Headlight Restoration Cost in 2024.

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What is headlight restoration and how does it work?

Your vehicle features a pair of headlights to aid in nighttime navigation and help to improve visibility when you are driving in foul weather. Whereas headlights of old, those installed on cars and trucks forty years ago, were made of glass, headlight assemblies on the vehicles of today are made of plastic. Over time, the plastic lens on a headlight housing can become faded or cloudy due to oxidation, making it difficult for the headlight bulb to shine through.

One solution for a dull and cloudy headlight lens is to simply replace the assembly. Another is to repair the lens through a service called headlight restoration.

Headlight restoration is the process of abrading the plastic surface of the headlight assembly lens to remove the outer layer of dull plastic. With the oxidized layer gone, the plastic face is buffed back to a clear and shiny state with a polishing compound and treated with a layer of plastic protectant. The process is similar to that of sanding and buffing the clearcoat paint on a vehicle.


How is a a Headlight Restoration done?

To perform headlight restoration, a technician will first mask off the area around the outer headlight lens to prevent damage before taking the following general steps

  • Using water as a lubricant, sand the surface of the headlight lens with increasingly finer grades of sandpaper to remove the layer of oxidized acrylic and to reduce the depth of the resulting sanding scratches
  • Once the oxidation has been successfully removed, buff the surface with an electric or pneumatic polisher and rubbing compound
  • Repeat the buffing process with a finer grade of compound and less aggressive polishing pad
  • With the sand scratches removed, polish the surface to a high gloss with a glazing compound
  • Coat the lens with a polymer protectant
  • Remove the masking materials and clean up any debris

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National average cost of a a Headlight Restoration
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How do I know if my vehicle needs headlight restoration?

It is easy to identify if your headlights need restoration. If they appear cloudy or discolored, or if they no longer allow light to pass through as they should, they need to be replaced or restored. Knowing whether or not your headlights are a candidate for restoration is another matter. Some degradation or oxidation is beyond reasonable repair. A technician trained in headlight restoration can determine if your headlights should be replaced or might be restored as an alternative.

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Other questions customers ask

How long will professional headlight restoration last?
Having your headlights professionally restored will extend their life and help you to put off having to replace them. You can reasonably expect restoration to last six to twelve months or more, depending on the level of care you give them once the restoration has been performed. That means keeping them clean and coated with protectant, just as you would the painted panels.
How do you maintain headlights after restoration?
Once headlights have been restored, you should make sure to keep them coated with a high-quality polymer protectant to help avoid further damage from UV light. Many headlights are coated from the factory with a special protective layer. Chances are, this layer was removed during restoration. Therefore, you need to keep applying a product to replicate this protection to lengthen the lifespan of your headlights.
How do I stop my headlights from getting cloudy?
As with any preventative maintenance procedures aimed at protecting the paint and other body surfaces, it is helpful to coat your headlights with a polymer protectant, even when they are new. Some auto owners even choose to have paint protective film, or PPF, applied to the headlights to keep them in good shape for the long haul.

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