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Discussion Starter #1
The headlights on my Crownvic weathered to the point that I added driving lights to increase night time visibility. I tried cleaning them a number of times with a cleaner polish but that didn't quite do the job.

Finally I tried a Plastic Cleaner Polish, and I couldn't believe the difference. There are a number of products on the market for varying prices. I can not comment on which is better, but I'll give you some ideas. I imagine that for the most part they are equally effective.

There are complete kits that include very very fine sand paper, or other abrasives, cleaning rags, and plastic polish. OR one may purchase just the plastic polish and use an abrasive you already have lying around.

The first time around, I used some turtle wax cleaning compound, followed by PlastX Each are available at Walmart for less than $5 each.

The next time around, I used some 000 grade steel wool, and Plastx. The steel wool did a little better job than the turtle wax cleaning compound. I bought the steel wool at K-mart for about $3.00 It was a pack of 6, two each of three different grades.

In either case, the headlights on all my cars are now restored to pretty near their original brilliance for less than ten dollars.

Once you have restored yours, you'll notice how many cars are on the road with dull headlights, and you'll want to stop everyone and tell them how easy it is to restore them.
 

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... you'll notice how many cars are on the road with dull headlights, and you'll want to stop everyone and tell them how easy it is to restore them.
Haha! So that was you on the side of the road? :yikes:
Be sure to follow the directions of those products carefully.
Oh, I have seen a do-it-yourself headlight polishing attempt using acetone.
All I can say is Never Never Never use acetone on plastic headlights. Bad thing.
 

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I was watching a tv show ( two guys Garage, I think ) and they said you could also use toothpaste if you are too broke or too cheap to buy the specialty stuff. They did one headlight on a Mazda pickup with the specialty cleaner, the other with toothpaste, and they both came out looking good, the toothpaste did an excellent job, and will leave your car feeling minty fresh!
 

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I used the 3M kit and it worked very well.
 

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I was watching a tv show ( two guys Garage, I think ) and they said you could also use toothpaste
Zephyrman you Rock today! :thumbsup:

I was just about to post that exact same thing, so I guess I'm gonna have to sit back and
bask in your awesomeness
on this one.....I saw it on Power Block TV Trucks this past weekend.
 
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Be carefull when buffing with a pad on a power tool, it is possible to create a lot of extra work. Can you say.."melted plastic"?:yikes:
 

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Zephyrman has the right idea. - When I bought a 2002 Grand Caravan a couple of years ago, the headlamp lenses were almost opaque !:eek6: - Using an old trick I learned from Air Force 'riggers', I first got some 800 grit wet'n dry paper and a bowl of warm soapy water. -About ten minutes gentle circular rubbing on each lens( using lots of the soapy water ) improved it a lot. I then got a tube of old style whitener toothpaste ( this has a very fine grit in it) after about 15 minutes of gentle rubbing with the paste on a soft rag, my lenses looked almost new ! :)
 

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I tried Rain-X brand cleaner kit and spent about 3 hours on the first ( 97 Subaru) and flat refused to be punished again with the second headlamp. Time went by and I bought a Porter Cable 7424 ( I think that is the right mumber) for polishing and waxing my cars. I thought I would give it a try and bought a 3 inch backing plate and some pads that came with it. I found out quickly that the fine compound to remove swirl marks was not getting the job done so I used either DuPont or Turtle wax brand of rubbing compound followed by turtle wax polishing compound ( the kind that comes in cans) followed up with Stensons plexiglass polish (very fine stuff) and last a coat of Johnsons Hard Floor wax and they looked brand new.
That worked so well that I did my daughter's Kia. Wow They looked new also except where she had tried to do the right one wit dry sandpaper, You could still see some of the scratches.
So every 3 months I quickly wax the headlamps to help keep UV exposure down.
Of course mask the rubber and painted surfaces right around the lights.
 

