The next time you walk up to your car, take a moment to check out the headlights. Walk all the way around your vehicle and examine the headlights, brake lights, reverse lights, and blinkers, to see if any bulbs need to be replaced. Take a minute to carefully inspect the lenses– if the lenses are cloudy or opaque, you have a serious safety problem on your hands.
Most modern headlight lenses are made of a clear, nearly unbreakable polycarbonate plastic or a similar material. Lenses are usually treated with special coatings which protect them from ultraviolet (UV) rays, vehicle exhaust fumes, and other environmental contaminants. In normal use, the life of those protective coatings depends on the level of exposure those hazards– especially the amount and intensity of sunlight. As headlights become cloudy, they provide significantly less illumination and cause light to scatter rather than being focused on the road. This not only makes it hard for you to see but creates glare for oncoming drivers and makes it hard for them to see you at a distance.
To obtain government approval, plastic headlight assemblies must pass a minimum three-year U.S. Department of Transportation durability test, but AAA testing revealed that most lenses begin to deteriorate after about five years.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that definitely holds true for headlights. Many auto dealers and parts stores sell lens treatments to help you maintain the quality of your headlights coating on your own; when applied regularly, these products can significantly extend the life of the factory protective coating. But it’s important to note that these are short-term solutions at best; they merely act as “sunscreen” for your headlights, to temporarily block out environmental contaminants.
The only way to dramatically improve the performance of deteriorated headlights is by having the lenses professionally refinished. The preferred method is to lightly sand the lens to remove damaged plastic, polish the surface to restore clarity and remove scratches, and then retreat the headlight with a professional- grade protective coating.
The next time you walk up to your car, take a moment to check out the headlights. Walk all the way around your vehicle and examine the headlights, brake lights, reverse lights, and blinkers, to see if any bulbs need to be replaced and to see which ones require immediate attention. All of our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.