Headlight Restoration 101
Bringing your headlights back to showroom condition looks great and has obvious safety benefits.
Headlight degradation is one of those things that sneaks up on you. The day-to-day reduction in headlight power is so small that most people don’t notice it until they find themselves on an unlit road at night wondering why they can’t see 20ft in front of them, or they are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle and realize that their headlights are underperforming.
When people are finding their headlights to be underperforming, the natural assumption is that the bulbs themselves are becoming dimmer. While this is sometimes the case, more often than not it’s actually the casings that are becoming damaged and opaque which are causing the lack of visibility.
Here are the main reasons why your headlights are becoming cloudy and opaque:
Oxidation: Headlight casings oxidize and become cloudy when exposed to UV light. When they are new, headlights are coated with a UV-protective clear coat which prevents oxidation. Over time, this coating wears off and your headlights will become cloudy.
Road Debris: Low to the ground and at the front of your vehicle, headlights are perfectly positioned to be fully vulnerable to errant road debris. Hundreds or thousands of kilometres worth of abuse eats at the clear coat (allowing oxidation) and cause scratches and scuffs that limit the ability for light to project.
Dirt and Grime: Just like any other part of your car, your headlights get dirty. The problem is that once your headlights get pitted and scuffed from road debris, they are extremely hard to clean. Some dirt just won’t come off, which is another factor leading to bad visibility.
Condensation: Although headlights are made with a watertight seal, small amounts of water or water vapour will eventually find its way in. Once the air inside the headlight is humid, it’s just a matter of time before water droplets start to condense on the inside. Water droplets will scatter the light beam, significantly impacting visibility.
There are a few popular DIY fixes for headlights, most of which are variations on the same idea. Any methods that use chemicals like bug spray should be avoided. These methods are essentially melting the plastic to reform it into a smoother surface. The results don’t last long and can cause significant damage.
Restoration methods that involve some form of polishing are the way to go for a quick fix. Here are a couple DIY options that are worth trying:
Baking soda formula: Create a paste by mixing 5 tablespoons of baking soda with a small amount of water. Use the paste to polish the headlights with a circular motion.
Toothpaste: Toothpaste is actually a mild abrasive, making it perfect for polishing headlights. Scrub s dab of toothpaste onto the lenses with a dry cloth and rinse to reveal restored headlights.
DIY fixes can reveal surprisingly good results, but the big problem is that the results will fade quickly. DIY fixes polish the lenses, but don’t protect them from oxidizing again. Professional solutions make your headlights look brand new, and the results will last years. Check out the details our professional headlight restoration service right here.
Here’s what makes a professional job worth it:
Sanding: We employ a 3-stage sanding procedure that removes any oxidized surface until the lens is completely clean and clear.
Polishing: After the sanding removes the major damage, we roll up our sleeves and polish until the headlights sparkle. Your headlights will look and perform as if they are brand new.
Clear Coat: After the headlights look perfect, we seal the deal with 2 layers of clear coat. The clear coat gives an extra layer of sparkle, as well as protecting against UV and chemical damage.
Where Safety Meets Aesthetics
Restoring headlights is one of the best bang-for-your-buck maintenance tasks out there. The way that new headlights will transform the look of your car will leave you speechless, and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do it months ago. The best part is when you turn on your lights as the sun sets and see the road illuminated in front of you in a way that you may have forgotten.
Getting started is easy – just reach out to us so you can ask any questions you may have, or to schedule an appointment.