With the advent of polycarbonate headlights, a new and extremely profitable cosmetic car service has evolved: Headlight restoration.

After a few years, especially in hot, sunny climates, the polycarbonate headlight will dull, yellow and oxidize. And, like the single-stage systems of old, you have to grind off the oxidation then polish and protect.

For the dealer, the headlight is currently on a used car, and they will pay up to $50 per headlight to have them restored. Not bad, $100 for an hour’s work.

For the same reason, a consumer will pay even more because the cost of headlight replacement is several hundred dollars. As well, yellowed, dull and oxidized headlights are dangerous. They will reduce illumination by as much as 50 percent. This is a great sales tool when pitching the service to a customer.

There are two options available on the market. One is good while the other is a cosmetic, band-aid fix.

The proper and permanent way to restore a headlight is to grind off the oxidation with varying grits of sand paper, then polish to remove scratches and create a high shine and protection. Such systems will cost about $200 to $300 with a buffing tool, sanding discs, polishing pads and protectant.

The not-so-good systems are nothing more than a chemical that coats the oxidation and gives a good cosmetic appearance. As soon as the chemical coating wears away, the dulling, yellowing and oxidation are back. Such an approach is not recommended.