Thursday, October 6, 2011

In a Haze

Q: My headlights have gotten foggy and the beams aren't as bright as they should be anymore. I've seen products advertised that allow for the headlights cover to be sanded and cleaned back to original. Do they work? -M

A: While these products can work, a lot depends on how the plastic deteriorated on your headlight. Most of the time, as the plastic ages it can be affected by physical damage such as rocks, sand, bugs, and other road hazards, heat from the sun and the light bulbs, and UV radiation. This will usually result in a haze buildup or small surface cracks on the outside of the headlamp lens. These products are designed to lightly buff the plastic to smooth out these cracks and imperfections. These do work fairly well for damage like this. 

 Be sure to follow the instructions for the kit so you do not damage the headlamp. It is also a good idea to wax the area around the headlight and then mask it off with blue painters tape. This will help prevent accidental damage to the paint around the headlamp. Be especially careful if there is bare plastic or chrome trim around the headlamp as this can be soft and easily damaged with sandpaper or polishing compound. These kits will not make it look like a brand new light but will help a lot and it is a lot cheaper than replacing the light. To really try and save money, you can even try a cheap toothpaste and buff the light using the toothpaste on a terry cloth towel. This will involve a little elbow grease but can have some good results while being very inexpensive. I haven't tried this method just yet but will be very soon. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Sometimes the plastic will get the haze on the inside of the lens. Due to the design of these headlamps, there is no way to disassemble them to polish the inside because they are sealed units. If you try to take it apart you risk breaking the headlamp or not sealing it properly which will let moisture enter the light. If water is gets in the headlamp, this can cause the light to burn out quickly, more haze to build up on the inside, or the reflective plating to come off. If the damage is to the inside of the light, you will just need to replace the headlamp assembly.

Anyone else ever had this problem and/or tried any of these solutions? Let me know! I'll keep you updated on my headlight project...


1 comment:

  1. Hey, it's Kali with a question! So Josh could probably get more detailed and technical with this question, but I thought I'd take a shot. I have this awesome old beer sign (for Schlitz, ohh yeaaa) and well, the cord for the plug as been cut through. Would it be easier to replace the 40 some odd years old cord, or just splice and reconnect/tape it? If you need more details, I'll get Josh on it. Thanks!