headlight lens

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Honda wants about $100 to polish/restore the headlight lenses on my 2000 Accord. I find kits ranging in price from $10-$40. Are they all the same? Any recommendations as to which is good/bad? TIA

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On Tue, 18 Dec 2012 06:11:57 -0800 (PST), Michael

I've used both 3M and Meguiar's on a 2001 Accord. Takes an awful lot of buffing and is hard to get an even job. It might be worth $100 to have someone else do it.
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YouTube has a bunch of headlight lens restoration videos... I've personally never done any, but it sure doesn't look like rocket science.
Erik
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wrote:

And it still may not come out perfect.
I haven't done these but back in the day I polished various plastic widgets, and it's not rocket science but I guess it would help to have the right kind of rigs and maybe the experience of doing fifty others.
J.
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wrote:

On my 2003, I've used just Bonami with my elbow grease and it comes out pretty good. It doesn't last too long but for me, it's like a 5 to 10 minute job and cheap. Also I get a little exercise <g>.
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wrote:

I don't get how it doesn't last, are you getting sandblasted or something, what about your paint?
J.
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JRStern wrote:

The plastic degrades rapidly in the presence of sunlight and air. The original lens had a thin protective coating. Once that coating deteriorated, the lens became cloudy. Better headlight cleanup kits include a coating for protection, it just does not last long.
Glass can last decades without discoloring or becoming cloudy.
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On 12/21/2012 05:29 PM, Rasco Coltrain wrote:

so can the plastic lenses used for turn signals, etc. - the technology is well researched and easy to implement. headlights cloud because detroit wants consumers to take it up the ass and for no other reason.
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I still don't get it, if the plastic clouds, is polishing it going to help, is the clouding really just on the surface? I haven't seen that in any car I've owned (cuz I've been leasing for a long time). I've seen old yellowed lights on whatever, but never thought about it, I did associate it with overage Detroit products, now that you mention it, and maybe bronze age British stuff and miscellaneous tail lights and whatnot. So, don't scratch the Lexan, huh?
J.
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JRStern wrote:

The plastic oxides on the surface; Bon Ami removes the oxidized plastic. Applying some silicone (read: Pledge or Turtle Wax) might help protect the surface.
IIRC, the last 20 year old vehicle I had, had perfectly fine backup lights (which are clear, just like headlights). I never gave that a second thought until jim mentioned it.
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On 12/22/2012 07:28 PM, Rasco Coltrain wrote:

silicone doesn't really protect against u.v., the cause of the problem given that headlight lenses for some INEXPLICABLE reason don't have their own u.v. protectant like all the other light lenses.
however, [some] lens polishing kits /do/ have a u.v. protective liquid you can treat the lens with once you've polished. if you can find out what that is and re-apply every couple of years, you should be able to extend life significantly.

i estimate at three groups of people have gotten wealthy of this:
1. the detroit reptiles that cooked up this retardation and got a bonus for it.
2. the washington reptiles that took the money to lean on the nhtsa and have them write some bullshit lens spec.
3. the companies that makes the polymers that get cast into these lenses. "you want it /without/ u.v. protectant??? sure bud, we can do that if that's what you really want..."
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jim beam wrote:

Did you say YEARS?! I want to know which kits can do this!
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On 12/23/2012 09:55 AM, Rasco Coltrain wrote:

sure, years. how long does the clearcoat on your car's paint last?
[assuming of course that you don't screw it up using some of these "cleaners" that very effectively start to break it down. shall we have the "why does your clear coat start to break through in that particular pattern" discussion now?]
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wrote:

So all the cars out there with yellowed headlight lenses, just need a quick scrub with sink detergent?
J.
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JRStern wrote:

Depends on what turned yellow. Maybe a clear lens looks better either way.
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wrote:

I don't apply anything so that's probably why my bon ami job doesn't last long. I guess if you apply a wax with u.v. protection, it might last longer???
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On 12/22/2012 09:29 AM, JRStern wrote:

yes and yes.

it's on all the modern cars. there's a federal headlight spec requiring cars sold here to have a specific type of polymer for the lens, and it doesn't have u.v. protectant. if you can believe it.

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Jim, you brought out a good point about this headlight lense when compared to the others. Sure wish I knew the reason why this one doesn't have a u.v. protectant.
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wrote:

bugger all. I went out yesterday and yeah, observed a lot of different cars with yellowed headlight lenses.
in my head, we're all still driving around with sealed-beam glass headlights circa 1970.

it reminds me of the paint on my 1971 Fiat, faded from red to pinkish, put some "paint restorer" on it and it was red again for about a week.
J.
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On 12/23/2012 09:29 AM, Observer wrote:

you know the reason. it's the same reason z.d.d.p.'s been effectively removed from motor oil - there's money to be made and detroit wants some of it. your job as the consumer is to get used to it and just keep coughing up the cash.
[i went to the junkyard yesterday and had a quick browse through the honda section. older hondas have "direct contact" cams, and every one you see now is severely distressed. a few years back, even at very high mileage, those engines cams would be near pristine because the zddp was present to protect them - and that is what those engines had been designed for. now, remove the zddp, the cam can't cope, and they star to tear themselves apart. i'll take my camera and get some pics some time.]
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