Thatcham Publishes Sustainable Headlamp Repair Guide

UK automotive research centre Thatcham Research has written a “best practice” guide emphasising the sustainability benefits of repairing rather than replacing damaged headlamps, in addition to providing advice regarding headlamp removal, repair and refitting.

Thatcham analysed headlamp specifications, complexities, technologies, and typical damage to identify potential repair strategies. The organisation’s engineers collated the research data and wrote the guide, allowing vehicle repairers to accurately reinstate an existing lighting unit, rather than replace it, to mitigate rising insurance costs and total losses.

“Today’s headlamp units are often a coded component and integral to the operation of various advanced driver assistance systems and assisted driving functions that improve safety,” said Thatcham. “But they’re also one of the most commonly damaged vehicle components. “In some cases, the cost of a replacement can amount to eight per cent of the total vehicle value when new, and costs are expected to increase further as more tech – including lidar, cameras, and projectors – are incorporated into lighting units.”

Darren Bright, Thatcham Research’s Principal Engineer for Automotive Repair, said the repair guide highlights best practice in the market and gives vehicle damage assessors the information needed to embrace sustainable repair methods, rather than sending a defunct lighting unit to landfill.

Thatcham identified headlamp mounting brackets and light lenses as two components most suitable to repair. The organisation’s research found that 65 per cent of the top 10 car companies offer a headlamp mounting bracket repair kit, designed to replace the sacrificial headlamp mounting bracket in some damage scenarios. Thatcham said these brackets could avoid needing a replacement unit, saving thousands of pounds.

When it comes to rectifying common forms of lamp failure such as a cracked lens, Thatcham says an increasing number of car companies are making replacement lenses available. The organisation believes this trend will continue as other vehicle manufacturers introduce lens replacement solutions across the car parc.

Thatcham’s guide says that any headlamp repair outside of the OEM’s recommended guidance should be approached with caution.

To download a free copy of Thatcham’s Vehicle Headlamp Repair Guide, visit