How To Remove Condensation Accumulated on the Car Headlights
The presence of any amount of condensation inside the car/motorcycle’s headlight can be troublesome.
And it’s especially troublesome if the manifestation showcases itself when the person is driving at night in poor weather conditions that affect the visibility and the general condition of the vehicle. This buildup of moisture in the headlight can lead to premature failure of the bulb and in certain cases, lead to an electric short circuit in some car models.
An easier way to solve this is by drilling a drain hole in the lens of the headlight, but that destroys the appeal of the car’s headlights without actually focusing on the issue.
For completely removing the condensation, the headlight has to be resealed completely.
Tips to Know
- If the buildup of condensation happens suddenly after the change of headlight bulb or a recent repair, then ensure that the cap which holds the headlight bulb( the rubber cover, which conceals the bulb’s access hole) is properly secured and sealed. If there is any gasket, replace it as per the need.
- If it is not possible to reseal the car’s headlight, then it is not possible to remove the headlight’s front lens as suggested by the following steps. In that case, the headlight assembly will have to be replaced.
- Streak-free glass cleaner
- Heat gun
- Flathead screwdriver
- Fine wire brush
- Vehicle-specific service or repair manual
- Razor scraper
- Microfiber towel
- Clear RTV silicone
Remove the car headlight from the vehicle.
In some particular models, front bumper cover has to be removed for accessing the headlight’s retaining bolts. For assistance, follow the steps and directions as given in the car service manual to understand the required steps.
- It is advisable to not touch the glass portion of the headlight with the bare skin as the oils from the skin can remain on the bulb and will cause premature failure.
- The car’s front bumper cover is usually secured to the car with the help of screws, plastic retainers, metal clips and even bolts. If a person looks around the grill’s top, along the bumper cover’s bottom and within the wheel wells for these retainers.
Then separate the lens from the vehicle’s headlight assembly.
Check around the headlight assembly as to where the clear lens joins the assembly. There, a person will find locking tabs, which can be lifted up for separating the two, but it’s better to not to try it.
- The lens is fragile and can break easily while it is being separated, which is why it is important to follow the step in a precise manner to avoid any damage.
For beginning, put the heat gun on medium setting and sweep the stream of hot air over the top of the headlight’s lens, at the place where it joins the assembly for the duration of atleast a minute.
After the application of heat, the lens will become hot to touch, then pry open the locking tabs and softly push the lens top away from the assembly. This is to ensure that the lens doesn’t lock back into the place when the screwdriver is removed.
Work on the headlight heating to pry each locking tab till all of them have been unlocked. However, continue heating near the assembly as the lens is separated from the assembly.
- Make sure to not concentrate the heat gun stream on one place for too long, otherwise it’ll melt or discolour the clear lens.
Removal of all the old sealant and adhesive
Clean all the old adhesive and sealant from the assembly and the headlight lens. Use a razor scraper or a wire brush for cleaning the tough spots. On extra difficult spots, make use of an extra fine grip sandpaper, however make it a point to not scratch the lens’ inside or deform the mating surfaces.
- Clear plastics and chemicals aren’t a great match, which is why no adhesive remover, brake cleaner, nail polish remover or any other substance, which can break down the glue and damage the assembly and the headlight lens.
Cleaning of the lens
Use a microfiber towel along with a glass cleaner. This will ensure that no leftover dust or contaminates stay from the removal of the old sealant. Before proceeding further, it is better to keep the lens crystal clear. Wipe the mating surface on the other end of the headlight assembly using a glass cleaner. Ensure that both mating surfaces are completely dry before continuing.
- Try holding the lens at various different angles for exposing any streak that may not been seen just like that. Wipe away the streaks with the use of dry cloth.
Assembling the headlight
Start by applying a thin bead of the clear RTV silicone over the mating surface of the headlight assembly. Make a point to exercise caution while applying the silicone as too much of it will cause the silicone to be overrun into the headlight, while too little will prevent a good seal and thus, lead to more condensation. Press the lens onto the headlight assembly and then ensure that all the locking tabs lock into place.
Install the headlight assembly
Now, reverse the procedure given in the vehicle’s service or repair manual for installing the headlight and bumper cover, if required. Follow all the specifications that are provided for the headlight and bumper cover bolts.
Don’t turn on the headlights till the proper amount of curing time that is recommended for the clear RTV silicone has passed.