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  1. #1
    Forza Auto Salon David Fermani's Avatar
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    Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    Do you guys typically match what you’re doing to the paint with the trim (lights, trim, wheels)? Seems un-Autopian to have the paint looking great, but the lights & wheels swirled. This could be for just a plain wax, 1-step or full correction.
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  2. #2

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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    Gee, I`d be astounded if people here don`t keep the *whole vehicle* uniformly [however they keep it]. Well, maybe not you Pros if the customers aren`t paying for it...

  3. #3
    Sizzle Chest's Avatar
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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    Yep, always do those areas...tails are especially prone to getting swirled up!
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  4. #4

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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    Quite frankly, I think the wheels (rims, more precisely) and plastic B & C-pillar trim do not get the same attention as the paint is because most hobbyist/week-ender detailers do not have a smaller polisher, like an Rupes I-brid , Flex Pixie, or even the affordable Griot`s Garage G6 and appropriate-sized pads to correct these areas. I suppose, too, that the argument could be made that many hobbyist do not own a rotary buffer with smaller backing plates and pads or the skill-set to use them as well.
    How many hobbyist remove the wheels from a vehicle to clean and detail them completely? It is a lot of tools and equipment, time, and effort to do so properly. Just guessing here.

    I marvel at how well some of you professional detailers correct B-pillar black plastic, tail lights, and headlight lenses. Plastic just seems to swirl easier than clear-coat from vehicle washing and headlight lenses just take a beating because of their location on a vehicle. It would seem that many detailers treat plastic the same as clear-coat and I am sure that there is room for debate on methodologies to correct clear plastic and hard black plastic trim.

    One other observation is the use of painter`s tape to protect hard plastic and taillight and headlight plastic when using a harder density foam pad and highly abrasive compound during the correction process, especially with a rotary or 21mm long throw DA.
    Not all hobbyist see the need or take the time to do so. That, too, is a topic of debate much like the previous paragraph, especially if they treat plastic like clear-coat.
    Anyone who does not tape chrome trim or brushed stainless steel, well, that is rather self-evident in the trim itself. No use calling them a fool nor is ignorance bliss. Sometimes you just learn from the school of hard knocks. Unfortunately, the "tuition" for that learning experience can be rather high!
    GB detailer

  5. #5

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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    From an LSP standpoint I most certainly cover the trim and lights the same as I do the paint. I`ll also polish out the piano black on the B pillars to shine them up.

    I`m very hesitant to polish out the lenses over lights. Those lenses come from the factory with a UV coating to keep them from yellowing prematurely. I don`t want to polish off that coating. It will wear out eventually. Once a lens shows hints of fogging or yellowing (note I said HINTS, not full on lens failure), all bets are off and I`ll polish them to make them look as good as the rest of the car.
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  6. #6

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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desertnate View Post
    I`m very hesitant to polish out the lenses over lights. Those lenses come from the factory with a UV coating to keep them from yellowing prematurely. I don`t want to polish off that coating. It will wear out eventually. Once a lens shows hints of fogging or yellowing (note I said HINTS, not full on lens failure), all bets are off and I`ll polish them to make them look as good as the rest of the car.
    Same here, I don`t polish lights unless the factory coating has failed.

  7. #7

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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    Gee, wonder how I`ve avoided ever having headlights get "yellow" or taillights get oxidized/etc. etc. It`s simply *NEVER* happened to me, not even on vehicles that sat outside all the time.

    I`ve had it on new-to-me used vehicles, but I either replace `em (headlights) or polish them (tails) and that always solved the issue. The Tahoe and `93 Audi had taillights oxidized *solid white*, but they cleaned up fine and have stayed that way for well over a decade.

    Eh, OK..."count my blessings" and all that, and I guess I`m not parking outside 24/7 in AZ, but I still wonder...

