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Aftermarket headlight assy's

The headlight lenses on my 2004 Camry (about 113K miles) are all clouded/scratched – no surprise. Thanks to generous posters on youtube, I think I can replace the assemblies myself. Our friend Google finds tons of aftermarket assemblies, ranging from about $50 to $300 (remanufactured OEM).

Any thoughts on sources or brands to use or avoid?

The only suggestion I have is to avoid AutpZone for this. They sell cheap aftermarket headlight modules, but I bought one for my '89 Toyota pickup after my daughter had a boo-boo years ago and it didn’t even fit right. It was total junk. I’ve had other problems with AZ parts over the years too.

But before spending a bunch on new units, have you tried buffing the current ones out? I’ve done clouded headlights using plain polishing compound (the kind for paint jobs, not car wax) and a drill-mounted well wetted round sponge and the compound and they came out great. I’ve done a few different cars this way. I wax the lenses after restoration.

If it is not too bad, water and baking soda works.

Bought and installed new Eagle Eyes brand assemblies about 5 years ago to replace 13 year old originals. The assemblies came with bulbs installed, and have worked fine. Price was about 25% or less than OEM. The company is in Taiwan, not China.

After about 4 years, a little bit of haze started on the top parts of the assemblies and so I used a Wipe New kit (about $10) on them. So far so good.

As for refurbishing your current ones, get a kit that includes a sealer as a final step. The Wipe New kit has one that is enough for at least 4 assemblies (I did 4 headlights at the same time with sealant to spare). And cross your fingers that there is no haze on the inside of the lens in your assemblies–can’t work on the inside surface, and it’s sometimes not visible until you’ve spent time and effort on the outside surface.

Just curious, since this is a very common complaint here, does anyone think the manufacturer’s will switch back to the glass headlight fixtures? My 45 year old truck’s headlight don’t have that problem, sealed beam units. And my 25 year old Corolla’s don’t have that problem either, glass fixture, with a $12 easily replaceable bulb. It seems these plastic headlight units cause a lot of grief for the owners. Especially when a known technology would solve it.


in the era of glass headlights, I had few broken with gravel from the road, so… pick your poison :slight_smile:

Not going to happen

Better hang onto your current vehicles

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An aftermarket company should offer replacement glass units to replace those unhappy with their plastic units. I’m seeing big profits for that company.

Surely you are joking . . .

I see NO profits for such a company

There’s just not a large market for aftermarket Ford Taurus glass headlamps, for example

In my experience, Fords are a piece of sh@t.

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I think they should sell films to cover the headlights and change it once a year.

I have been waxing mine, The 2005 Camry sold 2 months ago had headlights that were in pretty decent shape after 165+ K miles in Southern CA.

Like I said one of my Rivieras had glass with the bulbs. They sand blasted so they were just as bad as the yellowed plastic lenses after time. When I hit my deer I was happy that I got a headlight that would actually light up the road again. Glass with the replaceable sealed beams were fine, but permanent glass instead of plastic with the bulbs were no better. I polish mine twice a year and have never had a yellowing problem. Its just a maintenance thing like waxing the car.

If they are yellowed, no amount of polishing will fix them. I have purchased replacement units from RockAuto and through Amazon, the latter being of slightly different design than OE. Satisfied with both suppliers.

Gee, thanks for the “wisdom” there Andy.

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I just replaced the headlight assemblies on a 2003 Ford Taurus. I ordered them from Headlight Depot through Amazon for ~$75 for the pair. Headlight assemblies for my 2006 Toyota Sienna were ~$80 each.

There was a big improvement in brightness. Although I had cleaned the OEM lights and the lenses were clear I believe the reflective material in the OEM assemblies had degraded over the years.


Not a chance. Style sells cars. No manufacturer would risk sacrificing style to preempt fogging 10 years down the road. If anything, headlights will get weirder now that we have LED clusters approved. It’s already happening. Some are downright gaudy.

It is likely, however, that better plastics will make their way into the market for the lenses.

All 5 Fords I’ve owned have been very good cars.

Unlikely. Most people keep a car for 5-6 years and then start looking for a trade-in. The headlights aren’t going to be a problem in that time span. Glass is heavier than plastic, which adds weight, which lowers fuel economy. And plastic is easier and cheaper to shape however you want than glass is.

For what it’s worth, my 10 year old TL’s headlights are crystal clear. You just have to take care of 'em and they’re fine. Every time I wash the car, the headlights get a coating of hard wax.

OP, if your headlights are cloudy on the outside, just get a headlight restoration kit. You can bring 'em back to almost new in around half an hour. Then be sure to keep them waxed to protect them from the UV light that yellows them and you won’t have to worry about this again for a long time.

I’ve had good luck with aftermarket TYC units that I have ordered through Rock Auto. I’ve gone with the higher priced ones, but they’re still cheaper than factory.

So have my Fords, but you have to bear in mind that Mr. Kennedy owned one of those incredibly rare 4-door Pinto wagons, and the low production numbers for that very unique model may have led to some quality-control issues.