Headlight yellowing Prevention

We have all been through this and often many new headlight housings as a result. The yellowing of headlamp housing and the many "headlight restoration kit" solutions offered to restore our headlights. well seasoned veterans will be well aquainted with this cycle. I have been always wodering if there was some way to break this cycle however this feeling became alot stronger after I purchased brand new Series 3 BCNR33 projector headlamps. As these are a very pricy investment and rather than wait for them to slowly discolour and yellow I wanted more than ever to break this reliance on headlight restoration kits.

The answer came to me in one article featured in GTR Magazine. One workshop which provided a protection solution by Xpel Protective Films http://www.xpel.com for headlights. It began from their clear bra or protective film service which their film has self-healing and UV protection properties so they saw a market to apply this (very pricy film) as a solution to protect headlights. Their menu is specifically aimed at second generation GTRs given the rarity and price of headlights for these cars.
Picture showing application process of the film (courtesy of Kn's Factory's website https://area.nissan.co.jp/original/ni-kanagawa/kns2/tuning/headlight/headlight.html The R33 pictured is actually GTR Magazine's own BCNR33)

So which workshop is this? In Japan perhaps more than many other countries how much of the 'aftermarket' is brought to the attention of the consumers as a product or solution. 
Particularly in the automotive industry in Japan there is a alot of knowledge transfer between the aftermarket and OEM side. (For example the R35 GTR development team actually comprised of alot of engineers originally from aftermarket companies such as Tein.) So there was alot of entrepreneurship from back in the day. What this translated into was an official singluar say Nissan or Honda dealership offering their own product and or service lineup as an extention of their aftersales/aftercare department.

This headlight protection service was offered by one such Nissan dealership. Nissan Kanagawa dealership which also is an approved Nismo Performance Centre headed by Atsukai-san as GM and Tezuka-san as Technical Advisor. Both these guys hold the title of Nismo Technical Master, one of the highest technical accolades achieveable for a hands on technical position at Nissan. People with this rank often are or have been involved in Nissan's factory motorsports teams as senior race techs and so is a very prestigious position. 

Personal customer experience is something very much at the core of business in Japan so often customers rather than subscribing to a blanket brand image would like an even more personalised or niche experience. So as an arm of a somewhat unassuming Nissan Kanagawa dealership this is exactly what this Nismo Performace Centre has done to standout and so also has been given it's own name "Kn's Factory" https://area.nissan.co.jp/original/ni-kanagawa/kns2/index2.html. On top of being a authorised Nismo Performance Centre Kn's Factory offers a selection of aftercare menus exclusive to them.

Atsukai-san gave me abit of background that Kn's Factory originally started with a used performace car business selling many 90s era Nissan performance cars and then they decided to develop more their aftersales/aftercare business. Drawing on their expertises their had gained to become Nismo Technical Masters and using their connections in the industry, both Atsukai-san and Tezuka-san had and expanded what is usually your typical relatively simplistic aftercare/aftersales business and developed into the business which is Kn's Factory today.


As I mentioned earlier it is a rather unassuming Nissan dealership at first glance.


Around the corner it becomes somewhat more apparent that there is something more to this dealership.

So I booked my car in and was told it would take about 1 week as the application of the film will be handled by a third-party specialist company. My car would be taken there and back within that week. In addition I requested a headlight beam adjustment as the alighnment was abit off since I had the new lights fitted. I dropped my car off first thing on a saturday morning and also took some time to chat to Atsukai-san and Tezuka-san. They were very friendly and provided a warmer more personalised, traditional style of customer service which is really lacking in this day and age.

After I had sorted out my menu of work I wanted chatted for a while they invited me to go check out their upstairs gallery before I left at my own leasure and with a free drink from their vending machine. So I went to go check it out.

Not just their gallery but most of their workshop/dealership itself has a real retro 90s feel to it which being a 90s kid I really enjoyed.



Their gallery had on display not only alot of 90s Nismo racing paraphernalia and some parts taken from actual past racing cars like a Group C car body panel. Also their gallery had a display of some of their various upgrade products and services for Skyline/GTRs and Z cars.



They even had this PS4 console and driving simulator complete with a copy of Gran Turismo Sport for customers to have a go.


This gallery while quaint is a must visit and work booking your car in at Kn's Factory just to take a look even if it is just an oil change. I took my time to chill there for a while and have a go on the simulator then said my goodbyes and would be back first thing the following saturday.


Fast forward a week I headed over there first thing in the morning and after a relaxed train and bus ride I arrived at Totsuka, Yokohama where Kn's Factory is located.



When I arrived I was greeted by my car waiting for me in front of the dealer. One of the most satisfying feelings for us enthusiasts is when we go pick up our pride and joy after having some work done.

The cost of applying this film to the headlamps was approximately $400 USD including labour. Some what pricey but for the peace of mind and as the film will last a minimum of 3 years well worth the investment or rather to protect my investment in headlamps.
With regards to care of the film Tezuka-san gave me a quick run down on it's properties and that I can hand wash it as I regularly do and as it is self healing it doesn't require waxing or any form of coating.



Included was a care kit for the film as well.


There is definately something to be said about this kind of grass roots, bespoke customer service which there certain exists a market for. 

Not everyone can afford to pay thousands for the privalege to to talk to a man and match their roof colour to their interior seat stitching. 
But a comparable bespoke service where by quality products and services can be provided to us by the people who are actually have had experience 'on the ground and in the field' so to speak and the level of expertise and advice these people can provide outside of simply squeezing money out of the customer. 

This approach towards a niche market, providing an enthusiast focused product lineup coupled with a personalized traditional customer service approach is as lucrative as the current high-end and often cliche personlized product market. It requires much less investment and is quite risk adverse compared to say launching a new car model into a given market. Furthermore as the profit margins on new car sales are a meager pitance, particularly outside of the high-end market. The money does lie in the after care/after sales area. 

This sort of service already exists in marques such as Porsche and Aston Martin. 
It creates value add for us the enthusiasts, drives brand recognition and business for the manufacturers. Food for thought for Nissan dealer networks globally now that marques such Skyline/GTR has more recognition than ever before with a developing culture of purists who have a greater appreciation for these historic cars.

Verdict:
Although pricey, however for just the headlights for starters this is a well worth investment after a headlamp replacement or fresh headlight restore. Xpel http://www.xpel.com films are available in many countries and cities including Perth, Australia so check out your nearest AD from the website above. 




As you can see or can't. The film is only visible if you are really looking for it up close. A good fit and finish to to protect them from UV as well as rock chips and scratches.

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