How to Restore Your Headlights
Having working headlights can mean the difference between life and death, especially when you are driving in complete darkness. In fact, AAA has found that 50% of car crashes occur at night, making deteriorated headlights a serious issue. It should also be noted that when headlights get clouded, they are only able to generate around 20% of light compared with new headlights. Because of this, visibility becomes compromised and if nothing is done to restore the headlights, driving at night can become increasingly dangerous for the driver and the motorists they encounter.
Fortunately, restoring headlights on a car can readily be done at home. Here are some tips you can follow to help you get started:
Image via Flickr by Steve Snodgrass
Before Doing Any Restoration Work, Clean the Headlights First
It's important to give your headlights a thorough cleaning before you apply anything to them. You can use regular soap and water, or you can also apply some Windex. When you clean, be sure that you also wash the areas of the car's body that are near the car's headlights.
Tape Off Your Car's Headlights
This is the reason why you also needed to clean around the car's headlights. Using a multi-surface painter's tape, tape off the borders of the headlights. This tape will prevent any damage to the paint or trim while you're sanding the lights.
Clean the Headlights With Toothpaste
Yes, believe it or not, your favorite dental hygiene companion can also be used to restore your car's headlights to their shiny glory. For best results, it is recommended that you use a paste, not a gel, and if needed, mix the toothpaste with baking soda. Once the items are mixed, apply the paste only after you are done taping around your headlights. Use a soft cloth to apply the toothpaste then start scrubbing. After you're done, wipe the headlights clean of the toothpaste mixture.
Use a DIY Headlight Restoration Kit
If you don't want to use toothpaste on your headlights, you should consider purchasing a DIY headlight restoration kit. It doesn't matter what brand you pick. Before you apply it, be sure to read the manufacturer's direction so you'll know exactly what you need to do.
While using the kit, take your time. Depending on how cloudy the headlights are, it can take around 15 to 20 minutes to restore one headlight. Also, take note that some kits may require you to reapply protectant every one to three years. This depends on the weather, the temperature, and whether your car stays in the garage regularly. Meanwhile, be sure that you also sand carefully so that you don't accidentally scratch other parts of your car.
As you can see, it is quite easy to restore your car's headlights on your own. However, if you feel like you still need assistance, it never hurts to contact a headlight restoration professional. No matter what you choose to do, make sure you take care of your cloudy headlights sooner rather than later.