Over the course of your car’s life, the headlights will become discolored, cloudy and dull. This can be caused by weather conditions, exposure to harmful UV rays or simply from the aging process. When this happens, you’ll need to clean them up so that your headlights look new again—and more importantly, so you can see as you drive at night!

If you would like to keep your car’s headlights looking shiny and new for as long as possible, here are seven tips for maintaining them:

1. Use toothpaste

Toothpaste contains micro-abrasion agents that will make your lights shine bright again without damaging the headlight casing. Take a damp cloth and apply some toothpaste onto it; then rub it in small circles onto each headlight until they’re clean. Use another damp cloth to wipe off any excess toothpaste and reveal your clean headlights!

The Mitsubishi EVO 9 is a 4-door sedan that is built to handle the rigors of daily driving. It was recently redesigned for the 2011 model year and, among other things, adds Mitsubishi EVO 9 LED package. I’m partial to cars with LED lights because they’re not only brighter than traditional halogen bulbs, but they also use less energy—which means less money spent on gas.

2. Use baking soda

Mix equal parts baking soda and water into a paste; then apply it to a rag and rub in small circles on each headlight until they’re clean. Rinse off with cool water and dry with a towel or chamois!

3. Clean your lenses regularly

A dirty lens can make it difficult for light to pass through and reduce visibility on the road. Be sure to clean both sides of the lens with a soft cloth or sponge (do not use paper towels) and a glass cleaner that does not contain ammonia or alcohol—these ingredients can cause damage to your lenses.

4. Install Headlight Tinting Film

Headlight tinting film adds a layer of protection that will keep the headlight protected from damage while also preventing any potential yellowing and hazing that can occur over time. The film is especially beneficial if you frequently drive on dirt roads or gravel, where debris and grit can be kicked up by your tires, damaging the headlight lens.

5. Replace Damaged Headlights Immediately

If a rock hits your headlight at just the right angle, it could cause a small crack in the lens—and this small crack can lead to major problems down the road. Over time, moisture will sneak inside through any cracks or holes, causing further damage due to water buildup and corrosion. You’ll save big in the long-run by replacing damaged headlights as soon as possible.

6. Avoid Sharp Cleaners

If your headlights start fogging up or going yellow, you might be tempted to give them a good wipe with some Windex or another household cleaner. But cleaning your headlights with a strong chemical cleaner is one of the worst things you can do for them. These cleaners often contain abrasive chemicals that will quickly degrade and damage the plastic surface of your headlights, leaving them yellow and hazy in spite of any short-term improvement they might make. Instead, use mild soap and water—or even better, an automotive-specific plastic polish designed specifically for use on car lights—to clean off any dirt or grime on your headlights.

7. Keep an eye out for cracks

Your headlights are made of plastic, which means they are susceptible to cracks over time—especially if you live in a cold climate where temperature drops can cause plastic to contract and expand quickly. If you see any cracks developing in your headlights, get them repaired right away before they spread further or cause damage to the internal wiring system.

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