On some vehicles, fog may temporarily form inside the lenses of the headlamps in wet conditions, such as rain or if the vehicle has recently been taken through a car wash. This condition may occur when there is a temperature difference between the inside and the outside of the lens, which causes it to fog. However, if you see this condition, it is not a malfunction. If large drops of water collect inside the lens or if there is an accumulation of water in the bottom of the lamp that is approximately 0.4 inches (10 mm) or more in depth, replacement of the assembly may be required.

Headlamp Fog.jpg

Headlamp with water and condensation buildup

Occasionally customers may notice that there is water vapor or fog that has formed in their headlamps. This is generally NOT due to a defect. The following information is intended to help you in determining if an incident of water/condensation in the headlamps is a normal, temporary condition or not.

All current headlamp assemblies are vented to the atmosphere (not sealed). This design is necessary to allow for expansion and contraction of air due to temperature variations (warmer or colder) without damage to the lamp. Moisture in the air sometimes travels into and out of the headlamp assembly through these vents. If this occurs, certain environmental conditions may cause the moisture in the headlamp assembly to condense. Fog may temporarily form inside the lenses of the headlamp assemblies based on environmental conditions or sudden temperature changes (such as those caused by a car wash or a vehicle parked on a cold, sunny day). The fogging/cloudiness should disappear over time when the lamp is in a dry environment.

Note: Foggy or cloudy condensation can appear anywhere on the inside of the outer lens, typically at its coldest location.

If you find that the moisture trickles, drips, or pools in the headlamp assembly, it may not be considered a normal, temporary condition and the lamp assembly may have a water leak path. If the customer describes large drops of water collecting inside the lens or you are able to verify this condition, refer to the service procedures in this article to determine your next step.

Headlamp Fog.jpg


If a customer reports that water forms in a headlamp assembly, use the following information to determine if the condition is normal condensation or requires lamp assembly replacement.

1. Check for a visibly cracked lens or broken seal (physical damage). If physical damage is found, replace the assembly.

Note: Physical damage is not covered under warranty.

2. Within an assembly that has condensation, is there a filament-type headlamp (non-LED)?

Note: With a filament-type headlamp (Low beam and/or High beam), its normal heat output can be used to dissipate normal condensation.

Some headlamp assemblies are LED-only (both high and low beams are LED, such as on the Platinum level 2015 Murano®, the 2015 Q70L, or as an available option on the 2015 Rogue SL with Premium package). LED-only headlamp assemblies are subject to the same normal condensation as other headlamp assemblies, but the LED lamps, when turned ON, will not generate enough heat to dissipate normal condensation. Condensation in headlamps will dissipate as the vehicle’s ambient environment changes, such as being inside a garage, or as the weather changes.

If you find condensation in the headlamp assembly, pull the vehicle into the service bay, and turn on the filament-type headlamps. Monitor the condensation in the lamps for 10 to 20 minutes. Is the condensation area on the lens clearing?

If it does not clear, you should replace only the lamp housing. Keep in mind you can reuse any bulbs, sockets, harnesses, ballasts, etc., as available. Refer to the Electronic Service Manual (ESM) for lamp housing replacement. Refer to the Warranty FRT Manual for claims coding. Warranty part return of the assembly may be requested.

If the headlamp assembly condensation condition clears up and dries out, DO NOT replace the headlamp assembly. Discuss the following conditions with your customer:

• That all lamps allow some moisture (water vapor) inside through vents, which prevent physical damage due to pressure buildup when lamps are turned on.

• That certain weather conditions will cause water vapor to become visible on the lens, like when the lens of the headlamp is cooler than the air outside the assembly.

• That most condensation will clear on its own as the outside temperature rises. When the environmental conditions change, the moisture will evaporate.

• Driving with the lights on will warm the headlamps and decrease the time required to clear fog or condensation buildup inside a headlamp.

3. If you find an accumulation of water pooled in the bottom of the headlamp which is 0.4 inches (10 mm) or more in depth when you are inspecting the headlamp, then headlamp assembly replacement is required. First, refer to the ESM for headlamp assembly replacement information. If the vehicle is under warranty, then refer to the Warranty FRT Manual for claims coding. In addition, keep in mind that warranty part return of the headlamp assembly may be requested.

Headlamp Fog.jpg
Headlamp Fog.jpg

Headlamp condensation and fogging