Blazer and almost choked.

Thanks, Ruth

If you haven't had the opportunity to purchase trim pieces lately, be prepared for wallet tremors.

Car and truck parts can be very expensive, but you have options – you may not need to replace parts just yet. Most lenses that cover what used to be traditionally a "headlight," are now part of an assembly that can included the "plastic" housing, which is actually made of a product called Lexan, one or two lamps for low and high beam, and possibly a turn signal bulb and/or park lamp.

As for your SUV Ruth, having separate headlight and park/signal assemblies is a good thing as you will not have to purchase a full package of lighting if one or the other lenses were ever to be replaced.

For now, you can keep the ones on your truck by simply polishing what you have, and there a couple of ways to accomplish this.

The first, and most comprehensive, is a headlamp lens restoration kit. These are available at most auto parts suppliers – but beware, there are myriad types and combinations of these kits.

The second method uses toothpaste or products like Brasso metal polish. I have used this on my old Lincoln to restore the clarity of the park lamp and brake light lenses with success.

Fogged over headlamps are the result of an oxidized outer surface of the lens. These substances all rely on abrasives to scrape away surface imperfections. Any substance that is not designed specifically for the job will not usually have long-lasting results. Yes, toothpaste and metal polishes will restore the clarity of the fogged lens, but this effect will not last for a long time. Although the restoration kits are more expensive, the results will outlast household items.

Either way Ruth, the process is simple; if you decide to go with the household items, it's a matter of using a little elbow grease, if you take the restoration kit route, you will be asked to use some sort of polishing machine.

If I could make one last suggestion, use masking tape to surround the headlamp lens. This will protect your paint from the very abrasive nature of these products.

Have fun.

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