Many drivers underestimate just how much of an impact headlamps have on the appearance of a car. Modern headlamps tend to fog up over time due to exposure, UV light effects, and general wear and tear. One way to combat this is to apply some headlight protection to your lights.
Today we’ll cover some of the most common types of protection and how they affect the headlight.
Why do Headlights Fog Up?
Back in the day, car headlamps used to be made of actual glass. Glass itself was more or less impervious to UV radiation and the usual abrasion that your average headlight has to deal with. However, glass was expensive to produce, brittle, and simply not durable enough to match modern-day requirements.
The next step in the evolution of materials has brought us polycarbonate plastic headlamps. Polycarbonate plastics offered better overall durability, especially to things like rock impact and more massive debris.
However, it brought a set of issues of its own. For starters, the surface of the headlight quickly falls victim to abrasion. Tiny particles of debris collide with the surface of the headlight as you drive, slowly damaging it. That damage then makes it easy for UV exposure to do its thing, leaving you with a headlight that is all fogged up.
How to Treat Fogged Headlights
We’ve already covered headlight restoration in a previous guide we’ve done. That being said, we’ll briefly go over what headlight restoration entails.
The fogginess of a headlight is the result of small scratches forming on its surface. Those tiny little impact craters prevent proper light refraction, causing the headlight to come across as milky or foggy.
The only way to sort this out is to remove the headlight’s damaged layer, revealing a fresh, polished surface. There are plenty of headlight restoration kits out there, including the SONAX kit we’ve used in our restoration guide.
Pick whichever one you feel most comfortable with and give your headlamps a good polish. The SONAX kit we’ve recommended comes with a protective compound as well, meaning that your newly polished headlamps will remain fresh for quite a while.
But what if you have healthy headlamps and you just want to keep them that way for as long as possible?
Headlight Protection Products
New headlamps come with a layer of UV protective coating from the factory. However, that may not be enough to keep your headlamps in perfect condition for years. The whole thing comes down to prevent physical damage to the coating and, ultimately, the headlight itself. There are several ways you can approach this problem.
Waxing the Headlight
One of the fastest and often most painless ways of protecting the headlight is to wax them. A coat of wax will offer some protection against dust particles and even larger pebbles. However, wax needs to be maintained. You’ll need to come back and do it again from time to time, depending on how riddled with debris the roads are in your area.
Waxing is also the cheapest option. There are tons of good waxes out there, and none of them are prohibitively expensive. Check out our offer and find the wax that fits your needs.
Important note – when prepping new or healthy headlamps, don’t use aggressive cleaners. Otherwise, you’ll remove the factory UV protective coat, leaving your headlamps exposed.
Ceramic compounds are the latest rage when it comes to protecting not just the headlamps, but the entire car – on the inside and out. Remember that ceramic coating designed for headlamps isn’t the same as ceramics intended for use on paint or trim of the car.
The benefits of ceramics are numerous. Compared to wax, you’re getting much higher protection, longer-lasting film, and, most importantly, built-in UV protection.
Depending on which manufacturer you go with, you’re looking at anywhere from 1 to 3 years of protection per application. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
PPF or Paint Protective Film
The use of PPF on headlamps is nothing new. A PPF if literally a plastic film that is usually applied to the paintwork of a car. It’s clear, fairly thin, and offers physical protection against debris, pebbles, and even larger rocks.
The PPF designed for headlamps is no different. The key is to find a PPF that matches your car since they are often pre-cut for an easier fit. Once you apply the PPF to your headlamps, you’re almost guaranteed long-lasting protection.
The installation process is quite simple, as well. Installation involves using soapy water, lots of patience, and a steady hand.
PPF In Combination with Ceramic Coating
Using PPF in combination with ceramic coating is something you’ll often see on expensive cars, mainly on paintwork. However, this combination can be applied to headlamps as well. The benefits of using both PPF and ceramic are numerous.
For one, you’re adding one more layer of protection, which is always a good thing. Ceramics provide a hydrophobic surface that prevents water and hence all kinds of debris from sticking to the headlamps. Additionally, using both products has proven to keep the lights looking new for longer. All of these benefits combined make for a solid case for PPF+ceramic coating.
Whether such a combo is overkill or not depends on your needs and personal preference. It can’t hurt, that’s for sure.
How to Find Quality Headlight Protection?
Here at eEurioparts, we understand how much your car means to you. That’s why we’ve focused a part of our catalog on automotive cosmetics, including various means of paintwork/headlight protection. We work with brands such as 3M and SONAX, who deliver top quality products in this niche, allowing you to fully protect your car with the best solutions on the market.
If you have any questions regarding our offer or the products we sell, please get in touch with us. You can easily reach us via email or by phone. Our customer support staff is standing by to answer all of your questions.