If you’re an enthusiast driver, then you’re aware of how car modification has grown as a business. From aftermarket wheels to running boards, window tinting to blacked-out taillights, there’s a lot on offer if you’re looking to customize your auto to give it a reflection of your personality. Now, one such way you can enhance the looks of your auto is by adding smoking headlights. To do that, you need to understand how to smoke headlights to give them an aggressive look.
Now, smoking headlights come with their fine share of pros and cons. The good thing about it is that it helps to reduce excessive light power on your headlights without having to replace the bulbs. This is a huge benefit to oncoming motorists as it controls flickering. This strategy also gives your auto an aggressive and customized appearance.
On the negative side, smoking headlights can be illegal in some regions as it affects visibility making it hard to distinguish objects while driving at night. So, in this short guide, we’ll discuss how to smoke headlights to give your auto a superior look.
Are Smoked Headlights Legal?
Now, if you’re a fan of tinted or rather smoked headlights, there are some critical factors you need to keep in mind before making your final decision. One of these factors is determining whether smoked headlights are legal in your specific state or jurisdiction.
You see, motor laws differ from one state to another. Some states state that any modification on car headlights is a violation of their motor laws while others state that using specific colors such as Red and Amber is a violation of the law.
You see, when smoking headlights, you need to ensure that the beam of light produced is bright enough to illuminate the road ahead of you. If the headlights are too dark, it will be obviously impossible for them to project enough light. As a result, this will pose a huge safety risk, as you’ll be unable to view the road clearly. Additionally, it will be hard for oncoming motorists (or those trailing behind you) to see you clearly.
So, to tackle this issue, some states have opted to ban smoked headlights completely while others have placed strict restrictions on which types of headlights to use. Therefore, to avoid landing yourself in trouble, it’s important that you understand your state’s laws regarding smoked headlights.
Tint Film Vs. Spray Paint: Which is the Best?
When it comes to smoking headlights, most motorists find themselves asking key questions such as which method is the best between tint films and spray paints. In most cases, the answer to this question hugely depends on your budget and the ease of removal should you change your mind.
In most cases, tint film is considered the best method as you won’t need a professional to install the tint for you. Additionally, tint films are easy to remove without damaging the headlight lens, as you only need to peel them off.
On the other hand, spray paint is quite tricky to deal with. First, smoking the headlights will require you to hire a professional mechanic. Secondly, the process is quite costly, and thirdly, removing the spray will require you to use chemicals that can corrode your car’s paint job and headlight lenses.
So, whether you choose the tint film or the spray paint route, this guide will discuss two methods you can consider when smoking your car’s headlights.
Method One: Using Tint Film
Things You’ll Need:
- Microfiber cloth
- Utility knife
- Heat gun or hairdryer
- Handheld squeegee
- Window tint film
- Spray bottle
- Step One: Wash the Headlights
When it comes to smoking your headlights, it’s always good to work with clean headlights. So, it’s recommended that you commence the process by cleaning the headlights thoroughly to remove any surface dirt, dust, and grime.
So, to clean the headlights, you can use WD-40, glass cleaner, or mild soap and water. If the dirt is just light, you can use a soft microfiber cloth. If the headlights are extremely dirty, then you can use 2000 grit wet sandpaper to scrub the headlights.
- Step Two: Cut the Tint Film
Once your headlights are spotlessly clean and shiny, the next step is to cut the tint film you bought to match the size and molding of your headlights. Now, there are some tint films that come when they’re already pre-cut and there are those that come as a full sheet.
So, before you proceed, it’s always wise to read through the manual to know what you’re dealing with. To those dealing with full sheets of tint films, then you’ll need to use a utility knife to trim the tint film to get the desired shape of your headlights.
- Step Three: Remove the Backing on the Tint Film
With the tint film cut into the correct size, remove the protective layer at the back of the film to expose the adhesive side. Spray the back of the tint film and the surface of the headlight lens to add more lubrication to the tint film. Once you’re done, place the tint film on the flattest part of the headlight then slowly work your way towards the curved edges.
- Step Four: Remove Water and Air Bubbles
Once you’re satisfied with the position of the tint film, use a squeegee to push out any trapped air and water underneath the tint film. When you’re done, trim any excess tint film on your headlight to make it uniform. Lastly, reinstall the headlight assembly and test your headlights to view the light output.
Method Two: Using Spray Paint
Things You’ll Need:
- 2000-grit wet sandpaper
- Tint spray
- Car wax
- Car polish
- Water + dish soap
- Utility knife
- Lint-free cloths
- Step One: Remove the Headlight Assembly
To start the process, you’ll need to dismount the headlight assembly from your vehicle. To do that, you need to inspect the user manual to see the instructions. When you’re done, follow the cleaning instructions we discussed in step one of the previous method.
- Step Two: Choose a Spray Tint
Here, you’ll need to choose a spray tint that best matches your specific headlight unit. Make sure that you choose the best aerosol tint that will not damage your headlights. Before you commence, make sure that you wear protective gear such as gloves and a mask to protect yourself from the side effects of the spray.
- Step Three: Prep the Light Lenses
Once you’ve picked the perfect spray tint, the next step is to prep your headlight lenses. Here, you have to use masking tape to cover those parts you don’t want to spray.
- Step Four: Start Spraying
With the headlight entirely ready, commence the spraying process by holding the aerosol can at least 18 inches from the headlights in a perpendicular position. Start with a thin coat then follow up with several other coats until you get the desired results. Always wait for 15 minutes between each coat to give the headlights enough time to dry up.
- Step Five: Apply a Clear Coat
Once you’re done painting your headlights, spray a clear coat on the headlights to give them a better finish and to protect the tint from UV rays and chipping. Allow the headlights to dry overnight before removing the masking tape the next morning. Finally, restore the headlight assembly back to its initial position and test the light output.
So, there you have it. In case you’ve been wondering how to smoke headlights, then this short guide has discussed two major methods you can use. The first method is by using a tint film while the second method is by using a spray tint. However, when smoking your headlights, you need to consult your state rules to ensure that your jurisdiction permits smoked headlights.
Remember, most states have banned the use of smoked or tinted headlights as they argue that it can pose a serious safety risk.