At first glance, car headlights seem uncomplicated and simple device with a clear principle of operation and design. And it is unlikely that when choosing a car potential buyers pay attention to the lighting equipment. Although optics does not directly affect the operation of important assemblies and units, but is an indispensable element of comfort and safety for both the driver and other road users and pedestrians. And what to do if the headlights are out of order or worn out?
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Restoring car headlights as a new trend among car enthusiasts
Today in the circle of motorists and experts there are ongoing discussions about the expediency of regeneration of old worn-out parts, which have become unsuitable for operation due to expiration of the working life. Naturally, each car owner decides individually whether to replace the headlights or try to repair them. But if you make an adequate assessment of each option with a description of the pros and cons without subjective opinions, you will be able to make the right decision.
In addition to blown bulbs or damaged lenses, automotive optics are subject to natural wear and tear with loss of performance properties. A key and very popular vulnerability of such devices is matting, which reduces light transmission both outside and inside the equipment. As a result, the lamps begin to light less intensely.
About 99% of products made of polycarbonate react negatively to various weather and atmospheric effects (sunlight, snow, hail, rain, etc.) and are also damaged by road salt, gravel or sand. In the process of cleaning after such effects, the surface is covered by small chips and scratches, which deteriorates the transparency and aesthetics of products.
Process of regeneration of car headlights
Restoration work to remove scratches on the exterior matte surface involves a delicate cleaning of the coarsened layer, with subsequent polishing to a smooth state. Next, you cover the cleaned and smooth product with a special substance that protects it from ultraviolet rays.
Such a process is performed without removing the optics from the car, and even in the course of routine diagnosis and service. Frosted shades can retain up to 75% of the light, reducing the intensity of the illumination. This explains why it is so important to polish them. Defects on the inside surface appear less frequently and are usually associated with loss of tightness.
In most cases polishing “glass” solves the problem of dim headlights, and the price of the service does not exceed 2-3 thousand rubles. And if desired, you can perform the procedure yourself using improvised means and materials.
Note that some services offer treating headlights with a special film or protective polymer layer as an option. But then the cost of regeneration will increase significantly.
If we are talking about deterioration of the reflector, here you can not get by with the purchase of new bulbs, because it is not about them. And restoration of the defective place on the reflector will also not bring any result, so you will have to completely remove the previous coating and apply a new one in its place.
In the case of reflector optics (classic lighting fixtures with complex or parabolic shape of reflectors which form a directional light beam) the restoration procedure is unlikely to justify itself: the reflector occupies a large area. Then it makes more sense to buy a new element.
If the car is equipped with modern lights with an optical lens which forms a powerful beam of light with compact dimensions, the regeneration will be cheaper since such reflectors have a smaller area.
It is not uncommon for the lens itself to get covered with plaque from a hot lamp. In this case, you will need to clean it, change it separately or buy a new headlight assembly, specifying the cost beforehand. In general, the installation of new modules is in demand, and in the course go both LED and xenon analogues.
It is prohibited to use homemade LEDs, manufactured by handicrafts, but the risk of getting a fine is extremely low. You can also try to justify yourself by saying that the optics were changed at the service center, and you did not know about it. But is it worth the risk?
As for the LED elements, which at the moment are considered the most fashionable solution, it is theoretically not necessary to change them, because they have a huge service life. Such parts either lose brightness completely, or undergo a strong drawdown. In terms of replacement, they are very complicated, because they consist of many boards, microprocessors and controllers. But it is not a problem for repairmen – you just solder something, change something and the problem is solved.
Fortunately, the number of compatible spare parts is not an issue. And overhauling a structurally complex product is three times cheaper than buying a used headlight.
However, choosing parts at car junk yards, you must be especially attentive, because instead of the needed headlight you can be offered a practically identical one, but from the car with the right-hand steering wheel. It’s also not uncommon for leaky parts to be sold.
If you are looking for parts for cars with modern optics, you need to be very careful not to fall for a fake.
Why it makes sense to restore car headlights
This is the key question that all motorists face when they discover problems with the original optics. And it is often very difficult to choose between buying a new set or trying to restore worn out headlights.
To summarize, lights are not as important as brakes, steering, alternator, or turbocharger. And although it is an extremely important safety element, it does not affect the operation of other systems in any way. The main purpose of the headlights is qualitative brightening of the road environment, and after a thorough polishing and regeneration their performance significantly improves.
Also an argument in favor of regeneration is much lower financial costs than buying a new set, because even one new headlight for a car can cost much more than several regeneration procedures. And the higher the class of the car, the higher the cost of the optics.
Partial and full headlight restoration services are provided by specialized repair shops and services. If the repair seems unprofitable or will not bring any results, you can consider buying a new set of car parts.