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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My first wright up so I figured I would go with something simple.

Anyone who owns a car more then a few years old that has plastic headlight lenses knows that crusty yellow hazy look they get when they age. Not only is it ugly, but it reduces the quality of the light at night. With a few hours, tools and bucks they can be just like new.


Things I used:

  • 3M headlight repair kit, about 20 bucks
  • angled rotary air tool--or power drill
  • angled dual action sanding tool--or power drill
  • Auto detailer's masking tape
  • 1 sheet of 500-600 grit wet dry sandpaper
  • spray bottle with water in it or a hose


Now, you can can walk into the store, buy the headlight kit and grab your drill and get great results, but I chose to up my game a bit so I improvised.

The first thing I did was park my WJ in the shade and carefully mask off all painted and chromed areas surrounding the headlamps.

Next find yourself a stool and grab all your stuff and plop down in front of a lamp and get started!

The directions in the kit are very easy, using some water to keep the debris washed away, use the sander/drill and special attachment from the kit to slowly grind away the yellow oxidization, minor pits, and surface haze as you progress through the three stages of grit they include in the kit.

As you progress from one grit to the next, it is important to completely remove ALL scratches from the previous grit, if you do not they will not easily be removed by the finer grits, and your results will have shiny scratches and swirls in them.
A good rule of thumb is to dry the lens and look close, if you only see one size/depth of abrasions or "scratches" and no pits or imperfections, you are ready to move to the next grit. Don't let the foggy look of the lens freak you out, it will clear up great if you follow the steps.

Once that is finished make sure the lamps are thoroughly rinsed and re-tape any masking that has come loose due to water.

Now your ready for some buffing! The kit comes with a special buffing pad and some plastic polish. The key I found is to take it slow, and don't use a lot of pressure or high speed. If you do you risk melting through the plastic or burning through the tape and paint, which you can see in one of my pics that I did. Lucky for me I didn't do any damage :cool:

Just use easy back and forth, up and down motions. DO NOT LET THE POLISH RUN DRY ON THE PAD, IT WILL MAR THE SURFACE AND YOU HAVE TO START OVER!

When you are satisfied with the results just rinse the lamp, remove the tape and wipe everything down with a soft cloth, then head to the car wash to get rid of the splatter :D

Now, here some things I did differently to improve on the process:

First, I did not start with the grit the kit said to, I used some 500-600 wet dry and wet-sanded by hand to get rid of the heavy road rash and pits from 10 years of driving in snow country. You could just use the kit, but the sanding disks they supply are limited in number and cost about 30-40 bucks a box for replacements. You may not get all the crap out with the stuff supplied in the kit so knock out the heavy damage with a 40 cent sheet of sandpaper first.

Second, I used air powered tools. I reduced the regulator on an angled rotary grinder and used that for buffing, and used a 3" angled dual action sander with a pad for the sanding. This simply sped up the process, not a requirement as you could really do all this by hand if you had too.

Third, I preceded the plastic polish in the kit with some after market polishing compound that was a slightly heavier cut, or abrasiveness, just to be sure all the sanding scratches were out before the final polish. Be careful on what you choose to use, some coumpounds have chemicals designed to cut painted surfaces and might not work well on clear plastic. I used some cheap store brand white buffing compound, NOT polish.

That's it really, anyone with a little patients and a few hours can do this. It requires almost no skill, very little money, and the results rock! all the things I said to avoid have a large amount of forgiveness in this process so you really have to bone things up to do any serious damage.

See my reply post below for pics.

Hope you like my first writeup!
 

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Nice job! I chose to do a headlight replacement which cost me $110 for both, as my originals lenses were really bad!
 

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The "Mothers" kit works very well too, used it a few times on everything from severe to light hazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yea, you all would be amazed at how much the process can correct. The pic of my headlamps does not do them justice, they were downright nasty, yellow, physical crusting and hazing, pits, and tons of "micro-cracks" that I swore went all the way through the plastic. ALL of it came out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·



My wife’s car received the same treatment.
 
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