Auto Headlamp Restoration on a BMW SUV

You have probably seen many vehicles where the headlamps are faded, the lens cover seems scratched, hazy or even burned and if you get behind the wheel of that car at night, you will have problems seeing because the headlamps aren’t putting out as much light as when they were new.

Faded headlights can be a big problem for drivers at night, and it can be quite dangerous too.  Reduced visibility can pose a significant risk for night driving. This is why auto headlamp restoration is a must for any driver that owns a car with fading headlamps.  In areas of extreme weather like we have in the Aspen-Snowmass-Basalt area, with heavy snow and plenty of sand and salt on the roads, headlamp restoration is a smart thing to do.

Why Auto Headlamps Fade

Headlamp lens (coverings) are made from poly-plastic materials.  Not all plastics are the same and not all plastics have the same UV protection added to them when manufactured.  But before you go on to accuse car manufacturers for replacing glass-based headlamp lenses, bear in mind that this shift was done so that vehicles would be safer for pedestrians and in collisions.  Glass fragments from headlights were responsible for numerous injuries.  Moving toward plastic-based headlamp coverings is a smart move toward car safety.  Besides plastic is lighter weight and more shapeable for our aerodynamic cars in todays market.

The reason headlights fade over time is because of UV radiation from the sun, oxidation and environmental factors the vehicle has been exposed to.  But for our area, the Aspen-Snowmass-Basalt-Carbondale valley, headlight fading has plenty to do with our greater exposure to the harmful UV rays from the sun due to our elevation.  Age (the sun breaks down the original protective coating from the manufacturer), magnesium chloride (de-icer) salt, sand and rock chips all play a part in reducing the amount of light being projected through the headlamp lens cover.  These factors can cause pitting, scratches and the plastic to turn yellow or even opaque.

Restoring Headlights for Better Road Safety

Here is an example of a vehicle from the Roaring Fork Valley:

This BMW SUV has gone through several winters and the headlights were so faded that the owner had concerns driving at night especially in snowy and rainy weather.  After some research on a headlight restoration shop in the Basalt area, they called High Tone Auto Body and signed up for a headlamp restoration service.  After the headlamp polish, the difference was dramatic, as you can see on the image below:

Before and After: how headlights should look like
A Dramatic Difference:  Professional Headlight Restoration Service

This vehicle started off with headlights that had a significant drop in luminance power.  Because of the severe UV radiation and pitting effect of sand, salt and rock chips, the hazed or oxidized plastic of the headlights acted as a barrier that allowed only 60% of the light to come through and illuminate the road.  With such a severe fading effect, the driver had a tough time seeing especially at night or in bad weather.

Headlamp restoration desperately needed for this BMW
2007 BMW with faded headlamps

For severely oxidized headlights it can take up to a half hour for each headlamp to be restored.  A step by step process of sanding and polishing  is followed carefully to achieve a smooth, shiny and transparent restored headlamp.

Don't wait too long, get your car headlights restoration and save hundreds of dollars.
Despite the oxidized headlamp, this headlight restoration exceeded the customers expectations.

In some cases, owners wait too long before they get a headlamp polish.  The polishing/restoration can only be used as a temporary solution but it can definitely prolong the usefulness and life of the headlamp. Once the plastic surface has gone too far without restoration, it will have to be replaced with a new headlamp because the UV radiation and pitting effect of sand and salt creates deep scars in the plastic surface which cannot be fixed with headlamp restoration.

If your vehicle has faded and oxidized headlights, stop by and we will inspect them for you.  The sooner you do a headlight restoration the better your chances are of avoiding a costly headlight replacement.


Testimonial From Alpine Property Management

Alpine Property from Aspen CO is our client for over 10 years. We helped with their vehicles from the Aspen and Snowmass Village offices, as well as many of their clients’ vehicles.

Here are some of the services we helped Alpine Property throughout the years:


Below is the written testimonial we received via mail.


May 4,2012
Hi Steve,

Thanks, again, for another job well done.
High Tone Auto Body has been providing Alpine Property Management with outstanding service for the past 10 years – it is the reason we continue to bring all of our company and clients’ vehicles to your shop for repairs. We know we can count on High Tone to make the process very easy and simple, while providing excellent work.

Doug Faurer
President, Alpine Property Management Inc.


Cleaning and Detailing Services in Basalt, CO at High Tone Auto Body

Keeping your vehicle clean and protected from the elements will help your vehicle maintain a higher retail value and help prevent larger and more costly repairs down the road. We like to provide you with a sparkling clean vehicle because a clean vehicle makes us all feel better!

With each repair we will do a courtesy safety inspection as well as a basic clean up. Each car is hand washed on the outside and hand wiped clean on the inside, no robotics here… just good old fashion elbow grease!

Please ask for our detailing services pricing menu:

  • Interior vehicle cleaning
  • Engine compartment wipe down and inspection
  • Exterior vehicle cleaning
  • Glass treatment and or window cleaning
  • Head lamp polish
  • Paint protection
  • Surface scratches & tree sap
  • Wheel and tire cleaning

Is your dog your passenger? Do you have nose prints obstructing your view? Do you have dog hair flying around? What about food or candy in between your seats? If this is the case you may need our services for an interior cleaning. Call or stop by today!



Our vehicles are exposed to four different seasons here in Colorado. As a result there are many different environmental factors that can affect your vehicle, for example:

In the Spring and Summer a lot of road maintenance takes place as well as re-striping of lanes on the roadways. If you happen to drive through some freshly painted highway paint or tar, look out for it is almost permanent! If you can remove it as soon as possible the effects can be minimized, however, if you are unable to remove it, come by our shop and we can advise or assist you in getting it off.

In addition, we have pollen, sticky cotton seeds from the cotton wood trees, tree sap dripping onto parked cars and our share of dead bugs colliding with our vehicles as we drive. Though these are naturally occurring events, they can sometimes stain your paint. Without proper and immediate attention they can become difficult to remove without damaging the finish of your vehicle.

In the Fall and Winter when our roads have snow or ice on them, they are generally treated with sand, gravel, or lava rock to enhance our safety. However, these products are very abrasive and can cause the paint to chip and with the added salt and or magnesium chloride used as a de-icer, this can cause your vehicle to rust. It is best to wash or have us wash your vehicle often during times of inclement weather.

Interior vehicle cleaning includes:

  • Console(s)
  • Cubby holes
  • Dash
  • Floors, carpets, floor mats
  • Mirrors
  • Seats
  • Steering wheel & column
  • Door panels
  • Trunk/Cargo area
  • Vents
  • Windows

 Exterior treatment:

  • Chrome/Aluminum
  • Door jambs
  • Glass treatment (Aquapel to shed off rain, sleet and bugs more easily)
  • Head lamps
  • Paint
  • Tires
  • Wheels

Under the hood:

  • Battery inspection & clean up
  • Battery test
  • Basic wipe down of run channels and flat surfaces
  • Inspection for rodent damage
  • Removal of dead leave and debris in engine compartment

Paint Treatment:

  • Buff and glaze
  • Color sand and polish
  • Hand wax
  • Paint touch up




Get More Detailing Info.