When a headlight has moisture or water inside of it, there's are ways to fix the leak and get rid of the water. If water is in the headlights the bulb can still work, but it has an impact on the brightness of the lights.
If water is in your headlight you can replace the headlight or repair it. Repairing it is cheaper but replacing it can be faster. Replacement costs varies from $20 - $200+, and restoring it can cost less than $20 with the right tools.
Fixing it involves removal, evaporating all moisture, sealing, and replacement. In about an hour you'll have repaired it, or replaced it.
It make be a bit of extra work to repair a headlight, but it can be worth it to save some money.
But regardless of which way you choose to fix the problem, it's important to take action because water in the headlight(s) can impair night driving visibility.
What If you have not found any water or moisture in the headlight, but there is a crack? Then the seal for the bulb is likely letting moisture in. You will need to fix those problems by following the steps under the next heading.
If you have found water or moisture in the headlight there are several steps you can take to remove it. Your headlights can be sealed up so they don't let in moisture anymore.
You may need one or more of the tools listed to help you with your job. A flat head and Philips head screwdriver may be needed, a pair of needle nose or regular pliers, a socket set, and possibly rubber gloves if wanted. Don't forget some sealant for any cracks if necessary.
If you have identified water in the headlight, a leak, or a crack, the next step would be to take out the headlight to fix it.
This involves removing any clips, any screws holding the headlight in place, pressing any tabs that might old the headlight, and carefully taking out the headlight bulb or disconnecting the wire depending on the headlight.
Once the headlight assembly is free, disconnect the electrical connectors.
There may be tabs that require a flat head screwdriver to help pry the tabs (this might also break the tab so be careful). Most should come off by pushing on the tabs at the connection.
At this point your assembly may be free or may require you to remove the bulb.
To remove the bulb, you can turn the bulb (usually counter clockwise) or pull it out by wiggling it back and forth slightly. My truck has a metal pin that holds the bulb in place the needs to be unlatched.
Since not all bulbs will twist or pull out, so be aware of locking rings, clips or other part that secure the bulb to the headlight assembly.
At this point you might want to have some nitrile gloves, to help you avoid touching the light bulb with your fingers or hand. If the oil from your hands gets on the bulb, it will cause it to burn out faster.
Carefully remove the bulb and place it somewhere safe. Then, inspect the rubber gasket or rubber cover to see if it is allowing water or moisture to enter the headlight housing.
Check for breaks, particles, or creases in the gasket that might let water in.
Remember to remove plastic clips carefully, so you don't break any the connector or clips holding things together.
In this video you can see how the electrical connection for a Honda Accord headlight assembly are disconnected.
Step 3. Check the Headlight Housing for Cracks and Leaks
Now that you have detached the headlight assembly, look around for any obvious cracks. If the crack is on the lens, sealing the crack with sealant could work. Determining the extent of the damage to decide if sealing or replacement is needed.
In the video below you'll see how you can fill the housing with water and determine exactly where the water is entering the headlight.
After you have determined where the leak is coming from, remember or mark the area. Later, you can apply sealant to the correct area to prevent further entrance of water.
Now you need to evaporate all the water in the headlight. The video has a good idea for this; using a hair dryer or heat gun.
If you don't have either of these, placing the housing in the sun may help. However, you need a dry warm environment to help the moisture to evaporate.
Step 4. Seal the Headlight Housing
If you have gotten all the water and moisture out of the housing, you need to seal up the areas that let water in.
Use the correct sealant. One that dries clear, works well with high temperatures, and is waterproof.
Apply the sealant on the area that has the crack or opening. Make sure to pat it down into any areas that may have indents or grooves.
Sometimes you may need to apply pressure if the headlight housing has split. Use a clamp after using the sealant in and on the crack(s). Wait about 2 hours to ensure it will stay closed.
Look at the product information to determine how long it takes to cure. It will be dry to the touch in about an hour. After that, the headlight can possibly be installed on your vehicle.
You may not want to go on any bumpy streets or roads if it hasn't cured, but if everything is smooth, you may be able to risk driving without a problem with the headlight before it cures.
It's probably best to fix the headlight in the evening and wait until the next day to drive it.
Step 5. Replace the Headlight Assembly
When installing the headlight assembly, it's usually best to reverse the process used when taking it out.
What if you use a new headlight assembly? Then you want to make sure to compare it with the old one to ensure it's the correct match.
Just like taking removing the assembly, be sure not to force anything into place. Gentle wiggling and aligning parts correctly will give you the best results.
Try hand tightening bolts and screw to insure they are correctly threading, then use your ratchet to finish the job.
Step 6. Finishing Touches
Now that your done replacing your headlight, turn it on the headlights. In addition test the turn signals if needed. Check that all the electrical connections are working.
Clean up any grease around the headlight that may have gotten on your paint.
If your lens seems hazy, that may be due to normal hazing that occurs over time from the UV exposure.
After your headlights sealant has cured, you can use a bit of wax or another product to buff out the haze on your headlights if desired. This can help give you a bit more brightness when driving at night.
Clearing your headlights of water and sealing them up again may take an hour or more. However, you can save a lot of money. With some research and patience, you'll have your headlight fixed in short order.
If you have some basic tool all you'll need is some sealant to get the job done. Then you'll have a headlight without moisture in it. It will shin brighter on the road at night and help you stay safe while going to all your destinations.