You never know the need for some new life on those hazy headlights until you drive through a stormy night and can’t see more than 20 meters ahead of you. That is when you realize that buying a simple clear coat spray could be a lifesaver and even help you take care of a few scratches on your car’s body. You may feel the need to go to the mechanics every time oxidation takes over your headlights but you can save a lot of money if you just buy your own clear coat and apply. Sanding, buffing and then spraying your headlights by yourself will teach you a lot more about your car too. Here are the 10 things to remember when buying a clear coat for your car.
The gloss level of the clear coat you buy will determine how many layers you will have to apply to get the perfect shine. 2K clear coats bring the perfect shine faster than 1k clear coats so they will help you save time and get a better finish. You can still pull off some great shining with a 1K coat but you will need to be thorough when buffing and ensure that you have cleared your base coat properly. 2Ks also hold better onto your headlights giving you better protection.
You don’t need a clear coat that takes an hour to mix before you can use it to coat your vehicle. The traditional mixing of oil and coat as well as hardener and observing ratios are no longer necessary. You should go for a clear coat that needs as little work as possible so you don’t waste time nor make mistakes that may cost you money. Cans or ready coats that come with an activator are the best. Just mix once and spray or better still, just open a can and spay it.
This can be a concern if your clear coat will take too long to air dry. If you can’t afford to let go of your car for 24 hours for your coat to dry, then quick-drying clear coats will save you. Some clear coats may take up to 12 hours to dry each layer which means you have to surrender an entire two days just to get your car coated. However, there are clear coats that can air-dry within an hour and they save a lot of time. Baking is always an option when you have a clear coat that needs more time to dry but you might have to pay more for the painting booth.
Items Included In The Package
Sanding discs, buffing brushes and other items you need to get the job done are a great addition to any clear coat package especially if you don’t have them at home. Getting a whole set independently may cost you nearly as much as the clear coat which can be expensive when you only plan to use them once. That is why a clear coat that comes with all these.
The best clear coats don’t just oil up your headlights, they dry into a solid shield that protects your lenses from oxidation while keeping scratches off your lamps. Not all clear coats offer this. Some just offer a thin layer of shine that fades off with a few months of being hit by water. You have to test whether that coat dries into the solid glassy shield you need to protect your vehicle.
You may assume that all clear coats are UV protected but that is not the case. Direct sunlight is the main cause of oxidation and hazing on headlights which is why UV protection is key in clear coats for headlights. If the product is not listed as UV protection, you may want to hold onto your money because its protection won’t last long.
This is where the quality of a clear coat and brands come to your aid. Restoration clear coats have little adhesion and most of them wear off with a few washes. You need to think of ceramic clear coats if you are looking for something that will last the lifetime of your car. Urethane clear coats also solidify into a glass shield that can last over a year on your headlights.
Ease Of Application
This all comes down to whether you want to go old school and use a brush, buy your own spray gun or go straight for an aerosol can. If you don’t have your own sprayer gun, aerosol cans are the best clear coats to go for. Nowadays, you can find powerful 2K clear coat spray cans that have a well-finished nozzle to deliver the coat evenly onto your car just like a gun would.
Base Paint Compatibility
Even the best sanding and buffing will still leave some scratches and pieces of your stock clear coat on your headlights and you have to hope your new clear coat won’t clash with that. When it comes to clear coats, the basic principle is that they should be as glossy as possible and yet transparent. Some clear coats are not designed to be applied directly to metal so you may need a primer which is an extra expense. You should therefore choose a universally compatible clear coat that will give any part of your car a gloss without clashing with your base coat.
Warranty And Customer Service
When it comes to car paints, brand is a big thing and the brands that make the best clear coats have hardly changed in the last decades. You have to look at the material used to make the paint and the warranty attached to it. You may never use that warranty but it tells you the level of confidence the company have in their product’s ability to last. You should also be able to get service because clear coating your headlights doesn’t stop at the purchase.
If you have any other tips for those buying clear coats for their car do let us know in the comments below.