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View Full Version : yellow/hazy headlight restoration


nakman
08-31-2009, 03:19 PM
Anyone ever tried one of these restore kits?

http://www.urethanesupply.com/storeheadlight.php

I've got hazy yellow headlights... it's buggin' me.. :o

DaveInDenver
08-31-2009, 03:34 PM
Dunno how this kits works, but if you want to try it I have a bunch of different polishing compounds that I use for fiberglass repair. Probably the same sort of thing you do to remove UV and pollution oxidation on WilderNests and boats (fiberglass gets chalky with sun exposure, so you need to do a polish and wax once in a while). I even have a random orbit polisher so you don't gotta do it with elbow grease.

rover67
08-31-2009, 04:30 PM
Nope... But I keep seeing this on Speed Channel and it intrigues me...

http://www.autogeek.net/meguiars-plastic-headlight-kit.html

Beater
08-31-2009, 04:31 PM
I have done this on the T100, the cruisers, and other vehicles. I have the best luck with wet sanding with 1000, 2000, then finally 3000 and finishing up with a compound, like plastix.

tape off the surrounding trim, and go to town.

I have used just compounds, but it doesn't work like sandpaper. I used a "mothers ball" with the compounds. I tried my regular buffer, but it didn'w work that well.


Believe it or not, whitening toothpast works as well.

corsair23
08-31-2009, 04:32 PM
My dad tried this, or something similar, that you can buy at Checker or Napa...Said it made them marginally better. He didn't want to spend the :twocents: on new headlamps nor the :twocents: on a second kit so I'm guessing it made them good enough so he could see at night again (I hope).

When I was helping him research this I read somewhere that sometimes more than 1 kit would be necessary (i.e. 1 kit per light)

60wag
08-31-2009, 04:36 PM
I polished the headlamp covers on my 9-5 and a happy with the results. The kit I used was two grades of wet sanding followed by a polishing compound followed by a UV protector. Supposedly without the UV protection, the haze returns quickly. The kit was a bit overpriced for what was in the bag but it did save a bit of running around looking for stuff. It called Crystal somethingorother.

wesintl
08-31-2009, 04:46 PM
Your glass on the 80 yellows?

I hate the plastic lenses on new cars.

leiniesred
08-31-2009, 04:48 PM
On my MR-S the right headlight seems to have suffered solvent damage and it gets hazy.
The mequires plastic polish makes it look like the left side for a couple months. Then I have to buff the lens again as it starts to cloud up again. (like stated above, It is a short term fix.)

New headlights on the MR-s are $140 for the pair. I'll keep buffing occasionally for now.
(Apparently Toyota headlights are pretty inexpensive compared to other Marques.)

nakman
08-31-2009, 06:57 PM
Your glass on the 80 yellows?

I hate the plastic lenses on new cars.

No, not the 80 on the Taco... I may just order that kit and see what it does, I'm sure it will be some improvement.

Corbet
08-31-2009, 08:32 PM
I've done many Subaru's with similar kits. I generally started with 800 grit wet sanding with something like windex. Moving my way all the way to 4000 grit progressively. Then the buffing compound, finally the sealant with the kit. I had really good results but it takes some time and elbow grease. Its easy to rush it and be disappointed in the end.

nakman
08-31-2009, 09:37 PM
Nope... But I keep seeing this on Speed Channel and it intrigues me...

http://www.autogeek.net/meguiars-plastic-headlight-kit.html

interesting Marco, thanks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw5KSum28dc

I'm going to order it tonight, looks like you get a bunch of stuff with it, so I'll pass it around if it works.. stay tuned!

Corbet
09-01-2009, 08:10 AM
if our lenses are pitted you will need more than just the buffing compound to make them new again. I recently picked up a kit from NAPA for $20 to do the lenses on Marianne's Subaru. I have not opened it up yet but it looks more like the commercial kit I was accustomed to using at Avalanche Automotive.

jettaglxdriver
09-01-2009, 09:27 AM
It is not haze from your headlights it's smoke from the Cali fires and the western slope fires. LOL JK

