Headlights

Messages
35
Location
Seattle
Thread starter
Have a 2006 Mazda 3, it has been cared for well, but over time the headlight covers were showing their age. Have tried various polishes and even 3000 gr. sandpaper. But the slight yellowing seemed to remain. So tried armor all headlight wipes. They worked pretty well, you can see the yellowing on the cloth coming off. Now it's not perfect, but it did work in making the covers look almost new again. Followed up with some liquid flitz polish and some wax. All in all a good simple process. Cheers.
 
Messages
78
Location
Minnesota
I've only used the Sylvania restoration kit, but have been very happy with the initial result as well as how they look two years later.
 
Messages
24,626
Location
Upstate NY
You need multiple grades of abrasiveness. After done, you need to put a coating on them to protect from future damage.
 
Messages
4,790
Location
VA
Is there a "best" way to restore headlights that we can do at home? I used some Brake Fluid per someone's recommendations and I'm impressed. Not enough to do it again but nevertheless, impressed.
 
Messages
938
Location
Arizona
For all the time, effort and products you'll need to buy for a moderate improvement just get new lenses on FleaBay for a song. Even cheapo CH ones are surprisingly decent quality crystal clear plastic lens and good reflectors close to OEM.
 
Messages
3,180
Location
West Michigan
I've had excellent results using blue magic polish on a 3in wheel with my drill. Pretty equal results between a wool and a foam cutting disc.
 
Messages
4,157
Location
Los Gatos, CA
I have used a few different things including kits. They all work pretty well. Wifey wanted her 2006 TSX done; my paint guy offers this service for $150. Other places are as cheap as $50 I believe. Alex did a freakin' outstanding job, guaranteed for 1 year.

IMG_20200611_161507.jpg
 
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Messages
1,426
Location
MN
A true headlight restoration can't really be done with over the counter products. At work, I have a full 3m kit that I use. It starts with 500 grit, then 800, then a wet sand with 1000 and 3000. After that I use a 3m machine polish to get the finer scratches out and then a polish to make them shine like new. That being said, it doesn't always work. Some headlights are just too far gone to restore, and I've also had some that had weird plastic that literally melted when sanding with the 500 grit. And no, it wasn't user error.
 
Messages
243
Location
Hedgesville, WV
I have gone through the 800, 1000, 2000, 3000, polish and wax on my 03 Ram truck headlights trying to get a bit more light on the ground. It has cleared them up and they look OK but its a lot of work. I will try the wipes and see if I can preserve the clarity with them a bit longer before going back through the sanding thing. I am also going to try a brighter bulb Has anyone tried the acetone wipe, I read about it but acetone can be really destructive to plastic and I have been afraid to do it.
 
Messages
11,948
Location
OH
Originally Posted by buck91
I've had excellent results using blue magic polish on a 3in wheel with my drill. Pretty equal results between a wool and a foam cutting disc.
I think I'll try this option next. Where did you get the 3 inch wheel and wool pad from?
 
Messages
120
Location
North Dakota
Originally Posted by Kawiguy454
For all the time, effort and products you'll need to buy for a moderate improvement just get new lenses on FleaBay for a song. Even cheapo CH ones are surprisingly decent quality crystal clear plastic lens and good reflectors close to OEM.
I agree, except if you have HID or LED the cheapos are usually nowhere near OEM quality.
 
Messages
968
Location
Berks County/Pa.
Two months ago I tried for the first time the 3M Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit with clear coat. The kit was 23 plus tax and comes with 3 different grade sanding dics and another disc you wet and sand to finish before clear coating. I was happy with the results after a good hour of work at least. Now, lets just see how long it lasts overall. Been there done that with the different toothpastes,compounds,etc... Ordered this kit from Amazon.
 
Messages
774
Location
NJ
I've gone up to 7,000 grit. I bought a whole series of grits off eBay? Amazon? I've also used a convertible top plastic window cleaner polish, worked well using a buffer.
 
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Messages
12,789
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
We had a 2006 Mazda3(replaced w/2015 Civic in sig). The headlight lenses were terrible. I had to do regular maintenance on the lenses as the car was never garaged. I found that machining worked best for ours as it was too much to do by hand. Overall I found that nothing worked for very long.
 
Messages
666
Location
South Carolina
We had a 2006 Mazda3(replaced w/2015 Civic in sig). The headlight lenses were terrible. I had to do regular maintenance on the lenses as the car was never garaged. I found that machining worked best for ours as it was too much to do by hand. Overall I found that nothing worked for very long.
Have you tried applying a sealer after polishing them? I used the Mothers kit a few years ago and the lenses appeared to get hazy again after about 6 mo. More recently I polished the lenses again, and then applied Blue Magic sealant (O Reilly's). After a year they still look great, even with parking in the sun during the workday. Not saying this stuff is the best but it is definitely better than leaving them unsealed.
 
Messages
12,789
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Have you tried applying a sealer after polishing them? I used the Mothers kit a few years ago and the lenses appeared to get hazy again after about 6 mo. More recently I polished the lenses again, and then applied Blue Magic sealant (O Reilly's). After a year they still look great, even with parking in the sun during the workday. Not saying this stuff is the best but it is definitely better than leaving them unsealed.
No but, I will certainly give it a try. Thanks!
 
Messages
9,833
Location
OH
I used the 3M kit the first time, and after that I've just been doing them by hand (no masking required) about once every 3 or 4 months as needed. Takes me about 25-30 minutes to re-do them each time...I just use Turtle Wax rubbing compound, but just about anything with an abrasive will work...
 
Messages
1,754
Location
Mississippi
Do what Kawiguy said. I spent a year or so trying to get my Impala headlights looking good with soso results. After some or research, I found a quality set of new headlights on Amazon in the hundred dollar range that will last as long as I plan on keeping the car.
 
Messages
9,833
Location
OH
Do what Kawiguy said. I spent a year or so trying to get my Impala headlights looking good with soso results. After some or research, I found a quality set of new headlights on Amazon in the hundred dollar range that will last as long as I plan on keeping the car.
$100 buys a lot of polish...besides, the new ones will do the same thing as the original ones did...
 
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