Headlight restoration is a meticulously orchestrated process that brings back the beam’s integrity in numerous stages. The first stage is clearing the surface, followed by various levels of sanding, and rounding out with a polish and sealant.
Prep Each Light
To make sure the task is successful overall, you must first work to clean the polycarbonate plastic that headlights are manufactured with. This includes scraping things like bugs and lodged debris. The purpose of this, beyond not wanting to look at the grime, is that it prepares the surface for a major sanding.
“It is a myth that sandpaper cannot be used on plastic, in fact it is necessary since polycarbonate resists scratching to a certain point, unless the damage is so severe that total replacement is prudent”
Smooth Equals Results
The goal of sanding the headlights is to make each lamp as smooth as possible. The smoother the surface, the easier the forthcoming polish will bind to the plastic and give it that desired luster. While a single grit of sandpaper can be used, incorporating a 400, 600 and 2000 sheet will maximize the results. Lower grits have more abrasive surfaces, which is why you want to start with them because you are disrupting the hardest layer that has encased the beams. Sandpaper, mixed with a splash of water to make wiping easier, begins to restore headlights by eradicating a firm film that has been caused by the UV rays of the sun. Exposure from the elements makes them foggy and brittle to the touch. It is a myth that sandpaper cannot be used on plastic, in fact it is necessary since polycarbonate resists scratching to a certain point, unless the damage is so severe that total replacement is prudent.
Buff, Wipe, And Shine
The atmospheric chemicals that have laid to rest on your headlights need to be disturbed as they have made them oxidized and prone to cloudiness. This can be accomplished by using toothpaste, or a car grade polishing compound. Using an applicator pad on a buffer works tremendously for this stage, and around this time you will begin to see the original appearance of the headlight. What is taking place are the ingredients in the polish and toothpaste are breaking up the bonded debris, allowing clear plastic to once again see the light of day. Using an automotive sponge can also solve this by wiping in circular motions starting from the middle of the lamp and working your way out.
Seal With Assurance
A flawless reflection in the plastic means the restoration is nearly complete. To ward off UV rays in the future, use a car wax, particularly ones specializing in covering polycarbonate. This is not an absolute must, but if this is listed on the cleaner’s bottle it is a huge bonus. It is advantageous to apply the wax with either a microfiber towel or sheepskin cloth where there is little resistance and the solution rolls in seamlessly.
Headlight restoration works by mixing preparation with the right cleaners and application devices to rid each one of damage effectively. Sometimes this deterioration is not even noticeable, however after the surface has been sanded and rubbed, the result is a healthy beam that looks brand new. Since there are at least 3 different high grade detergents necessary for the best headlight recovery available, it is highly recommended to let professionals detail them so they will retain positive results much longer before they need attention again. To learn more visit The Detailing Syndicate – Detroit,MI.