By: Shelly Robinson | Category: Automotive | Issue: March 2010
A vehicle before Luis Cruz works his magic on the headlights.
If your headlights have lost their brightness, you may be concerned about not being able to see the road very well, and that is a valid issue. But Luis Cruz, owner of Cruz’n Lights Headlight Restoration Service, says you should also be concerned that others on the road can’t see you.
“People don’t realize that when they are traveling down the highway with dim lights, those entering on side roads can have the perception that the car is much farther away and pull out in front of them. When the driving environment isn’t properly lit, there are problems both with seeing others and actually being seen yourself.”
Luis knows what he’s talking about. He has been restoring headlights in Tulsa and the surrounding area for the past five years. Luis had a friend who had perfected the cleaning and restoring process 12 years ago. When the opportunity arose for Luis to start his own business using the proven process, it seemed like the right move. “My wife and I have 6 children and 17 grandchildren, and we are very involved at our church, Eastland Baptist. We had been looking for a business opportunity that would allow me to have a flexible work schedule, and this worked out well for us.”
The result has been so successful that Luis now travels to 22 dealerships across the Tulsa area, in addition to servicing individual customers at their home or place of business. “All I need is a power source, and I have everything else I need,” Luis says. “I make it very convenient.”
Luis stands proudly by the finished product.
While the glass headlights of past years would sometimes appear foggy due to water condensation, modern vehicle lights are made of plastic polymer that can scratch and wear over time. Cruz explains that restoring your lights can save you anywhere from 50 to 80 percent off the price of replacing them with new units, and he says the fix is permanent. Besides the safety factor, restored headlights make a positive first impression.
“You can have a great looking car, but dingy, dirty looking headlights detract from the value of the vehicle,” says Luis. “That’s why our cleaning and restoring process is used by so many dealerships. We don’t want a customer to pass up purchasing a vehicle because the lights don’t look as good as the rest of the car.” Customers can also use the restoration process to make headlights match after one has been replaced due to an accident.
Luis said the unique process he uses removes the dirt and then restores the finish. Unlike buffing, which can actually seal wax into the surface of the lights, his process takes the finish off, polishes the plastic and then restores the finish. He explained that there are kits on the market that claim to restore the finish, but in his experience, they work on an extremely small percentage of vehicles. He also says there are steps you can take to prolong the life of your headlights in the first place.
“Many people don’t realize that you shouldn’t use the wax at the car wash if you have had your headlights on,” explains Luis. “When the plastic is hot and you spray wax on it, it actually seals dirt and grit onto the surface so that when you buff it, you get shiny dirt, but not a clear and safe finish.”
The process takes less than two hours and prices start at $60. Prices vary according to type, make and model of the vehicle. Cruz’n Lights provides free estimates, and your satisfaction is their goal.