5 Tips to DIY headlight restoration for your vintage car
So you are having problems with the headlights of your vintage car as they may be very fogged, hazy or discolored. Well, before you decide on taking your vintage car to the shop and having the headlights replaced, check to see if you can do it yourself first.
Headlights, obviously are very important to any car as they are the “eyes” that illuminate the road during the night and assist the driver to stay in the right lane. Without a fully-functional headlight, one would definitely find it impossible to drive, especially during the night. That being said, the maintenance of headlights should definitely be a top priority for drivers.
Now going back to your problem, buying a new set isn’t the only solution to a fogged, discolored and hazy headlight. With just a little bit of physical labor and patience, you can definitely “restore” your headlight to a new-looking and fully-functional one all by yourself. As for the equipment and other necessary items, you can easily find best headlight restoration kit at auto shops and big stores.
Here are 5 tips that will guide you through the process.
- Wash your Car
Before you start restoring your headlights, it would be a better idea to wash the whole car first as it will remove the dust and other dirt that has accumulated on the exterior of your car. You don’t need to do it extensively though; a simple quick wash with soap and water will be enough to remove the dirt and dust.
Before you start dealing with the headlights, it would be ideal to move your car in to a shaded and cool area. Proper lighting is needed though in order for you to spot the tiny scratches and other minor details. Make sure that the car is dry before you start the restoration. Also, it is also recommended by experts to keep the headlights at room temperature.
The next step is to tape the area surrounding the headlights. Use a painter’s tape as it can be easily peeled off and they are also specially made to protect the paint. It is important that you avoid touching the “outside” part of the headlight while restoring it to avoid causing potential damage, especially on the paint.
To restore the headlight of your vintage car, make sure that the headlight is completely dry and drained of moisture.
To start, you will need sandpaper in order to peel or thin out the fogged and hazy plastic. Start by wetting a 1500-grit sandpaper, after which, sand the whole headlight area in a consistent and straight motion. Be very technical with the process, if you started sanding horizontally, then maintain it through the end. After using up the sandpaper, if you still notice some scratches and discoloration then you can repeat the sanding. You can also use higher-grit sandpapers, depending on your judgment. Just remember, that consistency and uniformity is key in order to achieve a smooth and clear headlight.
- Polish the headlight
After sanding the headlight, there would definitely be stuck residues from the sandpaper on your headlights. There are also cases when there are sandpaper scratches. To fix and remove all of these fine materials, you can use a plastic polish compound. With a microfiber or similar cloth, wipe the whole headlight area with the plastic polish compound. After minutes of polishing of wiping, you will surely be able to see results, if you are still not satisfied, then you can keep repeating until you achieve your desired results.
- Headlight deoxidizers and UV sealant
Oxidization is one of the major cause of fogged headlights, thus, by using headlight deoxidizers you would be able to clear up the fog and increase your headlights’ brightness. Additionally, applying UV sealants help reduce the effects of UV rays, which are very harmful to plastics. Furthermore, they make droplets of rain and other scratch-inducing materials just slide on the headlight when they come in contact.
The author Abhishek Kumar Jha
Knowledge is Power