Any experience with headlight lens restoring?

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  #1  
Old 04-23-18, 05:28 AM
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Any experience with headlight lens restoring?

I am thinking about trying one of the methods that supposed to restore, refinish or clean headlight lenses. I have seen a lot of different methods and products that claim to work wonders but I am reluctant to try it and risk making the lenses worse.

So I thought I would ask you all. Any body have any personal experience with cleaning or restoring headlight lenses?

What you learned from doing your own maybe?

Thanks
 
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Old 04-23-18, 05:43 AM
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I've been using a Turtle Wax kit for a number of years with good results. I mainly use it on the amber lens of the beacons on my truck:

https://www.turtlewax.com/our-produc...s-restorer-kit
 
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Old 04-23-18, 05:45 AM
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Depending on your vehicle, replacement headlight assemblies can be quite affordable, so you may want to consider simply replacing them.
 
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Old 04-23-18, 06:24 AM
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I also had good luck with a kit (3M I think). But I notice I have to use a cleaner/wax occasionally to keep them nice and clear. Steve
 
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Old 04-23-18, 07:57 AM
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I also used Turtle wax and had a good results with it
 
  #6  
Old 04-23-18, 08:30 AM
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Lens Kits Work

The kits all work well. It is really just a small rotary buffing pad for you drill that applies a fine grit sandpaper followed by various polishing compounds, and a final protective synthetic wax. Not much different than what detailers do for a paint "correction". Just make sure you thoroughly clean the lens (really the whole front of the car) with soap and water, let dry, and avoid any grit or debris accidently getting swirled around. The kits will remove the haze and yellowing, and minor scratches that are inevitable, especially if the car is stored outside. Mask off around the light lens so you don't accidently scrape any surrounding paint.

You will be very happy with the outcome, although you will wonder if you are on the right track after the most abrasive first step as to whether it will actually polish out!

(In extreme cases I suppose the plastic could have become embrittled from UV exposure, and an aggressive polishing could fracture the plastic. But if that happens you needed a new lens anyways.)

Lots of kits and related products here...the 3M renewal kit worked for me, click the link for that product for the instructions, other kits also have the instructions linked so you can understand how they approach the task...

https://www.autogeek.net/headlight-lens.html
 
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Old 04-23-18, 09:01 AM
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Any body have any personal experience with cleaning or restoring headlight lenses?
I had a 1997 Toyota with yellowed headlights, used 300-grit disc and orbital sander to clean up the headlight, and YES there was a significant improvement. Also upgraded the lights to brigher-bluer bulbs.

But, a few months later, I found a pair of replacement lens assemblies online (under $300) and that swap (with updated bulbs) was MUCH more effective at producing good drivable lighting.

So, yes, you can grind off the yellowed part of headlights and re-seal them,
but it may be cheaper (varies wildly depending on make/model) to swap out the lens assembly.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 04-23-18 at 09:24 AM.
  #8  
Old 04-23-18, 10:40 AM
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If it's oxidation on the exterior of the lens - that usually cleans up well. If it's condensation on the inside - you need to replace. Prices do vary on replacement; I bought a pair for my stepson's jeep for $60 but the headlights on the merc my wife used to have cost $110 each.
 
  #9  
Old 04-23-18, 12:05 PM
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Here's a link to a YouTube vid detailing a great method to get your headlights clear...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEJbKLZ7RmM&t=100s

Basically you do a light sand with very fine wet/dry sandpaper and then spray the headlights with clear coat "paint" in a rattle can. Make sure the clear cost is "non-yellowing" and UV resistant.

This method works great and lasts YEARS. I've done it myself and it's a neat DIY project.
 
  #10  
Old 04-23-18, 12:25 PM
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I got good results with a kit on my '98 Dodge Ram, and this past fall my wife got excellent results on her '08 Saturn Aura. At the time I did my pickup the replacement lens were ridiculously high priced, I'm thinking around $300 a piece, and I have heard that at least some of them are more affordable today, but even if the ones for your vehicle are reasonably priced you may want to see how much time is involved too, because I'm quite sure that some of these lenses are very labor intensive to replace.
 
  #11  
Old 04-23-18, 03:33 PM
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The few modern day headlights I've replaced were surprisingly easy to replace - basically just a few clips.
 
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Old 04-23-18, 07:33 PM
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And then there are the others.... Where you have to remove the front bumper cover, grill, inner fender skirt, one kidney...mostly in the name of aero/fuel mileage.
 
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Old 04-24-18, 03:31 AM
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And then there are the others.... Where you have to remove the front bumper cover, grill, inner fender skirt, one kidney...mostly in the name of aero/fuel mileage.
This is the case with my wife's Aura, so I didn't even bother checking to see what new lens' cost. Figured I'd at least wait until we saw how the kit did, and it worked great.
 
  #14  
Old 04-24-18, 06:02 AM
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My wife's '04 Impala got a new headlight after a fender-bender so I wanted to replace the other side to match. Problem was it took 3 exchanges of the body shop replacement to get one that didn't leak. I ended up polishing the yellowed original rather than deal with cheap import assemblies.

Next time I'm going to try the method linked previously where you clearcoat the lens. That sounds like a great idea.
 
  #15  
Old 04-24-18, 07:33 AM
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I haven't tried this yet but after looking at all the videos I'll give this a shot. Bought the Mothers and 303, just need some ambition.


Appears this guy has done detailing for 20 years and almost all the comments are positive, we'll see.


https://youtu.be/OZqLOZU5qUY
 
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