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Old 10-13-2014, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How to polish headlights so it lasts (re-adding UV protection)

Polishing headlights is ridiculously easy, however they always seem to yellow again after a couple months (or less). The reason being is that by polishing the headlights to remove the yellowed plastic, you remove what is left of the ultra violet (UV) OEM coating on the plastic. So, to fix it, you need to add some form of UV protection back to the headlight lense. Here is how I did it.

I started out with Meguiar's PlastX, and a cloth buffing wheel on my battery drill. That gets rid of the yellow oxidized layer of plastic on the headlights. Its pretty quick work with the battery drill.





Here we have one light done, and the other obviously not done. I had just done these about 3 or 4 months ago and you can already see how bad they were without re-adding some form of UV protection.





To add that UV protection, I grabbed some spar urethane. You add some mineral spirits to cut it. Use a 50/50 mix. Then dab a cloth in the urethane and rub it on the headlight. You barely need any to do the lights as this stuff is thin. I used a quarter sized drop of each on a yogurt lid and that was more than enough.





And of course, here are some of the before and after pics of the light to show how pretty it is now.











I haven't seen how long this lasts. I've read it'll last 2 years. I actually would like to put another coat or two on since its so thin. Seems like that would give you a bit more time.

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Old 10-13-2014, 10:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Very nice! I recently buffed up the Civic's headlights, but didn't coat them yet.
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Old 10-13-2014, 02:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Oddly enough, yesterday I bought some Blue Magic headlight sealer. It was on clearance for 67 cents so I figured I couldn't go wrong. Haven't used it yet but most of the reviews were positive.
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I just became aware of the blue magic sealer the other day when I was going through a box of stuff I got from my uncle. In it was some blue magic headlight restoring compound. I quickly read the directions and it said 'for best results, use with blue magic sealer'. According to the reviews on amazon it works about 6 months to a year. That pint of urethane cost me $15 plus $5 for the mineral spirits. Blue Magic headlight sealer is $8 a bottle on amazon right now.

If it actually lasts, I'd probably prefer the urethane just because I'm lazy and willing to pay a little more (and that pint will last me forever). Time will tell.
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I normally use plastix to give the lamps a like new appearance when I detail.

I was watching an episode of chop cut rebuild and they had a mustang they were redoing with driving lamps and retro fit halogen lamps. Chip Foose sanded the brand new lamps til they looked hazed over, then clear coated them. I dont recall why he did that, nor can I find it online, but it made the prism, lines and such really stood out afterwards.
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Old 10-14-2014, 08:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Automotive clear coat works too, just most of us don't just have clear coat laying around and a sprayer.
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Old 10-14-2014, 08:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I did this 5 yrs ago on the Q45. THe key is to re-seal the lens.
Nice explanation.
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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What method did you use to polish and seal?
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I had bought a kit from auto geek com that included a sealer. It's backed away or I'd give you the brand name
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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.

When I redo plastic head and tail light lens, I use 2000-3000 grit wet-dry sandpaper. Then, while using a garden hose, I wet sand the lens. It usually takes about a minute per lens and will easily remove heavy oxidation. I then use a polymer based wax like Nu finish to buff and seal it. Since this method lasts several months I haven't seen the need to clear coat the lens, as it would make the process of re furbishing the lens the next time more difficult.

However, sometimes it is easier to replace the lens assemble on some vehicles, especially older models.

I've found good prices here.

https://www.rockauto.com/catalog/catalog.php




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