Car Headlight Restoration vs Replacement: Which is Better?


By  AIS Windshield Experts

Category:  Car Headlight Services

Car Headlight Restoration vs Replacement: Which is Better?

Clear and bright headlights are incredibly important for safe driving, especially at night. Over time, the plastic lenses on headlights can become cloudy, yellowed, and oxidised, reducing the amount of light output. This deterioration can make it difficult to see the road ahead clearly. When your headlights start to degrade, you have two options - restore the existing headlights or replace them entirely.

This guide will examine the pros and cons of each option to help you choose which is best for your vehicle.

What Causes Headlights to Degrade?

Headlight lenses are commonly made from polycarbonate plastic. Over time, the plastic can become degraded from:

  • Exposure to UV radiation from the sun
  • Oxidation from environmental contaminants reacting with the lens surface
  • Buildup of road debris, dirt, and grime
  • The plastic degrades on a molecular level, causing the lenses to appear hazy, yellowed, or foggy. This affects the light transmission, scatter, and projection from the headlight bulb - reducing visibility significantly.

Can Cloudy Headlights Be Restored?

In many cases, yes - cloudy, oxidised headlight lenses can be restored to like-new condition. Headlight restoration is the process of removing the outer degraded layer of plastic on the lenses and applying a protective coating to avoid future degradation. Here are the basic steps:

  • Cleaning - Thoroughly removing contaminants from the lens surface
  • Sanding - Using progressively finer grit sandpaper to remove the outer oxidised layer
  • Polishing -Fine buffing with a polishing compound to smooth the lens surface
  • Coating - Applying a clear polymer coating to protect the plastic from UV and oxidation

If your headlights are foggy and degraded, searching for "headlight restoration near me" can help you find AIS Windshield Experts centres that provide professional headlight restoration services conveniently close to your location.

Benefits of Headlight Restoration

1. Less expensive - The average cost for professional headlights is much less costly than replacing the headlights.

2. Quick turnaround - Headlight restoration can usually be performed in the afternoon. No need to wait days or weeks for replacement lights.

3. Maintains OEM lights - Restoring your existing headlights allows you to keep the fit and look of the original manufacturer lights.

4. Environmentally friendly - Restoration reuses existing materials rather than scrapping for brand-new parts. Much less wasteful.

Read Also: How to Maintain Your Car’s Headlights?

When to Consider Full Headlight Replacement

Though restoration can rejuvenate cloudy headlights, there are some instances when full replacement may be the better option:

Severe cracking or damage - Deep cracks or structural damage in the lens may be unable to be restored.

Very outdated designs -Older halogen-sealed beams may be prime candidates for upgrading to newer HID or LED designs for maximum visibility.

Discoloured interior housing - Lens restoration won't help if the chrome interior housing is oxidised and discoloured.

Benefits of Headlight Replacement

Upgrade options - Replace with brighter HID or LED headlights for maximum nighttime visibility and safer driving.

2.Modern appearance - New headlights can update the look of an older vehicle.

3.Insurance coverage- Depending on your insurance policy, replacement headlights may be covered in the event of damage, reducing out-of-pocket costs.

4. New lens material - Some replacement headlights use durable polycarbonate or glass lenses to avoid degradation over time.

Professional vs DIY Options

Both headlight restoration and replacement can be performed professionally or as a DIY project; however, it's important to keep in mind that they come with their own set of challenges. DIY kits are available for those who prefer a hands-on approach, but achieving professional-level results can be tricky. Professional shops have the expertise and tools to provide high-quality results, ensuring your safety on the road.

If you lack significant automotive repair experience, it may be best to leave replacement tasks to the professionals.

Read Also: Do Car Headlight Restoration Kits Really Work?

The Bottom Line

No matter which option you choose, restoring clarity to your headlights is critical for safe night driving. Don't delay - foggy headlights left unchecked will continue to worsen. Consult a professional like AIS Windshield Experts if you're unsure whether your headlights can be restored or need replacement. With some care and maintenance, you can keep your headlights in top shape for maximum visibility.

In addition to headlight restoration and replacement services, AIS Windshield Experts offers a wide range of auto glass repair and maintenance services. For commercial vehicles and luxury vehicles, we provide specialised glass repair and replacement. Other services include car battery testing and replacement, sunroof replacement, wiper installations, Fastag RFID tags for toll roads, and more. Our expanded service menu makes AIS Windshield Experts the go-to auto glass and repair experts for all vehicle maintenance needs.

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