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Headlight Restoration: Bringing The ‘Light’ Back To Headlights

By Mark Phillips

In addition to damaging effects from the sun, chemicals and environmental pollutants also put a squeeze on the clarity of lenses.
Mark Phillips
Ever wonder why clear, pristine-looking plastic headlight lenses start looking yellow as the miles go by?
Lenses take a real beating during the daytime. In addition to damaging effects from the sun, chemicals and
environmental pollutants also put a squeeze on the clarity of lenses. The effects can really impact nighttime driving. Light coming from the headlight can be restricted or scattered, which makes it difficult for a motorist to see down the road.

The ability of a driver to see at night can be severely affected by lenses that become hazy and cloudy. It’s not only an aesthetic issue but a safety one as well. Research shows that the effectiveness of headlights is curtailed by the yellowing and cloudiness of lenses.

Yellow or hazy lenses can decrease output of light in what’s considered the “driving zone” of the light coming from the headlight.

Fortunately, headlight restoration products are a quick, easy and cost-effective solution to the problem and cost far less than replacing the entire headlight assembly. The average cost to restore the potentially dangerous problem of yellow or hazy lenses is about $25.

More effective headlight restoration kits include compounds that not only clean the lens but assist in preventing future UV damage.

Headlight restoration kits are a great add-on sale item for not only DIYers, but technicians as well.
The restoration process generally is as follows (when doing the procedure, always adhere to the exact directions included in the restoration kit.):

1) Clean the lens to remove dirt and debris.

2) Apply tape to all painted surfaces and/or vehicle body parts to avoid sanding damage.

3) A surface activator is used to prepare the surface and remove the yellow or hazy staining on the lens. It also softens the original UV clear coat of the lens.

4) Typically, kits include several different grades of sandpaper. These are used for several purposes, including sanding the haze and oxidation off the lens. The sandpaper should be made from waterproof material to accommodate wet sanding.

5) A clarifying compound is applied to polish the new surface and get it ready for the UV clear coat.

6) All moisture is removed from the lens. A clear coat solution is massaged into the lens to restore it and protect it from UV damage.

7) The clear coat solution is allowed to cure for a prescribed period of time.

8) The same restoration process is performed on the other headlight.

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