Ditch Those Faded, Yellowed, Scratched and Pitted Headlights for Good
Today, I want to talk about an effective way to actually clean up plastic headlights that are seriously fogged. I’m not talking about a headlight that’s a little discolored at the top and has a few sand chips in it. I’m talking about a headlight that has massive amounts of UV damage and that has witnessed a zillion sandblasting road miles. I’m talking about a headlight that hasn’t been clear for years, a light that is brownish yellow in sunlight. Not only do headlights like these look terrible, they don’t perform well. You can lose a serious amount of candlepower to discolored headlight lenses. Imagine covering your flashlight with cheesecloth before you took a walk in the woods. Not so bright.
When it comes to a restoration kit that can truly and properly bring your faded, discolored, scratched plastic headlight lenses back to life. Sadly, you get what you pay for. To get your hands on a headlight kit that is the real deal, you will have to pony up better than twenty bucks. When experimenting, I started out cheap, trying to use basic cleaner waxes to clear things up, then some specialty products that were not only made for polishing plastics, but actually had pictures of repaired headlights on the label. None were even close to being a match for the amount of headlight damage on the 150,000 mile Volvo wagon (that was in desperate need for Auto Repair in Santa Barbara) we used as our headlight restoration test mule.
The answer is the Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit. Kits by be very gimmicky, and I usually shy away from such a pre-packaged solution. But after trying a number of simple polishes and methods, this kit is by far the best value. Even at $23, the results are worth it. And there is enough material in the kit to restore lots of headlight lenses.
Prep Your Headlights for the Polishing Process
Before you start to use all of the stuff that came in the box, you need to clean any grime or dirt off your headlights with soapy water or window cleaner. Dry them off. Now you need to protect any Car Paint Santa Barbara or plastic areas next to your lights with masking tape. You don’t want to have to do any paint touch up later. If your hood comes down right at the top of your headlights, you can raise the hood and save yourself some masking time.
Remove the Layer of Crust and Crud from Your Lights
Starting with a clean headlight, you’re ready to begin the renewal process. Attach the 1000 grit sanding disc to the holder. Wet the sandpaper (I repeatedly dipped it in a cup of water) and sand your entire headlight in a smooth side to side motion. Use moderate pressure without pressing too hard. Don’t worry about going too far with it because the rest of the kit is designed to pick up where the 1000 grit sanding left off. After about 5 minutes of sanding, wipe the headlight using the included towel and swap the sanding disc for the 3000 grit paper. This time you will sand in an up and down motion, making sure you over all of the headlight real estate. You’ll start to see things really smooth out now. Do this for about 5 minutes, keeping the sanding disc wet the whole time.
Polishing Your Headlights to a Brilliant Restored Shine
Wipe the headlight with the cloth again, and install the polishing pad on your drill. A corded drill works best if you have one, but cordless will do fine. Apply a nickel-sized blob of polish to the buffing pad, then press it to the headlight before you turn on the drill. Start polishing the headlight back and forth in sections. Don’t let the polish bake into the light in hot sun, wipe it away if you need to. There’s no limit to how much you can polish the lens. Keep going until you feel it’s shiny enough.
Behold Your Clear, Shiny, Restored Headlights!
You’ve successfully restored your faded, yellowed, ugly headlights. Not only can you now enjoy them, you have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself. Sit back, admire your work, and then show it off to your loved ones so they can shrug and wonder what all of the fuss is about.
Depending on the model, this is not always an easy job and if not done with extreme caution, damage to the vehicle or paint can be done. Remember to always seek a professional for Auto Repair Estimates in Santa Barbara.
Article Sourced By autorepair.about.com
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