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Thread: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing transpa

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    Default How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing transpa

    How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing transparency?

    I've noticed that headlamps on new cars usually turn yellow and lose some of their transparency after two years.


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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Welcome to CPF, Obella

    In CPF terminology, "Headlamp" is a light strapped to your head, and "Headlight" is the main light on your car (I get confused about this sometimes too! ).

    With that in mind, I'll move your thread to the Automotive section.
    Resistance is futile...

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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by Obella View Post
    How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing transparency?
    There are specifically formulated products (mild polish + wax) for plastic headlight lens care. Do some googling

    Cheers,

    Tam

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    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by tam17 View Post
    There are specifically formulated products (mild polish + wax) for plastic headlight lens care. Do some googling
    Googling the forums may reveal that if you polish the headlights, even with a mild polish, you start to wear down the protective coating on the outside of the lens. Wax will do very little to protect the lenses or the protective coating from UV, as well. That being said, a wax will help keep the lenses clean or make them easier to clean (such as when a bug gets splattered on it).

    Keep the car parked indoors whenever possible, or park where the lights don't face the sun. There are also UV-protective sprays available, but they may reduce the light transmission slightly.

    For some time, the kit from Double Horn Products which contained a set of cleaners and polishing 'sponges' was favored, but its protective spray may not work as well as advertised. See a review here and my thread where I did a mini-review.

    If the lights have already started getting crusty, then stripping the coating and recoating may help prolong the life of the lenses. Once the lenses themselves yellow, that is a permanent condition as it is more than 'skin deep'. You want to prevent that whenever possible. Again -- indoor parking is definitely of benefit.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 09-19-2011 at 12:00 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    Keep the car parked indoors whenever possible, or park where the lights don't face the sun. There are also UV-protective sprays available, but they may reduce the light transmission slightly.
    I've also seen a UV-blocking film, but it wasn't specifically meant to cover the headlights. The concern would be that I believe it's illegal to cover the headlight (or licence plates) with anything. You can always replace the car every 3-5 years http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...lies/smile.gif

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    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman View Post
    I've also seen a UV-blocking film, but it wasn't specifically meant to cover the headlights. The concern would be that I believe it's illegal to cover the headlight (or licence plates) with anything.
    My Previa's headlights have that blue masking tape on them because it's just parked in front of the house, in the sun. I peel it off and save it before I take it somewhere, and reapply it when I get back home. A clear UV-protective film for cars that get driven would be useful, so long as you peel off the film before driving off.

    You can always replace the car every 3-5 years
    But I already get a new unicorn every year! :P

  7. #7

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by Obella View Post
    How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing transparency?

    I've noticed that headlamps on new cars usually turn yellow and lose some of their transparency after two years.

    after 2 years????? idk, none of mine 3-5 years old cars have that problem, and i park them outside. older ones.. yes, but not 2 years. ...however, quality of new cars becoming worst and worst, so i wont be surprised if it happens in 2 years.

    well there is not much you can do untill they become yellow, than you just polish them. you can put wax on the car, and lights too, it'll block some uv , other than that, idk,

    i personaly didn't have yellow lights since my first and second car (both were over 10 yeaers old), so now i don't keep cars for longer than 5 or 3 years, all depends on how long the warranty is, once it runs out, the car is gone. the way they build them nowadays... let someone else deal with repears.

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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    I have used these and have good results with delaying the yellowing:

    http://www.xpel.com/products/headlight.asp

    They are easy to apply and well worth it.

    Matt

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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    There are some situations that compound how fast this occures. automatic car washes can use a mild acid in there wash cycle. Dish soap can strip waxes, ammonia based glass cleaners can damage them as well. Now add heat and stir....
    I have successfully refinished 20-30 headlamps over the last couple of years with 3m products, a small air sander and orbital polisher are needed. 500,800,1000, and 3000 grit 3M trizact foam sanding disks and some polishing paste. A few hours and there almost perfect. The 3M restoration kit cost about $350 on line and works well.

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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by Mattb View Post
    I have used these and have good results with delaying the yellowing:

    http://www.xpel.com/products/headlight.asp

    They are easy to apply and well worth it.

