Can You Drive With A Damaged Headlight Lens?

Headlights are essential components of automobiles. Essentially, they are used to provide illumination when driving, especially during dark hours. The headlight system comprises a reflective mirror, a light bulb, some electric wires and a headlight lens. While it may be an obvious thing to have all these functioning well in your headlight unit, there are always cases when one (or more) of these headlight components would get damaged; the first is usually the lens.

The vehicles’ headlight lens are made from materials that are susceptible to cracking due to many factors such as stress, accident, temperature strain, etc. If you are contemplating whether it is safe to drive with a damaged vehicle headlight lens when you experience such, the short and simple answer is No.

In the rest of this post, I will be telling you more about driving with a damaged vehicle headlight lens and also provide answers to some questions you may have about doing that.

High-Intensity-Discharge (HID) Headlights

Why you shouldn’t drive with a damaged headlight lens

Some people might think this is okay but driving with a damaged headlight lens will reduce your visibility, and the implication is that you will become a threat to yourself and other road users. Again, driving with a damaged headlight lens can attract fines and stops from the police and other road safety enforcement agencies.

However, the fear of punishment for driving with a damaged headlight lens should not be your worry; what you should be concerned about is your safety and driving with a damaged headlight lens is a threat to that.

What can cause the headlight lens to get damaged?

Many things can damage or lead to the damage of your vehicle headlight lenses. Some of the common causes of headlight lens damages are:

  • Forceful impact with other vehicles or objects during accidents can damage the headlight lens.
  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight may also cause the headlight lens to get damaged due to the impact of ultraviolet rays from the sun, especially when the vehicle is packed at a spot for a long time.
  • Use of incompatible cleaning agents and other chemicals to clean the headlight.

What effect can a broken lens have on the vehicle headlight?

The vehicle headlight is an essential component of the car, especially in the area of human safety. When the headlight lens is broken, it distorts the light beam from the headlight, making the light not focus properly.

A broken headlight lens will also allow rainwater to get into the headlight, and this can damage the headlight. If the damage to the headlight is so extensive that the broken part of the lens falls off, this will reduce the security of the headlight bulbs and expose the headlight bulb to all kinds of damages.

For these reasons, any vehicle owner with a broken headlight lens should prepare to get it fixed early to avoid letting it escalate into a worse situation.

Can a damaged lens headlight be repaired?

The answer to this depends on the extent of the lens damage. Repairing a damaged headlight lens depends on the extent of the damage; if the crack on the headlight lens is tiny, then it can be fixed. On the other hand, if the crack is big, you will have to replace it with a new one.

What to do to a damaged headlight lens?

What is expected of you to do to a damaged headlight lens will depend on the extent of the damage. If the damage is something minor, you can attempt fixing the headlight lens. However, if the damage is huge, there is no point wasting energy on fixing the lens; you just have to get a new one.

Steps on how to fix a headlight lens:

Once you have determined that the damage is small and you can fix it, you can follow the steps below and see if you can get it done. If y=at any point you feel this repair is beyond your capacity, just take it to an auto repairer to do their job on it.

Materials required: Masking Tape, Paper Towel, Silicone Sealant (other water-resistant glue can also work), Vehicle polish and application cloth, car washing kits (Sponge, Soap, Detergent, Brush, shampoo, and microfibre drying clothes). Once you have your materials ready, take a deep breath and get to work following the steps below:

  • Step 1: Clean the surface neatly with water and soap or any car washing kit you find. It is better to use two buckets when doing this, one for washing and the other for rinsing, to minimize the possibility of the sponge leaving tiny scratches on the plastic body of the headlight lens. After washing, dry the area up with a clean cloth.
  • Step 2: Apply the car polish to the damaged area of the headlight lens. Ensure that you apply enough polish to the surface area to help the silicon sealant stick better.
  • Step 3: Use masking tape to protect the damaged part of the headlight lens.
  • Step 4: Apply a small layer of the Silicon sealant (or any other suitable glue) to the cracked area using a sealant gun. Then wipe off the excess with tissue paper and leave to dry overnight. Make sure that the vehicle is protected from rain during the drying period.
  • Step 5: When the sealant has adequately dried, apply more car polish to smoothen the surface. Also, apply some car wax to help protect the area.
Steps on how to change headlight lens (entire headlight unit):

Replacing a headlight lens may look very technical and tedious, but it is straightforward if you have the right tools needed for the task.  You can change the headlight lens yourself to save you the cost of paying an automobile technician to do that for you. In that way, you just need to worry about raising enough funds to buy the headlight lens unit. Once you have that, there are three steps you need to follow to change the headlight lens.

