Your car is polished & protected, with a mirror finish. Windscreen and glass are spotless. Wheels clean and tyres dark and dressed. Chrome and metal accents are shining. You headlights are faded and yellow…. WHAT?
Headlights can degrade over time. The heat from the globes inside the headlight, mixed with the fading of the (plastic) protective covers can make your lights not only look terrible but unsafe for night driving by reducing your vision.
Why do my headlights fade and oxidise?
Most headlight covers are made of plastic, in fact it’s a polycarbonate material. This clear plastic has the UV protection in the outer layers. Over time the elements and harsh products used during the wash process can cause this protective layer to break down. This is where the plastic can start to fade or oxidise.
How do we repair faded and scratched headlights?
In order to repair this oxidisation we have to remove all the polycarbonate plastic that is affected using an abrasive, followed with lighter abrasives and compound/polish to bring back the clarity.
If your headlights are in a condition where it requires using an extreme abrasive such as heavy sanding ie/ wet sanding paper 1500g or lower, it is recommend to use a durable coating to protect the polycarbonate from oxidising again. In fact we recommend using a coating to protect your headlights at all times as it will assist with reducing light scratching, pitting and removal of bugs.
How to Restore Faded Headlights
Clean the area thoroughly to ensure there is no dirt, grime or bugs on the surface of the headlights and dry them. Using masking tape, mask the paintwork, plastics and trim around the headlight to protect the surrounding area.
Remove fading and scratches
Depending on the condition you may be required to heavily sand out the imperfections by hand with wet sanding paper. (stage 3) Fill a spray bottle with water, mist the surface of the headlight and the paper and lightly rub it on the surface in a left to right or up and down direction. Frequently stop sanding and dry the surface to inspect if you have removed all the oxidization, pitting and scratches.
Once the heavy defect removal has been completed we now begin the refining process, bringing the clarity back to the plastic
Restoring Clarity back into the Headlight
Using a random orbital, rotary or drill, stick the 2000g 80mm sanding disk to the backing plate.
Slightly moisten the sanding disk and light and begin to remove the defects. Once you have obtained a uniform finish, remove the 2000g sanding disk, and apply the 4000g disk. Repeat this process now with the lighter abrasive.
We are now ready for the compounding and polishing steps.
- Apply a 10c sized blob of the S3GOLD compound onto the white spider pad attached to the backing plate and spread the compound into the pad. With the pad lightly pressed on to the headlight, turn on the machine, moving at 2-3cm per second, working the sanding scratches out the plastic.
- Work half a headlight at a time. Continue to polish until the compound has turned clear.
- Reapply and repeat until all the sanding marks and traces have been removed.
In the next step we are going to turn these headlights crystal clear, using our finishing compound and finishing pad with the same technique as the previous step.
Your headlights should now be looking even better then new. It’s now time to protect them.
Protect the Restored Headlight
At this stage you may want to remove the masking tape and wash out and rinse the headlight area.
- Using CarPro Eraser, spray down and wipe off any compound, sanding or oil residue left on the surface of the headlight with the Yellow Microfibre cloth supplied. We need the headlight surface to not only be clean but free of any oils and liquid so the coating will adhere and bond.
- Shake the CarPro Cquartz well for 15-30 seconds. Add 4-5 drops on the applicator. Apply the coating the headlight, first by outlining the area then filling the area with horizontal lines. Repeat this by now wiping over the surface in vertical lines, covering where you have just applied the coating to ensure you have covered the entire area. Allow the coating 1-2 minutes and then remove using the light blue, suede microfibre cloth.
For best results let the coating cure and harden overnight, preferably in a garage and definitely away from moisture and water. It will take 5-7 days for the coating to dry completely. During this time do not wash them with any detergents or cleaner.