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Taillights cloudy (never)? #5137059
06/17/19 09:26 PM
06/17/19 09:26 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 692
E. Tennessee
WhizkidTN Offline OP
WhizkidTN  Offline OP

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 692
E. Tennessee
Goofy question: Why is that it only seems like headlights turn cloudy with oxidation but I have never seen taillights do this? Aren't both polycarbonate plastic lens?


His: '12 Kia Optima SX - 2.0L GDI Twin-Scroll Turbo [Tuned] (82K)
>EDGE 0W-40, Fram XG9688
Her's: '14 Nissan Rogue SL AWD - 2.5L NA (87K)
>EDGE 0W-20, Fram XG6607
Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: WhizkidTN] #5137065
06/17/19 09:31 PM
06/17/19 09:31 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 10,005
...
PimTac Offline
PimTac  Offline

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 10,005
...
I’m pretty sure both are the same. Headlights get exposed directly to dust and debris unlike tail lights.


2017 Mazda CX5
Havoline Pro DS 0w20
Roki OEM filter.
Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: WhizkidTN] #5137076
06/17/19 09:40 PM
06/17/19 09:40 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 549
California
vavavroom Offline
vavavroom  Offline

Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 549
California
Originally Posted by WhizkidTN
Goofy question: Why is that it only seems like headlights turn cloudy with oxidation but I have never seen taillights do this? Aren't both polycarbonate plastic lens?

Having seen many smashed and crumbled tail lights, I am certain they are acrylic. Acrylics are much more UV-resistant compared to polycarbonate.

Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: vavavroom] #5137095
06/17/19 10:10 PM
06/17/19 10:10 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,506
Rochester, MI, US, World
Klutch9 Offline
Klutch9  Offline

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,506
Rochester, MI, US, World
Originally Posted by vavavroom
Originally Posted by WhizkidTN
Goofy question: Why is that it only seems like headlights turn cloudy with oxidation but I have never seen taillights do this? Aren't both polycarbonate plastic lens?

Having seen many smashed and crumbled tail lights, I am certain they are acrylic. Acrylics are much more UV-resistant compared to polycarbonate.


Agreed. Although the driver's side tail light on my Sedona has the slightest haze on it. Not sure why. The clearcoat and paint is pretty crap on this van. Maybe their plastics aren't the best either. I know some of the interior plastic bits are the most brittle I've seen. Still has been a great vehicle.


'11 Fusion SE 2.5L - 83k miles - HK 0w20 syn, Wix XP filter
'08 Sedona LX LWB 3.8L - 129k miles - Havoline HM 5w20, Auto7 filter
Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: WhizkidTN] #5137105
06/17/19 10:24 PM
06/17/19 10:24 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 549
California
vavavroom Offline
vavavroom  Offline

Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 549
California
Acrylics are very stable and don't degrade or even fade much over several decades. I presume that clear tail light lenses are made from polycarbonate. So they should degrade over time. Another advantage of acrylics is that you can make a tail light lens that has integrated reflectors and intricate diffusers. Interior plastics contain plasticisers that gas out over time, causing the material to shrink and to get brittle, and to fade, The process accelerates with exposure to UV light.

Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: PimTac] #5137121
06/17/19 10:49 PM
06/17/19 10:49 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 4,252
Lima, Ohio, USA
earlyre Offline
earlyre  Offline

Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 4,252
Lima, Ohio, USA
Originally Posted by PimTac
Headlights get exposed directly to dust and debris unlike tail lights.


the headlamps get "sandblasted" by dust and debris in the air while moving forward at speed..
most people aren't driving thousands of miles at speed, in reverse...

Last edited by earlyre; 06/17/19 10:50 PM.

Mine:
13 Ford C-MAX hybrid: MC 5w20, & FL910s (in theory)
Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: Klutch9] #5137146
06/17/19 11:14 PM
06/17/19 11:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 117
Missouri
David2431 Offline
David2431  Offline

Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 117
Missouri
My body shop friend said a long time ago that the driver's side of a vehicle takes more beating from the elements than does the passenger side.

His reasoning is that there is more debris (dirt and road chemicals) built up near the center of the road because of the crown and sloping.

Suppose he was referring to two lane highways, which we all travel on a lot in our area.

Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: WhizkidTN] #5137186
06/18/19 02:59 AM
06/18/19 02:59 AM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 109
California
PlzRepond Offline
PlzRepond  Offline

Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 109
California
This is a great question 👍🏻. I wonder if the color of the rear lights has any effect. Or maybe the color hides the yellowing well?

Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: vavavroom] #5137206
06/18/19 04:24 AM
06/18/19 04:24 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 548
GA
HYUNDAIFAN0001 Offline
HYUNDAIFAN0001  Offline

Joined: May 2018
Posts: 548
GA
Originally Posted by vavavroom
Acrylics are very stable and don't degrade or even fade much over several decades. I presume that clear tail light lenses are made from polycarbonate. So they should degrade over time. Another advantage of acrylics is that you can make a tail light lens that has integrated reflectors and intricate diffusers. Interior plastics contain plasticisers that gas out over time, causing the material to shrink and to get brittle, and to fade, The process accelerates with exposure to UV light.

