Removing Protective Film that has dried out

Hey guys. I just bought a 1990 Mazda Astina but I’m having some trouble. The front blinker and light (under the pop-ups) seems to be covered in some kind of plastic residue that has dried out. I think the previous seller forgot to remove the plastic film when the headlights were first installed, and due to the car being parked for a long time, it might have dried out. How should I go on about removing said dry film residue? Is there a way to do it? I’ve tried chipping it out with my fingernails and it comes off, but just in small bits.

No idea what an Astina is or where you are located. I assume the term auto detailing service is universal so I would check there first. They may have a way to do it and not damage the lens.

I’m from Portugal. It’s a Mazda 323 F, but as it seems, outside my country it’s usually known as Astina. I was thinking about lightly running the harsh side of a dishwashing sponge over it, but I don’t know if that’d damage the plastic underneath.

I don’t think the harsh side of sponge is a good idea.

Try exterior body solvent . . . it’s not very aggressive, but it’s excellent at removing stickers, adhesives, etc.

When you put it on, let it soak in for awhile, then it’ll be easier to peel off that film

Mr. DB , May I add that the OP should try the solvent in a small section first near a corner of the film just in case it does react with the plastic lens .

I’m thinking 3M exterior body solvent, a product I’ve had no problems with . . . including on plastic

But it’s out of my control what product op actually does use

If you are talking the 3M film, just Google “3M film removal” and there are a number of sites and a couple youtubes showing how. Heat, adhesive remover, etc.

I would try a hair dryer or heat gun on low, your goal would be to soften the glue enough for easy removal, But I have never seen protective film on any car parts, but I have not seen everything.

Here’s the type of car, I think:

Oh man, I remember those, from when I was living in europe

They were considered pretty decent, at the time. Quite competitive

Those hatchbacks were often preferred over the sedans. I’m thinking it was a practicality thing, not looks

I’ve used acetone on quite a number of problems and never had an issue with it. Of course, it should be applied in an obscure place as a test.

Not a bad looking little car for its age. Congratulations.

That’s not the actual car . . . that’s just an image @texases provided

If it’s on the lens, take the lens out and try some acetone on the edge. If it fogs up, no dice. If it passes the test, try taking a little of the dried film off. Wash the acetone with water after any application to avoid long term degradation.

No idea if you can buy something like this over there but this little tool that sells for a little over $5 for a 5pack in the US, has been the most reliable for removing similar plastic film but damaging the surface underneath.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but these headlights are sealed-beam, which means the headlight surface is glass. Try “Goo-Gone” if you can get it, or just change the bulbs.

It’s not the headlights, it the turnsignals/marker lights with the ‘film’.

Sorry. Mea Culpa.
But those too are readily replaceable. Try the Goo Gone. Mask the surrounding area just to be safe. If it attacks the plastic, replace the turn signal lenses or modules. You may want to stop at a Mazda dealer and get an “exploded view” drawing from the parts guy to show you how it’s installed.

Um . . .

don’t you mean “has been the most reliable for removing similar plastic film without damaging the surface underneath.” . . . ?! :thinking:

If the protective coating is peeling on the lenses it is time to replace the lenses, stripping the coating won’t add life to the lenses.