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How to clean headlights

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Old 05-03-2011, 12:11 PM
floydaces floydaces is offline
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Default How to clean headlights

I used one of the mothers headlight cleaner and it made it worse. Now the one that I "cleaned" is scuffed up. Help!
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Old 05-03-2011, 01:01 PM
A14Austin A14Austin is offline
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Thumbs up Headlight Lens Restoration

This method works best!




Headlight Restoration Method


In this process you are going to sand your headlight lenses with two or three grades of fine sand paper, then re-glaze the plastic with polish to restore a clear finish.
STEP 1: Clean the headlight lenses. A bucket of soapy water works best. Clean the surrounding area, too. Dry thoroughly.
STEP 2: Use painter’s masking tape to mask around the headlight. This will help protect your car's paint finish. This only takes a couple minutes, so don’t skip this important step.
STEP 3: Wet sand each headlight. First determine the amount of damage to each lens. If your headlight lenses are scratched or if they are completely opaque, you will need to start with 600 grit sandpaper. Sand thoroughly, and then progress to 1200, then 2000 grit.

If your lenses have no scratches and are only slightly opaque, you can probably get away with using 2000 grit paper only. The first sanding step is where you will actually remove the scratched and cloudy layer of plastic. The finer grades of sandpaper are to remove the scratches left from the previous grit sandpaper.
As you sand, your sanding water will turn milky. This is the damaged layer being removed. Use plenty of water for lubrication and to keep the sandpaper clean. Keep sanding until the surface feels perfectly smooth. The drippings will become clearer as the damage is taken away. Dry thoroughly between sanding steps to check progress.
TIP: Soak your wet/dry sandpaper is water for 15-20 minutes before use. This softens the paper, making it easier to use.
TIP: Never sand with your bare hand. For best results, use a sanding block or pad to keep the paper flat. A 1” by 2” school erasure is the perfect size for headlights and spot repairs.
TIP: Sand in straight lines, never in circles, and your final buff out will be much easier.
TIP: Be sure to keep the surface wet as you sand. Soapy water works best.
STEP 4: Re-glaze headlight lenses using plastic polish on a 3” polishing pad (foam or wool). First connect the Velcro backing plate adapter to your drill.
CAUTION: If you’re using a wool pad, it should not be used at high speed. Wool pads generate a lot of heat, so use a cordless drill or the slow speed on your electric drill.
Apply several dabs of polish to the pad and begin polishing the lens. As the polish begins to dissipate, add a little more and continue polishing. Stop polishing once the lens is completely clear again. Finish with a final hand polish using a small amount of polish on a microfiber towel or applicator.
STEP 5: Wax or seal to protect. Use a good auto wax to reseal the lenses and protect from the elements.
STEP 6: Maintain monthly with a quality plastic cleaner/polish. The product I recommend most is Plexus. Use it regularly, just like a glass cleaner, and your car’s clear plastic lenses will never need restoring again!
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Old 05-03-2011, 02:01 PM
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weedahoe weedahoe is offline
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The best solution I found is to buy a new set off ebay for $100 ..... LOL

I never had great luck with those kits either so dont feel bad
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:22 PM
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I bought the Meguiars kit that does basically what Austin is describing, has three separate grades of sand paper, some lubricant for wet sanding and then a polish and a sealer. It worked ok on my Grand Cherokee. It made the oxidized lights about 50% clearer. The kit was in the $25 area.
I worked on the lights of a Grand Cherokee owned by this chick I was seeing for a short time that were about as bad as mine were and used nothing but toothpaste and a rag and it came out as good or better than mine did. I got the toothpaste idea off of a guy on a Jeep specific site...
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:17 PM
X2K X2K is offline
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I've had a lot of success with just using a buffer with a nice wool pad at about 1500-1800rpm's and some medium grit compound. Be careful of the rounded edges as its easily burned.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:09 PM
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I bought a 3M kit for my drill that matches A14Austin's routine, I used it on some heavily oxidized lenses on a '99 3500 Ram Van (my Government vehicle) - I was somewhat impressed with the results.
That being said, if it was my own truck, I'd go ebay.
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:49 AM
Caseys-dodge Caseys-dodge is offline
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I used the 3M kit as well. It worked the best out of the other numerous head light kits I've used. I was really happy with the results but it seems after a few months they went back to being very yellowed again. I did not routinely use the plastic polish afterwards tho.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:26 AM
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I did almost the same routine as above on the wifes grand am last summer, wet sand the I cleaned them up with alcohol and sprayed them with clear.
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weedahoe View Post
The best solution I found is to buy a new set off ebay for $100 ..... LOL

I never had great luck with those kits either so dont feel bad
Ditto. After trying several kits, I just bought a set on ebay for $95 shipped with black housings already in them, which compliments the truck better and swapped them out. When these cloud or mess up, I will just save myself the trouble and order another set.
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:35 PM
Warfire80 Warfire80 is offline
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I did a similar method that A14Austin posted on a mustang I had once and worked out pretty good.
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:35 PM
 
 
 
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