How To Restore Headlights at Home

We’re going to show you how we can keep your plastic headlights from yellowing, fading, and cracking. You might not know it, but in modern cars, all the headlight assemblies are made out of plastic, no longer glass. The shift to plastic has a significant drawback. Plastic tends to fade and crack, whereas glass stays nice and hard, allowing for easy cleaning when it gets dirty. +20-year-old glass headlight still shines and looks great. Unfortunately, plastic doesn’t last as long.

The Evolution of Headlight Design

The modern headlight design is an improvement, where bulbs fit inside and can be easily replaced when they burn out. However, when the assembly becomes cloudy and unattractive, it’s because it’s made of plastic. Replacing these plastic assemblies can be expensive. Some try to polish and apply clear coat, but this solution often doesn’t last. The plastic’s low quality means it can crack and break after multiple polishing attempts, leading to the need for an expensive assembly replacement.

Discovering a Solution: McGuire’s Headlight Coating

However, we’ve found something that can preserve your headlights, preventing them from deteriorating in the first place. Prevention is better than frequent fixes due to fading and cracking. We decided to test McGuire’s headlight coating to see if it actually works. We bought two brand new headlight assemblies and coated them once a year with McGuire’s. Around the same time, we got new headlight assemblies for another Lexus car. We left them alone with the original clear coat that the Chinese had sprayed because these are aftermarket assemblies.

Comparing Results: Clear Coat vs. McGuire’s Coating

Let’s compare the results. The Lexus’s clear coating is bubbling and peeling off due to the poor application by the Chinese. Clear coat paint applied in factories tends to crack within a year. It looks worse than before, as clear coat paint wasn’t designed for that purpose. While there are special plastic paints for bumpers, they’re not clear like headlamps. For crystal-clear results, headlight coating is the way to go. Check out these Matrix headlights with McGuire’s headlight coating applied once a year, at the same age as the others that were clear coated—they’re still crystal clear. That’s a significant reason we advise against using clear coat paint on your headlights; it simply doesn’t last over time.

Application Process: McGuire’s for Restoration and Prevention

If your headlights are already fogged up, you can use McGuire’s plastic polish to remove haze. For preventive measures, clean the headlights with a little Windex, let it dry, and then spray McGuire’s headlight coating to prevent yellowing and fading. Apply another coat after letting it dry for three to five minutes. The second coat will seal it completely, keeping UV rays out and ensuring the plastic remains pliable, preventing cracks and fading.

Simple Maintenance for Lasting Results

Regularly cleaning your headlights and applying McGuire’s headlight coating annually is simple. It prevents plastic from fading, keeps it looking great, and eliminates the need for frequent polishing and repainting with actual clear coat paint. As mentioned earlier, if it’s plastic, you can only polish it so many times before it cracks and breaks, leading to the purchase of another assembly.

Embracing the Reality of Plastic in Headlight Design

Yes, we also yearn for the old days when headlights were made of glass, and we didn’t have to worry about this plastic nonsense. However, plastic is here to stay. It’s cheaper to make and can take any shape, fitting the style of the car. Plastic is here to stay, so learning how to deal with it will keep you happy. Take a look at this old clapper I took out of my garbage bin when I replaced it for a customer—it looks pretty good now. But truth be told, you can’t use this one anymore because it has a crack in the plastic, and it filled up with water when it rained. This is why prevention with a coating is essential.

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