The dark mornings and early evenings are now officially upon us, so what better way to make your presence on the road known than with gleaming, oxidation and haze free headlamps? Over the years plastic headlamps have been known to accrue a yellow haze as the plastic starts to age and deteriorate amongst the harsh road conditions, chemicals and salt that the modern day road user faces. Eventually, if left, this can lead to an MoT fail as the visible light transmission from the headlamps is reduced to the point that your MoT-er could justifiably refuse the all-important ticket.
Overcome such inconvenience without having to shell out for new headlamps and the associated labour cost of fitting them thanks to the new Autoglym Headlight Restoration Kit. This all-in-one kit features everything needed to bring headlamps back from the brink of being consigned to the scrapheap.
With around half a day’s labour it’s entirely possible to sand, polish and protect any vehicles headlamps to ensure a few more years trusty service on the road. Lighten up and ensure your vehicle shines bright this winter thanks to Autoglym. Here’s our quick guide to getting the best from the varying grades of wet and dry that are included in the Autoglym kit, not to mention some handy hints to prevent any surrounding areas falling foul of a rogue drill.
First up clean and dry your headlamps so that they’re contaminant free and looking squeaky clean. Then protect any surrounding paintwork using some detailer’s, low tack masking tape. Apply up to three of four layers of the stuff so that you won’t catch an edge if the drill runs away with you.
Using the 800-grit abrasive discs and a hand held drill, slowly and methodically work your way around the headlamp using an up and down and side to side motion. Be particularly careful of catching the edges of the paint with the sanding disc or drill attachment. In some cases it’s easier to remove the sanding discs and do the edges by hand. Make sure you get a uniform transluscent finish across the entire headlamp and don’t hang around in one area for too long or you could start to burn the plastic. Extra time spent at this stage will result in easier polishing and compound application later on. If you find that the plastic burns at any point, you could even apply a little spray of water to prevent the plastic from heating up or the sandpaper from clogging.
Repeat the process with the 1500 grit discs on the drill. Again, work out to the edges and ensure that you have removed the previous sanding marks. When a uniform finish is achieved, you’ll notice that the plastic start to become less cloudy and opaque as you work up the grades of finer sanding and polishing until it is restored back to see through.
Repeat with the 2000-grit sanding pad. You’ll notice that each successive finer grit requires much less effort than the previous grade. At this point you could even use a spray of water to achieve a very fine sanding effect – make sure you’ve masked any areas that you don’t want to get sanding spray upon or you’ll end up with white specks all over your plastics and trim.
Attach the 3000-grit sanding pad and apply an ample spray of water to both pad and headlamp. Slowly and methodically work your way across the entire headlamp – you’ll definitely be able to see at this point that the lens is becoming see through and clear now. The 3000 grit stage is so satisfying, but don’t forget to ensure you’ve buffed out any previous heavy sanding marks. If you haven’t got them out at this stage, you might have to repeat 800-grit onwards again.
Fit the waffle polish applicator to your drill head and apply a few small drops of Autoglym Headlight Restoration Compound to the pad. Dab it on the headlamp and smooth it out before setting the drill off or you’ll find it fires everywhere. Apply the compound sparingly and work it across the headlamp evenly. Once you’re happy with coverage allow it to haze up and wipe off with a clean microfibre
Repeat step six for extra clarity before using something like Autoglym Ultra High Definition Wax or Extra Gloss Protection to seal in the shine and keep the dirt and plastic oxidation out. By the end of it you should be left with a perfectly see through, clear, back to brand new condition headlamp that will stand up to the elements for years to come. Don’t forget to keep on top of polishing and sealing your headlamps in the future as part of a complete cleaning regime.
On this particular VW Passat we also fitted some uprated 5000k headlamp bulbs (Xenon style white balance) so the improvement in vision whilst driving was markedly different. Combined with clean headlight lenses the winter nights are now easily pierced.