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Removing Moisture from Headlights

Moisture buildup inside of a car’s headlights is a common occurrence. Water can leak into headlights through cracks, busted seals, or from improper housing around the light bulbs. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix this buildup of headlight condensation that will help increase visibility on the road.

Drying it Out

Before removing the headlight unit completely from the car, examine the unit and remove anything you can. Avoid breaking the seal or the clear plastic between the lens and housing around light unless you want to reseal everything. Consult the owner’s manual if you aren’t sure how to disassemble the headlight. This is often done by opening the hood and removing the back of the light before unscrewing the bulb.

If the moisture is minor, you can reach inside the headlight wipe the inside using a lint free cloth. Compressed air or desiccant packets can also help wick any moisture from the headlight. Simply place a silica gel pack inside the lens. You can use any pack that’s included in new product packaging. They can absorb up to 40 percent of their weight in water, but try to avoid letting the packet touch the lens.

During warmer weather, you can sit your headlight in the sun and let it dry out slowly. If there’s a fair amount of moisture, you can use a hairdryer or a heat gun to help it clear up and make the moisture evaporate faster. Use a low heat, less than 180 degrees Fahrenheit, to get the moisture out, but try not to expose the headlight to direct heat.


To prevent future condensation, use a sealant to make sure moisture stays out. Look over the headlight to see if you can tell where the water is coming from and for areas where air can’t escape. Buildup is easier to prevent once you find the source of the problem. If you cannot find any cracks or holes, this could be a sign of an issue with the housing or housing vents.

If you notice any improperly fitting seals, replace them as soon as possible. Check the vents to make sure they aren’t clogged and causing water buildup. After the headlight is dry, it may serve you best to cover up cracks or the outside with a sealant.  If you still have trouble getting to the root of the problem or the moisture keeps returning, call a professional. A good mechanic at your local automotive service should be able to fix it with no problem.

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