Headlamps

Headlamps

Headlamps these days, apart from being an integral part style and aerodynamics, have always been one of the most crucial elements of your car. It provides clear vision during the night and also helps to prevent accidents. Therefore having a well-maintained headlamp is paramount.

Back in the 90's plastic headlamps were introduced in Malaysia. Retro headlamps were made of heavy glass and were expensive. Plastic ones are light and hard to break and made a great alternative to old school headlamps. It's made of polycarbonate and has a good insulating effect. However, polycarbonate headlamps are vulnerable to UV rays and weather conditions.

It tends to become yellow and cloudy or blurry. Some makes are better than others. Most Korean cars some 5 years ago were especially susceptible to these issues as well as some Mercedez Benz models of the same era.

Washing your car regularly will not prevent your headlamps from turning yellow and looking old. Ultraviolet light will damage its appearance over time compounded with road grime and other pollutants, it will not stand a chance.

Short or Long Term Remedy

Dull and Cloudy and a Restored Surface

Well if you have watched You Tube, depending how much time you have and extent of oxidation, tooth paste works pretty well for a DIY quality. The plaque removing qualities also works on headlamps that aren't oxidized much. This would probably last a month or two.

Professionals would evaluate the extent of oxidation, ultra violet damage before making an informed decision in how to proceed. For extreme condition headlamps, a detailer would use 400 to 1000 grit sandpaper, followed by 1500 or 2000 wet sanded with generous amounts of water. Stone chips would be reduced or removed too depending on how deep it's been pitted.

Critical areas would be protected by masking or painters tape. He would then machine polish the surface with the relevant compound. The job would be completed with a desired finish. That would be wax, headlamp coating or even an Ultra Violet protective coat. This method is fast becoming old with new products and methods coming into the industry.

Masking of critical areas. Before and after sanding.

New methods do not require wet sanding as the goal is to preserve the surface to its original condition as much as possible without even removing the factory coated UV protectant simply by using a deoxidizer. This is a non-abrasive method that reacts to the molecular level. Whatever the method, some conditions cannot be restored and are permanently damaged such as flaking, deeply pitted chips, visible scratches on the surface, micro fractures that appear on the inside and oxidation of reflective inner parts of the headlamps

Periodical maintenance is a must as a deoxidized headlamp will be subjected to the same conditions that caused it to oxidize in the first place.

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