More than ever vehicles are being produced with clear plastic headlights and oxidation causes headlights to turn yellow and dull. There are common misconceptions of why yellowing of headlights occurs to vehicles and even more misconceptions about ways to remedy the problem and restorative solutions in bringing back the “clarity” of a car’s headlights. Especially in low light (night) driving conditions where visibility is important. At Hail Pro we work only with effective restorative processes in the most cost effective manner, thus providing our clients with unparalleled value. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (http://www.nhtsa.gov) says that a large percentage of deaths in motor-vehicle accidents occur at night due to visibility issues. These dangers are even more the case for people who reside outside city limits where the ability to see well while we are driving at night can mean the difference between a costly run in with a deer and arriving home safely.
How can you fix oxidized headlights? What really is the best way?
Researching “headlight restoration” online can be overwhelming especially when most products promise to be the “BEST”. The fact of the matter is that most products, regardless of price, application, or quality, these products simply don’t last. Specifically, there are two common methods (or combinations thereof) employed to address oxidized headlights. Let’s examine some of them and why they are not very effective. After which, we will share with you Hail Pro’s way to repair oxidized headlights, a method that has proven to be the most durable and effective.
Buffing and Sanding
Go to any automotive store and you can purchase a bottle of rubbing compound that claims to clean oxidized headlights. On the positive side, many times they will help and are relatively cheap; one brand selling for around just $6. Some brands may also come with a buffing pad that you can attach to any drill. These can be purchased for around $25. However, with this method you should expect to buff your headlights with rubbing compound at least every couple of weeks to a month. (Buffing them using a drill may make them last a bit longer; but in time they too will oxidize again.) Although this method will remove the oxidized particles trapped within the plastic lens, it does not resurface or seal the coating that the factory sprayed onto the lens to help protect it. And it is this coating that is the real culprit of oxidized headlights. Over time it begins to disintegrate and, as a result, becomes porous. It then becomes like a sponge that sucks up all the road grime that later turns headlights yellow. For this reason, some kits involve another step before buffing with rubbing compound—sanding. If oxidized headlights are thoroughly sanded with various grits of sandpaper in order to remove the defective coating, and then machine buffed with rubbing compound, the results can be good. But again, this may only last a few months depending on various factors.
Sealing with a clear chemical
Some kits may involve cleaning the oxidized headlight lenses and then applying a clear sealer over the top. Often this sealer is applied by wiping on with a special applicator. This method often yields the best looking results. However, you should be aware of some pitfalls. Depending on the quality and type of sealer used, you could run into some problems down the road like the fact that plastic by nature is not a material that things easily stick to. Therefore adhesion issues can occur with these wipe on sealers as there is a possibility that the clear sealer itself can yellow just like the factory applied sealer.
Hail Pro Headlight Restoration Process
The best way to fix oxidized headlights is to have them refinished and sealed with an automotive-grade, chemically-hardened clear coat. Collision centers and auto body shops have been refinishing and clear coating plastics for a long time. At Hail Pro we first prepare the headlight plastic to ensure better adhesion; often spraying an adhesion promoting chemical to help. Our techs then they apply a few coats of the same clear coat that used to paint every other part of your vehicle. The finished product is far more durable than any wipe on chemical that is available to consumers by Hail Pro in San Antonio, TX. When one compares that cost to replacing ONE headlight and the cost of just $40.00 per light ($80.00 for both) It’s like getting two new headlights for less than the price to replace just one.