Can I Change A Glass Headlight For A Plastic Headlight Or Vice Versa?

For most of us, the most important aspect of a vehicle is the headlight. If for some reason you want to find out if you can change your glass headlights to plastic or vice versa, this post is for you.

If you mean buying some sort of replacement for your headlights, so that they are either glass or plastic, depending on which one you are changing from; then the short answer is no, you cannot switch your glass headlights to plastic and vice versa. But not so fast, there are still some conditions your vehicle would meet that might allow you to do this without issues. In the rest of this post, you will learn full details on whether you can replace the headlights of your glass headlights with plastic and vice versa, when this is possible and also a comparison of the two types of headlights to see what choice you can pick and stick to. SZSS-CAR Car Headlight Headlamp Clear Lens Auto Shell Cover for Buick Encore 2016 2017 2018 (Driver Side) : Automotive

Is it possible to change a glass headlight for a plastic headlight?

The answer to that is a simple no. However, Depending on the year, make and model of your vehicle, some models might have aftermarket options for replacement parts. For instance, if you have a classic vehicle or you are looking for something you can get one-off and custom, then this might be possible. But if you just have a normal modern car, this is a no. Most normal vehicles have very complex and specialized headlights that house other lights like the blinkers in them. These complex designs would make it difficult to have another type of headlights installed apart from the original type.

Here are some major reasons why it is not all that possible to change your glass headlights to plastic and vice versa:

  • Most modern plastic headlights are complex and have sealed housing that is coupled with other assemblies. Whereas, their glass counterpart is hard and is unable to afford the dynamism seen with the plastic headlights, which makes achieving such feat implausible.
  • Most vehicles now use moulded plastic lenses for the lights. Due to the fact that the moulded covers are part of the physical body design of the vehicle, they are pretty much uniquely individual for the model. To get them made in glass to match the mould, you will be having to pay a very large sum for some custom glasswork to match the place of the existing plastic lens.
  • Modern headlights are complex, sealed housing containing multiple projectors. Since glass would necessarily be thicker than the plastic headlight it replaces, the housing would also need to be reproduced to accommodate the glass.

What is the difference between a glass and plastic headlight?

Glass and plastic headlights have many obvious differences, some of them include:

  • Glass is harder, doesn’t scratch as easily and isn’t broken down by UV light easily. Though, it is also much more prone to breaking. Plastic is many times more impact-proof and cannot break from long use or all of a sudden.
  • A plastic headlight is cheaper as the materials are cheaper, manufacturing is cheaper, compared to glass headlights that are quite expensive.
  • The plastic headlight is usually coated from the factory with a UV protectant layer. However, road debris is constantly abrading this layer, and eventually, the coating fails. The UV quickly breaks down the surface and the headlight lens becomes opaque, and headlight performance is severely impacted.
  • Glass headlight assemblies are typically flat-faced and rectangular or round, and a few standard sizes. Most of these headlights are shaped specifically for that vehicle it is made for. For this, getting a plastic one would most likely not fit into the space the glass came out from.
  • Plastic headlights can be made strong and durable to withstand even the most rugged conditions. On the other hand, you have glass headlights, which are more costly, but they are also much more fragile and the most environmentally friendly ones.

Are glass headlights better than plastics?

Plastics have become increasingly popular in recent years, and the benefits of using plastic in your vehicle are numerous. They are lighter, thinner, and cheaper than glass, meaning they will not shatter in the event of an impact. That being said, the downside to plastic headlights is that they can become brittle and break when exposed to UV light. Glass headlights on the other hand have been gaining popularity among car enthusiasts, even though there are several aftermarket glass lens options, including bi-xenon and projector headlight kits, they have their drawbacks. While glass headlights look nice and won’t chip or crack like plastic lenses, they are not as durable.

The thing is, none is better than the other. What may seem like the perfect option for you may turn out to be the worst for another vehicle. If you wish to change your headlights for any reason, make full consultations about the particular type of vehicle you have and the headlight assembly type.

Plastic headlights or glass headlights?

No one can help you decide whether plastic or glass headlights because they are both good in their own way. However, the make of your car and the structure of the headlight assembly will determine whether you can switch from one to another. The most important thing is to understand what each one is best for and what you can get from using each. From this, and knowing the type of vehicle headlight area you have and even the manufacturers’ manual, you can then decide or take the vehicle to a mechanic for them to check and tell you which would serve your vehicle better than the other.

How much does a plastic headlight cost?

When changing your headlights to plastic, keep in mind that this type of headlights can cost anywhere between $89 to $300 depending on the car model and type.

How much does a glass headlight cost?

When changing your headlights to plastic, keep in mind that this type of headlights can cost anywhere between $9 to $322 depending on the vehicle model, year and type.

How much will it cost to change a headlight?

Due to the design of the glass headlight assembly, it may be almost impossible for you to change it for a plastic one. However, in a situation where your mechanic or you notices that you can, you can go ahead assuming your car’s headlight switch is intact. However, this only works for the first headlight. The plastic headlight assembly is more complicated, but it can still be done, but there will be some minor costs involved.

To change the entire headlight assemblies is much pricier. To change your headlights assembly as a result of changing headlights from one type to another, it would cost you from $200 to $750 depending on the technicalities of the assembly.

If it is just the headlights, this would depend on the specific year, make and model of your vehicle. The estimated cost for this replacement generally could be anywhere from $50 to $1000, or even more, depending on the model and fault. For aftermarket options, the cost should be around $50 to $250, still depending on the brand.

Why Are There No More Glass Headlights?


With just the right knowledge about plastic and glass headlights for your vehicles, you can easily make the choice for which one you need for replacement. If you feel confusion in any way, ring the deals ers of your vehicle brand, reach out to your trusted mechanic or go through the vehicle’s manual for any information pertaining to that.


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