TIMZTOY
09-01-2009, 10:10 AM
i bought some "meguires plastix " from advanve auto, to use on my POS jeep that i bougt for the wife.. i used it with my dewalt polisher with a wool pad.
it works great and it hardly uses any product so i have a ton left over that your welcome to use.. i should be in denver tommorw with any luck and be able to make the meeting.. ( driving from key west )
http://www.meguiars.com/estore/product_list.cfm?sectionname=Consumer (Meguiar's Brand)>Clear Plastic Care&sectionID=15101

nakman
10-31-2009, 10:33 PM
I ended up buying the 3M Headlight Restoration kit. Was $17.99 on sale, so just under $20 out the door + tax. http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_Headlight-Lens-Restoration-System-3M_7100089-P_N3312W_T|GRP2074____

Overall I am pleased with the results. Total time was 2 hours, and that included time to remove the grill and corner lights, drive the 80 to Advanced Auto Parts & back, and do the job.. which involved going through 4 batteries on the cordless because it's faster than getting out the real drill and an extension cord.. :rolleyes:


edit: picture of the kit, and a final "before" picture...

nakman
10-31-2009, 10:37 PM
After pics...

nakman
10-31-2009, 10:42 PM
actually now that I look at the pictures I'm pretty psyched- giving this product a :thumb: and a good use of $20 and 2 hours.

jettaglxdriver
10-31-2009, 10:51 PM
That is a huge improvement. Did the kit include a UV protectant?

nakman
10-31-2009, 11:12 PM
That is a huge improvement. Did the kit include a UV protectant?

Nope. No UV protectant but the directions suggest for longer lasting results to buy more 3M products, like a plastic protector, etc. so maybe that has it. This is good enough for me though, and I can't see why it won't last for a while since the polycarbonate lens didn't change at all, I just ground off the yellow/scratched part. We'll see what happens though.

Beater
11-01-2009, 07:28 AM
it'll be about six months until you notice it coming back. dahmik.
love colorado for the sunshine, hate colorado for the sunshine... lol

Rzeppa
11-02-2009, 08:36 PM
your Glass On The 80 Yellows?

I Hate The Plastic Lenses On New Cars.

X2

subzali
06-04-2010, 01:14 PM
so how's this working after about a year?

pmccumber
06-04-2010, 01:20 PM
Tim's looked like it had more of haze and outright damage than yellowing. My Camry had yellowing and I had to repeat it every 3 or 4 months and they looked new again. Now the 3M stuff I used only took 5 minutes per side.

nakman
06-04-2010, 01:50 PM
so how's this working after about a year?

The tint is back a little, but still way better than it was, they're still clearer than before but the yellowing is beginning to return. I was just thinking about this the other day actually, about maybe doing it again. Only problem is there's now a big bumper in the way so the access is a bit more difficult :o.

Here's a pic from 2 minutes ago, through my office window.

corsair23
06-04-2010, 02:08 PM
Used the kit in the first link on my dad's Camry...He said the difference was amazing. Of course I also installed some Toshiba HIRs for him at the same time as well :)

He tried a different kit previously from Checker with little success.

I went REALLY overboard and started with the most aggressive grit so it took quite awhile. But in the end I thought the headlamps looked "new"...We'll see how long it lasts but it's been about 4 months and so far so good.

subzali
06-04-2010, 02:52 PM
The tint is back a little, but still way better than it was, they're still clearer than before but the yellowing is beginning to return. I was just thinking about this the other day actually, about maybe doing it again. Only problem is there's now a big bumper in the way so the access is a bit more difficult :o.

Here's a pic from 2 minutes ago, through my office window.

well cool, my Tundra could use some headlight sprucing, and if it can go for a year or more then I can handle that...:thumb:

SteveH
06-04-2010, 10:41 PM
I'm sure the crystal clear headlights are tougher to do, but I have done many of the older plastic headlights with a cheap orbital buffer (the kind you can stall if you push too hard) and a clearcoat-type rubbing compound (very fine grit). I can get 90% of the haze/ugly to go away, and if the vehicle isn't outside most of the time, it takes a long time to come back. I doubt any wiped-on 'UV protectant' is really going to last very long. I just rebuff as needed. 5-8 minutes per side, and use masking tape to protect the paint/grill around the lights. Quick, cheap, easy. Makes any beater car seems like it's worth more when you sell it ;-)

subzali
08-10-2010, 10:07 PM
Piggybacking on nakman's thread:

