Have your headlights gotten cloudy, or maybe even yellowed? Have you noticed you can’t see as well at night? Modern cars use plastic headlight assemblies that are susceptible to damage from the road and the sun over time.
Luckily, a body shop, or a paintless dent removal professional can restore clarity to your headlights, making them shine as brightly as they did when the car was new. Here’s what you need to know about headlight restoration.
Why is Headlight Restoration Necessary?
When car manufacturers switched to plastic headlight assemblies instead of the old glass sealed beams, they made changing your headlights much easier and less wasteful. Halogen bulbs are also much brighter than the old sealed beam headlights, making them a safer choice.
Unfortunately, road debris and sun cause the plastic assemblies to gradually become foggy or yellowed, which makes the headlights appear dimmer at night. To delay this process, automobile manufacturers put a UV clear coat on the plastic headlight assemblies, but it wears off over time. Once the headlights get foggy or yellowed, the damaged outer layer of the plastic will need to be resurfaced and a fresh UV clear coat applied to protect the newly restored headlights.
How Your Headlights are Restored
Headlight restoration is generally not a difficult process. Your paintless dent repair specialist should be the first place you call, as they are familiar with the process, and have the most experience with the tools and methods used to restore headlights to their former gleam.
After masking the area around your headlights and any trim in order to protect it, the specialist will sand away the very top layer of plastic on your headlight assembly. Once the yellowed plastic has been removed, they will polish the new exterior layer until it is clear. Finally, they will apply a sealant over the newly resurfaced plastic, protecting it from the sun and road debris.
Over time, the sealant will wear away, as your headlights are exposed to road debris, wind, and washing. You can help make the sealant last as long as possible by waxing your headlights when you wax the rest of your car. As the sealant wears away, the plastic will be vulnerable to the elements again, and will gradually become foggy and yellowed once again. At that point the headlights will simply need to be resurfaced again.
Should You Restore Your Headlights Yourself?
Although there are many do-it-yourself kits on the market for restoring your headlights yourself, they vary in quality and the amount of knowledge and experience required. Cheaper headlight restoration kits are fairly easy to use, but may not achieve the same clarity or last as long. A DIY headlight restoration done with a lesser-quality kit may only last a year before you notice the discoloration impacting your headlights’ effectiveness again.
Better quality kits require tools such as rotary buffers or a drill and therefore more expertise, as you can cause damage that will cost even more to repair, or even have to replace your headlight assemblies altogether.
Don’t risk your safety or that of your family or others on the road by driving with foggy, yellowed headlights that make it hard to see at night. Make sure you can see as well as possible, and have your headlights resurfaced as soon as you notice clouding or yellowing starting to affect the brightness of your headlights. Luckily, headlight restoration usually only requires your car to spend a few hours at your favorite dent repair shop, and then you’ll be on your way again — and able to see better than ever.
ColorMate offers headlight restoration, rim repair, bumper repair and more in Miami-Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach County regions. If you need our assistance, we shall gladly step on the way to help. Schedule an appointment today with a certified headlight restoration specialist.