The headlamps on my new car are already scratched - what should I do?

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Car Clinic: What should I do about the scratches on my new car's headlamps

Q. The inside of the headlamps of my two-month-old Nissan Qashqai appear to be covered in scratches. How could this be the case on a brand new car and what should I do?
AM, Murthly, Perth and Kinross

A. The first thing you need to do is make absolutely sure the scratches are on the inside. Run your fingertips over the headlamps; they should feel completely smooth, but if they don’t, the scratches might be on the outside. Although the plastic used in modern headlights is very tough, it can be damaged by harsh cleaning methods: a scourer used to remove insects, for example.

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However, if the damage is on the inside, you should return the Qashqai to the dealer and ask it to rectify the problem. If it offers to simply remove, polish and replace the lenses, stand your ground because this is a wholly inadequate solution: the car is new and so should not have refurbished parts on it.

Do not settle for anything less than two brand new headlamp units.

Sunday Times Driving Car Clinic: Dave Pollard, car accessory advice

Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory – read more from Dave here.

Email your question to or write to Car Clinic, Driving, The Sunday Times, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF, with a daytime phone number,
your address and as much detail about your car as possible. We can’t reply in person, so don’t send original documents or SAEs. Advice is given without legal responsibility.