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Sand Storm

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I almost had a heart attack yesterday while driving from Palm Springs back to San Diego. Out of clear blue sky and over about a 11 mile stretch of road just outside Palm Springs, my 3 month old 2008 Is250 took a heavy beating from a strong whipping sand storm. After having raced through the storm and washing the car when I finally made it back, I was suprised to see NO paint damage (at least yet) from the sand after a cursory review. Although my headlights were not so lucky as they have small but densely populated pitting all over them now.

So I'm not sure what to do as the appearance is not so noticable if not looking for the damage, but am concerned about the potential that the sun will now tear through the less protected lens. I understand that the headlight lens come with UV protection as to delay/prevent fading and sun damage. I believe Lexus wants about $1,000 per lens assembly, but definitely am not going to spend that kind of money!! Any suggestions outside of adding the 3M Clearbra that I now wish I had installed!

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You almost "had" a heart attack" If that was me for sure I had one,lol

I agree with SW03ES, it is extremely hard to evaluate the damage without seen it, a picture could be great, however, I like to think that if you can feel very small pitted holes with your nail on the surface it maybe to deep, but again that just an assumption without looking at the actual damage, there’s numerous Headlight/Taillight restoration kits on the on the market, some with sandpaper, some can be done with a buffing machine, the second one, is the one I prefer. I could try that before I spend the 2k.

Regarding the “Clear Bra” I’m not aware of ANY liquid/paste product that can protect against the contact with the surface, small rocks, sand or anything else is travelling with speed and at the time of contact it will leave an undesired mark, if you are going to install that clear bra you may want to consider the back side of the side mirrors, they also get damage with road debris, that’s if they’re painted.

Post some pictures, maybe between all of us we can figure a way to save you 2k :)

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OK, will get some pictures of the damage up before this time tomorrow as I'll need daylight to properly expose the picture! Thanks for the input/help too. After having washed and waxed the car after leaving the office (I'm sure most if not all of the wax was ripped off the car during the sand storm from hell) the main issue still remains densely populated pitting in now both the headlights AND the fog lamps. And after a detailed review of the paint integrity, the paint still seems very good (outside of maybe the front bumper area where it may have lost some clear coat) thanks to what must be a superb Lexus paint and clear coat job. The damage to the lights is most obvious when rubbing a hand over the surface of the lights/lamps or when looking at the lights when they are on.

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At my detail shop to restore headlights I use (depending on severity)

1. 400 grit sandpaper

2. 600

3. 800

4. 1000

5. 1500

6. 3 Stage polishing with a plastic polish

7. Seal them with a fast drying, high shine, hard coat.

I did it on my buddy's car about 1 year ago. He has an 01 Nissan Maxima and the headlights were HEAVILY oxidized and pitted, they were literally all yellow they were so bad. That process shined them right up they are 99% perfect now. They look like brand new lenses, and the finish has held up perfectly. B)

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OK guys, please see the attached painful as they are to view. I did my best with a slr camera, headlights on at night. What you see on the lenses is not dust and is in fact pitting!!! I just washed the car and although it may look like a dusty lens, those pits are all the result of sand damage. Prior to reviewing the info provided on this website, I called a place in San Diego known for headlight restoration to see what they would say and the guy almost fell over when I repeated to him that I was inquiring about headlight restoration for a 2008 model!

What do you guys think? I like the recommendation of trying to resurface the lenses through the process described by jcrome (thanks very much), although I would like to know a little more about the details such as types of solutions used, polishes, any particular "type" of sandpaper be it silicone based or what not.

Anyways, thanks for all the help and suggestions!! Try not to get too emotional over the pictures. If I had known there was even a slight chance of blowing sand that deadly afternoon, the car would have been grounded and garaged until things cleared up!








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