Are your headlight lenses getting cloudy?

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Ever notice all the older Neons, minivans, Intrepids and some Fords on the road suffering from opaque lenses? I even spotted an older Mercedes developing the problem. It is unacceptable that we have to constantly buff
or replace cloudy, yellow polycarbonate plastic headlight lenses because Chrysler and Ford were too cheap to specify a few cents worth of UV protection in the plastic mix. Headlight performance on these cars was mediocre when new. It is a downright hazard when cateracts set in. If you are as mad as hell about this problem as I am, and want to tell someone about it, click on the link below and let the NHTSA know that you have trouble seeing road hazards and pedestrians while driving at night. Demand a recall, an enforced new standard, and a permanent fix. Glass was good. http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq / Rick
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Rick wrote:

Your link does not work. Did you try it before you posted or is it only good during daylight hours when headlights are not needed? Oh well, time to buff my headlights. I think I'll start using very abrasive toothpaste since most auto stores don't care the plastic stuff like Meguiar's PlastX.
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On 1 Sep 2005 22:45:44 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

I don't have any problems with it... Oh, but it is daylight right now.
-- Christian
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The link works fine.
And plain ordinary unsanded ceramic tile grout (mixed as a paste) also works fine to polish the lenses.. and it's a helluva lot cheaper.
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Of course, every time you polish or buff these lenses, what you're doing is stripping away more and ever more of the anti-UV hardcoat, which means the lenses then degrade faster and ever faster. :-(
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after they have been polished by glass shops that sell 3M window tint. Not all do, It is another product they can sell to customers that need headlight polishing. And the clear plastic laminate(sticker) is cut to fit the model of car. The laminate is supposed to be UV resistant, and has a two year warranty.
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David wrote:

If 3M is still even making that, they go out of their way to make it difficult to find information on it or even a source for purchasing - at least that is what I saw 3 years ago when I sought it out and actually purchased it. Several months ago, I searched the www for adiitional consumer info. and source for purchase, and found it even more scare/difficult to locate - gave up.
Here's what I've come up with under a non-3M brand name: http://www.autosportcatalog.com/index.cfm?fa=p&pid32
I wouldn't be surprised if the material is actually made by 3M, but I have concluded that 3M is not interested in marketing such a product under their own label.
My opinion is, rather than polish up a hazed headlight assy., replace with new, and then install the X-Pels to extend the useable life of the new headlights beyond the life of the vehicle. Worst case, the X-Pels themselves may need replacing every coupla years due to UV damage, but I don't know that to be true - but even if so, a lot cheaper to replace them than the complete headlight assy.
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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http://www.3m.com/us/auto_marine_aero/aad/solutions/lens-repair/index.jhtml
I can't find any mention on the 3M website of a UV protectant film suitable for headlights. They specifically state that the paint protectant films are not suitable for headlights. http://www.clearmask.com/headlight_v2.htm claims they use a 3M film designed for the aerospace industry to make their headlight protectors. I can't really find any info on this particualr film on the 3M web site.
Ed

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On Fri, 2 Sep 2005, C. E. White wrote:

Because they don't make any such a film, though a lot of people *think* they do because of a product called "StonGard" (with a cutesy umlaut over the "a" to appeal to the toffs who think only the Germans make good stuff).
3M supplied only the adhesive and the crack-n-peel backing paper for that stuff. The adhesive and backing paper are fine. But the headlamp "protection" film itself is garbage. It steals about 15% of the light right out of the bag, and contrary to claims of lasting optical clarity, it clouds up and turns yellow. But, 3M gets the blame because their name is on the backing paper. 3M 3M 3M 3M 3M, in green ink all over the back of the stuf.
If you feel a headlamp protection film is worth trying, use the stuff from www.xpel.com .
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Daniel J. Stern wrote:

The link that I gave in an earlier post in this thread was a source for the X-Pels (here it is again: http://www.autosportcatalog.com/index.cfm?fa=p&pid32 ). You're supposed to read everything that I ever post, including looking at all links! 8^)
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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On Fri, 2 Sep 2005, Bill Putney wrote:

Well, sure, but why not just go to the originating source?
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Daniel J. Stern wrote:

