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Tech Article

Clear, Clean-Looking Plastic Headlamps

Last Updated: 03/29/2016
Parts Group: Headlamp
Until yesterday, the headlamps (headlights) on our 1991 Volvo 240 project car looked faded, yellow, dim and dirty. They certainly detracted from the car's aesthetics, so much so that I'd planned to replace them with better-looking ones that I'd get ... maybe nowhere, because new ones aren't in the budget, and probably most or all used ones have the same time-worn look.

So, yesterday, my assistant performed her magic headlamp-renewal procedure on the front-facing surface, and the results impressed me greatly. She'd explained that stone and gravel chips take their toll, over time, and then this deflects sunlight in a way that makes the plastic surface age more quickly.

She began by using sandpaper to remove the thin uppermost layer of plastic. Next, she used some specialized polish. It took her less than 15 minutes per side. I'm impressed! Although I mostly love this for the new look, she explained how in some states, the car would fail a state-mandated tech inspection if it had smoky headlamp covers.

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