- Digression: headlights made of plastic
- Is polishing headlights allowed?
- What to do with dull car headlights?
These alternative options for headlight cleaning are there
- Conclusion: carefully consider polishing the headlights
Digression: headlights made of plastic
Most car manufacturers now use plastic headlights. The reason for this is the numerous advantages that plastic offers over glass. Plastic weighs significantly less than glass and is easier to process and more visually appealing.
Plastic offers a big advantage, especially when it comes to stone chipping: It is less brittle and breaks much less quickly than glass. In modern vehicles, a headlight usually consists of one Polycarbonate cover. This is covered with an anti-scratch layer. Dust, sand, salt, insects, weather or the wrong cleaning agents can damage this protective layer.
Is polishing headlights allowed?
Sealing, grinding or polishing of the headlight covers are considered to be a modification of the components and are accordingly generally forbidden. These modifications lead to damage of the protective layer and there is a risk of not only losing the type approval of the headlight, but also the approval of the entire vehicle. At the latest at the TÜV, the examiner can deny a sticker to a car with polished headlights. Should such a car be involved in an accident, it is possible that the Car insurance is not liable for any damage caused. The ban does not only apply to polishing the headlights yourself: workshops are also not allowed to polish the headlights of the car.
What to do with dull car headlights?
Anyone who has problems with dull, scratched or blind headlights can usually not avoid buying a new or used headlight in good condition. Buying and installing a new headlight in a workshop can cost several hundred euros. Depending on the type of headlight, between 300 and 2,000 euros __ should be budgeted for.
Important: You usually have to bear the costs yourself. The insurance doesn’t cover it. One The exception to this is when headlights are replaced if they have been damaged in an accident. Here, the vehicle liability insurance of the polluter or your own fully comprehensive insurance bears the costs. In the event of damage caused by storms, hail or accidents involving wildlife, the partially comprehensive insurance also comes into play.
The general rule: Regular cleaning of car headlights can prevent them from going blind. The headlights retain their luminosity for as long as possible and polishing or even replacing the headlights can be avoided in the best case. Careful and above all mild cleaning is important.
That’s how it works:
- Rinse off dirt and dust with clear, warm water. It is best to use a spray bottle for this.
- Dab the headlights with a new, soft sponge or microfiber cloth. If possible: Use car shampoo as well. Alternatively, it is also perfectly fine to clean the car in a classic car wash. Never rub the headlights during the entire process, as this can cause scratches.
If you still have problems with matt, scratched or blind headlights, you usually cannot avoid buying a new or used headlight in good condition. Buying and installing a new headlight in a workshop can cost several hundred euros. are for safety between 300 and 800 euros to plan Important: You usually have to bear the costs yourself. The insurance doesn’t cover it. One Exception applies when replacing the headlights Damage from an accident. Here, the vehicle liability insurance of the polluter or your own fully comprehensive insurance bears the costs. In the event of damage caused by storms, hail or accidents involving wildlife, the partially comprehensive insurance will step in.
These alternative options for headlight cleaning are there
If the car headlights should become weak despite regular cleaning and the budget for a new purchase is not sufficient, there are alternative ways to help the headlights shine again. Headlight polishing is included only for headlights made of plastic possible. Glass headlights require a different treatment. Below we show options that can be used to prepare the headlights of your own car.
Before any repair work, the headlights should be thoroughly cleaned. This makes it possible to get a better overview of the condition of the car headlights. After thorough cleaning, check whether the plastic cover has deep scratches or holes. If this is the case, damage cannot be corrected by grinding and polishing and the Replacing the headlights is unavoidable. Cloudy, yellowed or slightly scratched headlights, on the other hand, can be processed again.
The first step is to cover the body parts around the headlight with masking tape. This prevents damage to the paintwork.
Prepare headlights with polish
Before using other tools, the use of polishing paste can help to remove cloudiness or yellowing. To do this, the paste must be applied to the surface with a soft cloth according to the instructions for use. Only a little pressure is necessary because polishing does not require much force.
Danger: Under no circumstances should car polish be used for cleaning headlights. In the worst case, it causes stress cracks that damage the plastic lenses.
Polishing headlights with toothpaste: Toothpaste has a similar effect to polishing paste due to the microplastics (or marble powder) it contains and can fill small cracks in the plastic. However, this only works if the cracks are only in the coating.
- Using a damp cloth or polishing pad, apply some toothpaste to the cracks and rub in the toothpaste until the surfaces are scratch-free and shiny again.
- Then cover the treated surfaces with a clear coat. Apply this only very thinly so as not to impair the light output of the headlight more than necessary.
Danger: Be careful not to get the toothpaste on the paintwork of the car. This can result in dull spots. Other means are suitable for polishing paintwork.
Headlight polishing with WD-40: Another option is to use WD-40. For faded headlights, the product helps reduce headlight opacity. However, this effect is only temporary and loses its effect after a few days or weeks.
Working with the polishing machine: Headlights can also be polished using a polishing machine. It enables the polish to be applied evenly. This method requires the headlights to be removed. Use of the method is only recommended if you already have experience. A wrong procedure can easily damage the brackets.
Prepare headlights with sandpaper
If clouding or yellowing cannot be removed by polishing the headlights, the headlights must first be sanded down. Special grinding and polishing sets for preparing car headlights are commercially available. The sets consist of the required abrasive and, if necessary, a clear coat and an adhesion promoter. If polishing with a plastic polishing paste or similar does not produce the desired result, use sandpaper.
Instructions for grinding:
- Wet sandpaper with a 1500 or 2000 grit use for the first pass.
- Repeatedly dip the sandpaper in the water to remove sanding particles.
- Wipe off any sanding residue after the first pass and examine the result.
- Carry out a second sanding process using wet sandpaper with a very fine 3,000 to 4,000 grit.
In order to preserve the condition of the polished headlights for as long as possible, it is advisable to use a polish afterwards. In this way, fine unevenness in the surface can be leveled out and the aesthetics of the headlights increased. A thorough way of working without time pressure is crucial.
The quality of your own work can be checked very easily: simply test the function of the headlights by using the headlights a smooth and flat surface irradiate.
Conclusion: carefully consider polishing the headlights
Polishing car headlights should be carefully considered. If you still decide to take this step, you will find numerous ways to give your headlights new life. With all measures, it is important to proceed carefully and conscientiously and, above all, to allow sufficient time. However, if the headlights are severely damaged, replacing the headlights is unavoidable to protect all road users.