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.
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.
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.
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?
The plastic oxides on the surface; Bon Ami removes the oxidized plastic.
Applying some silicone (read: Pledge or Turtle Wax) might help protect the
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.
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
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..."
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?]
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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