How to Repair a Cracked Headlight

If you’re like most drivers, you don’t give much thought to your car’s headlights until one of them breaks. And if you’re like most drivers, you don’t know how to fix a cracked headlight. Fortunately, it’s a relatively easy repair that can be done with basic tools and knowledge.

How to Repair a Cracked Headlight

This blog post will show you how to repair a cracked headlight using the right supplies and following the right steps. We’ll also explain why fixing a cracked headlight is essential as soon as possible. Keep reading for all the details.

Summary: When your car’s headlight is cracked, it can result in decreased visibility while driving and can even lead to getting pulled over. Repairing a headlight can be done relatively easily, and there are several different ways to go about it. If you’re unsure of how to do it or if the crack is too large, consider taking your car to a professional.

8 Common Reasons That Causes a Cracked Headlight

1. Exterior Damage:

A crack on a headlight can occur if the light is hit by a pebble. The crack may start out small, but can become bigger over time. To fix the damage, the headlight may need to be replaced.

2. Overpressurization:

One common reason for headlight damage is overpressurization. If your headlights are looking more cloudy than usual, it might be time to replace them with a new set! Though they may not look damaged on the outside, over-pressurization can cause serious fogging and clouding on the inside that will make your light practically useless.

3. Temperature Fluctuation:

One common cause of cracked headlights is temperature change, especially if it’s a sudden, drastic shift. If you experience a drastic temperature change and notice hairline cracks, consider yourself lucky it could have been much worse! Take this as an opportunity to replace the headlights, and prevention is key.

4. Ultra-Violet Light:

Extremely intense ultraviolet light can cause your headlights to crack over time. The sun’s ultra-violet rays are so strong that they will eventually break down your headlight, causing it to have cloudy patches if you do not take precautions against it. Keep your headlights covered or replaced.

5. Age of Vehicle:

As with anything, your headlight will begin to weaken and become damaged from the natural wear and tear of everyday life over time. Replacing your lights after years of usage is normal, but if you aren’t having any problems with them, you may not need to replace them yet.

Replacing Lights After Years

6. Headlight Lens is Damaged:

A cracked or faded headlight lens can cause your light to dim more rapidly if exposed to unfavorable conditions such as rain, debris, or dirt. This type of damage can also occur over time from everyday life’s natural wear and tear.

7. Application:

If you own an older vehicle, its headlights may not meet the latest safety standards and be more susceptible to cracking over time. If you need to replace your entire headlight, take this opportunity to upgrade to brighter and more efficient headlights, such as an HID kit.

8. Running Over a Pothole:

If you find that your headlights are cracked after driving over a pothole, do not worry. The pothole’s impact is usually enough to cause tremendous damage and crack or break your headlight; however, it’s still possible for the shock from hitting the pothole to cause internal cracks within the light.

What Tools and Supplies You’ll Need

  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Sandpaper or Sanding Sponge
  • New Headlight Bulb
  • Masking Tape
  • Pliers
  • Wire Strippers & Electrical Tape

Step by Step Process: How to Repair a Cracked Headlight

Step 1: Clean the Cracked Area 

Wipe the damaged area of your headlight with a dry cloth to remove any debris or dust that may interfere with the new paint job. It would help if you made sure that no dirt on the surface will get into and crack your new coat of paint, so wipe it down thoroughly and let it dry completely.

Wipe the Damaged Area

Step 2: Sand the Cracked Area 

Using a hand sander or electric sander, sand the damaged area until the plastic turns white, and you can see where it is cracked. When you hold up your headlight to the sun (or another light source), sand the area some more if you can see any of the cracks through your paint.

Sand is just enough to fill in the crack and spread out a little bit past it on either side, but not so much that you have a big plastic region without any paint at all on it.

Step 3: Clean off Dust from Surface 

The headlight on your car needs to be sanded down to the white-ish color before you can apply new paint. Make sure to wipe it down with a damp paper towel to remove any sanding dust particles. If the dust is not removed, applying new paint will be much more difficult, and you will end up with bumps that are much bigger than they have to be in your paint job.

Step 4: Remove The Battery

This is an important step that you need to remember to do every time working on any electrical components. You want to remove both the positive and negative cables from your battery because there may be a small spark when you are sanding. It wouldn’t hurt anything if it did happen, but it is better safe than sorry in this situation.

Step 5: Prep and Paint Your Headlight

After thoroughly cleaning the crack out, it is time to begin painting. First, apply an even layer of primer around the edge of your headlamp, then apply a thin coat of spray paint along the damaged area. You will need two or three layers of spray paint. Ensure that your layer is not too thick and that each coat dries well before applying another one.

Apply a Thin Coat of Spray Paint

You don’t want to get any paint on the other areas of your headlight, so it may be good to have some cardboard cut out in the shape of your crack. Then, once the paint has dried, put your headlight back on and keep it there until the paint dries.

