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Cloudy Automotive Headlights; Are Yellow Headlights Or Frosted Headlights A Danger To Others?
How Pro Tint Auto Detailing Can Make Headlights Look New Again
Is your car living up to the standards of the road or do you have cloudy headlights? It is a fact of automobile ownership that certain parts of the car will be taken for granted. These are what can be considered the old reliable parts and are most often forgotten. They don’t make any strange noises and the car doesn’t start behaving oddly when problems arise. This does not mean that they are without difficulties which can affect the performance of the vehicle.
Headlights operate ordinarily without much problem, in the past, automotive headlights were made of glass and they either worked or they did not work. Today however, automotive headlights can turn yellow and foggy while the owner will not notice the change over time since it happens so gradually. However if your car sits in the sun and is over 3 years old or is even garage kept but over 5 years old there is a very good chance the headlights are dangerously under-performing.
When automotive headlights turn yellow or become fogged, they are a danger to other cars, pedestrians as well as your family and yourself. The fogging while but still clear white lenses results in a condition that eventually defuses the light significantly, lowering the effectiveness of the lighting up to 80% and the distance the light travels up to 60%. Yellowed lenses can be an even worse condition which can eventually cause up to 90% of light to be defused rather than shining straight forward.
In many states, severely yellowed or impaired headlights may mean a costly ticket of up to $250.00 and or license suspension. Automotive headlights are serious business and involve real safety issues in the maintenance of your car. But even more important, every day you let those headlights get worse, you are driving a really ugly car that can be easily restored.
Replacing cloudy headlights isn’t replacing the headlight, but actually replacing the entire plastic lenses assembly costing from $200.00 to as high as $450.00 per side in some cases. But Pro Tint Auto Detailing has a better way. We don’t offer hooky fixes that sort of work for a few months then revert back. No, our solution is permanent and puts your headlight lenses assembly back to like new condition. We turn back the clock. Our process gives you another 2-5 years depending on how your car is kept.
Why do automotive headlights turn yellow and foggy?
- Oxidation: This happens due to the polycarbonate lens of modern automotive headlights are exposed to the air. Lenses develop microscopic cracks when exposed to UV radiation causing “cloudiness”.
- Road Damage: While driving on damaged roads, the small rocks and debris pit the polycarbonate lens of modern automotive headlights. The gravel creates dents and pits on the lenses.
- Dirt and Chemicals: If a car is on the road for a period of time, it develops a thin layer of dirt and chemicals over the lenses of automotive headlights. This layer is opaque (cloudy) and the affect is to dim the lights or make the automotive headlights hard to see on the road.
- Water Vapor: Vapor is created inside the automotive headlight “box” due to high moisture content in the air which then gets trapped within the light box as the air outside the light box becomes drier. This water vapor scatters the light coming through the polycarbonate lens and creates patterns and diffusion of light on the road making it hard to see clearly.
Here’s a quick fix to clean your automotive headlights if they are not too far gone:
- Remove the top layer of the automotive headlight lens and clean it with especially designed sand paper. (this seems easy with kits available in most auto supply stores, but be vary carful, if you do this procedure incorrectly, it can damage the headlights beyond repair)
- Polish the headlight lens using headlight polish with a microfiber towel.
Time And The Environment Take Their Toll
The automotive headlights are external fixtures and this makes them susceptible to any environmental assault. The outside factors are more serious on cars today because the headlights are no longer made of glass. Instead, these fixtures are made of hard plastic that is covered with a clear coat to protect the porous surface.
The destructive elements can be road salt or pollution, but sooner or later the clear coat on the headings is going to start fading away. The summer time in particular can be rough because of the sunlight. Even if there is UV protection on the lenses of automotive headlights, it is good for only so long without an expensive replacement, or a professional much less expensive restorative process.
That clear coat finish installed over the lenses of new automotive headlight, also can be affected by the type of cleaning agents used. All of these factors result in the polycarbonate automotive headlight lens of modern cars eventually becoming oxidized and the lights take on a foggy appearance as a consequence. This adds up to a situation where automotive headlights can get worse for wear and need to have some professional maintenance done on them.
Why the concern?
You may think that this is not anything more than a cosmetic problem, and that conclusion could not be more incorrect. The majority of the damage to headlight lenses occurs gradually in the summer and we don’t seem to notice during the summer time because daylight hours are long, and the folks who live in dry climates may not immediately see a problem. When headlights become foggy yellow and oxidized it affects the light output.
The beam that should come from the automotive headlight is weakened and will not cover as much ground in front of the automobile. That gradually becomes an even more serious problem as the days grow shorter in wintertime. It also is true that in stormy or wintry weather, when vision is naturally reduced, the smaller lighted area is an invitation for accidents.
Preventive Ways To Avoid Headlight Problems
There are ways to prevent headlight problems, but you have to be cautious. Be careful about polishing the headlights because it can wear down that clear coat. There should be no grit at all in the polish and the soft polish medium can remove early signs of yellowing. If possible, the car should either be parked in a garage or having the headlights face away from the sun. This prevents the damage that can be caused by ultraviolet light.
If you wish to wash the headlights, it should be done with an automotive soap every quarter. This does have an advantage because the washing can prevent the buildup of acids and dirt that promote the yellowing. Should it appear that the yellowing is too advanced, the old clear coat is going to have to be removed with sandpaper or abrasive cleaner and a new coat of protective film applied.
If this process is needed, and if you care about the look of your car and the safety of your family and others on the road, have a professional like Pro Tint Auto Detailing perform this procedure. Pro Tint was awarded 3M Corporation’s Dealer of the Year for the United States, so the experience and workmanship is here, and after 20 years you can bet – Pro Tint will be here tomorrow as well!
Prefer a Professional To Do The Work
That standing work ought to be done by a professional. The work can be done by buying a kit from a retail store, but an amateur might make a mistake in sanding the very sensitive and soft polycarbonate surface of automotive headlights. That generates extra cost, which ought to be avoided. The professional can also recommend and apply the right type of clear coat to produce the best long term results. That professional is Pro Tint Auto Detailing in Central Florida.
The very top of the automotive headlights turning yellow is not as serious an emergency as worn brake pads or pistons starting to malfunction. In fact, you can drive for weeks without noticing there may be a problem. Taking care of the automotive headlights is not something that should not be put off indefinitely.
Anyone who is driving in a Florida spring or a summer thunder storm late at night is aware of the dangers and safety hazard of dim automotive headlights, whether on your car or the one coming at you. This is a time of the year when automotive headlights can be inspected and fixed if necessary – before there is an unfortunate problem or worse.
Any lingering problems can also be corrected without the great sense of urgency. Procrastination does have its price and you have to be aware of it. Making sure that there is no hazy obstruction to the light is simple precaution and safety. It can save you from a nasty accident some dark stormy night. It also is the single most noticeable item that makes you car appear old and less valuable.
Finally, just think about this – when you look at a car in a parking lot, if it has yellow faded automotive headlights, does it look as valuable as the exact same car next to it with bright clear automotive headlights, think about it.