Almost all automotive headlight lenses made within the last few decades are constructed from polycarbonate plastic, which is a popular clear, hard polymer that has allowed manufacturers great design flexibility. Basically, the material makes it possible to design a car’s headlight assemblies into any shape or form.
Unfortunately, polycarbonate, like most plastics, degrade over time and eventually become foggy. This is an obvious safety hazard considering that your headlight’s light output is absorbed by the cloudy lenses, causing vision at night to be degraded.
Why do they get cloudy?
The major reason why polycarbonate lenses get cloudy is due to their interaction with the sun’s ultra-violet (UV) radiation. Exposure to exhaust, salt, grime, oil and acid rain are several other facts that contribute to lens degradation, but UV light is the biggest culprit.
This has to do with the fact that the energy of UV radiation is close to the “disassociation energy” of the chemical bonds in the plastic, so over time, the plastic lenses start to chemically dissolve and become foggy over time.
Restoring Headlamp Lenses
The good news is that your lenses aren’t foggy all the way through, with only its outside layers being susceptible. That means, with the right materials and equipment, you can polish off the outer layer and restore the lenses to almost new condition. Here are three methods, from least aggressive to most aggressive, that should enable you to restore headlamp lenses to like-new condition:
Method 1: Using an AIO cleaner
Using an is the least aggressive method of restoration. Some AIOs consist of only a solvent, while others contain a solvent with a mild abrasive. You can find AIO headlight cleaners at your local auto parts store and online stores.
These products are all applied in a similar way, typically requiring you to apply a small amount of product to a foam applicator and then working the product until a fresh, clean plastic surface appears.
Method 2: Using a plastic polish
If using an AIO doesn’t deliver the desired results, a dedicated plastic polish might do the job. Most dedicated plastic polish contain ultra-fine abrasives that work to remove the top film-like layer of your lens to reveal the clear plastic below. Using such products is quite straightforward and can be done by hand or with an orbital buffer.
Method 3: Wet sanding and polishing
According to the detailers at , a local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer in Humble, TX, is the most aggressive method you can use. If you find wet sanding and polishing doesn’t work, then the car’s headlamp assembly will probably have to be replaced. You will need some fine-grit wet / dry sandpaper (1000 and 2000 grit). Fill a bucket with some water and soak the sandpaper in the bucket for about 15 minutes prior to starting.
Take the 1000 grit sandpaper and sand the lens, side-to-side, applying light to medium pressure. After this, take the 2000 grit sandpaper and sand the lens top-to-bottom, applying light to medium pressure… what you will notice is that the lens will appear to clear up a little… this is due to the finer grit sanding.
Finally, don’t attempt to polish the lens by hand; use an orbital buffer instead. Start with the more aggressive polish/pad combo and polish the lens thoroughly. Once done polishing, assess progress by wiping with a towel. Chances are you will have to polish a second time, but once you are done, move on to the less aggressive polish/pad combo. It may take some time but your lens will likely polish to a nice, clear finish.
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Tips For Picking The Right Dealership When Buying A Vehicle
Everybody looks for the best deal when purchasing a car, truck, or van, but buying a vehicle is a bit more complex than purchasing a new appliance. It is likely one of the biggest purchases other than a home or property that you will ever make, and is something you will regularly depend on to safely transport you and your family to places. For many people, the importance of a car cannot be understated.
Purchasing a car is a lot like forming a long-term relationship. It’s important to understand all that comes with bringing one into your life. What kinds of warranties are there? What is the reputation of the make and model? And so on…
It’s also very important to . After all, buying a car isn’t as simple as walking in, skipping the sales person, and plopping $35,000 down. It takes time and effort on the part of yourself and the dealer. Here are a few tips on identifying a great dealership who you will enjoy working with and who is likely to provide you with a vehicle buying experience that you won’t forget!
1. How do people on the staff behave?
This isn’t as simple as it sounds, but when starting the process, you need to watch the PEOPLE that work at the dealership. The business operates to sell you a car, truck, or van, so they are not likely to be rude, but are they pushy? Do they act nervous or jumpy? Notice if the people working around the lot look like they are happy and are enjoying themselves. A stressful work environment may mean that management ONLY cares about numbers and not people, and you may want to find another dealer. Happy employees mean a relaxed environment in most cases.
2. Look at the service department!
Check out service reviews before you go, and make sure they don’t have a negative history. Are the service members friendly and helpful, or do they have no personalities? You want a and will go that extra mile, a courtesy that will certainly mean a lot if you have an accident, there is a recall, or you simply care about your vehicle and take care of routine maintenance.
