Why Are There No More Glass Headlights?

Glass-based vehicle headlamps are one of the coolest automotive technologies on the market. But they are not as common as you might think. If you had to rely on your car’s headlights for illumination, you’d be in trouble. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options. One of these is glass headlamps that are attached to the front bumper of your car with adhesive, or even by drilling a hole through the bumper and bolting the lights in place. They’re easy to install, but there are caveats that you should be aware of.

Are there still glass headlights?

No, glass is no longer used to make headlights.

Why are there no glass headlights available?

There are many reasons why glass is no longer used to make headlights. Some of them are:

  1. Cost: The headlights of most modern cars are very complex and unique, so using glass to mould such custom headlights will cost far more than plastic. In Summary, Plastic is cheaper, the material is more available, and the manufacturing process is also more affordable; this makes the plastic more preferred to glass for making headlights.
  2. Material Property: Glass is hard, making it prone to breaking, unlike plastic, which is often more impact-proof. In the case of an accident, the implication is that the plastic headlight has a higher chance of surviving than one made from glass.

When did they stop making glass headlights?

Automakers stopped using glass for headlights in the early 1990s. The glass was replaced with plastic. The change from glass to headlight came with its own challenges. While plastic was cheaper than glass and offered more flexibility in mould design, plastics also have their downside: oxidation. The oxidation of plastic, when exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun, causes the plastic headlight to appear yellow, foggy and cloudy after some time.

Are glass headlights illegal?

No, they are not illegal. Although glass headlights are scarce owing to their cost and high manufacturing cost, glass headlights are not outlawed, especially in Europe and most parts of the world.

In the United States, however, the Department of Transport (DOTT) mandates that all headlights be made using plastic. You may find some cars with plastic headlights in the United States shipping with glass headlights in Europe and other parts of the world.

What cars have glass headlights?

It is difficult to find cars that have glass headlights. Most modern car manufacturers use plastic for the headlights.

Can I still get glass headlights now?

No, most modern cars use plastic headlights. The reason is that car headlights come with complex designs making it uneconomical to manufacture them with glass.

The only exception to these is classic cars. These classic cars are simpler in design than the modern cars we have now, and you may be able to find their glass lights, especially in Europe. However, in the United States, almost all cars come with plastic headlights.

Does anyone make glass headlights?

No, there are no companies making glass headlights anymore. If you need to change your car’s glass headlight, the best alternative is to upgrade to a plastic headlight. The good thing about these plastic headlights is that they cost less than glass headlights.

What do glass headlights cost?

The cost of a glass headlight varies between $30 to $80

How can I tell my headlights are glass or plastic?

There are few ways you can differentiate between a glass and a plastic headlight. First, tap the headlight with your finger. If it is plastic, it will produce a pop sound, and for a glass, it will give a tunnel sound or no sound at all. Again, plastic conducts heat faster than glass. If you expose a plastic and a glass headlight to the same amount of heat, the plastic headlight will be hotter.

Can I polish my glass headlights?

Yes, glass polish can be polished. The process is quite simple, and you can do this yourself following the steps enumerated below:

Step 1: Wash the headlight thoroughly to remove dirt and dry using dry and clean linen.

Step 2: Apply polishing material to a flannel cloth and use the cloth to rub around the surface of the headlight. Continue this process for about 10 minutes until the haze begins to lift.

Step 3: Soak 1000-grit sandpaper in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes. Sand the glass headlight gently.

Step 4: Rub the polishing material on the surface of the headlight again with a soft flannel cloth.

Step 5: Wash the headlights using car wash soap and a sponge. Dry with a clean and dry cloth and apply wax to protect the headlight from dirt

How do you clean old glass headlights?

Over time, glass headlights get dirty due to debris and dirt and so become dull and dirty. Cleaning your headlights is essential to ensure safety and to enable you to see very well when driving. With this simple technique enumerated below, you can always clean your headlight yourself and give it that sparkling look you desire.

Materials Required: Water, rag, toothpaste (or sand dust), glass headlight wax, Baking soda, Vinegar, sponge, sandpaper, and soft flannel cloth.

Step 1: Cover the area around the headlight with masking tape.

Step 2: Pour plenty of water on the headlight. The water will make it easy for you to scrub the headlight with toothpaste.

Step 3: Mix some toothpaste and baking powder in a bowl to form a mixture.

(N.B: Be careful not to allow the mixture to touch the car body as scrubbing the car body can leave some scratch on the car body)

Step 10: Place some wax on a clean rag, allow it to soak for some seconds. Spread the wax over the surface of the headlight. The purpose of the headlight wax is to protect the surface from dirt.

glass headlights learning the auto industry


 I hope you have learned one or two things about glass headlights, especially as it concerns why they are no longer common in cars today. Feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, and question on the subject discussed via the comment box.


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3 thoughts on “Why Are There No More Glass Headlights?”

  1. Not sure why you would say you can’t buy glass headlights. I have a 2001 4runner that came with glass headlights, I’m buying a new set and while their are plastic options available, you can still buy glass. They are made by a company called TYC

  2. Hi Guys
    I do think glass headlights are much better as they don’t need to be replaced like the plastic ones it all comes down to cost and how car manufacturers like to make more and bigger profits, where is the evidence to put plastic lights on cars makes cars Cheever for u and I to buy them.
    The glass headlights woul make less carbon footprint is that not saving the earth is about. Sorry to tell u guys it’s just about making more money for the big corporate companies.

  3. It is not cost efficient to have plastic as they yellow after 2 years in my state. Nope, not cost efficient


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