Turn Signal Lens
You don't want other drivers on the road to keep guessing all the time, wondering what your next move will be. This can be very dangerous. So if you're going to turn around a corner or switch lanes, make sure that you turn on the signals to tell drivers of tailing vehicles that you're about to go left or right. And to be sure the light is always visible, keep your turn signal lens in top shape. With fully functional turn signal components, you can prevent untoward incidents on the road. Drivers can keep a safe distance from your automobile and even give way so that you can easily and safely maneuver your vehicle.
Why should you fix a damaged turn signal lens right away?
If your turn signal lens has cracked (smashed by road debris or after your vehicle has hit an object or collided with another automobile), then this should be fixed right away. You see, the lens protects the bulb from dirt and moisture, as well as heating and cooling cycles. It also keeps corrosion from getting through the electrical components. When lens becomes flaked, faded, or scuffed, this will affect the color and intensity coming from the turn signals. So when the lens shows any sign of wear or damage, you have to repair or replace this before a traffic enforcer pulls you over or before you get into a vehicular accident caused by poor or faulty lighting.
How can you restore the old plastic turn signal lens back to its smooth, scratch-free surface or finish?
First thing you have to do is wash the plastic lens with a basic cleaning solution. Don't use a glass cleaner on plastic, as this may contain ingredients that can cause cracking or scraping. When cleaning the lens, use a cotton rag or soft cloth to avoid leaving scratches on the plastic. You may or may not remove the lens when cleaning and polishing it, whatever's easier for you.
After washing and drying the turn signal lens, you have to wet-sand the plastic. Soak sandpaper on water mixed with a drop of dish soap. Also keep the lens wet by spraying it with water. Use a fine-grit sandpaper to remove surface debris and to work on the scratches. Move on to 1500- to 200-grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface.
Once you're done with wet-sanding the surface, cover it with an automotive rubbing compound. Add only a small amount to the applicator and make sure that the compound is applied evenly on the plastic surface, bringing back its smoothness and shine. The compound should then be rinsed thoroughly. Finally, use some plastic polish on the clean and dry surface, and then buff the lens with a soft cloth till it's polished.
Note: You have to wet-sand deeper scratches a little longer. It also helps if you'll buff the surface more with a rubbing compound. For really deep scratches, however, this might not work. You'll have to replace the heavily scratched lens.
What are the things to consider when buying a new turn signal lens?
When it comes to the color/finish of the lens, you can choose from clear, smoked, and amber. A clear lens should be used with an amber bulb, and an amber-colored lens may be used with a colorless bulb. If you want that tinted look or some custom styling on your turn signal, a smoked lens may give you that effect. Just make sure that it's paired with the right turn signal bulb to emit the right kind of light. When buying a lens, make sure that it's legal in the state where you live or drive.
Aside from the color/finish, you also have to make sure that the lens is compatible with the lighting system of your vehicle. It should fit like a glove. Order a lens for the right application, such as for the front or rear driver or passenger side. It should also be made from a tough plastic that can withstand bumps and scrapes and won't easily scratch or crack.