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Protecting Headlight Lenses

I recently purchased a 2010 Subaru Outback. It is a great car. I have about 12,000 miles on it. I don’t want the plastic headlight lenses to become discolored or cloudy. I have read some on your site about how to correct that problem. What I would like to know is whether there is anything that can be done to prevent the problem. Is there anything that can be applied to reduce the wear on plastic headlight lenses?

The problem with plastic is that most anything you apply to it may react with it and cause it to deteriorate faster. The best thing is to keep them clean.

Aside from keeping them clean, there’s not much you can do. Sooner or later they will get cloudy. Kinda like death and taxes.

More or less, I agree with the preceding posts.
However, I have observed a great amount of variation in this problem from one make of car to another. Overall, I have observed clouded/yellowed headlight lenses on Fords more often than on other makes. And, believe it or not, I have observed this phenomenon on a fairly frequent basis with older Mercedes models as well.

By contrast, I have observed very little of this problem with Japanese makes. Both of my friend’s Hondas were free of this problem, even after…8 years or so. Both of my Subarus–a '97 and an '02–still have perfectly clear headlight lenses.

While this phenomenon can be a problem as a car ages, I believe that different types of plastic are used by different manufacturers, and as a result the effects of aging do vary to a significant degree.

I have to partially disagree with you. My daughter lives in the city and the cars she owns have always had the headlights fog and yellow at an early age, even on her Toyota. We live in the sticks and ours never fog or yellow, including my Saturn. I think location counts for more than make or model.

I understand that plastic film covers are available. I believe 3M markets some. However I would want to make sure it is designed for headlight use and that it is installed by a professional shop. Check out your local window tint shop.

I am going to guess those covers are not really going to do the job, but I am willing to see what others hear find out as they get some real miles on them. The film used as a clear bra, for cars seems to be well liked, but they don’t have hot lights heating them up.

You can put on that 3M film, but I’d wait and see if I had a problem. My '96 ES300 has no problem. Do you live in an area with lots of road dirt, especially during the winter? That might cause abrasion. I’d then polish the lenses if there was a problem and then put on the film.

Hmmmm…Maybe location does have something to do with it.
I live in a rural area, as do most of my friends. Perhaps some of the cars that I see with this problem are urban-dwelling vehicles. I don’t think that either or us knows for sure, but it is interesting that the problem does seem to differ from make to make or from location to location.

Get some PLAST-X from an auto parts store. I apply it to my Accord’s headlight lenses whenever the car is washed. It’s a 99 and the lenses look like new still. You just apply it gently with a buffing pad, then wipe clean with a towel and you’re in business.