    Matt
    I use Xpel on my headlights and the stuff is amazing. it very thick and works wonders!

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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    That's interesting, I have never seen a car with yellow headlights. Maybe for your next car you should consider something with glass lenses, 70 year old lenses can be made to look as good as new with a bit of hot soapy water. Basically that limits you to old cars but they have some big advantages over modern cars, easy to find replacement parts, easy to repair, better quality (depending on what you choose), and cheaper to boot, and a lot can be insured at low prices (old landrovers can be insurance group 2, they can be insured cheaper than most small hatchbacks).

    Have you looked for glass raplacement lenses for whatever your vehicle is? That's a possibility
    I cannot pretend to feel impartial about tint colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by JacobJones View Post
    That's interesting, I have never seen a car with yellow headlights.
    It's potentially rarer in the northern latitudes, which may explain why you have never seen such a thing, but that does not preclude the possibility of their existence even in your locality. Given the plethora of products marketed to people facing yellowed headlights, it's clear that they do exist and in large quantities.

    Maybe for your next car you should consider something with glass lenses, 70 year old lenses can be made to look as good as new with a bit of hot soapy water. Basically that limits you to old cars but they have some big advantages over modern cars, easy to find replacement parts, easy to repair, better quality (depending on what you choose), and cheaper to boot, and a lot can be insured at low prices (old landrovers can be insurance group 2, they can be insured cheaper than most small hatchbacks).
    You also forego quite a few technological advances in safety such as antilock brakes, lane departure warning systems, vehicle stability control, airbags...

    In the United States, older vehicles can often only be insured for liability, not for 'comprehensive' or 'collision', meaning that you'll be out of pocket for repairing your car unless the other driver is at fault.


    Have you looked for glass raplacement lenses for whatever your vehicle is? That's a possibility
    But often not a probability. If aftermarket, they may either not fit properly (as is usual for most aftermarket crap) or it may be practically impossible to reseal the lights again after taking them apart. Entirely new lamp assemblies would be a better option, but again, OE, not aftermarket, as many are notoriously bad.

  13. #13

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by JacobJones View Post
    Have you looked for glass raplacement lenses for whatever your vehicle is? That's a possibility
    No, it is not, there are no glass replacment lenses. nobody replaces lenses, they are glued to the reflector assembly.
    looks like you have no clue what you talking about
    Last edited by alpg88; 10-05-2011 at 09:41 AM.

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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by alpg88 View Post
    No, it is not, there are no glass replacment lenses. nobody replaces lenses, they are glued to the reflector assembly.
    looks like you have no clue what you talking about
    Sorry, I just asumed it was possible to disassemble modern headlights because it is on older vehicles. Sounds like you are trying to say that all headlight lenses are fixed to the reflector assembly, maybe it's you who doesn't know what you are talking about? Maybe I was partially wrong but you don't have to be rude about it
    Last edited by JacobJones; 10-05-2011 at 10:03 AM.
    I cannot pretend to feel impartial about tint colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by JacobJones View Post
    Sounds like you are trying to say that all headlight lenses are fixed to the reflector assembly,
    i.m not trying, i'm saying, they are fixed, find 1 modern car that has removable\replacable lens.

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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by alpg88 View Post
    i.m not trying, i'm saying, they are fixed, find 1 modern car that has removable\replacable lens.
    BMW 3 series.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRcsD...e_gdata_player
    I cannot pretend to feel impartial about tint colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    I took apart a 7 series headlamp that wasn't fixed or sealed with sealant. Perhaps we should just leave it at, "We all know something" because that's what forums are for: sharing our individual pieces of knowledge so that we all can learn something we didn't already know.

    I need to replace my headlamps' covers, and am probably going to go with aftermarket front lens. I'm assuming that, unlike OEMs, these aftermarkets are made of plastic and are not coated at all, so I would like to add UV protection to them. My current set is starting to get that crackled glass look, and is getting frosty. Therefore, I don't care about sanding and polishing, I just need somethign that will stop UV and stay on the headlamp.

