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  1. #1
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    How To RESTORE your Headlights the PROPER way!

    I have seen a lot of different ways people are trying to restore their headlights, and they either are gimmicks, wont last long (Like toothpaste) or are just plain WRONG. So i wanted to make this video to show you the PROPER way to restore your headlights using wet sanding techniques and machine polishing to make your headlights look brand new once again, and to keep them looking brand new!


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    Senior Member FUNX650's Avatar
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    Re: How To RESTORE your Headlights the PROPER way!

    Thanks for providing your version of the
    proper way on how to restore “headlights”.

    However...IMO:
    The author of the below article provides
    the definitive version of an even more
    proper way towards “headlight” restoration!

    Understanding headlamp repair


    Bob
    "Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk."
    ~Joaquin de Setanti

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    Re: How To RESTORE your Headlights the PROPER way!

    Quote Originally Posted by FUNX650 View Post
    Thanks for providing your version of the
    proper way on how to restore “headlights”.

    However...IMO:
    The author of the below article provides
    the definitive version of an even more
    proper way towards “headlight” restoration!

    Understanding headlamp repair


    Bob
    That was a great read as well. I highly suggest anyone looking to go "all the way" to leverage this guide. I would say everything is mostly the same, except the end where he replaces the factory UV coating, where instead I used a sealant to do this job more temporarily.

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    Senior Member rlmccarty2000's Avatar
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    Re: How To RESTORE your Headlights the PROPER way!

    The guide from Barry is now over 7 years old. There are several headlight coatings on the market now. Does anyone have any information on the longetivity of any of the coatings being sold here? I’ve been using Meguires Headlight Coating and it is supposed to last a year. How long does Opti-lens last? Or McKees? Is there something in a spray can that lasts longer that anyone knows about?

    I always use 3000 after 1500 if anyone cares. 3M sells two kits on AG that include 3000 and I would hope 3M has put some time and research into their products.

  7. #5
    Senior Member Mad Wax's Avatar
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    Re: How To RESTORE your Headlights the PROPER way!

    Opti lens lasts roughly 6 to 8 months out here in the AZ desert. Starts to yellow. Curious about the new McKees stuff.

  8. #6
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    Re: How To RESTORE your Headlights the PROPER way!

    If you looked at the thread Bob was linking to. The biggest difference is when not going to the lower grit sandpaper. Is that you don't get the old UV coating of completly. This could get you some the headlights oxidized way sooner than needed. And it's also a case by case and hard to say when you need to get the old UV coating completly off. On the video it can work with this state of degraded UV coating. But when a UV coating is degrading for long enough time it gets cracks that is often down to the polycarbonate. And if only getting the surface looking good you will be soon see the yellowing oxidizing UV coating to show again. Then when it comes to protection of the headlight. With the proper prep work where you completly sanding off the old UV coating. The longest longevity you get from spraying a new layer of UV coating on them. You can also be waxing or sealing or ceramic coating them to work great. But needs to be reapplyied in time it don't fails and starting to oxidize again. If useing a UV coating you are not polishing the headlight to perfection with a finishing polish. But apply the UV coating on a surface that is wet sanded around a p1500 grit sandpaper. This is so the UV coating has something to adhere to and not just run on you. Which gets you the orange peel effect or and runs from the coating.

    /Tony

  9. #7
    Senior Member UncleDavy's Avatar
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    Re: How To RESTORE your Headlights the PROPER way!

    I realize that there are different levels of oxidation, but is the wet sanding process always necessary? My brother-in-law visited a few weeks ago with his 2006 Saturn soccer mom mini van and he was complaining about his cloudy headlights. He was going to buy new aftermarket headlights and replace them but I told him to let me work on them. I purchased the McKee's 37 Total Headlight Restoration Kit, how to restore headlights here on Autogeek and his van was a perfect test case. I used their wool pad and polish on my DeWalt power drill and the headlights cleared up in less than a minute.
    Would it be better to try a least aggressive approach first like we do on our car's paint?

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    Senior Member spazzz's Avatar
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    Re: How To RESTORE your Headlights the PROPER way!

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleDavy View Post
    I realize that there are different levels of oxidation, but is the wet sanding process always necessary? My brother-in-law visited a few weeks ago with his 2006 Saturn soccer mom mini van and he was complaining about his cloudy headlights. He was going to buy new aftermarket headlights and replace them but I told him to let me work on them. I purchased the McKee's 37 Total Headlight Restoration Kit, how to restore headlights here on Autogeek and his van was a perfect test case. I used their wool pad and polish on my DeWalt power drill and the headlights cleared up in less than a minute.
    Would it be better to try a least aggressive approach first like we do on our car's paint?

    Absolutely.

    I hit them with M100 and a black wool on Flex just to see where I am at.
    If I don't have to sand I am happy.

  12. #9
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    Re: How To RESTORE your Headlights the PROPER way!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Wax View Post
    Opti lens lasts roughly 6 to 8 months out here in the AZ desert. Starts to yellow. Curious about the new McKees stuff.
    I'd say about the same here in the northeast, for a car that's outside all the time. I don't think it's the Opti-Lens that's yellowing, it's the lens itself (for a lens that's had the factory coating sanded off). If it's your own car I'm not even sure a coating is worth it, they clean up pretty easily every 6 months or so with a fine polish, and then I throw a little sealant on them. These days I'd be more inclined to coat a headlight that still has the factory coating, to try and preserve it.

  13. #10
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    Re: How To RESTORE your Headlights the PROPER way!

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleDavy View Post
    I realize that there are different levels of oxidation, but is the wet sanding process always necessary? My brother-in-law visited a few weeks ago with his 2006 Saturn soccer mom mini van and he was complaining about his cloudy headlights. He was going to buy new aftermarket headlights and replace them but I told him to let me work on them. I purchased the McKee's 37 Total Headlight Restoration Kit, how to restore headlights here on Autogeek and his van was a perfect test case. I used their wool pad and polish on my DeWalt power drill and the headlights cleared up in less than a minute.
    Would it be better to try a least aggressive approach first like we do on our car's paint?
    I would compare it to single stage paint with the oxidation part. It's hard to determind after a polishing step if there are any oxidized UV coating left. And the most effective way is to test out and see how fast it's starts oxidize again or if it holds up. If the oxidized UV coating is left it's gets through from under the protection you applied. You can look at the surface of the headlight and see how smooth it is or not. Often on older ones you have all kind of impact damage on them. And in that case if you want longevity from your work. I would sand down the UV coating completly. You often see when the residue is turning more white from dry sanding. That's the tell that you are through. Don't know if the UV coating is very hard or there is a thick layer of it. But it's often takes quite a lot of dry sanding to get through the UV coating. The best way to get them to not oxidizing again is to not let your protection fail. So the UV protection in it is high all the time. Then it's what expectations you have from your work. If doing on a car that you easly can maintain and recoat the protection. You maybe are not so unsatisfied with a shorter longevity. But doing it for money and you get your customer back after less than 6 months and it has to be redone. That is not so good. With a new UV paint you don't have them back for a couple of years at least. If the prep work is done thoroughly.

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