Words and snaps by Ben
Modern cars are well known to carry as much plastic as possible. With the low cost, light weight and versatility of plastics, car manufacturers try to replace as many elements of a car with plastic. Among these are the headlights.
Old headlights, made of glass were deemed dangerous - when shattered they left tons of little cutting pieces scattered everywhere, which is always a bad surprise, unless you are a fakir. Plastic headlight covers, on the other hand, where much more friendly in this aspect. They were also lighter and much cheaper to produce, which quickly sealed the deal.
Yet plastic headlights have they own flaws, one of them is their tendency to become opaque with time and exposure to the elements. This not only reduces your vision when driving at night, but it also makes your car look old and badly maintained.
In Singapore, where the sun hits hard and the rain is acidic due to the air pollution common to big cities, you can often see cars with opaque headlights, such as my aunt's 8 year old Mitsubishi Grandis.
This was the perfect test mule for me to try out the toothpaste myth. You've probably heard about it too: all you need is toothpaste, a cloth and some elbow grease to do the job (count about 10-15 minutes per headlight depending on their state).
Here's how to do it:
Put the toothpaste on the dry headlight (water cancels the polishing effect of toothpaste).
Then rub the heck out of your headlight.
You will very quickly see the plastic clearing, it's so easy it feels anti-climactic.
Rinse the headlight with water and voila! Job done!
|See the difference?|
An alternative option is for you to go buy some headlight restoration products and do exactly the same job. It will take just as long but will cost you about 10 times (or more) the amount of money. Your choice.