Headlight Restoration Service

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Abes Headlight Restoration Blog

Different Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights

There are so many different ways to clean your foggy or oxidized headlights but what it comes down to is which way is the right way for you. Also you have to consider what is the correct way to not only clean your hazy headlights but restore those undesirable yellow lens. Here is four of the most popular ways we have come across toothpaste method, using brake fluid, buffing and polishing and finally is the system that professionals use is the sanding and sealing method. 

Cleaning Your Foggy Headlights With Toothpaste

Cleaning your foggy headlights with toothpaste is one of the most popular method seen on YouTube. Tools requires is a buffing machine and a tube of toothpaste. Let’s see what is your cost you. An inexpensive buffing machine $30.00 and a tube of toothpaste $3.00 total $33.00. If you already have a buffing machine $3.00. The type of oxidized headlight lens this will work on are completely yellow or yellowish lenses. If your lenses are partially oxidized or has that rough feeling like scales then toothpaste will not work effectively. Using toothpaste on that yellow headlights will look a lot better they will actually look clean and your light projection will improve. However you will notice that your headlights are not crystal clear. Yes they will look clean but not like new. Now looking at what you had before which was a pair of yellow headlights and now they are clearer and cleaner is as I said before is a major improvement. The biggest drawback with cleaning your headlights with toothpaste is that you will have to keep cleaning them every month. The reason why, is because of the nature of your headlight lenses. They are made with polycarbonate plastic which are porous and has to be sealed in order to have durability. Using toothpaste is a good way to clean your oxidized headlights if they are yellowish and providing you have the time to stay on top of them and clean them every month.

Using Brake Fluid To Clean Your Foggy Headlights

Over the seven years I have been professionally restoring dull, hazy and foggy headlights I have come across many people who have used brakes fluid to clean their headlights. Some of them had favorable experiences in their first try and then turned in a complete disaster after. They turned milky white. Then they called us in to try and restore them. If you have ever felt brake fluid on your fingers it has a warming effect. This warming effect has some type of reaction to the plastic that cause to turn lens milky white. Unless you have done this before and have some experience with the timing in using brake fluid to clean foggy headlight then I strongly suggest refraining from using this method. Because you can irreversibly damage your headlight lenses.

Buffing and Polishing Method To Clean Foggy Headlights.

This is another very popular method used to clean your foggy headlights. This is very similar to the toothpaste method. The difference is you are using a sanding compound and a polish instead of toothpaste. You would need a buffing machine $30, compound $8 and car polish 12 a total of $50. 
This is the method that most of the car wash guys use. It has a little broader spectrum of the type of headlights they can clean. Now you can clean yellow headlights, foggy headlights, whitish looking headlights and some partially clear headlights. The reason they can clean these types of oxidized headlights is because the compound has a grit to it. This grit has a sanding effect and would remove a lot of the crap on the headlight lenses. Then when the polish is applied it gives it a shine with more clarity. So now your lenses look a whole lot better but now like new! In my opinion this is a much better method to use over the toothpaste. 
However the big drawback is that your lenses will only stay clear only for as long as the polish is able to last. In most cases a couple of week to a couple of months. The polish provides some sort of protection because it may have either a wax of silicone residue. But once it wears off your headlights will start reversing to getting foggy again. The reason this happens is because the headlight lenses are porous and has to be sealed. If they are not sealed with a good quality plastic sealer they will not last a long period of time.

The Professional Way To Restore your Foggy Headlights

Headlight restoration professional use the sand and seal method. It’s the tried and true way to clean and restore foggy headlights. Our DIY (do it yourself) headlight restoration kit $19.95 This method covers all types of oxidized headlight lenses. Whether you have:
  • Yellowing headlight lenses
  • Cloudy whitish looking lenses
  • The rough discolored type lenses
  • Partially clear and foggy lenses
The reason it works for all different types of oxidized headlight lenses is because you are able sand away the damage down to the plastic. Once you reach down to the pure plastic it’s a matter of reversing the process like the manufacturer and make the lenses like new again. The principle is the same for any type of object.

This is how it works

Step 1 Sanding
starting with a coarse grit of sandpaper then proceed to finer grits of sandpaper.
example 400 to 1000 to 2000 grit.

Step 2 Polishing
polish the headlights with a good quality plastic lens polish to bring the lenses to a shine.

Step 3 Prepare the lenses
Prep the lenses to be sealed.
Clean the lenses with a silicone and grease remover solution so your plastic lenses sealer can adhere properly to the lenses.

Step 4
Seal your headlight lenses.
Use a good quality plastic lens sealer and seal your headlights. That’s it!
Your headlight will look like new and give at least 1 or 2 years in some cases 3 years longevity.

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