By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Any responsible car owner looks for signs of wear and tear. But have you ever checked for cloudiness in your headlights?

Dan Burns, owner of Lloyd’s Automotive in St. Paul, has been in the car business for four decades. He says clouded or yellowed headlights are caused from sun and heat. They cause damage to the light’s plastic coating, which causes discoloration over time.

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“They’re a thing that happens in probably all cars as they age,” Burns said. “I think many customers don’t realize that their headlights diminish.”

(credit: CBS)

AAA found that deteriorated headlights, when tested on low beam, were up to almost 80-percent less effective than new ones. Still, Burns says often times his customers will decline getting them fixed, not realizing the safety risk.

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“We don’t notice it so much in town, you know, when you’re driving when there’s lots of streets lights and things like that,” he said. “But if you get out in the country, your headlights are terrible.”

What do you do if you have cloudy headlights? You could either have it professionally cleaned for about $150, or you could have them replaced. There are several supposed home DIY methods, including using toothpaste to clean them, but Burns says that won’t last. He recommends letting a professional do the job.

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AAA says restoring headlights can return their light back to about 70 percent. The only way to restore it to 100 percent is by replacing them.

Kate Raddatz