  8. #8

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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sizzle Chest View Post
    ...tails are especially prone to getting swirled up!
    How/why do you think that happens? Just "careless washing" or are you talking about that happening to, uhm...vehicles people actually try to be Autopian about? I figure they`re like "pretty soft clear", treat `em accordingly, and well...no problems.

  9. #9
    dansautodetailing.com Stokdgs's Avatar
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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    I always correct defects off of lights, especially tail lights which always look worse, and the A/B/C pillars... If there is painted trim then it gets carefully polished..
    To me, it all has to match... Otherwise, my eyes go from looking at perfectly clear paint to not so clear swirled up places, and that is not what I do..

    I have no problem polishing clear headlight lenses that are swirled, and never worry about removing UV coating..
    If the headlights are already yellowing, etc., the UV is already gone..

    Perhaps the ideal solution for headlights would be to polish them up really clear, perfect, and then purchase some thicker plastic clearbra material that has UV coating in it, and apply it to the headlights once and for all???

    Did this to my `09 Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 and 12 years later, those huge headlights are still perfect, the clearbra on them is also perfectly clear, no yellowing..
    Dan F

  10. #10

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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    You can respray the headlights with UV Protectant clearcoat if you want to go that far. ChrisFix has a great video on it: https://youtu.be/UEJbKLZ7RmM
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  11. #11

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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    The Meguiar`s 2 step Headlight Restoration Kit`s pretty cheap and comes with some sort of spray sealant that lasts up to a year. Works really good for a product you can buy at Autozone. I just Googled it and target down the street has it wow I should go pick one up.

  12. #12

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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    quebert- I dunno if I`d bite on a product that "lasts UP TO a year", I`d use something that`s gonna be worth the time investment...assuming there is such a thing.

    (I really don`t see myself ever doing this unless it`s an unavailable headlight, I`d rather just replace them...though the Audi ones are pricey.)

  13. #13

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    Re: Do lights/trim get treated the same as paint?

    Quote Originally Posted by Accumulator View Post
    Gee, wonder how I`ve avoided ever having headlights get "yellow" or taillights get oxidized/etc. etc. It`s simply *NEVER* happened to me, not even on vehicles that sat outside all the time.
    For me, it seems to be dependent on the brand of car, but Japanese vehicles do seem to suffer more than American or European cars. I`ve seen some Mercedes yellow, while Audi and BMW`s do not.

    My German cars have never had a problem. However all three of the Japanese cars in my family, a Toyota, a Mazda, and a Honda all had/have issues. The Toyota`s started to fail after about six years, but an unfortunate accident lead to both lights being replaced and I didn`t have to do much with them. Our Mazda started to show yellowing/hazing around the same time and even though my daughter has owned the car for several years, I still polish up the headlights and seal them about once a year using the Wolfgang kit. The Honda has held on the longest and now it`s about eight years old, they are starting to get hazy, but NOT yellowing...which I find strange. I`ll be fixing them this summer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stokdgs View Post

    I have no problem polishing clear headlight lenses that are swirled, and never worry about removing UV coating..
    If the headlights are already yellowing, etc., the UV is already gone..

    Perhaps the ideal solution for headlights would be to polish them up really clear, perfect, and then purchase some thicker plastic clearbra material that has UV coating in it, and apply it to the headlights once and for all???

    Did this to my `09 Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 and 12 years later, those huge headlights are still perfect, the clearbra on them is also perfectly clear, no yellowing..
    Dan F
    That`s a great idea and probably one of the few, if only, long term options.

    Quote Originally Posted by quebert View Post
    The Meguiar`s 2 step Headlight Restoration Kit`s pretty cheap and comes with some sort of spray sealant that lasts up to a year. Works really good for a product you can buy at Autozone. I just Googled it and target down the street has it wow I should go pick one up.
    I wasn`t impressed by the Megiars kit if they have not re-formulated the spray sealant. It would spray on very clear and smooth, but as it dried it would start to orange peel. I also noticed it only lasted about 3~4 months before the yellowing would return versus the 6~8 months I can get out of the Wolfgang product.
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