One of the telltale signs of poor automotive car is simply the color of your headlight covers; luckily, this is an easy fix and even easier to prevent. Most headlight covers are made of plastic material that over time direct sunlight causes them to become cloudy and yellow if not properly cleaned and maintained. The good news is, plastic is much preferable over glass—glass can be easily damaged by rocks and road wear. Although there are benefits to having plastic headlight covers over glass ones, it comes at the unsightly disadvantage of dullness. Unless you feel like spending a fortune to replace the covers, here are a few tips that can help you clean already cloudy lenses, as well as prevent future yellowing.
Wash and Polish the Area
Before you begin cleaning, you should wash the area and protect the outside layer of paint surrounding the plastic headlight material. Depending on how damaged the lenses are, you may be able to get away with simply polishing them. However, if you need to bring in the big guns, there are further steps you can take to get a perfect clear headlight covers. You may either remove the covers to clean them, or take steps to protect the rest of your car from the abrasive materials used. Heavy tape that won’t damage the paint on your car will adequately surround the area to protect your paint job. Using a wetted and heavy scrubbing material such as sandpaper, scrub the plastic cover vigorously, yet with caution to not damage your paint. Once you’ve adequately scrubbed, polish the lens with a fine polish product, thoroughly remove the polish and add car wax. Lastly, seal the lens to protect it from sunlight.
Keep Your Car Out of Direct Sunlight
The oxidization of the plastic material in most headlights that causes the yellowish clouding to occur can be prevented by keeping your car out of direct sunlight as often as possible. Now there’s a good reason to finally clean out your garage! Keeping your car under a carport or parked in a garage will not only prevent your headlights from yellowing, but it will also keep your paint from chipping, and keep those pesky birds from having a field day on the roof of your car. Unfortunately, if you do not have the option of parking your car in a sheltered area, one of the most efficient things you can do to reduce the amount of yellowing your headlights will eventually sustain is to routinely care for your car. This means regular car washes and regular waxing, especially being sure to wax the headlights of your car each time. In order to save money, you can wash and wax your car yourself. Car cleaning products aren’t generally wallet-tearing, and removing the already existing yellow sun-stains from your headlights is something you can do on a budget.
Cleaning is Cost-effective than Replacing
Alas, the inevitable sunrays of doom will take a toll on your sweet ride’s eye-sockets. The good news is that cleaning and maintaining them yourself is far more cost-effective than replacing them when they become dull. Even the dullest headlights have hope of being restored to their original glory. As before mentioned, it only takes some sanding, polishing, waxing, and sealing to get them back to their original, clear beauty. This may sound like a lot of work, but you’ll be surprised at how great they turn out and how much money you save on purchasing new headlights. Depending on your headlight covers, they can reach over a thousand dollars! Take solace in the fact that generally taillights and brake lights are made of a different plastic material that doesn’t erode as quickly or as severely, so you shouldn’t need to replace them. Remember, your car will not take care of itself, so give it all the love that it deserves. It’s best to do manageable car maintenance yourself—the chemicals that car washes use overall damaging because they spread dirt and dust all over your paint job, causing fine scratches everywhere, including the headlights, which contributes to the cloudy look. Having clean, clear headlights will not only make your car look 10 years younger, but it will improve visibility at nighttime.