The average age in the developed nations is continuing to climb. In fact some countries like Japan have an aging population problem because of low birth rates, almost no immigration and longer life expectancy. These demographics also have other problems associated with an aging population, like lower tax revenues, more services needed, health problems and costs, etc and more importantly reduced vision.
As governments become more cash strapped they have reduced street lighting and some have started turning street lights off to save money. When this is considered properly and in an automotive context it clearly means that we should restore headlights for everyone to see and to be seen. The manufacturers responded to this need with the clear polycarbonate lenses, which is great when new, but the sun and heat from the lamps causes them to discolor, haze over, get foggy and become yellow headlights this reduces the light output.
If the headlamp lens on your car is no longer clear but is hazy or foggy you should perform headlights cleaning to restore the clarity. To perform this service you will need a few things such as a variable speed battery operated drill, some glass cleaner, a reconditioning kit, a spray bottle for water, and something to kneel on to protect your knees as you perform the reconditioning.
All headlight restore kits are not equal. If you are doing only one or don’t really care to how good the results are, then there are many lens restore kits at your local auto parts store. However if you want to do a great job, or plan on doing more of them possibly for your neighbors or adding the service at your shop take a close look at the Mighty “Bright Beams” headlamp restoration kit. Their kit contains prescription optical grade nano abrasives for commercial use. It contains everything you need for a professional job and can restore up to 80 yellow headlights (40 pair). The cost of the kit is something well within even the tightest shop budgets.
A cautionary note, some lenses have gotten so bad from heat, the sun, and a lack of maintenance that it is almost impossible to restore the headlights and replacement is the only option.
Resurfacing The Lens Using The Mighty “Bright Beams” Kit
First clean the lamps with some good glass cleaner, and a soft cloth, and dry it.
Mask off the painted surfaces around the lamps with some of the “blue” 3M masking tape available at most home centers so that you don’t damage the finish.
Attach one of the resurfacing pads “thin ones” to the drill adapter by peeling off the adhesive protective cover and center it as best as you can
Spray the resurfacing pad and the lens with clear water mist.
Start at the top of the lens, working horizontally with overlapping strokes while applying light pressure on a slow speed of the drill. As you start you will notice a milky white residue on the lens,this is the old material being removed. As you spray and resurface there will be less and less, when this happens the headlight restore is about as good as you can get it.
Professional Trick For Great Lens Restore Results
Keep the lens wet at all times, never allow it to dry! Multiple passes with lots of water mist continually applied gets better results than any other way.
Perform this on the other yellow headlight lens, then wash them with clear water and towel dry.
If they are still yellow headlights, repeat the process one more time but do not try to make it like new. Typical results are over 80% reconditioned. The time per lens restore on this step is under 5 minutes.
Polish The Lenses
Wash both lenses again with clear water and towel dry.
Attach the polishing pad “thick one” to the other drill adapter.
Apply a “pea” sized drop of the polishing solution “Headlight Lens Restore” to the center of the polishing pad.
Start at the top of the lens, working horizontally with overlapping strokes while applying light pressure on a slightly faster speed of the drill.
After you have polished both lens one time. Apply a “pea” sized drop of the polishing solution “Headlight Lens Restore” to the center of the polishing pad again and repeat the process.
Rinse the lenses and the area around them with clear water and dry with a soft cloth.
Remove the tape. You have just performed your first headlights cleaning. Simple wasn’t it?
This process should be done one more time after about 6 months for optimal results.
If the vehicle is equipped with Halogen bulbs, you should consider replacing the bulbs with either the “Blue” Halogen lamps that mimic the new HID Xenon lamps or retrofitting the vehicle with one of the kits available for vehicles not manufacturer equipped HID lighting system.
For those motorists on a budget the “Blue” halogen bulbs and a lens restore is an inexpensive upgrade and maintenance path that could help their situation without the major expense of a retrofit kit.
For The Professional
The latest headlight development is high-intensity discharge “HID” using Xenon gas. When it is correctly evaluated it is very similar to a fluorescent light. These new HID lights are very bright and allow improved vision at night. They consume about 1/3 the power of halogen lights and last longer.
Choosing the right kit is important as some kits are designated “off road use only” and installing one of these on a street vehicle would create legal problems. Also to comply with laws you must label the lens, usually the label is in the kits.
The full retrofit kits are not expensive as a basic kit, however additional components like the Bi Xenon kit for vehicles with high and low beam within the same lamp (eg: 9006), a relay kit to bypass the DRL lights and a canceller kit for CAN protocol vehicles will increase the base cost significantly.
Based on the operational temperature of the bulbs, the color of the HID lights can be changed, affecting how the lights look to the person on the street. The most common and whitest looking lights are the cooler temps, like the 5000K or 6000K bulbs. A more bluish tint or a bright purple beam can be had if you step up to the 10000K or the 12000K lights. Although these are the brightest and most visually unique lights, they are not to everyone's tastes.
However there are some negatives like they produce more heat, and the poly carbonate cover (the clear part of the headlamp) gets hotter and degrades easier. To calculate the heat generated use this formula [°F] = [K] × 9⁄5 − 459.67 As you can see from the math, you need to consider the age of the vehicle and headlight lens before choosing the kit.
There is an ever increasing need to offer or perform this service for everyone.
There is information on some forums suggesting that using a bug repellent which contains "Deet" will resore lens. We have tried this on a few lenses, and it works on certain lens types, but not all. And it does not do as good a job or last as long as a properly restored lens using the products and techniques outlined above.
Comparing our 2X80S to competitors
|Controls Data Corruption|
|Improved Data Speed|
|Enhanced Software Included|
|Phone Tablet PDA Capable|
|Multiple PC Applications|
|Multiple Phone Tablet PDA Applications|
|2 Wheel Vehicle Applications|
|Legacy OS Support|
Yes or Included No or not included Some or limited
|All above information is based on published information as of 01/2015 or products purchsed to confirm|