Many owners of older vehicles have probably experienced this problem first hand. After a few years of driving and parking in direct sunlight and the constant onslaught from road grime, rain, wind and other inclement weather, you may have noticed your headlight covers have begun to turn yellow and cloudy. Headlight covers are usually the first area to show symptoms of prolonged exposure to harsh weather. For garaged vehicles this issue may not become evident as quickly, but eventually the sun and weather exposure will take its toll.
Most modern headlights are shielded by a clear protective cover, which is shielded by a thin film of plastic laminate. This laminate bears the brunt of UV rays, acid rain, road salt and many other harsh elements, and as time goes by, while your vehicle is subjected to hundreds of hours parked outdoors, the laminate film begins turning yellow or cloudy. Laminate in this condition not only makes your vehicle look older or ill-maintained, but it can also reduce the effectiveness and brightness of your headlights.
In recent years a new service has been made available to customers which can restore your headlight covers to near new condition, and is much cheaper than replacing the covers.
Headlight Restoration (Headlight Cleaning)
This service involves removing the existing discolored and cloudy laminate on your headlight covers, then applying a protective coating which seals the surface. The technician will first sand the cover with increasingly finer grits of sandpaper until the old outer layer of laminate has been removed. Once the old material has been removed, a resin or other type of resurfacing product is applied to the cover which restores the lens coating. The end result will look practically brand new, yet costing hundreds of dollars less than actually replacing the covers themselves. Often, cloudy or yellow taillights and turn signal covers can also be treated in the same manner, resulting in drastically increased clarity and a fresh new look.
Headlight restoration not only gets your vehicle looking years newer, but the effectiveness and range of your lights will also be dramatically improved. Restored laminate covers shine with up to 90-95 percent of the original candle power, compared to the lowly 50 percent or less with the old yellowed covers. Often this difference in headlight efficiency happens so gradually that many drivers never notice, or only begin suspecting a problem after several years have passed.
As winter approaches and the nights become increasingly longer, it is extremely important that your vehicle’s headlights operate at maximum efficiency so you can see the road in front of you, and so oncoming traffic can properly see you. Headlight restoration usually only takes 15 minutes or less, and the service costs far less than actually replacing the covers.
The next time you are heading out on the road, stop and take a quick look at your headlights first. If you see the yellow discoloration or cloudy look we talked about earlier, contact your local technician about headlight restoration service and drive with confidence.