Polish for plastic lights

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Mike Y, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Mike Y

    Mike Y Guest

    I've seen the discussions on the 'polish' to use on things like headlight
    lens when they yellow or become fogged.

    I thought the polish was available at Wal-Mart, but I looked yesterday
    and couldn't find anything.

    Any recommendations as to what to use?

    I have a 93 Intrepid with the headlights all milky, and a 95 GradPrix
    that has a 'light bar' that turned yellow and cloudy.

    Also... does the stuff work well with mechanical buffing or does it
    really work well with hand rubbing (for hours and hours and...)
     
    Mike Y, Oct 12, 2007
    #1
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  2. Mike Y

    M78Ultra Guest

    I have never found anything that would clean them for any amount of
    time...seems once they are oxidized it "etches" into the plastic.
    Get replacement glass lenses if available.
     
    M78Ultra, Oct 12, 2007
    #2
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  3. Mike Y

    Mike Marlow Guest

    I do this all of the time when I paint cars. I just use a very mild rubbing
    compound (swirl mark remover), which is available in any auto parts store.
    You can apply it with a buffer, or by hand. If you do it by hand it will
    probably take 10-15 minutes per headlight.

    You'll have to do this again from time to time as the lens will continue to
    scratch from driving, but it's such a simple thing to improve the look of
    the lens that it's worth the effort.
     
    Mike Marlow, Oct 12, 2007
    #3
  4. Mike Y

    Tim Guest

    I purchased from Auto Zone a set of disk like things that attach to a drill
    motor. Then you wet them and it says in 5 minutes you have clean clear head
    lights. Tried it on the right side and after 3 attempts I see no
    improvement. They also had the polish stuff but I thought this would work
    better.
     
    Tim, Oct 12, 2007
    #4
  5. Mike Y

    Steve W. Guest

    Try polishing compound OR buy the plastic kit that Novus sells. Either
    one will work. Just be aware that using any high speed polishing machine
    or drill can do more damage than good on a plastic lens.
    http://www.novuspolish.com/
     
    Steve W., Oct 12, 2007
    #5
  6. Mike Y

    Anyolmouse Guest

    | I've seen the discussions on the 'polish' to use on things like
    headlight
    | lens when they yellow or become fogged.
    |
    | I thought the polish was available at Wal-Mart, but I looked yesterday
    | and couldn't find anything.
    |
    | Any recommendations as to what to use?
    |
    | I have a 93 Intrepid with the headlights all milky, and a 95 GradPrix
    | that has a 'light bar' that turned yellow and cloudy.
    |
    | Also... does the stuff work well with mechanical buffing or does it
    | really work well with hand rubbing (for hours and hours and...)

    A Yahoo search for "plastic headlight polishing" turned up over 200,000
    hits. Here are a few of them:
    http://www.automedia.com/Polishing/Plastic/Lenses/a/ccr20041101pp/2 for
    a how to do it site.

    http://www.janvil.com/ for a supplier.

    http://www.properautocare.com/blbapllepoki.html
    another supplier with instructions.

    http://www.bestheadlightcleaner.com/ one more
    supplier.

    In addtion there are several forums listed. Hope this helps.
     
    Anyolmouse, Oct 12, 2007
    #6
  7. Mike Y

    kmath50 Guest

    There are several products out there. Most do good job of improving
    lens clarity, but none that I have found are able to restore the lens
    to *like new* condition. The latest one I used was able to remove most
    of the yellowing, but did nothing for the deep scratches.

    -KM
     
    kmath50, Oct 12, 2007
    #7
  8. Mike Y

    Mike Hunter Guest

    Clouded lenses are a result of improper maintance, over the years. Go to a
    motorcycle shop and buy some of the stuff they sell to clean windshields.

    If they are too bad. use a very mild rubbing compound. After there are
    cleared up, use a polymer like "Nu Finish," on occasion, to keep them clear
    WBMS


    mike
     
    Mike Hunter, Oct 12, 2007
    #8
  9. Mike Y

    DodgeDriver Guest

    [snipped]
    [snipped]

    What do you do for the grime and dirt that collects inside the lens
    assembly?
     
    DodgeDriver, Oct 12, 2007
    #9
  10. Mike Y

    Mike Marlow Guest

    Using a mild abrasive rubbing compound will make it look like new.
     
    Mike Marlow, Oct 12, 2007
    #10
  11. Mike Y

    Mike Marlow Guest

    What are you driving that accumulates grime and dirt inside the lens?
     
    Mike Marlow, Oct 12, 2007
    #11
  12. I have two minivans that had clouded headlights:
    1994 Caravan
    1999 Voyager

    After a lot of research I decided to try the little kit
    sold at SOME Walmarts (but mine didn't have it at the time,
    so I bought at Advance Auto Parts in Sept. 2006 for less than $20,
    if I recall.
    http://www.crystalviewchemicals.com/index.htm

    I did the 1994 Carvavan first. It was a bit messy, but
    fairly easy to use (although I think the printed instructions
    had an error about which sandpaper to use first---you need
    to use the coarser sandpaper first---I think they were color
    coded and the instructions had the colors wrong, IIRC). It took
    about an hour or so to do.