Materials Required: The new headlight unit, screwdriver, a wrench, socket set, small bags, and permanent marker (used for labelling screws and bolts). Once you have all these, jump right into changing it.

Step 1: Remove the Front Bumper:

Before you can remove the headlight, you must remove the front bumper. This may look tedious, but all you need to do is to remove some screws. You don’t even need to remove all the screws, you just need to remove the screw on one end, and you will be able to access the headlight.

Step 2: Remove the old Headlight Assembly:

Removing the Headlight assembly involves removing the cables of the bulb, unscrewing all the screws holding the headlight assembly, and carefully removing the old headlight assembly while ensuring that all the connectors are properly disconnected.

Step 3: Install the new Headlight Assembly:

First, clean the area where you will install the new headlight unit. Carefully install the new unit while ensuring that all the connections are correctly fixed. Reconnect the lightbulb and test to see if it is working. Finally, reconnect the front bumper and make sure all the screws are fixed back properly.

And that is done; time to enjoy your brand new headlight the way you want it.

Can you quickly fix a broken headlight lens temporarily?

The simple answer is YES, you can! If your headlight lens got broken and you want to temporarily fix it pending when you have enough funds or time to get a replacement, you just need to get some all-weather transparent waterproof masking tape. With this transparent all-weather masking tape, you can quickly mask the headlight lens and use it for a short while. Click here for a detailed video guide on how to do this yourself. But be sure to get it fixed as quickly as you can to avoid getting into more problems.

Is it okay to repair a damaged headlight lens yourself?

You can repair a damaged headlight yourself, provided that you possess the required skills and tools. If you do not have the skills and tools needed to fix a damaged lens, it is safer to take it to a professional mechanic who will repair the headlight lens for a fee. Attempting to repair the headlight lens yourself with inadequate skills and tools can lead to the complete damage of the entire headlight system, thereby costing you more money and time.

The best glue to use for headlight lens repair to avoid replacing it?

One of the most common repairs you will do in your car is fixing the breaking or cracking of the headlight lens. It will not be feasible to take it to an auto-mechanic workshop anytime you have a small crack, and that is why you need a lasting glue that you can use to fix the lens, at least momentarily. For this, I will personally recommend the Sugru Multipurpose glue. This Sugru Multipurpose glue can be used on different materials, including glass, plastics, and wood.

The versatile adhesive quality and the electrical resisting features make it the ideal sealant for fixing the headlight lens and other electrical components perfectly without needing replacing. Other features of the glue include:

  • Waterproof: The Sugru Multipurpose glue is waterproof, and it makes it possible to be used as an adhesive gel on materials that come in contact with water. Headlight, for instance, is likely to be in constant contact with water, especially when driving through the rain. This makes the Sugru glue a perfect choice for fixing the headlight lens.
  • Weatherproof: The glue is specially made with the capacity to withstand extreme weather conditions. You don’t want an adhesive on your headlight that will fail when the temperature is cold or hot. Sugru Multipurpose glue is capable of withstanding extreme cold and hot temperatures and would serve you well.
  • Versatility: Another benefit of this glue is that you can use it for most repairs in your home and vehicles. Whether the surface is made of ceramics, plastics, wood, or plastic; Sugru glue works perfectly on all of them.
How much does it cost to replace a damaged headlight lens?

The cost of replacing the damaged headlight lens depends on the car model and the headlight unit. Another thing to consider is whether you will be installing it yourself or using the services of a technician. Using a professional technician to change the headlight lens will add to the cost.

While it is cheaper to fix the headlight by yourself, the challenge is that you may end up damaging the vehicle headlight lens if you don’t have the skills needed for this task. But then the average cost of replacing the headlight lens is between $75 and $200, while the cost of replacing the entire headlight assembly is between $250 and $700.


I hope you have been able to pick up a few things about handling damaged headlight lenses. Now you know that you can drive with a damaged headlight lens but still, it is not all that advisable, especially when going at night, because it reduces your visibility, making you a threat to yourself and other road users. Not to mention that you can also be fined for driving with a damaged headlight lens.

The good thing is that if you have a small crack on your headlight lens, you can quickly fix it yourself following the steps enumerated in this article. If the damage to the headlight lens is enormous, you must change it as soon as possible to continue smooth driving exprience.


Hi, just letting you know that all products recommended here have been used by me, or are properly researched to ensure they are the best you are getting without bias.

I am also an affiliate for certain Amazon products and this means that some links here are affiliate links. If you purchase an item through any of them, I MAY earn a commission at no extra cost on you.

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