Condensation is a natural occurrence that happens when water vapor condenses into a liquid. In regard to your car’s headlights, the phenomenon takes place when the outside air is cooler than the air inside the lighting assembly. The warmth of the bulbs paired with the cold weather can create the perfect environment for condensation, leading to the formation of water droplets inside your headlights. Although some condensation is normal, an excessive amount of water can indicate a crack in the headlight or a problem with the headlight’s rubber seal.
This trapped moisture can make your headlights dull and foggy, which compromises your visibility on the road when driving at night. Apart from being a minor annoyance, it’s dangerous to drive with condensation in your headlights. In this article, we’ll discuss all the methods you can try to get rid of it.
Tips for Removing the Condensation in Your Headlights
The process of getting condensation out of your headlights will depend on how severe the problem is and what the underlying cause may be. Here are a few tips:
Allow the Moisture to Dry on Its Own
Sometimes, the moisture will go away on its own once the headlights are turned on and the heat causes it to evaporate. Leaving your car out in the sun can also produce the same results.
Use a Hair Dryer
Remove your headlight assembly, take it apart without breaking the headlight seal, and dry the parts out individually with a hair dryer. The recommended temperature to avoid harming the electrical wirings and morphing the rubber components would be around 180 degrees.
Add Desiccant Packets
Once you’ve removed the moisture, you can try placing some desiccant packets inside the housing to help prevent future condensation. Some drivers have seen good results with this trick, as silica gel packets can absorb a lot of moisture. However, the effectiveness will again depend on the severity of the issue that is causing your headlights to fog up.
Try Using Compressed Air
You may want to check whether the headlight vent is blocked, as this can also cause some minor condensation. If this is the case, try blowing out the debris with some compressed air. Be careful that you don’t end up forcing the debris into the housing.
Replace Your Headlight Assembly
If all else fails and the moisture keeps coming back, you may have to replace the headlight assembly.
Check to ensure that all of the bulb covers on the back of the headlight assembly are intact. A missing or loose bulb cover can allow moisture to enter the headlight.
In a situation where there is far more water in the headlight than usual, you’ll want to check the assembly for cracks or a damaged rubber gasket.
If the headlight assembly is cracked, it will need to be replaced. Rubber gaskets, on the other hand, can often be replaced separately from the lighting assembly.
Should You Replace Your Headlights?
Not all of those things listed above are reasons for major concern. Some of them are negligible and may not require immediate attention. If and when your headlight looks like a small aquarium, it’s very likely that a replacement headlight assembly is needed.
However, if the condensation levels are normal/semi-normal, meaning light still shines through the condensation, then you might only be dealing with a natural occurrence.