Monsterliner
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Cleaning your headlights

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by Berthfield, Oct 3, 2013.

?

What is the best thing to do?

Poll closed Oct 10, 2013.
  1. Clean Headlights

    1 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. Replace Headlights

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
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  1. Berthfield

    Berthfield Member

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    My car, like most cars that came with plastic headlamps, has "foggy" headlights. I am curious, is it worth it to attempt to clean them or would I be better off getting them replaced?

    The reason I am asking is because headlamps for my car are almost impossible to find locally and I do not want to go the route of just sticking HID's in them for slightly higher visibility at the expense of other road users.

    As a reference this is what my headlights look like currently
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Flexin

    Flexin Admin Staff Member Founding Member Top Event

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    I would sand and polish them. Worse case is you still need to replace them. Best case you will get a couple of more years out of them.

    James
     
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  3. lucidy

    lucidy New Member

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    As long as they aren't cracked and are in good condition I wouldn't replace them. Given that parts are hard to find for your car it probably is cheaper to give it a shot at restoration. The lens restoration kits sold in stores really work, but there's also a couple DIY options. Here's a video of my favourite Aussies showing a few different options to restore headlights.
     
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  4. Flexin

    Flexin Admin Staff Member Founding Member Top Event

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    I use wet sand paper. Pick a grade just rough enough to remove the damage and work your way to 2000 grit. Then use polish to bring back the shine.

    James
     
  5. Berthfield

    Berthfield Member

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    To be honest I was not planning to clean them myself, there is a place locally that cleans them and coats them in poly-carbonate for $5500 (about USD$55) a pair. I was thinking I would give them a go.

    I actually am a big fan of MCM especially when they were running cars similar to mine. For some reason though I have never actually seen that particular episode. Thanks for the link.
     
  6. Flexin

    Flexin Admin Staff Member Founding Member Top Event

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    My first choice would be to do it myself. Then to have someone do then for me. Replacing them would be my last option.

    James
     
  7. justusforus

    justusforus Member Founding Member

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    I agree to always try to repair before replacing. Sometimes it leads to something else when you start remofing things. I like Jame's idea on a DIY project, but I have heard there are some restore kits that really work and can be used on other things in the car.
     
  8. Berthfield

    Berthfield Member

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    I understand your consern, I have been working on the car for a few years now though so I am not really worried about what might happen. The main problem for me is that most of the "fogginess" -used for the lack of a better word- is actually on the inside of the lights, this has led me to the conclusion that they are leaking. Should this be the case there is no possibility, in my opinion, of me resealing the headlights and such I might as well replace them now than waste cash on a cleaning product that will only work temporarily.

    I think this really only applies to my rather unique situation though.
     
  9. Plistro

    Plistro New Member

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    I'd say refinish them unless they're cracked. You'd be surprised at what you can use. Even toothpaste works quite well (plain white toothpaste, none of the fancy gel ones or those with flavours).

    Be sure that once you're done polishing that you apply some lamin-x or similar over the headlight to avoid yellowing since you would have polished off the UV protection.
     
  10. Flexin

    Flexin Admin Staff Member Founding Member Top Event

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    Welcome to Gearhead Central @Plistro

    James
     
  11. Ricardo187

    Ricardo187 Member

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    As it is hard to find parts for your car, the best would be trying to clean them yourself, and in-case you cannot do it, then pay for someone to do it for you. 55$ seems to be rather expensive for that job though.
     
  12. Berthfield

    Berthfield Member

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    To be honest I was thinking that it was a reasonable price considering the work involved. Most of the buildup on my headlights are actually on the inside as they both leak, for the $55 they would open them, clean both surfaces, hard coat them and then reseal them.

    To buy import a proper cleaning kit (Meguiar's One-Step Headlight Restoration Kit for example) it would cost me just short of 50 dollars shipped and then I would have to wait out a period of weeks for shipping.
     
  13. Ricardo187

    Ricardo187 Member

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    If it takes that much work, well, it might be fair. I also don't know how the econemy works down there.
     
  14. Flexin

    Flexin Admin Staff Member Founding Member Top Event

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    To do it yourself you just red wet sand paper to do the job. But if they are resealing them, then the price seems good.

    James
     
  15. chrisuren

    chrisuren Member

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    Toothpaste is so good for polishing headlights.

     
  16. rosa

    rosa Active Member Top Contributor

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    I would never replace my headlights unless they were damaged beyond repair or I could be ticketed for them.
     
  17. Flexin

    Flexin Admin Staff Member Founding Member Top Event

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    Just a tip. If your using this or any other method that is polishing the damage off with grit. Tape of the areas that you are no trying to do. If it can polish your headlight it can possibly scratch your paint. So spend a few dollars on a roll of painters tape and tape off around the light. It is worth the money and effort.

    James
     
  18. Rob93FL

    Rob93FL Member Top Contributor 3rd

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    Wow, $55 for such a simple thing is crazy. I always clean mine myself with sandpaper.
     
  19. Flexin

    Flexin Admin Staff Member Founding Member Top Event

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    I had a chance to do the headlights on my cement mixer yesterday so I thought I would share some pictures of it. The truck is about 10 years old or so with 312000 kms on it. So these lights have been around the block and are showing it.


    This is the head light untouched. They are so bad they perform poorly. Night driving sucks.

    IMG_20160311_145657 [323081].jpg

    This is after sanding with two grades of sand paper in the kit. Think this might have been after the polish as well.

    IMG_20160311_151952 [323077].jpg
    This is with the right half completed and the left side untouched.

    IMG_20160311_152123 [323074].jpg
    This is the full completed lens.

    IMG_20160311_153159 [323073].jpg

    Drivers side (ride side of the picture) is untouched. Left side is finished.

    IMG_20160311_153416 [323072].jpg

    I will talk about the kit used and what I thought about it. I will put a review in the review section. I will also name the kit used as well.

    James
     
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