MVS Contributor WagonLagan went out of his way to painstakingly document a reflector cleaning, including what to do and what not to, photos, results, etc. In the end, he essentially conducted a detailed experiment on cleaning corroded headlight reflectors. Here are his tips:
- It’s surprisingly easy to tell if your headlight is still reflective or not. When I found the good one in the salvage yard, I could look through the clearer parts of the glass and see the reflection. If you can’t do that, it’s likely your headlight reflector is getting pretty yucky.
- Be careful when removing a headlight from a junk car. Water had accumulated in the bottom of the headlight assembly, and because I was careless it splashed up onto the reflector, causing my need to clean/rinse it in the first place.
- I would not feel comfortable using isopropyl alcohol straight on a reflector I intended to use.
- I’d wager that any type of cleanser is likely to damage, or has a strong potential to damage, the headlight reflectors.
- I see no possibility whatsoever to polish the inside reflector. As I understand it, it is vapor-deposited aluminum, not chrome paint, and would therefore simply wipe off or become discolored.
- Any physical attempt at cleaning the reflector is very likely to do more harm than good.