Cloudy headlght lenses!

I know there are products out there that are supposed to “repair” the nasty clouded plastic of headlight lenses. Do they work? If so, which one? Replacement headlights for a 2004 Pontiac Vibe are expensive, but it’s like candlelight out there…

Some of the products work okay. A detail shop may be able to wet sand and buff them clean. Otherwise new ones are about $125 each on ebay.

Yes, but $250 is a lot for a poor college student… How long should a treatment from one of those products last?

I had my lenses done professionally eighteen months ago and they are doing fine. I suspect my mechanic used something available at Carquest since he deals almost exclusively with them. I noticed a difference immediately. I would call a couple of part stores and see what they recommend. I use my local O’Reilly’s for these type questions because I get honest answers.

The lenses will last a long time after they are restored/cleaned. If you have access to a drill they sell a powerball set that might be your best bet if you go the DIY route. Check on craigslist in your area for people offering the restoration service, it can work very well if done professionally.

Thanks everyone!

I really hate the way the car manufacturers have jumped onto the band wagon and let the fancy pants designers decide oh the lights on the car rather than an engineer who will be more concerned about how the lamps function than how they look.  

If you like join me and write to your car’s manufacturer and the government, and ask for good lighting and inexpensive maintenance.

I have been driving over 36 years and we have never had worse (functionally) than what we get on today’s cars. Expensive to replace and difficult to adjust. It use to take me more time to find the spare lamp or buy a new one (for about $3.00) and install with just a philips screwdriver.

A fellow cab driver showed some of us a trick for the headlights tonight. Use a very small amount of trans fluid on a rag and wipe them thoroughly. I saw it work.

I’m in agreement with Mr. Meehan about modern headlamps and styling taking precedence over function.
My Merkur has lousy yellowed lamps, my daughter’s Mitsubishis suffered from this, my son’s Camry is also murky, and my prior and current Lincolns have been the worst of the lot.
The LIncoln Mark headlamps are beyond being called an utter disgrace. Until I finally resolved my current Lincoln to some degree the lighting was so bad that with the lamps on low beam a license plate on a vehicle 2 to 3 lengths in front of me could not be read at all. The running joke was that it would be preferable to stick a couple of magnetic flashlights on top of the fenders or confine all nighttime driving to clear evenings with a full moon.

My old SAABs used the ho-hum 5 X 7 glass halogen lamps and not only do those lamps provide much better lighting than most plastic lamps they’re also dirt cheap to replace at about 20 bucks for a pair.

I’ve actually fired off a few letters now and then about lamps and a few other automotive irritants but I don’t think anyone at the top is listening, or even cares… :slight_smile:

If your lenses are truly yellow or very cloudy, skip the DIY waxes and pastes that you can find on the shelf. You need major help. At walmart, they sell a 3M product kit that restores it properly. Not with a simple wax and a sponge ball, but the right way. This means the kit includes multiple levels of sandpaper that you attach to your drill. if you follow the instructions, you can be done with both headlamps in about 20 minutes. Note that the right way is to actually sand the yellow layer off your lenses, then sand with a finer grit, then even a finer grit, then wet sand, then polish. This has actually worked so well that I went and did 3 more cars with the same kit. So at 20 bucks, it cost 5 smackaroos per vehicle.

can’t testify that this will last long, but the theory makes sense. oxidation has caused the surface of the lens to yellow, and this solution basically removes it and then literally creates a new layer as the exterior. good luck.

I made quite an improvement on the lights of my '88 Escort by wet sanding them then polishing. The only problem is I don’t remember what grit paper I used. I know it was at least as fine as 600 grit and may have been even finer. I probably did mine about 2-3 years ago and they are still in decent condition.

I’m a big fan of YouTube. Check it out for the answers to life’s mysteries.

3M has a kit for headlight repair. Here’s a video on how it works:

Many just go out and buy the sandpaper and do it themselves like this:

I use a simple thing called Meguiar’s PlastX. You just polish with it and buff it off. In many cases it makes a huge difference. For really bad ones sanding may be required in which case you don’t really need to buy a kit. Just get some super-fine wet sanding paper. Start at about 800, work your way down to about 2 0r 3,000 - always always always wet. Then finish with Meguiar’s or similar.

For the nervous the kits do take the guesswork out, however, by giving fairly specific instructions.

Whenever I wax the cars, I use PlastX on the headlights and tailights as a preventive measure and have never had them yellow. Once they are yellow, then get the kit.

I was skeptical about these headlight restorers,but sprung some dough for a kit by turtle wax. My lenses came out like new. I’m a believer now,especially for the price.
Just my opinion.