3. Check out the ownership
Of course, make and model are important. You need to be happy with the car and have the peace of mind that it’s well-built and cost effective. But, once you own the car how often will you directly deal with Ford, Honda, Toyota, Chevy, or any other car making company? You will deal with the dealership. Do the owners have several dealerships of different makes? Do they have a good reputation? These are questions worth getting answers to.
4. Look at the finance department
If the dealership only cares about money, they will have a straightforward dollars and sense finance department. as much about its clients as much as it does profits will have special programs, work with people that have credit issues, and push their finance advisers to go the extra mile.
Three Alternative Ways Of Financing Your Dream Car
Buying a new car will typically require a of its purchase price, according to Auto Cheat Sheet. Although most car dealerships commonly advertise a vehicle with a zero deposit, such a purchase can strain your finances as you try to pay down the loan.
Luckily, there are many ways to finance your dream car, some of which might actually have added advantages over a dealership loan. Here are three options to consider.
Home Equity Loans
Often, mortgage lenders are willing to hand over part of your home’s equity to you in the form of a home equity loan. While using your home as collateral, you can easily purchase your car. In fact, this option has a vis-à-vis using car dealership loans.
For instance, you will pay low-interest rates, which can be tax-deductible. On the flip side, such a loan can turn out to be a bad option in case you are not financially responsible. Unlike purchasing your car using auto loans which use your car as collateral, a home equity loan will use your home as collateral. This means that you might lose your home in case you default on the loan.
Use Credit Cards
In case you wouldn’t like to join the , then using your credit card is a wise option, as long as you have a line of credit that allows you to do so. This option can be quite beneficial, since making a big purchase on your credit card and fully commit to paying it up can help improve your credit score.
However, it is always crucial to assess your credit card details to ensure that your APR will actually allow you to pay back the purchase. Additionally, it is advisable to as they might easily make payments tough to achieve. In case there might be some unfair practices in billing your car purchase among other purchases, the fair credit billing act (FCBA) can easily protect you from any arising costs.
Use 401(K) Loans
Although a good number of healthy 401(k) accounts can easily help you make a car purchase, you should always check with your administrator to ensure that you are actually allowed to take money out of the account for the intended purpose. Some accounts restrict the withdrawal of money for making non-essential purchases like a car.
You will also have to repay the loan in five years or less, with the payments coming straight from your paycheck. And should you lose your job, most accounts will require you to repay the balance within 60 days, which can be quite stressful.
Is A Private Number Plate A Good Investment?
So, what do you think? Are private plates as a good investment considering what you’re doing is just buying cool-looking plates? The truth might surprise you!
The traits of a good investment don’t reside in the shape or practicality of the product. Rather, as long as you can make a profit from the initial investment and the risk of monetary loss is low, you pretty much have a fantastic investment.
That said, let’s take a look at the reasons why so many people consider private numbers a great opportunity to make some extra cash.
It Doesn’t Lose Value
Unlike your car, which starts to lose value the moment it leaves the dealership, a private number doesn’t lose value. Furthermore, you can keep it for years on end even if you don’t own a car.
There are two situations where the number can be used at its full value:
- You can keep it for personal use and enjoy the extra attention it garners your vehicle.
- Yu can sell it for the same amount you purchased it for or possibly even more.
In the first case, the private number provides emotional value and can even be passed on from parents to children as a form of family tradition. Personalized license plates are even better when they have an interesting combination or a hidden meaning.
In the second case, a private number has extrinsic value. After all, there have been some of money. While it’s true that not all number will make you rich, most of the witty combinations can be very lucrative.
Rarity And Desirability
When buying something that’s rare but desirable, you are make an investment that is more than likely to grow in the future, and that’s exactly what’s happening with the most interesting private number plates. Of course, you must understand what people like and need to be a bit of a visionary.
Considering that private plates are intended to be unique, one-of-a-kind items, you might end up stuck with the plate if the is not high or if there are many similar plate like it.
A good example here is the plate reading ‘ATT I4H’, which initially cost 1,101 pounds but was sold a few months later for the amount of 8,670 pounds.
Another way to go about this is to find letters and numbers that can easily form common names (John, Sarah, Gordon, and so on). While they may not bring in the same profit as the example mentioned above, you may still get a high rate of return because many people will be looking for them.
No Investment of Effort & Low Risk
The cool thing about private plates is that there is no need to invest effort in the endeavour. Unlike a property or an investment in a company, you don’t risk losing the money if you don’t put in the effort of following its progress.
If you’re just buying the number plate as an investment, you don’t even have to be the one taking care of selling it. There are that can do all the work for you. Even more, they have access to a wide database of possible customers so your investment will have plenty of exposure.
But, if you don’t want to sell, you don’t have to nurture the investment since it doesn’t lose value. You just keep it until it’s time to make a decision to sell it.