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AVOID THE FINES: How to maintain your vehicle headlights properly

Motorists are being urged to ensure headlights are working properly before driving or be hit with a fine.

Experts at have warned drivers they need to carry out proper checks to avoid travelling with defective or broken lights.

According to rule 97 of the Highway Code, vehicles must be maintained and roadworthy including all lights to be clean and functional - this includes sidelights, rear sidelights, indicators, hazard warning lights, and headlights.

If found driving with a faulty headlight, motorists can be slapped with a fixed penalty notice fine of £60 with three penalty points on their licence.

In extreme cases a vehicle could be deemed unsafe and removed from the roads.

The police can also stop drivers and issue a vehicle defect rectification notice, giving two weeks to repair the broken lights. 

To ensure lights are fully functioning, drivers should carry out essential maintenance checks such as replacing bulbs regularly and polishing lights.

Drivers should also know what the dashboard warning symbol for damaged headlights is, and take the vehicle to professionals to get any issues checked over.

Another maintenance tip is to avoid using harsh chemicals when cleaning the lights to prevent causing damage to the plastic lens.

Tim Alcock from said: “It’s crucial to ensure all the lights on your car are working properly else risk compromising the safety of yourself and other road users due to vision impairment.

“Even having your lights too dim can be classed as unsafe, risking being stopped by the police and issued with a penalty or fine.

“We are urging all drivers to carry out essential maintenance checks on their headlights to adhere to the standard of the law.

“Drivers should regularly check for any scratches to the lights and replace bulbs regularly to ensure they’re bright enough to drive safely.

“The warning symbol for a fault is typically a headlight with an exclamation mark. If this appears on your dashboard it’s important to take your vehicle to a professional to get any issues checked over.”

Here are five tips from for headlight maintenance:

Replace bulbs regularly

Drivers should check the lifespan of their headlights, which is typically between 500 - 30,000 hours depending on the bulb type. Changing the light is a quick job either at home or in a garage.


Using fine-grit sandpaper or a restoration kit followed by a polishing compound will remove oxidation to restore to give a clear light projection and visibility.

Check for damages

Check for any cracks or scratches to the lights to ensure everything is working well. If the damages are significant it’s important to get them checked by professionals.

Avoid harsh chemicals

Using harsh chemicals can damage the plastic lens and reduce the light dispersion so try and stick with a mild cleaning product and soft materials when cleaning.

Dashboard warning light

The warning sign on the dashboard for damaged lights usually looks like a headlight with an exclamation mark. If this appears it’s important to take the vehicle to the mechanic to get any issues checked over.


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