Well, I bought the 3M kit from Autozone, it was about $20. Spent a couple hours messing with it tonight, including doing laundry and stuff, and am pretty pleased with the results so far. You have to have a drill, a terry cloth, and a spray bottle with water. I was timid about doing this procedure, but thought if some goober who buys stuff at Autozone could do it, I could too. The kit comes with 300 and 800 grit sandpaper and a 3000 grit pad as well as a buffing sponge, rubbing compound and masking tape. You start with the 300 and work your way up, finer and finer. It's really easy to do and I'm impressed with the results, especially with my passenger side light. My driver side light was worse to start with, and I think it needs some more work (tomorrow), but it has showed pretty significant improvement.

nakman
08-10-2010, 10:15 PM
Wow, those look great Matt!! makes me want to do mine again. :thumb:

Beater
08-10-2010, 11:02 PM
I have just started wetsanding mine with some 1000 every once and a while.. I only had time to do one side last time, and the difference with the lights on is amazing.

subzali
08-10-2010, 11:25 PM
I might look into some kind of UV protectant - it can't be that expensive and may save the headlights so they don't have to be redone so often?

Beater
08-11-2010, 07:48 AM
I have been using a product call plast-x polish, that works really well. It's available at autozone. I use it for the motorcycle screens and such, it works.

nakman
12-26-2014, 12:50 AM
Any long-term effects from one of the protectant films? Matt? John?

So I made an attempt to polish the GX headlights a few weeks back, using the Mother's kit, the results were not good. These lenses were really yellow though, just too far gone, fubar'd. The PC plastic feels a little soft even.

For Xmas the :Princess: got new headlights. Installed those today. But now thinking I should get some kind of protecting film- as these are literally as good as they're going to get right now. Install requires removing the bumper, plus a few other bits.

LARGEONE
12-26-2014, 09:11 AM
It must have really pained you to put that stock bumper back on;)

Is that the first time you've ever taken a stock bumper off and didn't put a heavy duty one back in its place?

nakman
12-26-2014, 01:08 PM
It must have really pained you to put that stock bumper back on;)

Is that the first time you've ever taken a stock bumper off and didn't put a heavy duty one back in its place?

Possibly.. yes the thought definitely crossed my mind, was halfway to an ARB install. :o

Squishy!
12-28-2014, 09:10 AM
I've always used clear bra over lights. It hold up to the heat just fine and when it yellows just replace it.

Jenny Cruiser
12-28-2014, 02:28 PM
Any long-term effects from one of the protectant films? Matt? John?

So I made an attempt to polish the GX headlights a few weeks back, using the Mother's kit, the results were not good. These lenses were really yellow though, just too far gone, fubar'd. The PC plastic feels a little soft even.

For Xmas the :Princess: got new headlights. Installed those today. But now thinking I should get some kind of protecting film- as these are literally as good as they're going to get right now. Install requires removing the bumper, plus a few other bits.

The only way I have been able to bring back headlights as far gone as yours is to wet sand and polish them. Just for kicks you should spray some bug repellent on a good paper towel or cloth and see what that does. You might be surprised. ;)
http://youtu.be/2iUNiaYrzFQ

Rezarf
01-03-2015, 04:01 PM
I have used 1000, 3000, then Flitz polish on a drill with buffer on it. Tape everything off and go to town for 20-30 minutes. The key is sealing them up with a UV protector, I usually use some high quality wax and forgetaboutit!

rover67
01-03-2015, 05:51 PM
I'm done doin Al's on her Jetta. dropping $$ on new lenses next. There's somebody doing just lens replacements on the later model plastic lens jettas so it makes it easier, $89 rather than hundreds for an OEM light assembly.

The ones on there now yellow in a matter of months and now I can't get them perfect anymore, it's just annoying. I tried several products including ones with UV protectants.

baja1d
01-03-2015, 06:25 PM
Bug spray with 20% Deed works awesome. Add a little toothpaste and they look brand new!

rover67
01-03-2015, 06:32 PM
i'll try the bug spray since it can't get much worse at this point and report back. :)

baja1d
01-03-2015, 06:33 PM
20% Deed is the secret

Ali FJ80
01-05-2015, 02:59 PM
Have tried many techniques and products. The only one that worked for the long term was spraying the headlights with automotive clear-coat after wet sanding and then polishing the clear-coat which results in a glass like finish that lasts. Only drawback is you should remove the headlights from the vehicle to do it right.

TIMZTOY
01-05-2015, 07:34 PM
the 3m polishing kit works wonders if you do it properlly and do it exactlly as the directions state