In today’s article I will take you guys on my experience in completing the DIY headlight restoration project.
If you have a car that is 5 years or older, chances are good that your headlight will be very hazy and cloudy-looking. This effect is due to the exposure your car has to road debris, insects and UV Rays.
If you live in states with extreme sunlight like Florida, California, Arizona, this will affect you much sooner than say, Massachusetts, Alaska or Minnesota.
Restoring your headlight will not only give your car a whole new look, but it will increase your safety and visibility at night. When you have imperfections in your lens, the light beam becomes scattered and actually disperses, causing poor visibility and possibly blind other incoming drivers (which could put you in danger as well).
When the restoration is completed, if done properly, the light output and headlight beam patterns are restored and better visibility is achieved. On average the visibility of a cloudy headlight can be as little as 100-145ft, while with a clear headlight you can reach as high as 363 ft as per Sylvania’s statement on the kit’s box.
I hope this makes a strong case for you to jump out of your couch, print out the checklist and in 1 hour gain some experience in this DIY headlight restoration project.
Just like the car headlights impressively illuminating the dark streets, wisdom words powerfully enlighten the dark minds!
Last week I changed the lights in the GMC. However even with brand new headlights, the headlight plastic/lens were so bad that it looked super dimmed.
When I asked around, shops were charging as much as $100-$150 per headlight. The day I will pay someone $300 bucks to make my car look better is right about the time hell freezes over. So I headed to Youtube and Google to learn what I could do about it and voila, there it was, all guides on DIY headlight restoration, kits and how-to’s.
For the kit I used and highly recommend, the inexpensive Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit. At $20 bucks and some elbow grease, this was not only a no-brainer but it a perfect weekend project to do with my son.
After all is said and done. I must say, the results were better than I expected. I’m posting some before and after pictures in hopes to get you pumped up on how your car can start to look brand new.
WARNING: the DIY Headlight Restoration proejct will make your car look so good that if you do it to your wife’s car it may cause her to jump you, hug you very tight, kiss you, score major bonus points, and more. You’ve been warned.
- Prep the Area In order to prevent your car from being scratched in the process just tape up around the headlight. Another good tip it will make your life that much easier is if you open the hood of your car while you’re working on the whole project.
- Wash and Dry Headlights Before you do anything else the headlight has to be completely clean and free of debris, bugs etc. So give it a good wash and then make sure you dry it up before you go on to the next step.
- Surface Activator The surface activator comes in the Sylvania Kit. It a part of the kit that
- Sanding In the kit you will get 3 sandpaper with 3 different grits 400, 1000 and 2000. The sanding process is the same no matter what grit you’re on. You will need to wet the paper and the surface, and then start from lower to higher grit 400-2000. In circular motions, make sure that you sand every bit of the headlight specially where it looks bad.
TIP: One of my crucial mistakes was not spending enough time sanding with the 400 where the haziness/cloudiness was the worst. You should spend at least 5 minutes here. Sand a whole lot and get it wet as you need to ensure consistency around the headlight. Whenever you wet the headlight you can actually see how much you have left to sand. While I was on my first headlight, I rushed it and didn’t get as good result as the other one.
- Clarifying Compound Rinse the headlight, and apply a quarter-sized amount to the white paper that came on the kit and then start applying on the headlight. Apply using circular motion and you will want to reach every corner of the headlight.
- Surface Activator You will need to repeat this previous step.Make sure you apply on a dry surface, wait 30 seconds for it to activate and then rinse it down. After you rinse it down make sure to get it dry and ready for the next step.
- UV Block Clear Coat This step is the most crucial and it’s the step that if done wrong, will render this whole process worthless. I made a mistake the first time, so pay close attention. You will need to glove up, take the blue cloth provided in the kit and dab it with the UV Coat liquid in a vertical row. You have to get enough on the paper that you will do this in ONE PASS.
You cannot, I repeat, cannot go over the UV liquid you just applied again. One long stroke in a row get it to overlap a bit every time but just enough to make sure you don’t have gaps. There you have it folks, a brand new headlight.
TIP: Again, do not repeat this step. once you apply it, that’s it. Let it dry out for 3-4 hours, and better if you don’t drive during that time. Keep away from water as well.
- Picture Time! Now, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. The prepping, sanding, rinse and repeat process culminating to the brand new-looking, shiny, head turning headlight.
The DIY shot, the before and after the picture that will win you bragging rights so you can tell tales about at the dinner table with friends and family.