How to clean plastic headlight assembly

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-14-14, 04:34 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 286
How to clean plastic headlight assembly

The plastic (?) headlight assemblies of my 2004 Honda Odyssey have fogged over in time. Does anyone know how to clean them... short of replacing them???
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-14-14, 05:03 AM
Sharp Advice's Avatar
Admin Emeritus
Join Date: Feb 1998
Location: The Shake and Bake State USA
Posts: 10,440
  #3  
Old 09-14-14, 05:13 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,023
1st you need to determine if it's on the outside or inside of the lens. If the exterior side, buffing should clean them up but if it's 'fogged' up on the inside - they need replacing.
 
  #4  
Old 09-14-14, 05:26 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 7
Get some very fine sandpaper that can be used for wet sanding (some sandpaper isn't recommended for wet sanding). Something like 2500 grit and wet the headlight with water and wet the sandpaper and rub in circular motions and watch the magic happen. If you have a buffer you can buff them after the sanding to get rid of the very fine scratch marks, use tooth paste on the buffer...
 
  #5  
Old 09-14-14, 08:59 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 286
Thanks everyone.....I don't know which method I will use but you confirmed that it can be done....Buz
 
  #6  
Old 09-14-14, 10:10 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 7
You'll be amazed with the sandpaper method...
 
  #7  
Old 09-14-14, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,126
Marksr has the best position. You need to know where the problem is.

I has some "fogging" on my 1999 Jimmy SLT. I discovered it was a broken seal on the assembly. I searched the internet and found a full assembly (with high/low, turn signals and driving lights) for about $40-$60 and ordered it over the internet and tossed it into the back of the car when it was delivered.

A week or so later, I took my Jimmy in for a oil change for $8.00 (he does not carry my oil in stock and told me to go to Walmart got a jug of Mobil 1 because he does that for his Corvette and wife's Blazer. I tossed the oil into my back end next to the oil.

When I went into get the oil change, he saw the assembly and just installed it at no charge. I asked if he forgot and he said he saw it and it only took a minute or so to do with the hood up. He told me I could have gone down the street a block or so to the local warehouse and avoid the time for something easy and simple.

Dick
 
  #8  
Old 09-16-14, 04:23 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,514
I bought a kit a while back, made by Turtle Wax, for doing the beacons on the wrecker. It includes two little foam-backed sanding pads with 4 sanding grits (2 per side of each disk). Also has a lubricant and a liquid polishing compound. As mentioned by others, the very fine sanding grits really work well provided, of course, that the weathering is on the outside.

Turtle Wax Headight Lens Restorer - YouTube
 
  #9  
Old 09-24-14, 04:36 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 7
  #10  
Old 09-24-14, 05:27 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,791
Total BS Edsport. You can use WD-40 or PAM and it will so the same thing for a week or so.
 
  #11  
Old 09-25-14, 02:32 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 7
I haven't tried it so i don't know how well it works. I did use the fine grit sandpaper though and it works wonders. Here's another...
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=4683384259581
 
  #12  
Old 10-01-14, 01:44 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 131
I don't know if anything will prevent older headlights from yellowing- I think that's just the nature of clear plastic.

The haze can be removed with polish, but unless you "seal" the surface it will just come back in a month or so.

On my old Thunderbird I wet sanded and polished out the lights and applied a few coats of clear lacquer. The lights still yellowed some after a year or so, but overall they stayed pretty clear. Automotive-grade clearcoat would be the best bet, as spray can paints really aren't durable enough.
 
  #13  
Old 10-01-14, 02:48 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,791
They make specific sealers, normally included in the better kits, that are better than just a clear coat. They are more UV resistant, which is mostly what causes the clouding and yellowing.

Some of the problem is the heat from the newer halogen bulbs as well. I guess they never took that into account in the design process.
 
  #14  
Old 10-02-14, 04:53 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,514
Another point that should be made is that there are some pretty low-cost replacement headlight assemblies out there that will take you back to oem clarity. We're talking less than $50 each. Higher quality (supposedly) ones for under $100 each. Amazon, among lots of others, carries them.
 
  #15  
Old 10-02-14, 06:57 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 20,791
Yeah, if you can find 'em. And if you want to go to all the work of replacing them. Not available for my Suzuki (how did I know they were only going produce it for 2 yrs?) and replacing on the Tribute meant loosening both inner fender liners and removing the front lower bumper cover and taking out the grill. Oh my aching knees!

Did do wonders for the looks and night driving though!
 
  #16  
Old 10-02-14, 07:37 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 43,023
A lot depends on the vehicle. The lights on my wife's merc were easy/quick to replace but they were $110 each. I bought my stepson new lights for his jeep [for Christmas] and it was only a little over $60 for the pair. A lot also depends on how packed everything is under the hood. My wife used to have an oldsmobile that I had to loosen both fenders and pull them out an inch or so to replace the radiator
 
  #17  
Old 10-02-14, 10:40 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,344
Has anyone replaced the actual lens on a fogged/yellowed headlight? My '04 G35 has a new headlight on the driver's side (replaced after accident) and the original on the passenger's side, so it looks pretty bad. I'm trying to sell the car in a few weeks so I'd like to do something about it. A replaced Xenon headlight costs $425 and the non-xenon is $120, so I was thinking of buying the non-Xenon light and removing the lens using a hair dryer or heat gun (or oven?) and simply swapping the old lens out. Or maybe restoring the headlight makes more sense since I'm selling it. And why the hell are the xenon headlamps for the 2004 $425 each whereas the '05 and '06 are only $100 each!?
 
Reply


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:28 AM.