What causes condensation inside Ford F-150 headlights?

Fogged Ford F-150 headlights are caused by moisture, which is reflected in the form of water droplets on the headlights or on the lenses of the headlights. What are the causes and what helps against so-called “fogging”.

Ford F-150 14th generation

Why is there condensation in the headlamps?

Headlamps have vents to accommodate normal changes in air pressure. Condensation can be a natural by-product of this design. When moist air enters the lamp assembly through the vents, there is a possibility that condensation can occur when the temperature is cold. When normal condensation occurs, a fine mist can form on the interior of the lens. The fine mist eventually clears and exits through the vents during normal operation.

How much condensation is acceptable?

The presence of a fine mist, for example no streaks, drip marks or large droplets. A fine mist covers less than 50% of the lens.

How long may it take for the acceptable condensation to be cleared?

Clearing time may take as long as 48 hours under dry weather conditions.

How much condensation is unacceptable?

A water puddle inside the lamp. Streaks, drip marks or large droplets present on the interior of the lens.

What should I do if unacceptable condensation is present?

If there is little moisture in headlight then it should clear by itself when in operation or when weather gets drier. If so much water has penetrated that it no longer evaporates by itself, the best thing to do is to go to a workshop, as the lighting systems are often so inaccessible that you can hardly do anything yourself. The headlights are then exposed and dried, and so-called “silicon pads” are used for drying. These pads, known from packaging for electronic devices, absorb the remaining liquid.

Dry it out yourself

A high humidity or temperature fluctuations within a short period of time can ensure that the moisture can not be sufficiently removed via the ventilation channels resulting in fogged headlights. Here it is usually enough to turn on the headlights. This will help reduce the moisture again. If you don’t want to wait for it and like to tinker with your own vehicle, you can also use a hair dryer or heat gun for faster drying.

Caution: keep a safe distance, as it can melt the headlight plastic.

Damaged seals

At the latest when the fogged headlights become permanent, you should check whether the rubber seals on the lighting system are still in good enough condition and are correctly seated. The seals become porous after a certain period of time due to moisture, which makes it easy for moisture to penetrate into the interior. But even when replacing the lamp there is a risk that the seals will be damaged or are no longer 100% correctly attached.

Incorrect use of the pressure washer when washing the car

Another common cause of water in F-150 headlights is improper use of the pressure washer when washing the car. To avoid water penetrating directly or damaging seals, it is important not to fall below the recommended distance between the cleaning nozzle and the headlight housing. A distance of 30 cm or 1 foot should be the minimum. The ventilation openings should be completely spared from the hard water jet anyway.

Contact the author: gabrielfleming@wheelsjoint.com

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