I bought a set of the StonGards (hmmm - sounds like an athletic cup) when I first got my Concorde 3-1/2 years ago. There was a choice of two thicknesses. I bought the thicker ones thinking thicker is better. I never put them on because they were so stiff, I didn't think the adhesive would hold up (StonGards were flat, headlights were contoured). I have a set of X-Pels - haven't put them on yet either - but they are much thinner and pliable - I think an improved product over the StonGard. Thinner also of course means less light blockage, both initially and as they age.
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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On Fri, 2 Sep 2005, Bill Putney wrote:

Correct on all counts. Applying the XPel is a great deal more hassle than applying the Stongard junk, but worth the extra effort.
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We shouldn't have to apply anything, period. I may be wrong, but I dont see other makes of old cars, like Toyota, with this problem, only Ford and Chrysler. Even GM seems to be immune. Why is that? Is it as preventable as I suspected? Rick
On Fri, 2 Sep 2005, Bill Putney wrote:

Correct on all counts. Applying the XPel is a great deal more hassle than applying the Stongard junk, but worth the extra effort.
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You must not be looking very hard. I see Toyota with yellow lens all the time. SO's old Camry was terrible. I have a '92 F150 with some really nasty looking headlights, but my other recent Fords seem to have held up just fine. And even my '86 Sable had good looking headlight lens after 10 years (traded it then), but the stupid light bar looked pretty bad. I have a friend with an older Buick LeSabre ('91 I think) and it has some pretty nasty looking lens as well.
I suspect some vehicles suffer more than others because of where and how they are driven (because the outer coating is abraded off by grit). For instance my F150 has spent a lot of time on dirt roads and dusty fields. I assume that all this exposure to dust must have eroded the lens' surface - I know the bumper looks like it was sand blasted in some areas (painted steel bumper).
Ed
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I guess the cloudy ones that really stand out are the Neons, must be because they are positioned towards the sky more than other cars. Rick

You must not be looking very hard. I see Toyota with yellow lens all the time. SO's old Camry was terrible. I have a '92 F150 with some really nasty looking headlights, but my other recent Fords seem to have held up just fine. And even my '86 Sable had good looking headlight lens after 10 years (traded it then), but the stupid light bar looked pretty bad. I have a friend with an older Buick LeSabre ('91 I think) and it has some pretty nasty looking lens as well.
I suspect some vehicles suffer more than others because of where and how they are driven (because the outer coating is abraded off by grit). For instance my F150 has spent a lot of time on dirt roads and dusty fields. I assume that all this exposure to dust must have eroded the lens' surface - I know the bumper looks like it was sand blasted in some areas (painted steel bumper).
Ed
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My wife's '89 Mitsu Galant has no yellowing or cloudy lenses at all. Why? Because they use GLASS lenses. Nothing substitutes for glass when it come to longevity.
-- Take care,
Mark & Mary Ann Weiss
VIDEO PRODUCTION FILM SCANNING DVD MASTERING AUDIO RESTORATION Hear my Kurzweil Creations at: http://www.dv-clips.com/theater.htm Business sites at: www.dv-clips.com www.mwcomms.com www.adventuresinanimemusic.com -
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Mark & Mary Ann Weiss wrote:

Unless a rock of just the right size hits it - you might get a tiny nick in the plastic, the glass will break requiring replacement. 8^) I'm guessing that glass would hold up slightly better against sand blasting, but not sure about that.
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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The facts are that the lights on the older Mitsu work MUCH better than those on the newer Ford. That car has 300K miles on it, lots of which is highway driving, but I keep a good distance between me and the next car in line, so I didn't get to test the flying rock theory.
-- Take care,
Mark & Mary Ann Weiss
VIDEO PRODUCTION . FILM SCANNING . DVD MASTERING . AUDIO RESTORATION Hear my Kurzweil Creations at: http://www.dv-clips.com/theater.htm Business sites at: www.dv-clips.com www.mwcomms.com www.adventuresinanimemusic.com -
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On Mon, 5 Sep 2005, Mark & Mary Ann Weiss wrote:

Until a road rock comes along. *Krunch!* (Or lots and lots of little pieces of road grit, which pit and "sandblast" the lens until it disperses the light just as badly as a clouded-up plastic lens).
Hardened/toughened glass is where it's at...
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