Explaining Moisture or Condensation in Headlights

Posted by Rachel Higgins on

Say you recently purchased new lighting, and now you notice fogging or moisture in the headlight or fog light. Customers expect superior performance from ORACLE Lighting -- so when they see condensation inside their light, it is understandable to be alarmed initially. However, surface condensation on the lenses is considered normal for any light from any brand. 

The Difference Between Condensation and Water Ingress

Condensation in headlights does not mean that there is a defect and will not impact the functionality or life of the light. In some cases, the moisture goes beyond just condensation. In the case of water ingress, a significant amount of water can enter the light and pool inside -- which could damage the light. It is important to determine whether you are experiencing condensation or water ingress to decide if you should take any action. This blog will explain the difference between these two conditions to help you better understand them. 

 

Condensation

Condensation is the physical change of water from a gas to a liquid (more easily understood as the opposite of evaporation). It may look like misting, fogging, or small droplets of moisture inside the light. 

This is a normal process. Condensation does not affect the light's normal operation and is not a defect or issue in need of repair or replacement. We cover the cause and possible solutions more below for your convenience.

Misting, fogging, or small droplets of moisture

Will evaporate on its own

Does not cause damage

Is not a defect

Water Ingress

Water ingress means that water leaked into the light -- possibly indicating damage to the light housing. It may look like large droplets of moisture and pooling water inside the light.

This is abnormal and may be caused by a crack in the housing or a dysfunctional seal, although sources may vary. ORACLE Lighting does offer a limited warranty program(Warranty does not cover improper installation or user misuse.)

Large droplets of moisture and pooling or standing water

Will not evaporate

Could cause damage

• May be either damaged or a defect


What Causes Condensation in Headlights?

Most headlights generate heat while in operation, and they need ventilation to allow for a more optimal operating temperature. These headlights feature slight vents to perform this function, and these can pull small amounts of moisture into the light. 


Materials inside the lamp may absorb that moisture, and when the light is turned on, the humid air inside condensates. The exterior of the lens is cooler than the interior so the moisture adheres to the inside of the lens. This causes the condensation in your headlights. 


This is due to thermal convection, the theory that warm air moves upwards while cool air moves downwards. When the two meet, condensation can occur. This occurrence also happens in your daily life. For example, the cold drink inside a soda can forms a layer of condensation on a hot summer day due to the drastic temperature difference.


Will Condensation Damage the Lights?

There is no evidence that condensation in a vehicle's light will impact the functionality, performance, or service life. Furthermore, all reflectors are treated with insulator spray. This spray prevents rusting or deteriorating of the lamp materials from moisture. No need to worry about condensation negatively affecting your lighting!


How To Fix Condensation In Headlights

Most cases of condensation in headlights do not require any action to resolve. The condensation will dissipate naturally when the temperatures are more balanced. This can take up to 2-3 weeks, depending on your local weather conditions. However, we will provide a few easy ways to speed up the process!

Keep the lights away from cold water until the condensation dissipates. This includes washing/rain/etc. Avoid washing at least 24hrs after condensation dissipates.

Remove any bulbs and dust caps. Park the vehicle with both headlights facing direct sunlight to help warm the lens.

Apply a small amount of heat to the lens with a hairdryer or heat gun. Use a moderate amount and keep heating elements away from the lens.

    Each of these methods may regulate the temperature and accelerate the dissipation. You may use these suggestions at your discretion! As mentioned previously: if you see signs of water ingress with your ORACLE Lighting products, please contact our team for assistance.


    Get Superior LEDs with ORACLE Lighting

    Follow our guide above to determine the condition of your lights. We hope this helps your understanding of condensation in headlights. If you have further questions, please contact us today at 1-800-407-5776 to talk to one of our auto lighting experts.


    Check out all lighting upgrades by ORACLE Lighting, and style your ride for a head-turning look. We offer several different kinds of lighting options so that you can find something that fits your needs. Find the best lighting products on the market with ORACLE Lighting today!


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