Have You Checked Your Headlight Lenses Lately?

New cars come with clear headlights, but that nice, clear look doesn't last. Headlight lenses tend to start yellowing and becoming duller each day bit by bit. You might not notice it happening at first, but one day, you go outside and see that your car's headlight lenses are no longer clear and look very old. You can restore these lenses to their former clear glory by either getting a DIY kit or going to an auto body shop.

Why Headlight Lenses Become Cloudy

Headlight lenses are made of acrylic or polycarbonate, which can oxidize when exposed to UV light in sunlight. Any protective coatings on the lenses deteriorate in UV light, allowing the lens to take on a cloudy and dirty look. Also, years of driving allow sand, dirt, and bugs to gradually dull the lenses. To restore the headlight lenses to their former clear glory, you need to essentially sand off the top layer of oxidized gunk. However, do not take the sandpaper to the lenses just yet.

Why Restoring Them Is Good for Both Safety and Looks

Removing the gunk and grit that build up on headlight lenses and restoring the smooth, clear look that the lenses had when you bought the car has two effects. One is that your headlights will seem brighter and will seem to cast light farther. This is because you no longer have that cloudy layer filtering the light. The other is that the car will look better cared for, and while it might not look newer, it won't seem as old to onlookers.

Why You're Better off Having It Done Professionally

You can buy many kits for restoring your headlights yourself. Some are more complicated than others, but all of them require time and a lot of elbow grease. If you're not sure you can dedicate the time to cleaning and restoring the lenses yourself because there is an awful lot of scrubbing involved for each headlight, it may be easier to take the car to a body shop and have them do the work. The techs there know how to get the job done quickly and thoroughly; if you do it yourself and aren't prepared, you could end up with a botched job.

Headlight restoration is one of those things where you could do it yourself and save money, but you'd give up time and tire yourself out for the day. Taking the car to an auto body shop for issues like this is a better idea if you want to spend as little time as possible yourself on restoration.