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MG MGF Technical - Milky headlights

I know this has appeared many times before and I have searched the archives, but I can't see a solution.

My dipped headlights, have deteriorated to the point where they are now dangerous - a couple of bicycle lamps taped to the wings, would be more effective! The lights were brilliant (pun intended) when I first had the car.

I've followed suggestions that moisture might be to blame, but this doesn't seem to be the case - I've removed the bulb holder assembly and tried to clean the lenses from the inside, but whatever the milky coating is it won't shift through rubbing.

I've changed the bulbs to xenon, which is some improvement, but obviously not the answer.

It's got to the stage, where I am tempted to replace the headlight assemblies - how expensive are they?
Why should both lenses go milky to the same degree (similar age cars seem to be the same) - they weren't like this when they were new were they?
Would some sort of solvent clean off this coating?
Someone must have overcome this problem - help!

Andy R272NDG

I thought it was intentional - was I wrong??

My 96 MGF lights are also like this, i thought
it was intentional also??
Nick Walters

I think that replacement is ultimately the only (expensive) option, Andy. I don't think that the 'milkiness' is a film, rather it is degradation of the lens itself, but it may respond to cleaning.

My 6 year old car has the same problem- I was wondering quite what to do about it. Perhaps some ethanol wipes might do the job?

BTW this isn't a problem peculiar to MGFs- it seems that all the Mk1 Ford Mondeos I see have the same problem- only worse (probably reflecting higher mileage/useage)
Rob Bell

Has anyone tried greygate as its great on the rear
screen :0)
Nick Walters

Thank guys, until I read this post yesterday I thought the slightly opaque lens was intentional to act as a diffuser. Is the lens glass or plastic? Is the whiteness inside, outside or through the material? My car passed its MOT last August at a well reputed dealer and they did not question the lenses.

When I dismantled the lights on my 98F to paint them I gave the dipped lenses a very good clean with glass polish on both sides(yes they are glass)but although there is a marginal improvement it is not up to the new condition. It does appear to be a deteriation of the glass, if that is possible. I was wondering if it possible to replace the dipped lenses only.

Rob - I agree about MK1 Mondeos they go yellow, let's hope that Fs will not be that bad.

Neil Stothert

Hmm, I'm thinking that an autobreaker might be the best bet- alterall the whole head lamp assmply does not need replacing does it?

Neil, I have an uncomfortable thought that 'Mundeo-yellow' headlamp syndrome is going to beset the F :o(
Rob Bell

Thanks for the comments, so far.
I haven't found a new F,with which to compare the state of my lenses.

I recall seeing threads about painting the reflectors. Are the lamps easy to get apart? Any instrucions anywhere? I'm prepared to try cleaning/buffing them, if it will improve things.


It's reasonably simple to disassemble the head lamps Andy (so I'm told!)- instructions can be found on Andy "Scarlet Fever" Phillips' site

These are instructions on how to paint the outer reflector, but obviously includes info on how to disassemble the cluster.
Rob Bell

You could always use this opportunity to go to the Darkside a bit, and fit a pair of Trophy style new headlamps from Brown and Gammons ( They'll coast just over 200.00 for the pair, but look cool!!


Does any body think that this problem might be due to moisture in the lights. I had this problem however my Dealer gave me a Rover Technical Bulletin No 0009 Headlights Misting Internally, advising if the moisture dissappears within 1 hour of dipped beam it is not a cause of concern. I thought however it was likely to cause future problems.

Paul Robertson

I'd have imagined that the point at the rear of the light assembly where you insert the bulbs would not be airtight, which should mean there is no moisture build-up.

Both the reflectors and the glass will deteriorate over time though. My '96 had new lamp units last year, so I'm not experiencing the problem.

New panels after the accident, new lights, new ra and underbody coolant pipes - I'm beginning to wonder of it was actually WORTH having that accident :-)

Ed Clarke

Ed - Good idea. This would also solve the stone chips on the front of the car. How did you decide what you were going to hit? I presume you drove into something or did the something reverse rapidly into you?

Neil Stothert

Is this going to lead to a mass spate of MGFfrontal accidents?

PS I am not going to volunteer the rear of my MGF again! ;o))
Rob Bell

Whilst trawling the net I came across the page on headlights, I was wondering if th UV coating on these bulbs would prevent the milky headlight syndorme ?

It may be worth trying some Diamond polish - very cheap available from "Engis in Gillingham, Kent. - Used to polish glass and contact lenses etc

Unless the glass is laminated ???

Another possibility is that its a salt-like deposit: try a mild (kettle) descaler. Works quite well on many sorts of glass discolouring...


Worth a go Mike, Neil! Just need some time now to dissemble the head lamps...
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed between 08/01/2002 and 18/01/2002

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