Headlight lens restoration -- who's done it, what works well?

Reprise

Original poster
Lifetime VIP Donor
Jul 22, 2015
2,544
(yes, I did search the site, but most of the posts were older... )

Still busy with other things on the Envoy right now, but both it and the Accord's headlamp lenses are cloudy. The Sierra's aren't, but that's because it has new ones (due to breakage of the molded plastic in the back of them... I'm on set #3, already (long story))

Anyway... who's done this in the last couple of years,
what did you use,
and did you like the result?
(optionally, how long has it lasted)

I don't care about cost, as much as I do ease of application, and good looking results. So don't be hesitant to recommend something pricey, even though most of you know I'm a cheap-azz, when possible :twocents: I've got two cars to do, and the Envoy will be the test bed.

If you're not recommending a 'kit', then please do list all materials needed (brand of toothpaste, w/ different grits of sandpaper, etc.)

Don't need long descriptions of the 'how-to' (I'll research that part)... just recommendations of what (or, what 'not') to use.

Thanks in advance for the feedback!
 

NJTB

Platinum Donor
Aug 27, 2012
579
Flemington, NJ
I used the McGuires restoration kit. Comes with a disc to "polish" the lens, the cleaners, and a spray can of clear. There's enough for about 3 cleanings.
Lasts about a year or 18 mos.
 
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TollKeeper

Guru
Dec 3, 2011
6,886
Brighton, CO
For the Envoy, I would just replace them. They are cheap to replace, and the truck will look so much better. I tried to restore them, it didnt last. Like 4 months.

Edit: They were cheap... They have nearly doubled in price since I replaced mine 18 months ago. 130 bucks for a pair now, when I paid 70.

Dont know what year and model your Honda is to see what they go for.

The big thing, for any of the kits, is a finishing UV ClearCoat. because you are effectively sanding it off. Without that clear coat, all road debris and grime, will just stick to the plastic, and your back to square one.

The 2 videos I used for my attempts..

Edit: RA is going to be about the same cost after shipping and taxes as evilbay.
The evilbay Kit I bought.

RA (I imagine we might have a discount code around here somewhere)
 
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aaserv

Platinum Donor
Dec 1, 2019
351
N of Baton Rouge, La.
Yea I got 2 new headlights from Rock Auto for $48 each....No amount of elbow grease can make the old ones look like new!
 
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cornchip

Hobbyist
Jan 6, 2013
606
I did a polish on my 2007 LT lights a few years back with auto body polishing supplies I had leftover from my Jeep project. I machine wet sanded from 1000 to 2500 and polished with a 7 inch foam pad with polishing compound. After that I just polished out a good coat of car wax and it held up fine for the last year I owned it. I'm not so sure I'd use any clear coat from a spray can as those are usually lacquer based and themselves are prone to 'yellowing' and 'crazing' with time......especially if you apply it with a heavy hand.
 
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Jul 6, 2014
9,237
I used the 3m kit. Worked well enough.
 
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tokanero

Newbie
Mar 15, 2021
5
Maryland
My two cents is to go with new ones. They look great and since we all know what will eventually happen put some UV protectant on them from the beginning.
 

Mooseman

Master Blaster
Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
22,548
Ottawa, ON
I had terrible scratching from the 3M kit following the directions. I've used Mothers and Maguires kits with good results.

For protecting them, I've seen and use 3M UV film. Used that on the Caprice and so far has stood up well after a couple of years but it's in storage during winters. Buying a new set is impossible on this one. One problem though was the compound curves they have and getting the film flat was a bitch. I should do the Sierra and the TB while they are still looking good.
 
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Mektek

Hobbyist
May 2, 2017
612
FL
I tried a different method. I used a sodium hydroxide oven cleaner saturated rag that removed the yellowing. Over half an hour I periodically rubbed the surface until all the yellowing was gone. Then I polished the surface with a foam pad and polishing compound.
And finally I sprayed it with nason select clear.
The results were quite impressive considering the headlights were twenty years old. There was still some fine internal cracking of the plastic which was only visible with the lights on..
 

Mektek

Hobbyist
May 2, 2017
612
FL
Here's how it looked before:
headlight renew old.jpg

And after:
headlight renew.jpg

I had oven cleaner and polishing compound on the shelf. And some leftover clear coat too.
so the net cost was zero - the way I like it :celebrate:
If I didn't have the clearcoat I would have tried the headlight protection film from fleabay......
These are the original twenty year old headlights made in the UK.
 

carshinebob

Registered Member
Jun 13, 2014
151
Because there are no replacement headlights available for Bravadas, I've had to restore my headlights by wet sanding with 400 grit until the protective coating is gone and then spraying an automotive urethane clear coat. They came out looking brand new and have held up for five years now and still look great. ~BOB
 

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