You know how exposing your skin to sunlight can cause sunburn and other unhealthy things. Sunlight can also create major problems for your headlights. After they’ve been exposed to ultraviolet light, acrylic headlights can yellow and fog due to oxidation. And when that happens, less light can pass through the plastic, reducing the effectiveness—and safety—of your headlights.
It’s not just the UV light that causes headlights to turn cloudy. Road grime and debris gets kicked up and can scratch the plastic, diffusing the light that should pass through them when they’re clear. Plus, when your vehicle was new from the factory, the headlights had watertight seals all around to prevent moisture from getting into them and fogging them up with water vapor. Just like clouds can hide the sun, tiny water molecules can diffuse the light from your headlight bulbs.
Sure, you could buy replacement parts and start fresh. But the good news is many vehicle repair facilities can restore your original headlights to perform like they did when you first bought your vehicle. Here’s how it works:
- A technician will protect your vehicle’s paint by either taking the headlights out or by taping off the paint near the headlights and leaving them in place.
- Residue is removed from the headlight surfaces by wet sanding to remove the oxidized plastic.
- Using special compounds, the technician will buff and polish the surface of the lens so it looks as smooth as glass.
- The newly-polished plastic is then sealed with wax or a special sealant designed to keep them operating like new.
- If the seals that keep the moisture out of the inside of your headlights have dried out or cracked, they will be restored or replaced to keep condensation from forming again.
Visibility at night is vital for safe driving, and if your headlights aren’t performing up to their potential, the less you’ll be able to see ahead of you.
There are many advantages of having your headlights restored rather than buying new or aftermarket replacements. It’s friendlier to the planet since plastics are made of oil, so it’s reducing the amount of plastic that is manufactured. And it’s usually less expensive to have your headlights restored rather than replaced.
Consider headlight restoration a way to literally recycle those parts of your vehicle. That seems to be perfectly clear!