What is a Headlight Restoration Kit?
Everything you need in one little package to turn your headlights back into the clear, visible and effective items that they once were. There are some DIY methods, some that we’ll discuss with you shortly, but the beauty of a kit is the time saved, and the end result greatly surpassing anything any form of restoration you could do on your own. One box, usable, on average, for up to three cars, and a better shine than when it rolled off the assembly line.
What Makes Headlights Discoloured?
Your headlights are going to yellow—it’s a fact, sorry to say. When it yellows, it’s a product of oxidation. Harmful UV rays come in to damage your headlight casings, but with a restoration kit, you’re doing far more than just cleaning it up—you’re also reapplying the UV protection coating, slowing the damage of harmful rays in the future.
Depending on where you live, you’ll also run into a few others problems that add to their discoloring (and general damages that could require repair or replacement). If you’re in an area that has seasonal weather conditions in winter, rock salt is eating away at the casings for your headlights. Apart from that, it’s scratching it up, and creating deep crevices that become discolored as well. If enough damage has been sustained, then they may need to be replaced entirely.
Additional issues that may cause discoloration or damage to your headlights are chemical-related. Spraying insecticides or any other type of chemicals can damage, discolor, and even warm your headlights. If you’re spraying for bugs around your yard, throw a tarp down over the car before you do anything. Same goes for cutting your lawn with any type of mower or whacker—you’ll want to cover up so debris and airborne particles from clippings don’t attach to, and damage your car.
Can Your Car Fail Roadworthy due to Cloudy Lights?
In short, yes. It’s not a common occurrence, and most mechanics will let your vehicle go as long as it meets the standard safety requirements. However, your headlights are a safety concern for yourself as well as the public and other drivers.
When your headlight output is diminished enough, you’re not as visible to other drivers, pedestrians, or even wildlife. If there is a significant amount of yellowing, haziness or fogged plastic/glass, you may get slapped with a rejection sticker. The easiest way to avoid this is just by cleaning your headlights yourself before you even bring it in for an inspection.
You Need Advanced UV Protection in Australia
Dry, hot climates require additional protection against harmful UV rays. Light reflects off of sand, light dirt and concrete; between that and the lack of humidity to cut through, 100% of the potential UV damage occurs on your headlights. If you live in states like Queensland, NT or WA, you’ll notice yellowing of the headlights at a far faster rate. Plan ahead, and get a headlight restoration kit with additional UV protection as a preventative measure, as well.
How do You Clean Your Headlight Lens?
If you’re not using an entirely new restoration kit, utilization of these four materials are all excellent ways to clean your lenses. Here’s the shocker—they’re all bought on a child’s allowance.
- Sandpaper: The first choice of the working man—sandpaper offers a good reward, but comes with a pretty sizable risk. Use it properly, and you’ll do away with some of the discoloring on your lenses. However, you’re removing a layer of your lenses, only to be damaged by other means. We’re not recommending this method, we’re just saying that it can work. You have to pay close attention to your grit rating on the sandpaper.
- Vinegar: This is a pretty cheap option. White distilled vinegar can usually be bought for $2.00/gallon in most grocery stores, and is a natural antibacterial disinfectant. If you’re a fan of clean, green sprays to use at your home instead of chemicals, you’ve probably come across this being used as a primary cleaning agent once or twice before. Apply, use a lot of labor, and you should see results occurring pretty quickly.
- Polish: Polish sort of falls into the same category as vinegar. It can leave a glare effect, but with a lot of elbow grease, you’re bound to get a bit more clarity. This method can result in you needing to remove the lens in order to apply it, depending on how damaged/compromised your headlight lenses are.
- Insect Repellent: This is the most-beloved option by car owners for a quick and inexpensive way to restore your lens to its former glory. The trick here is to use a spray version, spray it directly onto a designated, clean cloth, and wipe clean. This takes a little less labor, and works better than the other options. You may need to remove your lens for this one as well.
How Often Should I Use a Headlight Restoration Kit?
Every vehicle and circumstance is different. Living near heavily salted roads, gravel pathways, and failing to cover your vehicle when you spray pesticides, can all result in damage to your headlights. As a rule of thumb, you should use a headlight restoration kit once per year, at the most mild season of use.
If you live in humid climates, wait until a dry day. One use per year should leave your headlights shining brightly with little to no problems for the rest of the year. When you approach the one-year mark, use it as a maintenance/prevention method. For spending between twenty and thirty dollars, depending on which kit you go with, you’re doing a lot of good for your car instead of paying money out the nose for a full replacement or doing the job yourself.
Benefits of Using a Headlight Restoration Kit
Plastic, which makes up your headlight’s primary body, is very prone to absorbing things in its environment. Despite being made of the central polycarbonate material that just about every headlight is made of, it’s still plastic and therefore succumbs to the problems plastic faces.
- Improved Safety: Your headlights are the conduits of safety. If you can’t see what’s ahead, you have no idea how to protect yourself, or other drivers/pedestrians. The number one safety measure for night driving is your headlights, so don’t ignore them when they need a little touch-up.
- Resale Value: Are you the type of guy to keep your car in tip-top shape and swap it out for the resale in the future? Thought so. If the idea of keeping your car spotless for the tradeshow or auction whets your whistle, then you’ll need one of these kits on-hand. Spotty, dirty headlights with a horrid yellow tint aren’t exactly going to fare well during the resale.
- Save Money: Depending on the vehicle, you could end up paying a ridiculous amount of money for brand new headlights if these get damaged enough. Using headlight restoration kits can also be preventative measures to ensure that you’ll spend a small amount of money now, and avoid upwards of $500+ on repairs in the future.