Spot on. Both headlight and taillight lenses can fade, yellow, and/or deteriorate from UV damage more than anything else.

A good UV protection sealant wax can help avoid the problem. I've seen numerous 2-year-old and older vehicles with yellowing (plastic) headlight lens covers. UV can be brutal, which is why exterior paint finishes have had clear-coat on them for many years - UV protection.

With some simple occasional UV protection care...even a 6-year old car (or older) can have their plastic lens covers look like new without having to do any kind of restoration at all.

[Linked Image]


Always taking care of my rides.
Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: HYUNDAIFAN0001] #5137217
06/18/19 05:12 AM
06/18/19 05:12 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 349
Southern NY
MoneyJohn Offline
MoneyJohn  Offline

Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 349
Southern NY
This is a great question. I wondered this too.

Originally Posted by HYUNDAIFAN0001

With some simple occasional UV protection care...even a 6-year old car (or older) can have their plastic lens covers look like new without having to do any kind of restoration at all.

What is your recipe for simple UV protection care, esp for the lights?
I was told to you Meguair's PlastX but I have no idea if it needs any prep before using it.

Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: WhizkidTN] #5137230
06/18/19 05:45 AM
06/18/19 05:45 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 11,498
ROCHESTER, NY
Char Baby Offline
Char Baby  Offline

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 11,498
ROCHESTER, NY
*Between the heat of the head lamps themselves, most bulbs still being halogen even today.
*DRLs, meaning that some lights are on more often than not even at a lower wattage.
*The wind buffeting at highway speeds.
*Along with harsh sunlight & road debris/sand/dirt.
It's no wonder that these acrylic lenses fog in no time at all. Then, depending on where one lives(climate) is how quickly they'll fog/haze.


"Retired"
-----------------------------------

'80 Firebird FORMULA V8/4bbl-purchased "NEW"
'15 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV
'15 Honda Civic 1.8 LX
Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: MoneyJohn] #5137276
06/18/19 07:12 AM
06/18/19 07:12 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 548
GA
HYUNDAIFAN0001 Offline
HYUNDAIFAN0001  Offline

Joined: May 2018
Posts: 548
GA
Originally Posted by MoneyJohn
This is a great question. I wondered this too.

Originally Posted by HYUNDAIFAN0001

With some simple occasional UV protection care...even a 6-year old car (or older) can have their plastic lens covers look like new without having to do any kind of restoration at all.

What is your recipe for simple UV protection care, esp for the lights?
I was told to you Meguair's PlastX but I have no idea if it needs any prep before using it.

PlastX does not make mention of any UV protection, rather, its designed to clean up the lens and polish the surface.

UV protection spray waxes can do the job (most last about 6-8 weeks), while regular liquid or paste waxes with stated UV protection offer better longevity (4-6 months).

These are just a few of the many spray and regular waxes with UV protection:

Spray:
Meguiar’s Gold Class Premium Quick Wax
Chemical Guys Hybrid V7
Griot’s Garage Spray-on Wax
Optimum Spray Wax
303 Spray Wax & Quick Detailer
CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant
McKee's 37 Fast Wax
Chemical Guys Blazin' Banana Spray Wax

Regular:
Meguiar's Ultimate Liquid Wax
Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax
Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax All Wet
P21S Carnauba Wax
Car Guys Premium Liquid Wax
Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax
Collinite No. 845 Liquid Insulator Wax.


Always taking care of my rides.
Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: WhizkidTN] #5137286
06/18/19 07:33 AM
06/18/19 07:33 AM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 10,005
...
PimTac Offline
PimTac  Offline

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 10,005
...
Any sealant with us protection capabilities can help preserve headlights and tail lights from uv damage. For physical damage protection of the headlights a protective film as in a 3M product for example can help in that regard.

There are coatings as well but the costs are higher as one might expect.


2017 Mazda CX5
Havoline Pro DS 0w20
Roki OEM filter.
Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: PimTac] #5137357
06/18/19 09:27 AM
06/18/19 09:27 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 548
GA
HYUNDAIFAN0001 Offline
HYUNDAIFAN0001  Offline

Joined: May 2018
Posts: 548
GA
Originally Posted by PimTac
Any sealant with UV protection capabilities can help preserve headlights and tail lights from uv damage. For physical damage protection of the headlights a protective film as in a 3M product for example can help in that regard.

There are coatings as well but the costs are higher as one might expect.

Agree.


Always taking care of my rides.
Re: Taillights cloudy (never)? [Re: WhizkidTN] #5137363
06/18/19 09:42 AM
06/18/19 09:42 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,747
Alberta, Canada
Smokescreen Offline
Smokescreen  Offline

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,747
Alberta, Canada
Tail lights aren't usually clear either so its hard to tell if they are oxidizing or not while shining the LED or paltry 5W of light through them.


13 Civic Si 2.4L- 94Kkms(58Kmi)-QSUD,Wix
05 LeSabre 3.8L-274Kkms(171Kmi)-QSUD,Wix
03 Sierra 2500 6.0L-209Kkms(130Kmi)-QSUD,Wix

All with mpg > EPA
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