    So, general consensus is that the xpel stuff is the best bet? Are there no spray-on alternatives?

    Edit: I'm starting to like the looks of that doublehorn product. Alaric, how's the 'Rolla headlamps holding up? I have aftermarkets that exhibit that crackling in a major way. Luckily, I'm not using the aftermarket beamshaping optics >.>
    Last edited by bshanahan14rulz; 10-05-2011 at 01:12 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by JacobJones View Post
    lol, ok, you win, that i have never seen anyone do, but it doesn't change the fact, you were right i was wrong, some cars do have replacable lens.

  19. #19

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    I always park away from the sun if I can help it, in hopes that less direct exposure slows the process. I still have all clear lenses on all my vehicles even my 1997 suburban.

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    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by bshanahan14rulz View Post
    I'm starting to like the looks of that doublehorn product. Alaric, how's the 'Rolla headlamps holding up? I have aftermarkets that exhibit that crackling in a major way. Luckily, I'm not using the aftermarket beamshaping optics >.>
    I may not have applied it correctly the first time, and I may have damaged the lenses by pressing too hard during the sanding and polishing stages prior to even putting it on, so my car may not be a good example. They look pretty terrible, but weekly Turtle Wax applications have helped keep them tolerable. I should probably have never messed with them in the first place.

    On AllPar, they found that less than a year later the headlights they did really didn't fare that well. Here's their story.

  21. #21

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    I may not have applied it correctly the first time, and I may have damaged the lenses by pressing too hard during the sanding and polishing stages prior to even putting it on, so my car may not be a good example. They look pretty terrible, but weekly Turtle Wax applications have helped keep them tolerable. I should probably have never messed with them in the first place.

    On AllPar, they found that less than a year later the headlights they did really didn't fare that well. Here's their story.

    I hear similar stories,product does not provide long lasting solution.Thank god for airbags and anti lock brakes because this issue with plastic lenses does not seem to be a priority for manufacturers to overcome,regardless of how much money is sunk into the technology of the lighting systems stuffed behind them.


    I still vividly remember seeing the early days of this plastic lens problem, it was on those old boxy looking volvos with the huge square headlights.....i used to think how odd it was that they all turned yellow and foggy looking- little did I know the problem would grow to most other brands/models so quickly that it does not even stand out to me anymore as I look at cars in the parking lots today.
    Last edited by Qship1996; 10-06-2011 at 04:09 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by Qship1996 View Post
    I hear similar stories,product does not provide long lasting solution.
    The original hard coat is applied and cured under cleanroom conditions. Curing involves crosslinking of the polymers, initiated by ultraviolet or heat exposure. This is not something that can be even sorta duplicated or approached with a can of clear paint, let alone a lotion or waxy "sun protectant" as found in some of those headlamp polishing kits. The Doublehorn kit is the most durable one I've seen, and even then it's good for only about a year under harsh sunny conditions. There are surface treatments available for plastics and polycarbonates that really would give headlamp lenses a reasonably long service life, but they are not used because they're more expensive than the ineffective coatings that are used. Nobody wants to use them, so they're not on the AMECA list of approved coatings, so nobody can use them. At least not in the American market. Furthermore, even those coatings and materials that are on the AMECA list are at least three years out of date, because the tests required for AMECA approval are three years' sun exposure in Florida and three years' sun exposure in Arizona. Accelerated testing is not allowed. "Ringer" test samples that bear no relation to the product eventually installed on vehicles, however, are -- not explicitly, but because the rules are lax. And even the specially-made test samples (no, of course they're not! I am shocked that you would even suggest such chicanery!) are allowed to show 30% haze after the test and still be officially OK. The industry likes it this way because it means the rules are cheap to comply with and they sell more replacement parts (until there aren't any more, then they sell more replacement cars).

    I still vividly remember seeing the early days of this plastic lens problem, it was on those old boxy looking volvos with the huge square headlights
    The Volvo 200s in '86, and the 700s in '89. Those lamps, despite being manufactured by a reputable maker, quickly developed cataracts. The debacle scared Volvo back to glass lenses for a good long time, until the early '00s.