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A friend of mine bought one of the kits with the sandpaper.
I found it to be too harsh. I did my '89 Tempo. Like you guys, I adapted stuff I had in the garage. Started out with cleanser on a rag, rubbing compound, polishing compound,
pre-wax cleaner ending off with wax. Although not a lasting fix, found it worked fairly well.
We tried to be careful with my friend's Intrepid, but found the wet sandpaper did more harm than good. Although, that's what they use on new paint, so maybe you just need a finer grit than the one that comes in the kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not long ago I gave an unusual birthday gift.
I picked up a can of rubbing compound, some rags, and plastic polish on my way to a friend's birthday party. His caravan's headlights were in terrible condition. SO when I got there... I went to work on them.

As other guests arrived, they saw me busily at work, and were pretty impressed with the improvement. So much so, that two others borrowed my friend's gift and went to work at their own headlights!
 

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Actually if you take your time, and us patience, wet sanding, and going to higher grades, then using toothpaste, and a buffer will do the best job. Then you get a good sealer. That's what we do in the warehouse if we get one as a core. There is no core from dealer, but some people think there is, so we fix them, and rebox them. They last just as long as the new replacement ones. Or get an older car with glass lights, and just wipe them off lol...

Btw, learned it watching stacey david on Gearz tv.
 

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Actually if you take your time, and us patience, wet sanding, and going to higher grades, then using toothpaste, and a buffer will do the best job. Then you get a good sealer. That's what we do in the warehouse if we get one as a core. There is no core from dealer, but some people think there is, so we fix them, and rebox them. They last just as long as the new replacement ones. Or get an older car with glass lights, and just wipe them off lol...

Btw, learned it watching stacey david on Gearz tv.
This is the way I go, minus the toothpaste. To finish I use Meguiar's Plastx with buffer, topped with carnuba wax, then sealant. Whenever I detail the car I run over with polish, wax and sealant to maintain.
 
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I was thinking more along the line of cheapness, but your way is prefered dave. thank you for the addition.
 

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I was thinking more along the line of cheapness, but your way is prefered dave. thank you for the addition.
No problem. Keep in mind I have Plastx on hand (only have approx $1400 worth of detailing supplies and tools in my garage:eek6:) I'm trying to find some pics of a set I did with this process.

Here we go

Before:

ai269.photobucket.com_albums_jj50_dtacker17_SVT_20Contour_December_202008_CarmenlightsBefore01.jpg


After (you can see a before light above.
ai269.photobucket.com_albums_jj50_dtacker17_SVT_20Contour_December_202008_CarmenLightsAfter02.jpg

ai269.photobucket.com_albums_jj50_dtacker17_SVT_20Contour_December_202008_CarmenLightsAfter03.jpg
 
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Jonzo, - please tell us exactly what you refer to as "a good sealer" . I would like to try that , but have been afraid to ruin a good finish by adding something that I wasn't sure of - Thanks.
 

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To D.Acker - that was a good link thanks :thumbsup: That Autogeek is a cool site ! -Not sure if I'd be happy about putting a wax based product onto clear plastic though, so I'm going to research that a bit more. Nevertheless, Autogeek has many good products, so THANKS anyway -:)
 

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To D.Acker - that was a good link thanks :thumbsup: That Autogeek is a cool site ! -Not sure if I'd be happy about putting a wax based product onto clear plastic though, so I'm going to research that a bit more. Nevertheless, Autogeek has many good products, so THANKS anyway -:)
AutoGeek rocks!! I use both paint sealant and carnuba wax on my lights. It provides UV protection, UV is what causes the fading and hazing in many cases. I've never had any trouble using wax or sealant on my lights.
 
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The '88 F150 XLT Lariat I just sold had five horizontal paint stripes across each headlight. It was pretty thick, tough paint, and when I tried a simple headlight restore kit the stripes really got in the way. I thought about removing them but they showed excellent resistance to my polishing efforts, decided against that. I keep my eye out for another Ford pickup with this same headlight striping and have never seen anything like it. Wondering if this was a factory option or home-made custom job.
 
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