Headlight Restoration Service

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Abes Headlight Restoration Blog

The Pros & Con About Plastic Headlights

In the early 1990's the auto industry change over from glass headlights to plastic headlights. This change certainly had his advantages and disavantages. One of the most visible problem that came with plastic headlights is that they get oxidized. The oxidization may look foggy, cloudy, yellow and in some cases you can physically feel the roughness on the headlight lens.

Glass Headlights

The typical headlights previous to the 1990's were made with glass. These glass headlights never had the oxidization problem like the plastic type does. On the other hand there was a limitation on the shape of the lens. The glass headlights were very inexpensive to replace if they got damage because they were basically small seal beams. A big problem with the glass headlights came in the event of an accident. The broken glass added extra danger and damage. The flying glass caused more injuries plus the broken glass left behind after an accident was responsible for tire blow outs which caused more accidents.

Plastic Headlights

Have you noticed the aero dynamic shapes and designed of the plastic headlights in today’s automobiles. These new shapes and designs have changed the overall outlook on vehicles today. In my opinion they are just spectacular. To produce these headlights in plastic are way less expensive to produce them in glass. They are also a lot safer in the event of an accident. Because the plastic headlights are made with poly carbonate lens they are much harder to brake. They are able to take greater impact than the glass type. The big draw back with the plastic lens is they get oxidized. Replacing them can be very expensive especially in the high end vehicles like Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Lexus, Infinity also Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati’s. The average cost of these headlights can range between $350 to $2000 each. Yes each!

Why Does The Plastic Headlight Lens Oxidized?

This is one of the biggest questions on peoples mind in reference to their headlights. Because most of us are not use to their headlights getting foggy. Reason being we still remember when we had glass headlights they almost never got foggy unless they had water inside. OK why does your headlights get foggy or oxidized?
Before we answer that question we need to understand the nature of the plastic headlights. First to beginning the plastic the lens are made from is porous so the manufacturer has to seal them for them to stay looking crystal clear over a long period of time. Now we know that we that you will be better able to understand the break down. Imagine if you will a vehicle in traffic moving at 60 to 80 mph. The cars in front of you are propelling debris from their rear tires at these high velocity onto the front of your vehicle where your headlights are located. This debris is basically sand, small rocks, dirt and petroleum. So it like your headlights are getting sand blasting everyday your drive your vehicle. Eventually what happens is some of the rocks will break or chip the sealer of the headlights. Then the dirt, acid rain and petroleum set into these cracks which are then cooked by the UV rays of the sun.
This cook up as I call it is the perfect condition for the breakdown of the sealer on your plastic headlights. These rip in the sealer gets bigger and more noticeable with time and eventually one day you notice your headlights are foggy or hazy. Another way you might realize you have oxidized headlights is  while driving at night you might be wondering whether or not your headlights are ON or OFF because your dramatic reduction of your light projection caused by your oxidized headlight lens. Oxidized lens can look cloudy, hazy, whitish in color or yellow and in some cases they feel rough to the touch. However the good thing is that these foggy, oxidized headlights can be fixed very easily without breaking your bank. 
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