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How to Prevent Headlights from Yellowing

How to Prevent Headlights from Yellowing


Have you noticed how your headlights seem to be turning murky and dim over time? You might have thought that the bulbs need to be swapped out, but sometimes the problem is much simpler than needing replacement bulbs for your headlight.

Headlight yellowing is a rather common occurrence,

and you can definitely spot these unsightly parts on cars of all shapes and sizes. Despite this, you don’t have to live with ugly headlights for the rest of your car’s lifetime. You can keep your headlights from yellowing by doing a bit of easy cleaning every few weeks.

Milky headlights don’t just downgrade your car’s overall appearance. It can also become a safety concern when you’re driving at night or under bad weather conditions. How many times have you missed the correct street or ramp just because you didn’t see the road signs in time? Or how many times have you struggled to drive turtle-slow on rain-slick roads because you can’t see more than two feet ahead of your front bumper?

Constant exposure to air pollution, road dust, ultraviolet rays from the sun, and other everyday contaminants will eventually wear away the crystal clear brightness of your headlights.

Most cars today are equipped with plastic headlights, and these harmful elements can turn your headlights yellow if you’re not careful about keeping it clean and shiny. Older models that come with glass headlights will not suffer yellowing, but of course they are much more fragile and prone to permanent damage.

The good news is that your plastic headlights usually sustain only superficial damage, and with a bit of work and the right tools, you can restore your headlights to a sparkling shine in no time at all. Allowing the headlights to wallow in their murky state will only make the plastic brittle and dry over time, and soon enough you will see small hairline cracks developing on the lenses.

To begin your headlight restoration work, grab a reputable headlamp repair kit from your detailer’s shop or from a hardware store.

The kit will contain everything you need to do the job properly, from several pieces of varied grade sandpaper to latex gloves to polishing compound. Throw in a couple of soft sponges to work with, and you’re ready to get as close to a clear factory finish as you can.

Because your headlight is made of plastic, you can easily get rid of the dirt by using wet sandpaper on it. This will take you anything from twenty to forty-five minutes, depending on how far along the yellowing has damaged the surface. This process will also feather out the small gouges on the lens, giving you a flat and clean surface to apply the polishing compound on.

To seal your headlight’s clarity, you can also purchase two extra products: a small tub of headlight restoration crème and a bottle of clear coat sealer. While these two kit-exclusive products will jack up the restoration cost a bit, the results you will get after the cleanup is completed will definitely be worth the extra investment.

Read more about cleaning your car’s headlights on our blog.

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April 2013
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