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wally

restoring headlight lenses

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just finished using permatex product to restore the exterior surface of headlights.

 

the headlights on my '95 legacy were very yellow, full of tiny cracks and swirls in the surface of the lenses. after about 2.5 hours of work, the headlight lenses, although not quite in new condition, are now very clear without yellowing. 95% of the swirls and cracks are gone, too.

 

i paid less than $20 for the kit, far less than the cost of replacing both headlight lens assemblies with new ones. very simple to use, no mechanical skills needed, just some patience.

 

the road is now brighter, too. :-\

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Those kits do work well, by all accounts.

 

I hand treated mine with rubbing compound. They're not perfect or near new but at least they do light the way now. Time invested hand rubbing is directly related to how much improvement there is in the light level.

 

The kits generally include the buffing wheel to chuck into a drill - obviously it makes the task much easier and probably does a better job than my hand rubbing.

I'm just too cheap to buy one.

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it's scary how bad mine were and realizing how many are out there still like that. the stuff works well and highly recommended for anyone wanting better and safer lighting.

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When I was visiting home recently my Dad was cleaning his Jimmy's headlights with Meguiar's Plastic X. My Legacy's headlights had a slight haze, so I used some and got to rubbing. Nice and clear now, makes a heck of a difference in brightness. Changing my oil at night not long after, when cleaning up I left her running outside the garage. I made the mistake of looking back and was immediately blinded by two suns! :D I did notice when using the Plastic X that I had a bunch of little pits and dings in the plastic. Would the Permatex kit fill these in?

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the permatex kit isn't complicated. it includes 1000, 1500, 2000, and 2500 grit abrasive paper, and a polishing compound with flannel cloth.

 

the abrasives (sandpaper/emery) gradually smooth the surface, removing most of the pitting and cracking. depends entirely on how deep the cracks in the surface are as to how much will be removed. after finishing with the 2500-grit, the polishing compound is applied, which fills in the minor surface imperfections and produces a pretty smooth, clear surface.

 

the yellow haze in the lens surfaces was completely removed, and most of the pits/scratches/swirls were removed (but not all of them).

 

 

truthfully, the only thing you'd really need from the permatex kit is the polishing compound, as you could purchase emery cloth easily.

 

follow the instructions in the kit, and it should work pretty well.

 

wally

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The kits I've used have basically a clear coat that comes on little wipes.

 

The sanding/buffing I think we could all come up with ways to do. But thic clear sealer which stops them from getting bad again quickly is the ingredient I can't figure out how to source by itself.

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i used the rainx kit.. too time consuming.. i do alot of headlights i use a matco cut off tool with a piece of folded microfiber lens cleaning cloth bolted to it and 3M rubbing compound. i only use 2500 grit when its seriously rough

 

i have a 2000 dodge intrepid in the shop that needs headlight restoration so ill do that now to show you how well it works ill even time it :grin:

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UNDER 2 MINUTES to from this

 

DSCF0228.jpg

 

to this.

30 seconds into it

DSCF0231.jpg

 

 

and a quick result in under 2 minutes

DSCF0234.jpg

 

with these tools

 

DSCF0229.jpg

 

 

the rainx kit took waaaay too long and i broke a sweat sanding lol.

 

i left some of the headlight foggy to show how well it cleans and its super fast.. ill make a video with a timer if anyone wants to see :grin:

 

 

note i can make these way better with a little more compound and time but im showing you just how fast and easy this is

Edited by True2Blue

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The kits I've used have basically a clear coat that comes on little wipes.

 

The sanding/buffing I think we could all come up with ways to do. But thic clear sealer which stops them from getting bad again quickly is the ingredient I can't figure out how to source by itself.

 

 

this is where i am at.what do i use to coat it after wards?my time is valuable these days and i need to do this to my ol'ladies rig again.cheers

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The turtle wax kit works great too. It comes with a chemical cleaner/sanding lubricant, 5 grades of abrasive pads and a 1-time use UV sealant.

 

Now I just need to restore my scratched up windshield. I'm looking for a suitable polishing compound.

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i've always just used different grits of paper then polishedby hand. takes awhile though. and a coat of wax on the lense after seems to help keep it looking good

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I did not read the whole thread yet but I used 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper with a little water and plastix-X..

 

Looks good.. but my car stays outdoors so in about a week or 2 my headlights are back to looking hazy again..

 

Anyone know of a product that helps long term?

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yep. long term solution

 

IMG_20110501_131650.jpg

 

IMG_20110501_134351.jpg

 

IMG_20110501_134357.jpg

 

my method exactly.

 

wetsand with 600 (if it's real bad) 800 if its not)

 

wetsand with 1000

 

clean and dry headlight

 

tape off area for overspray

 

the lens should be very white and cloudy (make sure you sand off all the yellowness)

 

Paint the lens with a UV safe, non yellowing clear coat. GLOSS. I used krylon.

 

let the clear dry, and remove the tape and masking.

 

the clear coat will fill the scratches and level out and make it so smooth you will not need to buff them at all

 

:grin:

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I wet sanded mine too. First with 1000 grit paper, then 1500 grit, then 2000 grit. Each time going untill my hands hurt. You can see the plastic coming off in the water! Then let them dry, then use PlastX polish and they look good as new. I think I paid $10 for the paper and polish, and did two vehicles with it and still have polish left for other stuff.

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got exactly the same results using ultra brite toothpaste. bought it at the dollar general for $1. i read about it on a post here....just can't remember where exactly. curtis

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I just did my soobs with 3M plastic cleaner, then the 3M headlight polish/protector, based on those products having good reviews at Amazon. I was pretty pleased with the relatively low cost and speed that it worked. I just used a cloth to apply them. Granted I did have to go over them several times to get a good result, but they are now pretty clear. They weren't terribly frosted over before but they were far from clear.

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Another more long term option after polishing is to cover them the clear headlight films on eBay. They don't cost much and will prevent further damage from road debris.

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yep. long term solution

 

IMG_20110501_131650.jpg

 

:grin:

 

yup,i got same result when i did my Outbacks lenses today..wondering if i should of wet sanded too..they weren't as bad as yours but did get major difference with the turtle wax stuff..

 

Not sure why i waited so long to do it..(have owned her since Sept)

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Question I can't remember if I asked this before but.. OK so you wet sand lights or if it's not that bad polish it and all.. now people say to use a clear film over the lights.. but then I hear people say the lights will still haze and yellow over time?

 

it's like I hear two different opinions over this.

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I am thinking of picking up a Meguairs kit for my headlights, it comes with the polishing wheel for the drill and the PlastX polish compound. I used the Permatex kit by hand on my wife's old car and it took way too long for my tastes!

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