Is It Okay To Drive With A Broken Headlight Lens?

I recently came across one of the most annoying problems you can run into while driving: a broken headlight lens! This type of problem is pretty common, but it’s not due to a manufacturing defect in the actual headlight. However, the problem is so common that people are almost always searching for information about how to work around having such. While a broken headlight lens may seem like a small thing to ignore, it should be taken seriously. The rules for driving with a broken headlight lens may vary from state to state, but even with that, safety matters at all times whether there are rules for it or not.
In the rest of the post, I will be providing more details about driving with a broken vehicle headlight lens, answering questions about a broken headlight lens and giving you a few hacks to go about handling a broken headlight lens.

Can I drive with a broken headlight lens?

To start with, it is never safe to drive with a broken headlight lens. Doing so will tremendously affect your visibility,  especially in very poor conditions of excessive darkness or foggy weather such that your safety is not guaranteed at all. This can become dangerous not only to you and others with you but also to the vehicles and any cargo as well, particularly when you come up against obstacles on the road. For this reason, many states, especially in the US, for example, stipulate that you must drive with your headlights turned on from sunset to sunrise or in foggy weather.

Therefore, if your headlight lens is broken, especially if the headlight itself is bad, you can get pulled over by the cops, and the least outcome is that you may get off with a warning and advice to get them fixed without any delay. In extreme cases, you may come into a severe fine. So, for what it is worth, you should try not to drive with a broken headlight lens.

What happens when you drive with a broken headlight lens?

Ideally, the use of headlights is mandatory in most places from sunset to sunrise. However, if your broken headlight lens is still working perfectly despite the disrepair, you can still drive the vehicle as long as you have resolved to fix them without any delay the first chance you get. But, if the headlights themselves are not working at all, you are not advised to drive with them within the time frame specified; sunset to sunrise or in cloudy weather.

If you do that, first, it is not safe at all for obvious reasons, second, you may get pulled over by the cops in violation of traffic law and third, you may think you are seeing better with a broken headlight lens, but you are blinding the drivers of oncoming vehicles because your light is not having a direct covering. So, do not drive with a broken headlight lens, especially when the headlight itself is bad if you can avoid that as much as possible.

What can cause the headlight lens to get broken?

Commonly, your vehicle headlight lenses can get broken when they become oxidized, which can lead to a foggy, cloudy, or even yellowish lenses. The non-transparent appearance caused by this oxidation will not permit as much lighting as is required, unlike when the lenses are undamaged or tainted.  This will cause the dimming of the headlights, even when the bulbs are new and very bright. Again, over time, perpetual sunlight can also cause your headlight lens to break down, more so when they are made of plastic, which is what most headlights and their lenses are made of nowadays.

What effect can a broken lens have on a headlight?

First, a broken headlight lens will most likely cause your headlight bulbs to overheat, a development that can also reduce and affect the beam of the headlight as well. In extreme cases, it can also cause other bulbs to blow out or misbehave too, especially when the broken lens is not fixed on time. Check out a full post on the effects of the broken lens here.

What to do if you have a broken headlight lens?

The first and most important thing to do if your headlights lens is broken is to fix it promptly if that is possible. However, if it is not, then, you should make sure that you replace them as soon as is realistically possible since it is a dangerous prospect driving with them under that condition.

Can you quickly fix a broken headlight lens?

Of course, you can quickly fix a broken headlight lens. This can be done by applying a small quantity of car polish to the headlights in a very slow and smooth circular procedure. While executing this motion, make sure that you use plenty of polish on the affected parts. This will effectively smoothen out any corrugations on the headlights, and also enable the sealant to adhere firmly as well. You should also endeavour to protect the vicinity of the headlight lens around the affected place with something like masking tape too, as an added protection.

The success of fixing a damaged headlight lens will depend on the extent or severity of the damage. If it is only a small crack, it could be easily repaired so that water cannot find its way into it. On the contrary, if it is a big crack or even where the lens is broken, you just have to see that it is replaced altogether or you get a new headlight entirely. After all, your safety is worth much more than the cost of a mere headlight, right?

In addition, you can also apply super glue such as Loctite Epoxy to seal any cracks or tear in the headlight lens too. After the sealant might have dried up very well, you can also apply more sealant to smoothen out the affected portion. Thereafter, you can now apply a generous quantity of coating wax which will assist in protecting the place from further damage, however inadvertently. This will give your headlight a high buffer shine once again.

How do you patch up a broken headlight lens?

Patching up a broken headlight lens will depend on the severity of the damage. For small cracks, you can easily fix them in a DIY (do it yourself) procedure, but bigger cracks require the replacement of the headlight altogether if you must prevent moisture from getting access into it.

Therefore, to fix a broken headlight lens, you can:

  • use a sticky substance such as Loctite Epoxy glue to seal up the cracked portion. The moment this sticky sealant is properly dried, you should apply another coating of it once again so that the damaged portion will be adequately protected.
  • generally, however, the first thing to do is to evenly arrange the broken area of the headlight before you use a microfiber towel to remove any dirt or debris from the affected place.
  • next, apply the sealant generously, then, smoothen it out and allow it to dry up. Alternatively, you can also apply silicone to the cracked surface using a sealant gun.
  • thereafter, use a clean paper towel to eliminate any excess silicone left on the surface of the headlight. Allow the set-up to stay undisturbed overnight, but make sure that you cover the car, especially if there is the possibility of rain falling later in the night.
  • sometimes, you can use a clean shop rag, for instance, and apply a little quantity of tartar control paste rub on the cracked surface. If this chemical rubs off on the lens in the process, wipe it off immediately until you observe significant improvement.
  • you should, however, constantly keep polishing the lens throughout the procedure.

How do you prevent a headlight lens from getting broken again?

You can prevent your headlights from getting broken or messed up with the aid of a paint sealant, which works pretty fine on either glass or plastic too, as well as it does on acrylic. Simply apply it after you have washed up the car, which will effectively protect it from sunlight and its devastating effects.

This protective coating will create a film over the surface of the headlight, which will, in turn, deflect UV rays and also take on any abrasion damage that would otherwise get to your headlights and damage them. Over time, this sealant will peel off, and when that happens, you should promptly reapply it once again.



Vehicle headlights are very prone to premature damage. Luckily, however, especially when the damage is not so big, it can be easily fixed even at home. Advisedly, before you venture into this sort of repair work, you should learn as much as possible about it to forestall any possible mistakes in the process.

Conversely, where the damage to the headlight is big, especially when the light is no longer working, your best bet is to replace the headlight completely. Fortunately, even though you cannot prevent headlights totally from getting damaged or broken, but you can still protect them as much as possible through the application of a recommended protective coating of a sticky sealant, and when this sealant is no longer effective, reapply it just like you did the first time.


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.

Leave a Comment