Should You Restore or Replace Worn Headlights?
Have you noticed that you're not able to see as well at night or in the rain as you were in the past? This could be because your headlights are getting a little hazy. While normal after a few years of use, hazy headlights can be a dangerous situation that hides hazards beyond your limited range of sight. If you're considering immediately replacing your headlights, read through these tips first to see if the problem can be resolved with a visit to your trusted auto repair shop for restoration instead.
Restore or Replace?
Headlights become foggy due to environmental factors such as damaging UV rays, nicks and scratches from the road and water vapor that seeps inside the light housing. This is often caused by damage to the external acrylic sealant that is added to headlights at the factory. A full restoration not only cleans the headlights — which you can do at home — but also removes scratches, seals up any cracks in the housing and finally adds an acrylic layer to prevent re-hazing of your lights. While home cleaners such as toothpaste or DIY headlight cleaning or restoration kits can provide you with short-term benefits, they usually don't last longer than a month or so. However, professional restoration will give you clear vision in tough conditions for over a year.
Restoring your headlights to a bright, clean light can be done at home, but it does require a bit of time, patience and a careful hand with sandpaper to avoid causing deep scratches and more fogginess. Start by hand-washing your headlights to remove all of the surface dirt and grime. Once you've removed all the bugs and gunk, you'll need sandpaper in a variety of different grits. Wet sand the headlights, starting with the lowest grit and going to the highest. This will still leave a few fine scratches from the sandpaper, which you can easily buff out with a polishing compound. Next, give your headlights a final touch with a soft buffing pad to remove all traces of sandpaper and grit. Finally, you're ready to gently clean the headlights again and then apply a layer of sealant to protect them in the future.
While all DIY kits follow essentially the same steps above, they may vary slightly. Here's some that we trust with our headlights:
- Meguiar's G3000 Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit
- SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit
- Mothers 07251 NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit
- 3M 39008 Headlight Lens Restoration System
- Turtle Wax T-240KT Headlight Lens Restorer Kit
Do you still have questions about whether to restore or replace the headlights on your vehicle? Come see the experts at Auto Tek for an honest assessment of your needs. Together, our technicians have over 100 years of experience in keeping our customers safe on the road. Make an appointment today by calling us at 512-326-3881. Don't forget to check out all of our 5-star reviews on Yelp!