Step 6: Clean Up and Enjoy

Once your headlight is dry, put your cables back on for your battery. Make sure to wipe off any paint that you got onto other areas of your headlight or car before reconnecting it to ensure that you don’t short anything out. Now all you need to do is put your new headlight back into the car and enjoy the improved look of your car!

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Some Helpful Tips to Maintain Your Headlights

Now that you know how to repair a cracked headlight, here are some tips for maintaining them.

1. Keep your headlights clean. If the lenses of your lights become dirty or foggy, then less light will be shined onto the road.

2. Don’t let water build up on the lenses of your lights. Water can accumulate and eventually pool and cause damage to your headlight assemblies over time.

3. Avoid head-on collisions with larger objects. This will reduce the possibility of your lights being damaged if they are struck directly by an object.

4. Don’t drive with high beams on constantly. Constant use of high beams can contribute to faster degradation of headlight lenses over time.

Don't Drive With High Beams

5. Keep your headlights properly aligned. Improper alignment may cause uneven distribution of light at night.

6. Don’t drive with headlights off for extended periods, such as during the day when the weather is clear and sunny. This can accelerate headlight deterioration. If you must drive without your lights on, dip them to prevent higher temperatures from building up and causing damage to lenses and bulbs (if your car allows you to do this).

7. Don’t forget to replace old light bulbs with higher-efficiency ones. If one of your headlights is not illuminating properly, you may have a burned-out bulb or headlight assembly.

Should You Drive With Cracked Headlight Lens

Headlight lenses are made out of plastic that can become very brittle when exposed to extreme heat and ultraviolet rays from the sun. This means that over time, they will crack from exposure without warning. These cracks can appear very suddenly when driving, so it is essential to be aware of this problem and what you should do if it happens to you.

The primary reason car owners are discouraged from driving with a cracked headlight is that it can cause the lens to shatter on impact, especially on highways or high-speed roads. Even though plastic is durable, driving over debris on the road at sixty miles per hour can quickly result in tragedy.

The good news is that damage to the lens can often be repaired by filling in cracks with a special plastic resin compound. If you have never done this before, some professionals perform this service for car owners every day.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can Headlight Plastic Be Repaired?

Headlight plastic may not be able to be repaired, depending on the severity of the damage. If there is only minor damage, a sealant may be able to fix it. However, if there is significant damage or the headlight has been broken off completely, then a new headlight may need to be purchased.

What Kind of Plastic Is for Headlights?

There are many different types of plastics that can be used for headlights, including PET (polyethylene terephthalate), PAHS (paramagnetic high-density polyethylene), and PMMA ( polymer modified methyl methacrylate). Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right one for your needs.

PET headlights are often considered to be the most durable because they resist scratches and fading. They also have a longer lifespan than other types of plastic headlights.

PAHS headlights offer better light distribution thanks to their large surface area, but they tend not to last as long as PET or PMMA lights due to their susceptibility to rain damage and cracking.PMMA headlights are commonly used in luxury cars due to their glare-free lensing ability and resistance to UV radiation.

Is a Cracked Headlight a Mot Failure?

Cracked headlights are one of the most common light problems on cars. Mot failure is the technical term for when a headlight fails to meet the required performance standards.

There are a few things you can do to address cracked headlights:

  1. Replace the headlight – If it’s determined that the cracked headlight is causing actual mot failure, it may be necessary to replace the headlight. This is typically done at a cost of around $100-$200.
  2. Repair the headlight – If it’s determined that the crack simply requires a repair, this can be done by replacing the lens and/or surface reflector. This repair typically costs around $50-$100.
  3. Adjust the light output – Sometimes adjusting light output can help mitigate or eliminate mot failure caused by cracked headlights. This typically requires a trip to a mechanic and can cost around $100-$300.

Why Does My Headlight Bulb Keep Breaking?

Headlight bulbs are one of the most commonly replaced components on a car, and for good reason. They’re essential for Parkway visibility both during the day and at night, and they also play an important role in reducing your risk of getting hit by a car.

However, headlight bulbs can also be expensive to replace, so it’s important to take care of them in order to ensure their long-term durability. One way to do this is to make sure that you keep your headlights clean by using a light dusting before each use.

Additionally, make sure that you replace your headlight bulb regularly (every 12 years), even if it doesn’t seem necessary based on how often you drive or park your car. This will help minimize the chances of it breaking again down the road.


Headlights are an essential part of a car. They help you see in the dark, but they also let other drivers know your intentions. Driving without headlights is illegal in many states, so it’s essential to understand how to repair them if they crack or break.

In this blog post, we have discussed how to repair a cracked headlight using simple materials that you can find at home. If you have any questions or want to know more, then feel free to comment below. To find out more about other car repairs, follow our blog for updates on the latest automotive trends!

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