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  1. #1
    Senior Member ShineTimeDetail's Avatar
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    Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights? Are Some Lights Not Repairable?

    I have never restored lights that are actually yellow. When I say yellow I mean yellow and you cannot see through the lights. Is there a limit to bringing back head lights? I mean don't get me wrong, I've done quiet a few but I was just wondering.

    Also does anyone have some dramatic before and afters?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    bmwgalore
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    Re: Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights? Are Some Lights Not Repairable?

    The only time I won't touch headlight is when I can see those tiny cracks from heavy oxidation... If it's already cracked, I don't want to be the one to make it worse..

    There is no limit to bringing back head lights, since you're wet sanding, heat is not a problem. And on the Compound/Polish step, I always take a break anyway, so heat build up is not a problem.

  3. #3
    Senior Member oldmodman's Avatar
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    Re: Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights? Are Some Lights Not Repairable?

    Worst set I ever did was on a 1994 Volvo Wagon. They were totally opaque and just like a frosted beer mug.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights?  Are Some Lights Not Repairable?-img_0100-jpg   Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights?  Are Some Lights Not Repairable?-img_0102-jpg   Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights?  Are Some Lights Not Repairable?-img_0108-jpg  

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bates Detailing's Avatar
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    Re: Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights? Are Some Lights Not Repairable?

    Thats some thick plastic with some thin surface issues - don't think there would be a problem correcting headlights unless you feel they are paper thin (which I don't think would be the case ever). Sometimes you have to think of issues like this on the thickness level.
    Bates Detailing
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  5. #5
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    Re: Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights? Are Some Lights Not Repairable?

    I recently did a long write-up on this, you can read it here first until I post it up on AGO:

    My Journey into Headlight Restoration | Wet Shine – Malaysia's Premier Auto Detailing Blog, Reviews, Tests, Details, Articles, Events

  6. #6
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    Re: Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights? Are Some Lights Not Repairable?

    We use 1996 Ford Taurus as our standard test headlight because they are really bad, being 16 years old.

    In reality you can restore just about any headlight to like new regardless of condition if the following conditions are met:

    1. No water or moisture in the headlight
    2. No holes or through cracks
    3. You can meet your customer's expectations and budget
    4. Base polycarbonate has not been damaged by previous butchering

    The procedure in theory is simple:
    1. Remove the old protective coating
    2. Replace it with a new protective coating

    Some require sanding to remove the old coating but most do not. The key is applying a new coating that will last. Most retail coatings on the market are temporary and about equal to what you might apply to paint. Some are great sealers but little or no UV protection and very thin.

    For good UV protection and sealing against moisture you need:
    Something with good UV blocking or absorbing ability. Wax does this but it is too thin and not permanent.

    Something thick, The thicker the coating, the more UV it can block.

    Something permanent. Rules out waxes and many proprietary compounds.

    Something that can be used in the field (no spraying, no UV curing, no pneumatic tools required, etc.).

    I see many are using the spar varnish/mineral spirits method with varying results.

    I wouldn't use this procedure if you are charging money. There are many professional coatings available specifically designed to protect headlights from UV.

    When you analyze the price of coatings applied to headlights, it might be 25 cents for spar/ms vs. 1.00 for a professional coating. Is long term reliability and customer satisfaction worth risking to save 75 cents?

    Here is two videos showing restoration of 16 year old headlights using two different processes:

    Water based
    http://youtu.be/_hzcelTUvJo

    Solvent based
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBtl68SlcBc&list=HL1340757828&feature=mh_l olz
    ray6










  7. #7
    Senior Member statusdetailing's Avatar
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    Re: Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights? Are Some Lights Not Repairable?

    Some headlights get little micro cracks that can be pretty deep. This problem is usually impossible to fix. I usually don't even try if I feel like I'm going to waste my time. I see this on chevy's quit often, especially Impalas.

  8. #8
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    Re: Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights? Are Some Lights Not Repairable?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShineTimeDetail View Post
    I have never restored lights that are actually yellow. When I say yellow I mean yellow and you cannot see through the lights. Is there a limit to bringing back head lights? I mean don't get me wrong, I've done quiet a few but I was just wondering.

    Also does anyone have some dramatic before and afters?

    Thanks
    If you spray a headlight with alcohol, for a few seconds you can get an idea of what the headlight will look like when restored. Yellowing and cloudiness is a result of the factory coating deteriorating. What's critical is the condition of the polycarbonate underneath.

    I wouldn't be afraid of really bad looking headlights if they are not cracked or severely scratched. You should try restoring one of these if you can. The WOW factor is much greater than less severe headlights.

    The risk is that there may be internal damage that you can't see initially, but spraying with alcohol works pretty well.

    Customers with headlights this bad are probably a lot more forgiving than other customers, and I would think the WOW factor would be so great that they might be O.K. with less than perfect results.

    When we go to the junk yard for test headlights (1996 Ford Taurus) we look for headlights where you can't even see the bulb inside. They look bad, but restore nicely.

    Here's an example on youtube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBtl...eature=mh_lolz

    or

    SINTEC 4 STEP - YouTube
    ray6

  9. #9
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    Re: Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights? Are Some Lights Not Repairable?

    Quote Originally Posted by bmwgalore View Post
    The only time I won't touch headlight is when I can see those tiny cracks from heavy oxidation... If it's already cracked, I don't want to be the one to make it worse..

    There is no limit to bringing back head lights, since you're wet sanding, heat is not a problem. And on the Compound/Polish step, I always take a break anyway, so heat build up is not a problem.


    Those tiny micro-cracks can be in the factory coating or the polycarbonate itself, usually due to water freezing in the crack.

    A good coating (thick coating, like 1 mil. or more) will fill in those cracks,sort of like windshield repair, as long as they are clean and dry before applying the new coating. That's why we recommend scrubbing with alcohol first.

    The thicker the coating, the wider the crack it will fill. This is where many coatings fall short. They're not thick enough or they quickly wear off.
    ray6

  10. #10
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    Re: Whats Your Worst Set of Head Lights? Are Some Lights Not Repairable?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldmodman View Post
    Worst set I ever did was on a 1994 Volvo Wagon. They were totally opaque and just like a frosted beer mug.
    Nice job on the Volvo.

    I would caution you on applying masking tape onto rubber bumpers. We stopped doing it when with some older cars, the paint came off with the tape. Now we just lay a rag under the headlight.
    ray6

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