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.

 

Mercedes Front-End Collision Repair

One of the most common collision repairs is the front collision repair. Front collisions usually result in a damaged front bumper cover, the reinforcement beam and absorber, headlights and sometimes there is damage to the grill and radiator. If the crash is more severe, there may be damage to the radiator support and other items related to the cooling system.

In this case, the Mercedes had a severely damaged front bumper, the reinforcement beam was deformed, and there was damage to the fenders on both sides. Take a look at the image below. There is plenty of damage on this vehicle but on the positive side, the headlights and hood were intact so the dollar damage was not as big as it could have been.

Front bumper, beam, hood, side panels: Severe crash with plenty of damage
Front bumper, beam, hood, fender panels:  Severe crash with plenty of damage

We stripped out all the damaged parts and panels to prepare the vehicle to be shipped to our sublet shop for engine removal. The collision was significant and in order to do a solid repair job, we needed the engine out of the engine bay so our body technicians can make the repair to meet factory specifications.

Stripped of all damaged and removable panels, this Mercedes awaits engine removal
Stripped of all damaged and removable panels, this Mercedes awaits engine removal
A sublet car repair shop removed the engine and the Mercedes is ready for auto body repair
A sublet car repair shop removed the engine and the Mercedes is ready for auto body repair

With the engine and damaged parts out of the way, our auto body technicians did the necessary body work on the panels that could be repaired, and replaced all the parts that were beyond repair:

  • Front bumper cover and support brackets
  • Reinforcement  beam
  • Fenders
  • Wiring for the bumper indicators and fog lights
  • Chrome grill and Mercedes emblem

The repaired and replaced panels were painted, the Mercedes was then reassembled for an invisible repair.

Our Snowmass client was very happy with the end result, the time of repair and the reasonable price of this collision repair project.

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Honda CR-V Collision Repair: Rear Bumper, Tailgate & Rear Stop Lights

Collisions in the Aspen-Snowmass-Basalt area are quite common especially during the snow season. Any kind of accident can be stressful for the vehicle owner and it is even more stressful when you cannot find a reliable auto body repair service.
High Tone Auto Body is focused on getting you the best possible auto body repair service and we have served countless clients from Aspen, Snowmass, Carbondale, Basalt etc.
Recently a Honda CRV owner stopped by the shop. The vehicle was in a relatively small collision but the damage wasn’t that small.


As you can see from the images here this Honda CRV had plenty of damage:

  • the roof had some minor bumps and scratches
  • the rear stop light needed replacement
  • rear bumper was broken on one side
  • the tailgate was deformed

Our technicians follow an industry-specific repair workflow to ensure proper auto body repair so the vehicle can be as safe and nice looking as before the collision.
Here, we started by removing the tailgate from the vehicle and our auto body specialists worked on restoring the geometry and look of the back side of the car. After the repairs on the door frame and roof we had the area repainted with a few coats of paint and clear coat.

Bumpers are composite parts, and in this particular case the plastic shielding took most of the impact and was broken. When the plastic shielding is broken we replace the entire bumper because bumpers act as safety buffer zones, protecting people in the vehicle, as well as people around the vehicle (bumpers are designed to cushion pedestrians in case if they are in a car accident). The new bumper also got a coat of paint and a coat of protective clear coat.

The rear stop lights on Honda CR-V’s are positioned relatively high, so the only damaged part was the outer glass. We replaced the rear stop light with a new one and did all the necessary wiring checking to make sure that everything works as it should.

While one team did work on the vehicle itself, another team did the needed body work and paint on the tailgate. With the tailgate repaired, our technicians assembled the Honda CR-V and the owner was quite pleased with the quality of work and timely repair.

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Testimonial for Subaru Collision Repair

From: Robin Scarlett
Service Used: Auto Body Repair

Testimonial:
I had a great experience getting my Subaru repaired after an accident. My car looked as good as new. The people at High Tone were all friendly and helpful, and provided service above and beyond the usual. I would refer this shop to anybody.

Robin had an accident with her Subaru while driving around Snowmass, CO. Thankfully, the collision was not severe so the only damage was around the front bumper and hood area. Nobody was hurt in the accident.

Robin came in with her Subaru to first get an estimate, and then had us repair her vehicle. While the repair technicians were working on the auto body repairs, Tanja took care of the insurance claim with Robin’s insurance company. Thanks to our Direct Repair Program, Robin did not have to do any paperwork. We handled it all for her.

The vehicle needed a new front bumper and some body work on the hood. Technicians also replaced one headlamp and after the repair and paint, we gave the vehicle a full-body detailing.

During the entire repair process we kept Robin in the know, and Tanja did a great job communicating details that helped Robin be at peace while our certified auto body repair technicians worked on her car. As always, we used original replacement parts and used factory specs to perform this repair.

All in all, Robin was very pleased with the complete service, from handling the insurance paperwork to making her Subaru look as good as new.

Windshield Replacement Service in Aspen-Basalt Area

In the past few posts we covered a few stories on windshield replacement, how important the windshield is in the structural integrity of your vehicle, and how many windshield replacement services to a sub-standard replacement job.

As we outsource our windshield replacement services to specialized workshops, it is our responsibility to make sure that every single vehicle that we handle gets factory-level quality of windshield replacement. For this reason, we often times monitor the replacement procedure. Most of the times windshield replacement technicians do an excellent job, but in rare occasions, some technicians skip a step or two in the industry-dictated replacement procedure.

The windshield replacement procedure requires that the windshield gets treated with chemical solvents to clean up the contacting surface where the urethane glue goes. After cleanup, this surface must not be touched with bare hands so technicians must use medical gloves. Some technicians have windshield carrying techniques that allows them to lift the glass without toughing the treated surface, but in some rare cases, the mind wonders off only for a second and technicians grip the glass without even realizing it. Unfortunately, this is all it takes to contaminate the contacting surface.

Here’s one example of how we noticed a procedure breach that may have resulted in a faulty installation of the windshield:

caught red-handed, procedure breach in windshield replacement
Notice that the technician has gripped the windshield and touches the primed surface with bare hands.

The black lining of each windshield is the contacting area where the windshield is glued onto the chassis with a urethane glue. As you can see on the image above, this technician seems to have forgotten to keep his fingers off the primed surface. A bare-skin contact contaminates the primed surface and the dew and grease will prevent the urethane glue to form a solid bond with the new windshield. As the windshield carries almost 30% of the structural integrity during crashes or airbag activation, poor adhesion can result in blowing the windshield off the vehicle so the airbags will have nothing to bounce off and brace your face in a collision.

The good thing is that we noticed this and stopped the technician. Since he was a certified technician there was no need of debating the issue. All that was necessary was a “Hey, the primed surface…your hand…”. His response was “Oh man… good eye!” He cleaned up the entire contacting surface, re-primed it and installed the windshield by the book.

Most of the times, it’s the little things that make or break a solid windshield replacement. In this case, a drop in concentration could have resulted in a sub-standard windshield replacement service. Thanks to our strong attention to detail, we pointed the technician of this unintentional error and our client got a factory-level quality of windshield replacement.

Need a windshield replacement?

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