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”.
“Crazing” (not “crazy”) is a condition that produces an area of fine cracks or sparkles WITHIN the plastic lens itself. It’s usually only visible when the headlight is on or viewed at an angle in daylight. It is caused by the plastic in the headlight breaking down over time. In most cases IT CANNOT BE FIXED, as it’s IN the plastic lens itself. I can certainly try to eliminate it. As a general rule, if it’s in the lens, it CANNOT BE FIXED.
You sure can… if you don’t mind spending HUNDREDS of dollars! Call your dealership and get a quote to do this. Then call 911 so they can revive you, because you fainted after seeing the estimate. The problem is, you can’t just buy the headlight “cover”. You have to buy the ENTIRE light assembly. On top of that, there’s obviously the labor charge and inconvenience of not having your car. Sure… go right ahead.
In most cases, YES! I can guarantee that my service will make your headlights look 100% better or close to new. You can certainly try one of the store-bought kits available, or try one of the ridiculous DIY methods seen on YouTube (the toothpaste and bug spray ones are especially cute). If your headlights aren’t badly faded or yellowed yet, a store-bought kit 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 as back to “new” as possible. See my ***services*** and ***examples*** 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, repairs, shopping, etc. – sometimes it’s so much easier to simply have it done by someone with experience.
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. THIS CANNOT BE FIXED! 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.
No, I do not replace headlights or perform mechanical repairs. I am NOT a licensed auto mechanic. I don’t want to be responsible for damaging the lights (or something else) on your vehicle.
Absolutely. However, in 80% of the jobs I’ve done, those kits would NOT have helped, in my opinion. Those kits only work when the oxidation/yellowing is 1 – on the outside, and 2 – VERY minor. In a few cases, using the kit made it WORSE because the person didn’t do it correctly.
I do NOT feel comfortable doing this type of restoration. I don’t have the means to anchor them properly in order to not cause any vibration or damage. I do not want to be responsible for damaging them.
No. 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.
I usually need about 1-2 hours to perform my restoration services. Depending on the level of restoration required, it may require more or less time. Similar to painting a house, there is some “prep work” involved, to mask off areas of the vehicle that we don’t want scratched or the compound and polish getting on. I will provide a time estimate when we are looking at your car.
In addition, the UV coating that I apply will need 24 hours to completely cure. You can drive your car as normal, right after I’m done with the service; however it is recommended that the car be in the shade during the 24-hour curing process.
The coating I use claims to protect the headlights for “up to a year”. Depending on how you maintain your vehicle, as well as how much daily sun exposure it gets, it may last longer than that. As part of my service, I can recommend some products and provide instructions on how to prolong the time before needing to reapply the coating or redo the service.
I don’t have a ‘warranty’ per se, but if you’re not happy with the work, you don’t pay. The first thing I do is make an assessment of the lights’ condition. Sometimes there are areas that can’t be fixed, usually because it’s on the inside. The manufacturer of the coating I use says it lasts up to a year. If something happens before that, you can contact me and I will make it right.
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.
Yes. Awesome Headlights will REMAIN OPEN during this difficult and uncertain time, as long as my business is LEGALLY able to do so. This could change at any time. I only work one-on-one with my customers. I am fully vaccinated and can wear a mask if requested.
No… at least not officially. I detail my wife and I’s vehicles, but I am by no means a professional. That said, I continue to improve my detailing skills and get new tools as needed. I am currently testing black trim products and will be offering that as an add-on service in the near future.
The main request I have is that the vehicle is in a safe location, where I can safely and legally work on it. If you live in an apartment, it would be VERY helpful to park the vehicle where there isn’t another vehicle on either side of it. I would also request that if your vehicle has an alarm, for it to be off during the time I’m working on it.