micalexs

headlight discoloration

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Yes, plastic headlight and fog light lenses can usually be restored to look and perform like new assuming the discoloration is on the lens exteriors.

Auto repair shops where I live typically charge $50 to $100 to do it.

If you want to do it yourself, there are a variety of kits available at auto parts stores and from online sellers.

I've used at least three different kit brands and my favorite is the "SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit" - currently $20.23 from Amazon Prime.  Advance Auto stores sometimes have this kit but it's very popular and often not in stock here.

I am NOT a fan of the kits that require using an electric drill - too easy to damage lenses and surrounding paint work.

The Sylvania kit involves hand wet sanding the lenses with included fine grit sand paper and then applying a hard chemical finish coat.

If you do try one of these kits, mask all the paint work around the lenses including the bumper below the lenses regardless of what the instructions say.  Some of these chemicals are hard to remove if they get on paint work.

Hand wet sanding headlight lenses is similar to hand sanding automotive lacquer between coats - you can tell though your fingertips when you've got it right .... when the sand paper slips effortlessly on the surface without dragging.  Have a spray bottle of water handy.

It can look like headlight lenses are being trashed during the wet sanding process but the chemical finish coat will make them completely clear again.

The refinishing process must be done in a wind free / dust free environment - not something that should be done outside since blowing debris can (will!) stick to the chemical finish coat.  Once the chemical finish coat is applied it must not be touched and must be allowed to dry for a number of hours.  I let it dry for at LEAST 24 hours before driving the vehicle regardless of what the instructions say.  And don't touch the surface to see if it is dry!!!

Google "headlight lens refinishing" and you will find lots of information and other opinions including using tooth paste the clear the lenses.  I've found that only methods that have chemical sealers as the final step provide lasting results. 

 

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I used toothpaste and mannnn u can see the toothpaste turning yellow... I shoulda took pictures of before and after, and this is just the regular colgate. I will try the one with baking soda next time ;) image.thumb.jpg.ce7c4c374e0ffceddbd0b809

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I watched this video the other day which was quite interesting and even went as far as lacquering the headlights to stop it happening again:

 

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4 minutes ago, jamesm182 said:

I watched this video the other day which was quite interesting and even went as far as lacquering the headlights to stop it happening again:

 

The clear sealer that comes with most headlight refinishing kits smells and acts like lacquer.

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i took my 2007 RX350 to Lexus of Austin. The issue is covered under a recall. They replace both, detailed and gave me a 2016 RX400h loaner and no cost. Got to love them.

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On ‎4‎/‎19‎/‎2016 at 5:43 PM, Lexilover64 said:

i took my 2007 RX350 to Lexus of Austin. The issue is covered under a recall. They replace both, detailed and gave me a 2016 RX400h loaner and no cost. Got to love them.

You may had the water intrusion issue for which a recall was issued.  Deterioration of the exterior lens surface coating is considered normal wear and tear and to my knowledge has not been covered under warranty or recall.

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Any headlight restoration kit with clear coat is fine. Sylvania kit comes with UV blocker clear for long lasting effect.

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I used "WIPE NEW HEADLIGHT RESTORE" on 2008 RX350 it worked. Just follow instructions

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On ‎3‎/‎17‎/‎2016 at 4:00 AM, 1990LS400 said:

The clear sealer that comes with most headlight refinishing kits smells and acts like lacquer.

Even glass windshields get pitted after years of following vehicles on the highway. I can assure you that no "coating" for plastic lenses is permanent. Aliphatic polyurethane (thermoset) is not adversely affected by UV rays but even the hardest formula will eventually haze from pitting.

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6 hours ago, RX400h said:

Even glass windshields get pitted after years of following vehicles on the highway. I can assure you that no "coating" for plastic lenses is permanent. Aliphatic polyurethane (thermoset) is not adversely affected by UV rays but even the hardest formula will eventually haze from pitting.

If you can believe the marketing hype, windshield water repellent treatments like Rain-X fills in the small pits in windshields.  I'm so used to having Rain-X on our windshields that it is utterly scary when I'm in another vehicle that doesn't have it during a hard rain.

I doubt if any of the headlight lens refinishing techniques are permanent.  I refinished the headlight lenses on the 2000 LS400 that I owned from 2003 to 2014 three times with refinishing kits including once when one headlight lens was badly scarred by a shopping cart.  Each time the lenses came out looking and performing like new.

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Many years ago when I used Rain-x, it left a film of some sort that was very hard to remove. It was just within the wipers' swept area.

My 1989 Mazda MX6 GT had glass headlight lenses and they still looked great after 25 years. Of course, I didn't have to look through them while driving!)
  By the way, after a number of years and enough pitting to cause vision issues, most windshields will be replaced by insurance companies (assuming their customer's vehicle is covered)  for just the deductible fee. I'm getting ready to claim my MX5's windshield for replacement. It gets pitted very easily, since it sits much lower than your average vehicle.

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You can use the 3M headlight kits - they're generally effective, but there is a lot of area to cover on these big headlights, and you can leave swirl marks if you aren't careful. I'm not saying not to use them - just noting the down side. But for really bad surfaces, you gotta remove the the material, and that means sanding.

BUT...SInce you're probably out there ready to clay bar and detail your car anyway...:) - I find it much easier to just use a 6 inch DA orbital polisher/sander and a cutting pad (I like Mequiars Ultimate compound, but whatever floats your boat), then a polishing pad with your favorite polishing compound. Then a good wax - I've got a couple I like, depending on the surface, the temp, and the need for cleaning. I've used the Blue Coral headlight sealer on one light versus Mequiars NXT Gen Tech 2.0 wax on the other - not super impressed - they both yellow at the same rate, and since I'm waxing anyway.

There is very little chance you will damage your headlight surface this way relative to the 3M headlight kits (which are down to like 2 different grit sandpapers...it used to be 4 I think).

I do also have a number of different grit 3M sandpapers for the drill method (more than the kits), it's much cheaper to buy them outside of the kit (assuming you've got a lot of older cars like I do) but I reserve that for more severe damaqe.

Edited by blautens
Clarity

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