Should headlights be waxed or is there some kind of better protection product that keeps them from getting cloudy through the years? Help me out, those of you in the know.
Waxing can’t hurt, just be sure there is nothing abrasive in the products you use. Some cleaner/wax products do have mild abrasives in them.
I’m not sure anybody really knows. Some say waxing them prevents the oils in the plastic from getting lost, however I’m not sure the wax isn’t transparent to UV, and I’m not sure of the exact process by which the polymer loses it transmission in the visual range, which means it probably has no effect in reality.
But I’ll bet that there are websites for headlight module manufacturers or plastic engineering that could answer the question definitively.
Sylvania makes a headlight restoration kit that comes with a UV protectant and sealer. After the yellowing is removed, so it the original UV protectant installed on the OEM lens. Then you put the sealer on. Others make products but I just googled and here is a link for Meguir’s as an example. http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotive/products/g17110-headlight-protectant/
Thanks to all that answered. I’ll go buy the Maguir’s.
The sylvania product is BS . . . it doesn’t hold up
I used it, followed instructions TO THE T . . . including using the sealer
A few months later, the headlights were yellowing again
I’ve just been doing Meguiars Plast-X on a somewhat regular basis. Every other oil change or so and they stay ok.
Occasional use of Meguiar’s PlastX by hand has worked fine for me. Perhaps something like waxing would help after doing this, but I haven’t bothered.
When you was the lights, thre is a very thin coating that remains. It is too thin to prevent UV darkening of the plastic lens. The wax will slow the effect, but not prevent it. The only way to avoid it is to use glass lenses.
I’ve never found anything that will stand up over the long term.
As to Sylvania, I don’t buy into anything they tout. The Lincoln Mark VIII headlamps are the sorriest lighting to ever be inflicted upon an automobile (both yellowing and burning of the lens) and guess who manufactures them for Ford and is not aware of any problems? Sylvania.
Sylvania is also the bunch that claims 10 gallons of gasoline a year can be saved in a normal year of driving by using LED taillamps. Guess who manufactures many of the LEDs? Sylvania.
Ford uses countless tiny bulbs in various parts of the instrument and control lighting. These bulbs fail en masse and they’re not burnt out. It’s poor design of the bulb/socket fit. Again, Sylvania.
Unfortunately, Consumer Reports rates the sylvania headlamp restoration kit quite highly
I say unfortunately, because they’re usually fairly accurate with their ratings
Once they’re cloudy and yellowed they’re done. New ones are available for a reasonable price for most cars. I’d just replace them and be done.
The problem with the restoration kits is that they get the lens looking new but there’s no way to replace the coating (whatever it is) that keeps them from yellowing again. You can restore them but 6 months later they’re starting to cloud over again. I’ve tried Sylvania, Meguiars, 3M and had the same results.
No offense to @cigroller, but who’s got the time and effort to polish headlights every other oil change?