    The basic trouble is there's nothing in the regulation that says the headlamp has to be compliant after any period of time, just when it's new.

  23. #23

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    I believe I may be able to help you with this......... the yellowing is oxidation to the headlight. The only true way to make them crystal clear again is with sandpaper compound polish and sealant. If you go to walmart you can pick up sandpaper you will need 1500 grit 2000 grit and if you can find it 3000 grit. you this sandpaper with water "wet sand" go throw the grits until you see the oxidation being removed. start with the least of amount of grit to avoid having to do more work than required. after wet sand use the compound do eliminate any/all wet sand marks then move on to polish and sealant. As a detailer I use Chemical Guys products but you may use others with next to the same results. Hope you get this worked out! P.s. one last thing make sure to mask off all surfaces except the headlight! as not to scratch the precious paint.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    nicely put. Then after that i would also recommend putting on a headlight lens, such as Xpel

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    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by mds82 View Post
    nicely put. Then after that i would also recommend putting on a headlight lens, such as Xpel
    Just be sure to stop and take that film off when driving at night, as they severely cut down the light output. The inverse square law means that a change in intensity that is barely discernable to you when looking at the light or at the beam on a wall means a radical change in intensity 150' down the road.

    The most damage to your headlights is from without, with the sun beating down on it all day. There's no need to protect them from UV degradation at night.

    As far as protection from impact goes, try not to follow too closely
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 11-11-2011 at 07:43 AM.

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    Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    I have a similar problem with a 1996 F150. It seems like the most effective solution will be to simply purchase a new pair of OEM headlights for $60, perhaps upgrade the bulbs as well.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  27. #27

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    getting new headlights is always an option, but some cars can be as much as $500 for new headlights then to have some one aim them its another $70 or so. But if you have clear lens aftermarket bulbs will help, I had the PIAA extreme white those were really bright, also had the gt-x plasma those are little different color but still good. but both of these bulbs choices are upwards of $50. I would recommend the Sylvania silver star ultras. 4100k works nice for just about everything.

  28. #28

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by TheExpert View Post
    getting new headlights is always an option, but some cars can be as much as $500 for new headlights then to have some one aim them its another $70 or so. But if you have clear lens aftermarket bulbs will help, I had the PIAA extreme white those were really bright, also had the gt-x plasma those are little different color but still good. but both of these bulbs choices are upwards of $50. I would recommend the Sylvania silver star ultras. 4100k works nice for just about everything.



    You just named 3 of the worst bulb choices anyone could make! All over-priced and worse than the OEM bulbs they replaced!

  29. #29

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    Quote Originally Posted by TheExpert View Post
    getting new headlights is always an option
    Getting new headlamps is the fix for the problem described.

    but some cars can be as much as $500 for new headlights
    Car parts cost money. Such is life. Doesn't change the fact that when they're needed, they're needed.

    then to have some one aim them its another $70 or so.
    If you're paying $70 for a headlamp aim job, you're overpaying. But $70 or even $170 spent on correct headlamp aim would be some of the very best, most effective money spent on driving safety. This, too, is not an optional thing. Correct headlamp aim is absolutely essential. "Close enough" isn't.

    aftermarket bulbs will help
    There are a few aftermarket bulbs that will improve headlamp performance. Most of them, including all the ones you suggested and all others with colored glass, will substantially worsen the headlamps' performance.

    4100k works nice for just about everything.
    Color temperature is not a measure of bulb or headlamp performance.

  30. #30

    Default Re: How can I prevent the headlamps on my new car from becoming yellow and losing tra

    you are correct in the fact that getting new bulbs is not going to up the output, but they will help see better cause the different kelvin ratings. ex- warm colors do not seem to be as bright but the bulbs with the blue tint seem to be much brighter. Its not actually putting out anymore light just putting out a different color light. I forget who explained this wish i could cause I am certainly not as articulate as him. But I do know the closer you get to sunlight it will "appear" to be putting out more light. higher kelvin up to 5k will help you see better, but it will not put out more volume of light. Its like comparing a warm xm-l led to a cool xm-l led.

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