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  1. #1
    bennylava's Avatar
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    Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    This probably isn`t anything new for most of you. May not be any point in creating this thread. But its a big deal to me. Cause I`ve been rooting around for a final answer to this problem for a long time. I`ve asked here a couple times, and I never saw a reply that dealt with what happens to the plastic headlights on cars, when you`re done restoring them. So maybe this is something a few people need to be aware of. After you polish out and refurbish a hazy set of headlights, basically they just start the degradation process all over again. Even with a coat of clear, its still only a matter of time. Cause many cars get that same coat of clear (or even better) from the factory. And they still end up having you cursing the automaker`s name. BUT if you use this once per year, you`re done. That`s it. Spray it on, and let it dry. Obviously if you`re not working with new headlights the sanding and polishing restoration process is still going to be necessary.

    Link removed.

    But the problem with doing that is, you only get to do it so many times, before your material gets thin and you crack it. I just ran into that issue on my Mustang. Now I get to buy a new set of headlights. The material apparently just got too thin, after only 2 restorations. On top of that, once you spray on some more clear, the problem can actually get worse when that clear begins to break down and wear off. Now you`ve got another level to sand flat, on the surface. Happened on my wife`s toyota. It wasn`t there the first time I restored the headlights on that car. There was just that annoying haze that had to be sanded off. So I applied a clear coat after all the sanding and polishing was done, and now a year and a half later, that clear coat is half eaten away and the haze is starting to return. So now this job is actually worse, because instead of just the haze, I get to level out the old clear coat as well. That`s if I don`t just chuck em in the garbage and buy new ones. And yeah I used clearcoat with a hardener. One of those one time use cans.

  2. #2
    dansautodetailing.com Stokdgs's Avatar
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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    If the product (clear coat) has no UV protection in it, long term, it will have to fail sometime..
    When you did this, how did you clean off the headlights before you applied the clear coat ?

    I have never done the research, but perhaps the headlights from the factory has the UV protection IN the plastic (however they do that), and with that, it will last awhile until we come along and sand and polish what is left off...

    Have never read a permanent solution for this chronic issue with older plastic headlights..

    Perhaps someone could invent something that would work way better than that late night infomercial where they wipe the whole vehicle down with silicone oil or something and it makes it look brand new for awhile...
    Dan F

  3. #3
    rlmccarty2000's Avatar
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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    I just bought some headlight protection film from Autopia. It’s supposed to block the UV rays from turning the plastic yellow. You might want to buy some for your new headlights. It’s not cheap, but with 25% off it’s cheaper and less time consuming that replacing the headlights. I wish I would have bought it sooner.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    I just protect ours with OCW/etc. at every wash and they stay fine. Of course you gotta start with ones in OK shape for that to work. And no, our vehicles aren`t outside much these days (but used to have some outdoors 24/7 and never had any problems).
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  5. #5

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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    Did mine with Dlux 16 months ago and it`s still looking good. Car sits outside 24/7 in Hawaii which has a higher UV index annually than Florida.
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  6. #6

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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    Rsurfer- That oughta be a great test environment.

  7. #7

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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    Quote Originally Posted by bennylava View Post
    This probably isn`t anything new for most of you. May not be any point in creating this thread. But its a big deal to me. Cause I`ve been rooting around for a final answer to this problem for a long time. I`ve asked here a couple times, and I never saw a reply that dealt with what happens to the plastic headlights on cars, when you`re done restoring them. So maybe this is something a few people need to be aware of. After you polish out and refurbish a hazy set of headlights, basically they just start the degradation process all over again. Even with a coat of clear, its still only a matter of time. Cause many cars get that same coat of clear (or even better) from the factory. And they still end up having you cursing the automaker`s name. BUT if you use this once per year, you`re done. That`s it. Spray it on, and let it dry. Obviously if you`re not working with new headlights the sanding and polishing restoration process is still going to be necessary.

    Link removed.

    But the problem with doing that is, you only get to do it so many times, before your material gets thin and you crack it. I just ran into that issue on my Mustang. Now I get to buy a new set of headlights. The material apparently just got too thin, after only 2 restorations. On top of that, once you spray on some more clear, the problem can actually get worse when that clear begins to break down and wear off. Now you`ve got another level to sand flat, on the surface. Happened on my wife`s toyota. It wasn`t there the first time I restored the headlights on that car. There was just that annoying haze that had to be sanded off. So I applied a clear coat after all the sanding and polishing was done, and now a year and a half later, that clear coat is half eaten away and the haze is starting to return. So now this job is actually worse, because instead of just the haze, I get to level out the old clear coat as well. That`s if I don`t just chuck em in the garbage and buy new ones. And yeah I used clearcoat with a hardener. One of those one time use cans.
    This is the reason I have resisted using a headlight coating on my own cars. I do a polish about every 6 months to clear them up, but am weary of taking sandpaper to them to completed remove the factory finish. (very possible the factory finish on my 18 year old Frontier lights is long gone.) I picked up the McKees Headlight Protectant spray, but I usually forget to use it after a wash.

