Matt is cool. Not everywhere though. A car painted in a fine matt finish surely has that certain something. Diffusers of headlights on the other hand don’t look good if they’re matt, nor do they cut a good figure when it comes to translucence. There are many great and not so great tips on the web on how to deal with old matt glass. At the end of the day there’s only one real recipe, and that’s not even much of a secret. It certainly makes us smile from time to time.
Autumn is coming. It’s getting dark earlier and earlier, and we’re driving with our lights on more and more often. By now you’ll notice if lamps have failed, headlights have not been adjusted correctly, or if something else is wrong with them. Especially in older cars it’s a little bit like with our eyes in old age. You get used to the creeping loss of eyesight, and you also accept the limited field of vision. But sticking to cars, if you go in a brand new car at night and you notice that the road ahead of you can be as bright as day, you’ll start to wonder and inspect your own car’s “glasses”.
A great example is the old Mercedes E-Class, the W210 model, which is still going pretty well. In conventional headlights, the diffusers are made of plastic, and after many years on the motorway they look like grandmother’s curtains which haven’t been washed for years and are yellowed from cigarette smoke. Light won’t get through. But – you can remove the plastic from the headlight with the help of clips, and you can replace it for little money. And it doesn’t even take half an hour.
It’s different with xenon headlights of the same series, special requests or the “avant-garde” series, where the glass is not plastic and therefore more durable – but glued to the headlight instead.
Why does the glass go matt? Because debris from the road perforates it over time, because in old cars the small wiper blades scratch it, and sometimes we do that ourselves in newer cars with an old cloth and without water. No glass survives that in the long run.
“Specialists” on the web suggest you polish it, offering a number of self-tested products. That may well work for the paint, but if you polish glass it’ll get much more matt than before. And you’re certainly not allowed to meddle with the glass’s surface structure, as this can have unforeseeable consequences.
If the glass is glued to the headlight, “experts” suggest you heat it up in an oven and take it apart. Okay … this is completely beyond us.
You have to be strong now. There’s no known solution for saving matt headlight glass that is truly practical. The only real alternative is to buy new ones. Not too bad if you have an old E-Class. Not so good the newer your car. Because complete headlights with parts firmly glued in place are becoming better and better, more and more complex and as a result more and more expensive. But beware of false economies and keep your fingers away from the oven. Flat tires are no longer patched today because they’d be death traps. And a restricted view in the dark is just as dangerous. When you buy new glass or new headlights, why not equip them with new-generation lamps from Osram. Don’t do things by halves. And hey presto, night will become day. Well, almost.