The Secret to Fixing Cloudy, Yellowed Headlights

By David Bynon

There are a lot of automobiles on the road with yellowed, cloudy or scratched headlights. I'm guessing yours might be one of them. That's okay, you're in good company. It's not totally your fault, either. That's because polycarbonate lens covers are relatively new, and most likely you simply didn't know they require regular care. All it takes is a little cleaning with a plastic polish, but if you don't do it your headlight lenses will yellow and cloud over in just a few years. As you can imagine, the diminished light output makes nighttime and bad weather driving more dangerous, so it's important to take care of it.

Here's the good news, the fix is really simple. The fact is that you can clean away the yellowing in a matter of 20 minutes. The whole do-it-yourself job can be taken care of with a basic kit priced at less then $20.

If you're wondering why headlights yellow, I can tell you that the problem is not caused completely by neglect. As you might have guessed it's an environmental issue and each year it gets worse. Without proper maintenance, the sun's intense UV rays, acid rain, road salts and flying debris pit and discolor plastic headlight lenses, driving lights and turn signals. If your vehicle has halogen or similar high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamp, the problem can be worse due to the high operating temperature.

The only solution, aside from replacing the headlights, is an easy restoration process. Cleaning your headlights is nothing more than a plastic repair process. You have to clean away the surface damage and re-polish the plastic to restore clarity to the lenses. It may sound complicated, but it's not. Even severe cases of yellowing can be taken care of in a few minutes when you have the right supplies.

You might be considering replacing the headlights instead of fixing them. Unless you have money to burn, think again. Your car's headlights are a sealed unit, so the cover itself isn't a replaceable unit. If you have an expensive car with high-performance lighting, replacement is going to be costly. On average, fixing the problem versus replacement will save $150 to $600 per lens. On low volume vehicle, the cost per headlight can be as much as $1,000. Know that makes doing the regular maintenance well worth the effort, don't you think?

You can purchase complete kits that contain all of the products you need to do the job right. There are a lot of kits available, but I prefer and recommend 3M. Their kit and process are very straight forward. Plus, 3M has produced several short videos that show you exactly how to do it correctly, step-by-step. With the 3M kit you will need an electric drill to use with 3M's polishing attachments. That's what makes their system for fast and easy to use.

It may look hopeless, but most likely the yellowing or clouding you see is superficial. Even if your light covers are completely opaque, they can be restored. As long as the plastic has not yellowed all the way though, you have a very good chance of full restoration. In any case, it's worth the effort. Remember, new headlight covers a expensive.

Once you have your headlights polished and pretty again, maintain them monthly with a good quality plastic polish. It takes almost no time at all to apply. The products I recommend most are Plexus (it's a spray) and Meguiar's PlastX (a traditional cream). When polished regularly, your car's clear plastic headlight lenses will never need restoring again!

About the Author:

Grab The Post URL

HTML link code:
BB (forum) link code:

Leave a comment

  • Google+
  • 0Blogger
  • Facebook
  • Disqus

0 Response to "The Secret to Fixing Cloudy, Yellowed Headlights"

Post a Comment

comments powered by Disqus