  8. #8
    Mike The Guz's Avatar
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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    Protection Film is the way to go. I went with XPEL on mine as they make the kit already. Put them on my new headlights months ago (maybe a year) as it is easy to do. No yellowing and no pitting. I did the same with my dad`s impala and my brothers Tahoe. No need to polish the headlights.

    On my previous lights they were at close to 5 years with XPEL and they are still clear to this day.
    Competition Ready Team 1929 Bentley
    1999 Silvermist Metallic Pontiac Grand Prix GT
    2002 Arctic White Chevy Camaro SS
    Likes rlmccarty2000, Marine Clerk liked this post

  9. #9
    rlmccarty2000's Avatar
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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    Quote Originally Posted by The Guz View Post
    Protection Film is the way to go. I went with XPEL on mine as they make the kit already. Put them on my new headlights months ago (maybe a year) as it is easy to do. No yellowing and no pitting. I did the same with my dad`s impala and my brothers Tahoe. No need to polish the headlights.

    On my previous lights they were at close to 5 years with XPEL and they are still clear to this day.
    Did you polish the headlights before you installed the Xpel or were they already in good shape? I’m debating whether to polish and coat prior to installing my Xpel. They are in ok shape with a good bit of pitting. They are starting to yellow a bit.

  10. #10
    Mike The Guz's Avatar
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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    Quote Originally Posted by rlmccarty2000 View Post
    Did you polish the headlights before you installed the Xpel or were they already in good shape? I’m debating whether to polish and coat prior to installing my Xpel. They are in ok shape with a good bit of pitting. They are starting to yellow a bit.
    When I did this on mine the headlights were new. I applied XPEL to them right out of the box. On my dad`s I believe I just cleaned them with IPA as they were still in good shape with no yellowing. If you decide to polish then apply the film before any coating as it may not stick to the headlights.
    Competition Ready Team 1929 Bentley
    1999 Silvermist Metallic Pontiac Grand Prix GT
    2002 Arctic White Chevy Camaro SS

  11. #11
    DETAILED TODAY? PA DETAILER's Avatar
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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    Guess I have been lucky. My lamps on my 12 are still clear and really in good shape. I have never buffed or sanded them. But never neglected them either. I would always hand buff them once in a while with a good plastic cleaner/polish. Then seal them with whatever LSP I was using at the time. Currently 10min. paint sealant is on them. I would guess the product I have provided the link to, would be good measure to use from new to ones in really good shape.

    https://www.autopia-carcare.com/head...l#.WyOPPvZFxjo



    When they did need a good clean/polish I used Meguiars PlastX.




    g12310.jpg

    https://www.autopia-carcare.com/meg-...l#.WyOUKvZFxjo

    Always did a fantastic job on the headlights.
    2012 NISSAN XTERRA PRO 4X
    www.autiopia.org
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  12. #12

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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Accumulator View Post
    Rsurfer- That oughta be a great test environment.
    More like hell for paint.

  13. #13
    Darth Camaro 12/27/15 Don's Avatar
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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    I fairly regularly hit the light covers on my `13 with a cleaner wax (D151) and frequently "wax" them with whatever I`m using on the paint - 5 years old and no issues ...
    Don M

    The Surprised owner
    of a 2013 Camaro LS
    323hp / 6 manual
    Darth Camaro


  14. #14

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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsurfer View Post
    ...[my locale is]..More like hell for paint.
    Huh, now that kinda surprises me. Plastic lenses, sure...but I wouldn`t have expected UV to be an issue on (OEM thickness) paint.

  15. #15
    bennylava's Avatar
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    Re: Finally got to the bottom of the poor oem headlights problem

    Well since the link got removed, I was talking about Meguiars G17804 Headlight Coating (https://www.autopia-carcare.com/megu...l#.WyV-E4pMGfA). Guess maybe they think we haven`t heard of meguiars, or Amazon, one of the biggest corporations on earth? lol

    Anyway yeah this isn`t a permanent fix but what is. This is a once a year sealer, according to megs. You clean em up with alcohol, and then you spray on the sealer. You do it again a year later. If they look unchanged after a year of driving, (and users claim they do) then I`d call it a big success. Cause even after buying brand new headlights to replace old ones that have been restored too many times and finally cracked, the new ones are starting to look like they`re headed downhill after a year. So I`m going to try this on my new corolla that has 5k miles on it. Those headlights should be a good candidate.

 

 
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