Cayman GT4RS

Is It Better to Restore Headlights or Replace Them?

As long as a car is maintained as required from new then there is little to be worried about. Apart from the mechanical, there is also the aesthetics such as the paint and wheels. Headlights also need preservation, when neglected they get dull and the options left are to either to replace or restore them.

Buying new headlights is the superior of the two options, restoration deals with the lens only, and acquiring a new headlight replaces the whole unit. In addition, all other components that make up the headlight are also new. Visibility is much clearer and replacement of any other parts including bulbs is a non-issue. A new headlight gives the owner peace of mind knowing that everything related to headlights has been dealt with and shouldn’t be a bother anymore.

The big downside of replacing a headlight is the cost of buying new ones. This will depend on the make and model of the car. Either way, it is inevitable that it will cost the owner a considerable amount. There is also an additional labor cost because replacing the headlight will require some expertise. Headlights are held in place using different clips and mounts. It might also involve removing the front bumper which in itself is no minor task. It might seem that this is something that can be done at home but it is not as easy as it seems.

Taking all of this into consideration I would still recommend buying new headlights simply because the benefits are far much better than the negatives.

Does this mean we should not restore headlights?

No. We simply acknowledge the fact that buying new ones is better than restoration. That being said Restoration is the second-best alternative to respacing headlights. It’s better than having your headlights damaged or in a bad condition. The majority of headlights get damaged because of oxidation. The plastic material on most headlights weakens over time because of UV light from the Sun. This causes a haziness or yellowing of the headlights, this is what is referred to as oxidation. When not repaired the haziness gets worse and will affect the performance of the headlight. Issues such as poor visibility will occur.

To solve this problem, we can purchase a new headlight or repair them. If replacing the headlight is not possible at the moment, then restoration is the next best alternative. There are plenty of restoration techniques, they include:

  1. Restoration using toothpaste
  2. Restoration by polishing
  3. Restoration using kits
  4. Permanent Restoration

Of these four methods, the best technique is permanent restoration. This method has the best result and lasts longer compared to the others. Restoration using toothpaste is the simplest method and does not require technical skills to get the job done. Restoration by polishing is superior to using toothpaste but for lasting results please ensure that a UV-resistant sealant is used at the end of the process. Restoration kits can be bought as a complete Do It Yourself option and the results are fantastic. I have written more about this topic and you can read the article here.

Whether replacing or restoring at some point the headlights will get hazy. Eventually, the headlights will get damaged from oxidation. The difference comes in the life cycle of each method used. Replacing or buying new headlights will get you a cycle of about 5 years or more depending on the maintenance and the climate conditions in your part of the world. Restoration using toothpaste can only get you 3 days or more then you have to repeat the cycle again. Restoration by polishing gets you weeks but if a UV-resistant sealant is used it can last you a year. Restoration kits last a year as well. Of all the restorative processes permanent restoration offers the best results. The technique lasts a minimum of three years and is dependent on maintenance and environmental conditions.

Restoration offers great results at a bargain. Whether replacing headlights or restoring them the overall objective is to have the car looking great and with both approaches, the final objective is realized and that’s what counts. Ultimately the choice is yours.

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