AJinNoHills
Post Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:27 am
 Subject: Snake oil? Nope, not this time.

OK, so I don't normally "push" products since there always seem to be someone else who had an experience opposite of mine. But in this case, I was so fantastically pleased I had to share.

A lot of people have headlights that are hazy and oxidized. And like many of those people, I've tried the one dose "guaranteed" products, just wipe on and BAM! clear headlights. And, like anyone else who has tried those, I've been severely disappointed. For my truck, I simply bought a new pair of headlights. At $75 shipped, it was a good investment. HOwever, for my car, each headlight was going to run $289 from a non-OEM provider. Then I remembered - A few months ago I wa sat AutoZone and I had store credit. For something like $20 or so bucks, I picked up the Turle Wax headlight restoration "system". I was encouraged because the system used a process similar to one that the guys on one of my "gearhead" weekend shows used to restore some taillights on an old truck. So I figured WTF, why not.

This past weekend, having discoverd the cost of "just replacing" the headlights on the car, I decided to dig out the kit and try it out. 10 minutes of digging and I finally found it. To ensure the greatest chance of success, I actually read the instructions. Step 1 was to use the "lens clarifying" compound, which did not work. So I'm thinking crap - this is just like everything else. Step 2 was "Clarifying compound didn't work? Then move on to the REAL solution."

Bottom line is there are 4 stages, all involving (essentially) sanding away the grit. Level 1 removes the majority of hte crap, level 2 smooths it out and removes additional crap, levels 3 and 4 polish out the scratches from levels 1 and 2. Followed by reapplication of the clarifying compound to finish it off. For good measure, I also applied a good coat of Plexus after I got the car washed.
AJinNoHills
Post Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:38 am
 Subject: Before pic


Before.jpg
AJinNoHills
Post Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:38 am
 Subject: After pic


After.jpg
BrianM
Post Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:19 pm
 Subject: Wet/Dry sandpaper ~ cheapest "kit" ever. ;)

Seriously. My brother-in-law does bodywork/painting and did my headlights for me (we had him respray the car a couple years ago to fix a host of rock dings). He simply wet-sands the headlights and then shoots a clear over them to keep them looking good for awhile.

I'd used the exact kit you're talking about and got passable results, but they hazed back up again in a hurry. I think the clear coat is the key to longevity. Just FWIW...
FrugalNinja250
Post Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:17 pm
 Subject: Polishing works well with most plastics

Using the proper materials and technique. In the case of automotive headlights, the main problem will be that polishing removes a micro-thin membrane applied at manufacturing that resists scratching and scuffing. After polishing a headlight lens with this system the headlight will scratch and pit very easily, and may also be more subject to discoloration/staining from bird droppings. Best thing to do is to keep the lens clean and waxed.
Bokonon
Post Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:09 am
 Subject: excellent :thumbup:

I love modern headlights, compared to the old "replace the whole light" kind. They illuminate very well. But I don't like the fact that they're made out of plastic. My Subaru ones are holding up well, but that can't be said for all cars.
AJinNoHills2
Post Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:05 pm
 Subject: Correct.

FrugalNinja250 wrote:
Using the proper materials and technique. In the case of automotive headlights, the main problem will be that polishing removes a micro-thin membrane applied at manufacturing that resists scratching and scuffing. After polishing a headlight lens with this system the headlight will scratch and pit very easily, and may also be more subject to discoloration/staining from bird droppings. Best thing to do is to keep the lens clean and waxed.


I will add that the kit includes a "replacement sealer" to be applied when all is said and done. I didn't use it though. We'll see how long they stay "good" using the plastic cleaner/polish every couple of weeks.
AJinNoHills2
Post Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:09 pm
 Subject: Good point.

When I originally saw that DIY show, that's what they used, but I never bothered to write down (or look up later) what grits they used. When I bought the kit I was thinking "Cool, I don't have to buy several packs of sand paper" with the bonus that it wasn't even "real money" any more. Extra bonus is that the sanding squares are still in great shape, and should be useful for several more applications.

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