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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finally got tired of the cloudy headlights. Removed bumper and a few extra bolts before I figured out the 3 bolts that hold the headlight in place. Took them in the basement and worked on the drivers side because it was the worst.
First I used blue magic polish then Flitz and a wand attachment on a high torque drill along with a 3" polishing kit from harbor freight.
I didn't sand the plastic just polish and time.
Will do the passenger side another day as it took me a while to do one side.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I really didn't sand them. I removed the dirt and used a plastic polish that has a silicone protectant in it. I will find out the life. It has to be better than the oil products everyone wipes on and calls a treatment.
 

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No matter what you did to make them clear, you removed the coating/surface. All polishes remove material. Silicone will over time be washed away it was a fluid to help the polishing material to remove the surface and smooth it, this is how polishing works. They will fog again unless you use Paint Protection Film (PPF) or some other coating to prevent abrasion and Ultra Violet (UV) degradation. The headlights are plastic, over time UV light and abrasion from sand etc. degrades that plastic (surface), and they fog, some more than others. Walk through any parking lot, and you see will many vehicles affected by this issue. Considering the cost and availability issues for headlights, I advocate using PPF, as it is cheap insurance and works. It does not require a lot of skill and in the long run is less expensive than many other methods.

There are lots of products sold and most if not all are a temporary solution if they work at all. Polishing (removing the surface) is the best solution but is only the first step, the second is replacing the UV protection otherwise they will degrade faster (the new surface is more fragile), and you will need to redo the process again. That can be done with clear coat (not sure what types have UV protection as some have mentioned having to redo that too) or PPF which is designed for the purpose.

This is a known issue with plastic, not glass headlights. Clear coat is one solution, but PPF is another. I had PPF applied to my car when it was new, and the lights are as clear now as they were when it was applied. PPF also prevents breakage.

This has been discussed many times, you could have just added to an existing thread to add to the knowledge rather than repeating it and making yet another thread on this known issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will consider paint protection coatings. I have been around a while and have tried a few products before. One of those is blue magic which when I used it in the 70's to polish motorcycle helmets and ferrings made of plastic. It might be the headlight issue comes from a different type of plastic than in the 70s but I never had to reapply on items I cleaned, so let's give it some time. Since I have not used a method that removed anything but what was sitting on the surface of the plastic and the products I used leave a protective coating on the freshly cleaned surface.
 

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Some "cleaners" that are used for headlights remove the material which has the UV coating, it is not a question of if, but when you will have to do it again. The modern headlights and the fogging has been discussed on this forum alone many times, the conclusion is if they fog, and you fix it you need to follow it up with a coating either PPF or clear coat. I have used a Flitz product for metal, it is a polish, it removed material. Most polishing products do. The term cleaner is misleading in this context. The Fogging is a physical change to the headlight surface, and it cannot be changed back, it has to be removed using something abrasive. Many use polishes on paint and over time that thins the clear coat, especially if used incorrectly (see my discussion of the dealer that prepped my car with a polisher and damaged my clear coat).

Let's agree to disagree, but I think you have a misunderstanding of the process you used and what it actually did to clear the lights. It may be years before you have to redo them it took years to get them foggy, but it will reoccur unless you add something to prevent it.

The Protective coating you claim you now have will either wear away or wash away. Again a question of time.

I am so glad I spent the money to do the PPF and will never have to deal with this ever unless I have an accident and have to replace a headlight again.
 

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Hate to tell you this but polishing them will allow them to cloud up again in about a year. The permanent fix is a 2k clear coat that has proper UV blocking.
In my area, you'd be lucky if it lasts a year. Did an SUV we had and it lasted maybe 2 or 3 months. Talked to my buddy who is painting my body kit, I'll have him do the lights too. He did his Audi, still looks good 2yrs later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay, I'm finished cleaning them.
I actually worked on the passenger side headlight more than the drivers as it had some (what looked like) over spray on it. When I bought the car in March 2020 the passenger side headlight looked newer than the drivers side. Like it has been replaced before I got the car.
So it looks better than the drivers again. But, I could always buff it some more while it is on the car.
Right now I am wiped out so I'm done for right now
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I can tell you from prior experience that you need to buy some sort of UV protective coating. I also did the same and didn't apply the coating; within a few weeks it was worse than when I started (down here in Texas).

If you don't see a rainbow film still on them after polishing, you removed the UV coating. (and more than likely if they were foggy; it was already gone)
The UV coating isn't expensive and isn't hard to install.

I use the 3M UV coating in a tiny bottle and you use an applicator; wait for it to flash off; wipe it away with a clean and dry microfiber towel.
I think they only sell wipes now because I can't find the UV coating for sale anymore.
 

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Do ceramic coatings work for headlights?


Looks good man. I'll just echo what's been said, mine clouded up within a month after buffing, everytime.

Whatever you do, I don't recommend this trash:

View attachment 68601
Completely ruined my freshly polished headlights with a cheap 1/2K clear coat orange peeling blue look.

*Technically, I probably DOES do what it claims on the can.

Still, IMO 👎.


Hopefully, some light 7k/10k sandpaper will level it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Do ceramic coatings work for headlights?


Looks good man. I'll just echo what's been said, mine clouded up within a month after buffing, everytime.

Whatever you do, I don't recommend this trash:

View attachment 68601
Completely ruined my freshly polished headlights with a cheap 1/2K clear coat orange peeling blue look.

*Technically, I probably DOES do what it claims on the can.

Still, IMO 👎.


Hopefully, some light 7k/10k sandpaper will level it out.
The local shop sprayed a ceramic coating on the drivers side after they fixed the headlight last year. It came back 3 months later it was probably some kind of petroleum product. I don't think you can ceramic coat over that. They over sprayed onto my paint and it is still there on the paint around the headlight. Perhaps if they were a professional paint perfecting company it would have worked. My paint job is less than perfect anyway. Good luck with your coating, let me know what your process was if it works. Everyone swears by the 2k coat for a permanent fix. I will probably have to go that route.
 

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900p
. Everyone swears by the 2k coat for a permanent fix. I will probably have to go that route.
Yea, I was just curious about the ceramic coatings, I don't really see why it wouldn't work though.. unless maybe the chemicals react terribly to clear plastics like melt them or something ..

But 2k clear for sure is the Gold Standard in headlights restoration as far I know. That or paint protection films.
 

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Get someone to mix you some 2k with just the VERY slightest hint of tint. Wow that makes headlights pop! Something about it, doesn't have enough tint to see but it makes the lens just about vanish.

I used Spraymax 2k 4 years ago and have done nothing other than wash the car and they are still crystal clear. I can also attest to some paint protection film. No idea the brand, the car came with it on the headlights already and no signs of deterioration on a 2004.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hmmm, food for thought. I'll keep those in mind for the future. Hate foggy headlamps hard to see at night and make the car look terrible. Mine are okay now but who knows what the future will bring. Like the idea of tinting them a bit.
 
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