Plastic Headlight Lens Restoration Successful Results


Old 07-14-13, 11:52 AM
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Thumbs up Plastic Headlight Lens Restoration Successful Results

Many threads in this forum on the subject. Many are old and some very outdated. Many original posting members long gone also... I myself, may have posted to one of those old outdated threads on the subject of foggy, cloudy &/or yellowed plastic head light lens... Unable to search and find it quickly... Oh Well...

Had badly yellowed and cloudy plastic lens. Prior cleaning result only satisfactory and none lasted all that long... Hopefully, product used today will last longer....

Product used, 3M Headlight Restoration Solutions. Completed kit purchased locally at the H/Freight store while shopping. Impulse purchased item!!!...

Final Results. Excellent....

Follow directions and not long after wards the DIY headlight restoration project is done.

Side Note:

Most products warn user not to over due or use excess product or excess process step(s). If you're from the OLD school, you've likely heard the phrase, if some is good, more is better?!!!

Then you'll love this product. Every step in the multiple sanding process of the first four/five steps instructions advise and encourage excessive sanding.

YEP! More is better!!!... And the instructions encourage it!...

No question(s) asked. Therefore, no replies needed. FYI only post.
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Old 07-15-13, 06:58 AM
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Good Grief!!!

Thread was originally closed. Purpose and intent was for reference and FYI only. As a DIY project that resulted in successful results. And thread could then be used as a link for additional information to other members posting questions on the subject matter.

As a result of some complaining about the thread being closed initially, it is now open for additional helpful suggestions, remarks, comments and advice others may offer. And as a result of so much whining and sniveling about posting info only closed threads....

Let the whining & complaining cease and the questions, comments and replies begin.
Old 07-15-13, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Canada
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I had done this very task as well as a bumper cover repair this past weekend. Had done a full write up on it but when I went to add the photos, systems trouble and my browser shutdown. Here is the short version

The background:
Wife's van and a SUV with a trailer hitch got into a bit of a mixup. The results where a hole torn in the front bumper cover, and a broken passenger headlight lens.

The only used headlight I could find was rough. Here is a picture of it after a quick wash with water and a rag.
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Items required:
- headlight
- Wet/dry sandpaper (600,1000,1500,2000 grit) at ~$1CND per sheet (only needed one of each)
- clean water and some rags
- decent automotive paint sealing wax: ~$10 (no cost if you have the detailing products on hand.

The short version of the how too:
Was lens with clean water and a rag. You can use soap, but be careful about residue. I just used water.

Keeping the lens wet, start wet sanding with the 600grit until you have an even foggy cover. The more damage to the lens, the more you'll have to work. Be warned, doing this by hand is very time consuming and somewhat dirty. You will end up with a white residue on your cloths (plastic dust from the sanding).
If you start to feel some resistance while sanding, add more water. I rinsed the lens and my paper frequently. Use light pressure as to not cause deep scratches. The water helps prevent this as well.
Here is how my lens looked after completing the 600grit. The lens had some deep scratches from an impact, so I had to sand it down to a really dark clouding.
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Once completed with the 600grit, repeat with the other sand papers using the same process. It will be discouraging until the end of the 1500 or even the 2000grit paper as it will be still cloudy.
Some people will go with a 2500 or 3000grit paper to finish. I only did 2000 and it turned out good.

To finish it off, you should use an automotive wax. Most or all plastics have a wax finish on them from the factory. You've just removed it so now you need to add that protective layer back. I had a bottle of Mothers paint sealing wax left over from last year, so this is what I used. A new bottle is about $10CND.

Here is the final outcome.
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My total cost was ($40 for the headlight, $4 for sandpaper) $44 plus taxes. Just products if I was to buy it all would have been about $14.

I do recommend using the blue shop rags you can get on a roll (don't remember the brand). They work great all around and is soft enough to do the waxing and washing.

Side note:
Total cost of repairs (excluding prime and paint which will be done when my wife returns with the van in a month) was ~$80 (plus beer and taxes). The headlight turned out better then the ones on the van originally and the bumper cover repair is rock solid (not exactly pretty for now, but solid). I did also wet sand out (600 and 1000 grit) the scratches from the incident with the same sand paper used for the lights.
What you see around the repairs is bugs. I only cleaned the work area, not the whole thing due to scheduling and work load.

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