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Thread: Headlight Lens Repair Question

  1. #1
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    Default Headlight Lens Repair Question

    My headlight lenses on my wife’s car are real dull & cloudy. I thought about replacing them but now I see that there are some restoration kits available. Has anybody tried anything like this? Does it really work? Here’s a couple I was looking at:

    http://www.autobodytoolmart.com/3m-h...8-p-16386.aspx

    http://www.autobodytoolmart.com/symt...0-p-16214.aspx



    Thanks

  2. #2
    No more body roll! SteveJ's Avatar
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    I have used inexpensive products found at an auto parts chain store and from Harbor Freight tools. Both kits had the different abrasives used with wet sanding, and both resulted in marked improvement in the amount of light that passed through the lenses.

    Caveats:
    If water has leaked inside the headlight or there is oxidation inside, you'll need to clean up the inside of the lens, too.
    The cheaper kits may not have anything to "preserve" the lens. I don't know what coatings (if any) manufacturers use on headlight lenses, and I don't know if the sanding processes remove any protection. The cars I polished the lenses on were not mine, and I have not had any opportunity to observe long-term changes.

    Suggestion:
    Cover the car surfaces near the headlight with painters tape or some other similar material. It is easy to brush those surfaces during the polishing process and scuff them.

    Steve
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    Registered User psdenno's Avatar
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    I've used the rubbing compound type of headlight restoration kit. It worked well. I didn't use a buffing pad on a power drill, just a rag and elbow grease.
    Dennis
    1971 240Z - Original Owner
    2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible

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    Registered User tlorber's Avatar
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    Different lenses respond differently. I've used rubbing compound on my Lexus and they cleaned up pretty well. A friend has tried wet sanding and then polishing his BMW lenses and they still look like crap.

    Whatever you do, its probably a good idea to keep wax on them after polishing. This not only fills in the small pits, creating a clearer surface, but also retards (can I still say that word?) future oxidation.

  5. #5
    Supporting Member EScanlon's Avatar
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    Depending on the amount of UV rays the lenses have received, the yellowing haze could be simple oxidation WITHIN the plastic that no amount of sanding will remove (unless you sand THROUGH the lens).

    Clear plastic doesn't have the UV stabilizers found in other plastics (few as that may be). As a result it's more prone to cracking and yellowing.

    Older plastic formulations were specially prone to this, newer ones seem to last a bit longer.

    FWIW
    E

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    I've used the 3M kit on two cars with very good results. No swirl marks when it was done and the lenses were clear.

  7. #7
    Registered User sbaker78's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 3M kit

    x2 on the 3M kit.

    My son just bought this kit from Wal Mart for about $15 for the lights on his Mitsubishi Eclipse which were very clouded and yellowed. It's just a bunch of sanding pads that get finer and finer, ending with a polishing pad. No liquids or waxes or rubbing compounds or anything like that. You'll need a good drill (corded is best). I was a little skeptical, but his lights came out perfectly clear, it was pretty amazing.

    Sean.
    Sean
    1978 280Z

  8. #8
    Registered User ZCurves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlorber View Post
    Different lenses respond differently. I've used rubbing compound on my Lexus and they cleaned up pretty well. A friend has tried wet sanding and then polishing his BMW lenses and they still look like crap.

    Whatever you do, its probably a good idea to keep wax on them after polishing. This not only fills in the small pits, creating a clearer surface, but also retards (can I still say that word?) future oxidation.
    I had the same results. What I ended up doing was ordering aftermarket headlights from eBay or Automart. The results are far better.

    Remember! Your time is worth something, don't use it sanding and polishing...
    Andrew (ZCurves)
    1978 Coupe - HLS30-440105
    Spring, Texas USA

    pro deo et patria
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