How to Improve Your Night Vision
See Better When Driving in the Dark
Have you ever been driving along, and realized that it was really hard to see? It wasn’t that the night was especially dark, and you weren’t having vision problems. Upon inspection you likely discovered that the cause for your “blindness” was that dirt and grime had accumulated on your headlights. Wiping them clean solved that problem.
Over time the plastic headlight lenses get scratched, nicked, and scraped. There isn’t much that you can even do about it; it’s a result of driving and tiny dust and sand particles (along with some larger rocks and debris) scraping across the front of the car.
Fortunately, it’s a relatively easy fix. You don’t even have to bring your vehicle to Big Sky Collision Center to have it all done; you can do it yourself with a restoration kit that costs less than $25.
Restoring Faded Headlight Lenses
After you have your restoration kit, there are a few processes to follow to make sure they clear up nicely and stay clear for a long time. A good kit will walk you through the process, so make sure that you don’t skip any steps.
Clean the Lenses Really Well
Your headlight lenses hit everything that comes at your vehicle. Through the summer it’s bugs and road grime. Into the fall it’s leaves, some bugs, and more dirt. Winter throws all sorts of sand, dirt, slush, snow, and ice. Most likely, you haven’t taken time to really clean those headlights. Sure they get the once over when you’re washing the vehicle (every couple of months at least, right?). And they may get wiped down when you’re at the gas station cleaning the windshield. Other than that, they do their job of deflecting junk away from the headlight bulbs.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves, bust out the cleaning agents, and really get them nice and clean. Scrub them and get them shiny and clean.
Sand them Down Smooth
Once the headlights have dried, it’s time to smooth out the deeper nicks and grooves so that the entire headlight is a nice even dull. It may seem counter-intuitive to scuff the lights more in order to make them clearer, but we’ll explain the science here soon.
Starting with about a 400 grit sandpaper (your kit should have a variety of grits, start with the lowest number which will be the roughest) scuff them up good. Maintain a circular motion, or a consistent one-direction motion. When everything seems smooth, move on to the next higher number to smooth them out even more.
Clean the Dust off Really Well
After scuffing the lights so that everything is nice and even, it’s time to clean them again. You have now created a bunch of plastic dust, and that all needs to go.
Using a vacuum you can get the majority of it quickly and efficiently. Then a wet rag should pick up the rest. Give the lenses a once-over with some ammonia free cleaning solution, and let them dry.
Polish Them with a Clear Coat
If you look up online how to restore faded headlights, many how-to’s will miss this step. It’s not just enough to smooth them all out, you have to fill in those little grooves and scuffs.
We polished the lenses with higher and higher grit sandpaper in order to make the nicks and grooves and small as possible. We now have to fill in those nicks and grooves to create a smooth finish across the surface. Your kit will come with the right clear coat, but for those going the entirely DIY method, make sure the final coating has a UV protectant. Over time the plastic itself will fade and yellow; most varnishes or clear coats will also yellow over time. There are a few products, however, that have the proper ingredients to block those UV ray that will ultimately cause the yellowing. Some are designed specifically for auto headlights.
Be Safer on the Road with Clear Headlights
If you are handy, there’s a good chance that you have the right products at home to do the restoration yourself. Purchasing a kit, especially since they are very affordable, may still be your best option. These kits will come with all the cleaning solution that you need, all the clear coat that you need, and instructions on exactly what to do. If you do them yourself, and assuming you don’t grind away the entire headlight lens, you can always get a kit later and re-do the work if it gets messed up the first time around.
Restoring your headlights is a great way to help you see better at night. With fresh lenses your lights will be brighter, and you will be able to see road hazards more easily. That means you won’t be as likely to get in a wreck and need to bring your vehicle in to the best auto body repair shop in Billings!