Not only the appearance of the car depends on the cleanliness, transparency of the headlights (optics). It is one of the conditions for road safety. During operation, the plastic on the headlights gradually becomes cloudy. If you have an irresistible desire to “open the eyes” of your car in low light conditions, then it is time to learn how to polish headlights, and apply the acquired knowledge in practice.
Causes of clouding of auto optics
Almost all modern models of passenger cars have a protective cover on headlights made of polycarbonate. This is a polymer material, a plastic with special performance characteristics. Headlights using this material came to replace the glass ones to improve the safety of road users.
Headlights made of polycarbonate are very durable, but they are afraid of any mechanical effects. That’s why well-groomed cars from 90-s have more presentable look, than foreign cars, the age of which is 5-7 years.
Causes, causing clouding of headlights:
- Road “sandblasting”. While driving, headlights are attacked by grains of sand, dust, and pebbles. On their surface there are microcracks, chips. Such aggressive mechanical influence leads to clouding of plastic.
- Improper daily care. In bad weather, off-season, drivers wipe headlights with a dry cloth, which came to hand. It is not cleaning, but bringing the surface of the headlights into disrepair.
- Using “folk” means (e.g. toothpaste). To polish headlights with your own hands, it is worth giving preference to special means. Their cost is affordable. When making such compositions, the abrasiveness is taken into account.
- The age of the car. Unfortunately, nothing is eternal. Headlights turn yellow and cloudy from old age.
- Destruction of the protective layer. Car manufacturers are well aware that polycarbonate is a soft material, so they put a special varnish on it. It is called ceramic. After sanding or 4-5 polishes, this layer will wear off.
Polishing headlights with your own hands at home: algorithm of actions
The process of returning the transparency to the headlights requires prior preparation. It is necessary to buy the following consumables:
- masking tape;
- sandpaper (for badly clouding headlights at once three numbers: 600, 1000, 1500 sheet per headlight);
- special paste for polishing;
- polishing disc;
- microfiber cloths;
- protective varnish;
- vinyl gloves.
Starts with the sanding of the headlights with a masking tape on the elements of the body. Then a sheet of sandpaper is carefully sanded surface. Why for old headlights you need to take three numbers of sandpaper at once:
- 600th (used dry) – slices off the main damaged layer;
- 1000 (before using it, moisten headlight surfaces with water or soap solution) – it removes microscratches left by the 600 sandpaper;
- 1500 (also used on a wet surface) removes microscratches left by sandpaper 1000.
The appearance of “cloud-like” spots with clear boundaries indicates that the layer of protective varnish has been completely removed. At this stage, the surface of the headlight becomes cloudy.
Proper grinding of headlights with your own hands, what is called “fresh”, begins and ends with sandpaper with abrasiveness 1500.
Special pastes for polishing plastic headlights can be purchased in car dealers. They differ in abrasiveness. Each of them requires a different polishing discs. They are selected by color. This is a designation of hardness. White is the hardest. The right paste will easily remove traces of sandpaper 1500.
The next step is simple:
- Apply the paste in strokes to the sanded surface;
- Spread it evenly;
- and in a circular motion, polish the headlight.
Undoubtedly, headlight polishing with your own hands without a machine is painstaking and long process. The final stage is the application of a special varnish. This is an aggressive substance, so you need to work only with gloves (vinyl or rubber). It is worth noting that the polishing of glass headlights with their own hands is also performed.
At home, polishing headlights on their own can be performed with the use of power tools. To speed up the process, some motorists adapt an ordinary screwdriver or drill. They polish the surface at medium speed and with little effort.
It is important to constantly monitor the temperature of the plastic during headlight polishing with your own hands at home using power tools. To do this, it is enough to touch the surface with the palm of your hand. If it overheats, the skin will react with extremely unpleasant sensations. In this case, you need to stop polishing and let the headlight cool down.
It is better to entrust the polishing of the inner surface of headlights to professionals.