During the 1980s, car manufacturers stopped making headlights out of glass and began using polycarbonate plastic. This material has many advantages. It’s lightweight, strong, durable, and can be transformed into a variety of shapes. However, polycarbonate is porous and prone to oxidation. To combat this, headlight manufacturers covered them with a protective film coating. The coating works well for a few years, but unfortunately can start to degrade and fall apart. The main reasons for this are:
Oxidation from UV Light. Ultraviolet (UV) rays and heat from the sun cause the lens to develop micro cracks, which cause them to oxidize and turn slightly yellow.
Damage from Road Debris. Being at the front of your car near the ground, headlights take the brunt of the damage when small rocks and road debris strike them. This creates dents and pits that mar the once-smooth surface, contributing to the development of cloudiness.
Dirt and Chemical Buildup. Road dirt and mud constantly coat the lens. During winter, salt and road de-icing can build up, causing a cloudy film. Even if the car is washed regularly, this buildup can still happen over time.
Acid Rain and Chemicals in the Atmosphere. Chemical pollutants in the air react with water vapor and oxidants, resulting in sulfuric and nitric acids. These acids fall to Earth in rain or snow. These pollutants can cause damage to car finishes and headlights. Acid rain can also break down polycarbonates in auto and headlight finishes, and create cloudiness and blotches.
OBVIOUSLY NOT! From the AAA website: “Properly functioning headlights are key to safe nighttime driving. With 50 percent of crashes occurring at night, drivers cannot afford any reduction in visibility. Yet research by AAA shows that deteriorated headlights—found on millions of vehicles on the road today—reduce the amount of light output by nearly 80 percent as compared to new lenses.”
Faded, yellowed or hazy headlights look bad, but they are also a safety concern. The degradation of the headlight causes the light output from the internal bulbs to be diffused. The beam from the headlight is weakened, and results in a reduced area or range of coverage. The less you can see, the more chances there are you could run into something. It has been suggested that as many as 9 out of 10 accidents at night are related in some way to visibility.
It’s certainly possible. I contacted Dekra, a well-known vehicle inspection service company, on this issue. The Texas area manager replied, ”Yes they can fail for being badly oxidized. It would be a judgment call on the inspector as to if they need to be replaced. Exact wording [in their checklist] is “Lamp lens is cracked, broken, discolored or missing”.
In most cases, YES! I can guarantee that the service will make your headlights look “brand new” or close to new. You can certainly try one of the store-bought kits available, or try one of the unique DIY methods seen on YouTube (the toothpaste one is especially cute). If your headlights aren’t badly faded or yellowed yet, those methods may work for you.
However, if your headlights are much worse, you’ll need to “bring out the heavy artillery” and it will be a more involved project. With my service, I will determine the level of restoration needed to bring your headlights back to “new” as possible. See my services and gallery pages.
Consider this. YOU’RE BUSY with work, kids, family, friends, errands, etc. HOW MUCH IS YOUR TIME WORTH? Like some things in our fast-paced world today – house cleaning, yard work, car washing, shopping, etc. – sometimes it’s so much easier to have it done by a professional.
***DISCLAIMER***: If your headlight(s) are very old, or there is a break in the seal, this may have allowed water vapor or oxidation to form on the inside of the lens. NO AMOUNT OF SURFACE RESTORATION will fix this! You will ultimately need to have them replaced, unfortunately. In this situation, I will restore the outside as close to new as I can; but realize that it will only improve so much. There are other situations where the headlights are SO badly faded or discolored, that even a total restoration will only bring them close to new.
I do NOT do headlight replacements or mechanical repairs. I am NOT an auto mechanic. I do not want to be responsible for damaging the lights or your car.
Removing the headlights increases the risk of damaging them, as well as changing their focus position. I do NOT provide auto mechanic services, and I am NOT qualified to do this.
The coatings I use claim to protect the headlights for up to a year. Depending on how you maintain your vehicle, as well as if it’s always in the sun or not, it may last longer than that. As part of my service, I can recommend some products and provide instructions to prevent your headlights from getting foggy or yellowed in the near future.
I am currently serving Collin and (north) Dallas counties. If you live outside of those counties, a $20 travel charge will be added to the service. Your understanding is highly appreciated.
No. Awesome Headlights is a mobile service company. I can either come to you, or you can come to my location; whichever is more convenient. Your home is the most convenient location to perform the restoration service; however, I can certainly provide it at your work location, as long as there aren’t any rules or ordinances making it illegal. This is for safety reasons.
The main request I have is that the vehicle is in a safe location, where I can safely and legally work on it. If your car has an alarm, it is also requested for it to be off during the time I’m working on the restoration of the headlights.