Has anyone tried those headlight lens restoration kits?

Haeder

South Dakota
Mar 30, 2005
6,024
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#2
The reviews seem to be about 50/50.
They work. So does sandpaper. Toothpaste too. I've never tried a (Cleveland) steamer but I imagine one of those would work too

Some form of power buffer will help you get the desired results much faster.

I'd recommend youtubing the headlight cleaner you're planning to use before buying it.
 

Wrecktum

Tounge puncher of fart boxes
Jun 29, 2006
4,399
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Cervix spelunking
#3
They work ok. Best thing to do is to wet sand the head lights with sand paper with finer and finer levels of sand paper and spray a few layers of clear coat on the head light after. The other option is buying new after market headlights depending on the vehicle could be relatively cheap. Also if you use any kind if power sander be very careful you dont burn a hole into the plastic. You would be surprised at how fast that happens.

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Apr 30, 2011
35,901
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CLT
#5
This guy does pretty good auto detailing and comparison videos, here is how to do a full headlight restore with clear coat.




edit, looks like he has more than one restore video:



 

5skin

Registered User
May 14, 2010
1,328
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the woods
#6
Cut and buff works as good as anything I've found.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
43,364
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#7
Yea, you have to sand off the nasty yellow shit and buff them back clear, then put clear back on them, depending on the car the aftermarket headlamps are not a bad way to go like @Ballbuster1 one said, once they yellow they will do it again
 

Sinn Fein

Infidel and White Interloper
Wackbag Staff
Aug 29, 2002
31,794
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Florida's Nature Coast
#9
I used the Harbor Freight kit on a friend's car. It worked well. Had to do it again a few years later. The sun is a bitch down here.

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click

Registered User
Jan 5, 2005
6,232
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N. Jersey
#10
Just buy a new fucking car already.


Savages.
It's a 2004 with 38,000 miles that just needs a little tlc. Not my daily driver. Don't be a douche. Thanks to everyone else for your replies. Aftermarket is not an option because
it's not a common make even though it's a GM.
 

JoeyDVDZ

That's MR. MOJO, Motherfucker!
Aug 20, 2004
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#11
I was reading up on these lens cleaning systems; the thing that seems to stick out is that after cleaning them, you have to re-coat the lenses with the polycarbonate coating that they come with new. That's what prevents re-fogging. I just watched a video of a guy who used WD-40 on his lenses, and had pretty decent results.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
43,364
10,014
848
#12
I was reading up on these lens cleaning systems; the thing that seems to stick out is that after cleaning them, you have to re-coat the lenses with the polycarbonate coating that they come with new. That's what prevents re-fogging. I just watched a video of a guy who used WD-40 on his lenses, and had pretty decent results.
You have to re apply a UV resistant coating like a clear coat from a can or else they will turn yellow within months
 

JoeyDVDZ

That's MR. MOJO, Motherfucker!
Aug 20, 2004
29,849
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#13
You have to re apply a UV resistant coating like a clear coat from a can or else they will turn yellow within months
Yes, that's true too. I saw a video where this guy used 3M paint protection film on the lenses, apparently it's got UV protection and can be peeled off & reapplied as needed.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
43,364
10,014
848
#14
Yes, that's true too. I saw a video where this guy used 3M paint protection film on the lenses, apparently it's got UV protection and can be peeled off & reapplied as needed.
WD40 isn’t even a temporary solution to the problem, they really need to be sanded and polished
 

JoeyDVDZ

That's MR. MOJO, Motherfucker!
Aug 20, 2004
29,849
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#15
WD40 isn’t even a temporary solution to the problem, they really need to be sanded and polished
Completely agreed. The guy with the 3M film sanded and polished; I was just saying one guy was using WD-40. Another dude was using acetone in a different vid.

Obviously the correct, long term solution is to sand with increasing grit levels until you get it sanded perfectly smooth, then polish with rubbing compound and then seal it.
 

Cunt Smasher

Caligula Jr.
Aug 26, 2005
13,683
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#16
I was thinking today the old glass headlights weren't THAT fuckin bad.
 
Apr 30, 2011
35,901
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358
CLT
#17
I was reading up on these lens cleaning systems; the thing that seems to stick out is that after cleaning them, you have to re-coat the lenses with the polycarbonate coating that they come with new. That's what prevents re-fogging. I just watched a video of a guy who used WD-40 on his lenses, and had pretty decent results.
It's kind of the same as the vehicles paint, particularly with newer cars where manufacturers are applying the least amount of clear coat they possibly can. If you want the paint to hold up for years you need to be using paint sealants or coatings. If you use no kind of paint protection at all the UV protection is greatly reduced in just a few years.

You can use those same paint sealants or coatings on headlights they just need to be applied every 6 months (sealants) or ever year or so (coatings). Of course adding clear coat to the lenses is the best but adding a sealant/coating on top of that as a sacrificial layer would be recommended (paint, headlight or trim).
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
43,364
10,014
848
#18
You do realize that just because I quit working in the body shop doesn’t mean I forgot everything
 

ysr50

Well-Known Member
Donator
Apr 20, 2012
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#19
Yes, that's true too. I saw a video where this guy used 3M paint protection film on the lenses, apparently it's got UV protection and can be peeled off & reapplied as needed.
I use the 3M erosion tape on painted leading edges and plastic lenses on the airplanes I work on. In the old times I worked at a sign shop that did a lot of work with vinyl and I learned a few things about applying it. It seems to hold up pretty well but I don't know if it has any UV protection. You should wrap "Big Blue" in erosion tape, your paint will be perfect forever.
 

click

Registered User
Jan 5, 2005
6,232
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558
N. Jersey
#20
I guess I'm just hesitant to take a sander to the plastic. I know it's only
like 600 or something but still scared.
 

JoeyDVDZ

That's MR. MOJO, Motherfucker!
Aug 20, 2004
29,849
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#21
I can't find any independent verification of the 3M products UV protection. Only the Youtube video I watched.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
43,364
10,014
848
#22
I guess I'm just hesitant to take a sander to the plastic. I know it's only
like 600 or something but still scared.
Do it by hand wet, look up “wet sanding” sanding and polishing on the YouTube’s, the plastic on the lenses is usually at least 1/4” thick so unless you’re an asshole sanding through isn’t an issue
 

Shootr

OOHHH, GNARLY!!!
Donator
Dec 9, 2005
4,105
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Arizona
#24
I just did my daughters car with the Mother's kit. Wish I took pics because they came out great. Used all the grits per the instructions and it took all of 20 minutes. Pretty hard to fuck it up - I'll use it again.