    As I went through the process, I wasn't optimistic, but when
    you put the final clear liquid on the lens, PRESTO....amazing:
    cloudy becomes crystal clear. I mean, it was really great.

    This clarity lasted for a year, and now the lenses are cloudy
    again (not QUITE as cloudy as before, but not good).

    This same product was totally worthless on the 1999 Voyager
    which has the newer curved type of headlight assembly. On that one,
    the damage to the lenses was not predominantlysurface damage, but deep
    within the formerly clear plastic, and perhaps INSIDE the assembly too.
    A few months ago, it got so bad that I shopped online and got
    a pair of new ones for $169. (I still need to align them, and
    I've asked for advice on this NG, but I don't think there's been
    a reply.)

    Anyway, I'm probably going to see if the kit manufacturer will
    honor their warranty and send me a new kit so I can redo the 1994 van.
     
    Satan Himself, Oct 13, 2007
    #12
  13. Mike Y

    Bill Putney Guest

    Mike - When you're done polishing them out, clear coat them with regular
    clear coat. They will not oxidize for about the same time as when they
    were new to when they started clouding the first time (i.e., as long as
    the clear coat holds up.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')
     
    Bill Putney, Oct 13, 2007
    #13
  14. Mike Y

    Bill Putney Guest

    Au contraire! If they're that bad, you use sandpaper starting with
    maybe 800 or 1000 grit, then use successively finer grades and finish up
    with 2000 or 2500. That will get them smooth as silk (they'll look
    milky at that point), then polish them out with any car polish (or
    Meguiar's PlastX works well) to water clear. They'll look brand new.
    Will have to hit them with polish every few weeks or clear coat them for
    longlasting new look.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')
     
    Bill Putney, Oct 13, 2007
    #14
  15. Mike Y

    Bill Putney Guest

    Sandpaper (800 => 2000 or 2500) may be necessary if they have deeper
    crazing. You're basically removing the original layer of clear coat
    (yes they have a layer of clear coat from the factory) that has reacted
    to the elements (O2, UV).

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')
     
    Bill Putney, Oct 13, 2007
    #15
  16. Mike Y

    Mike Marlow Guest

    I never gave a thought to throwing a coat of clear over them Bill. I am
    going to try that on the next one I do. A good coat of clear should last a
    very long time.
     
    Mike Marlow, Oct 13, 2007
    #16
  17. Mike Y

    Bill Putney Guest

    I haven't done it - getting ready to, but after polishing it with
    whatever, I'm sure you need to chemically remove the polish residue with
    an appropriate solvent to make sure the clear coat sticks and doesn't
    bead up. Maybe rubbing alcohol? (Test in inconspicuous spot before
    doing that.)

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')
     
    Bill Putney, Oct 13, 2007
    #17
  18. Mike Y

    Tim Guest

    I have been reading this thread with interest. Like I said I purchased a kit
    thing that hooked on a drill and clean my lens. It really improve them much.
    Then tonight we rented a movie We are Marshall (its a good one) and it
    started to skip. I got out the peanut butter and cleaned it and wondered how
    that would work on the headlights. I may give it a shot.
     
    Tim, Oct 14, 2007
    #18
  19. Mike Y

    Mike Marlow Guest

    If you use automotive rubbing compounds you won't need any solvents to clean
    it off afterwards. It wouldn't hurt to wipe them down with wax and grease
    remover, but it's not necessary. The stuff I use is $50 per gallon, so it's
    no something that everyone is going to run out and buy. Rubbing alcohol has
    oils in it so I wouldn't use that at all. However - any hardware store will
    carry denatured alcohol for under $10 for a gallon of the stuff, and that
    would work very well. Useful for lots of stuff around the house as well.
     
    Mike Marlow, Oct 14, 2007
    #19
  20. Mike Y

    Bill Putney Guest

    Hmm - good thinking.
    As long as you can be sure the denatured alcohol won't harm (dissolve,
    craze, etc.) the plastic. But I suspect you know or you wouldn't have
    said it.

    It may actually be best to leave it not so highly polished before the
    clear coat application. The clear coat will fill in the sanding
    scratches (polish works by doing that as well as removing material to
    make the scratches ever finer/microscopic/invisible), and perhaps the
    scratches will give it something more to adhere to. Might be worth some
    experiments - trial and error, a few failures, but ultimate success. I
    do know that it's done all the time - I just don't know the nitty gritty
    (literally) details to optimize everything.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')
     
    Bill Putney, Oct 14, 2007
    #20
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