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turtlemechanic

Polishing Plastic Lens/headlights, Etc

16 posts in this topic

I have seen several threads with mention of foggy and scratched lenses.

I offer this simple and easy solution....USE AT OUR RISK

I did this writeup on another forum, we scratch a lot of plastic lenses :lol:

part 1

figured I'd show some folks how easy it is to polish the lenses w/o using a power buffer.

First you need......

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What else would we use? :lol:

You can see from pics the difference of just one coat.

Wash off dirt and then using old sock or underwear(cotton...not satin or lace :roll: )

apply some polish in a circular pattern,let dry and buff off.

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part 2

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You can see oxidation difference on the stop lens....

You'll notice bigger scratches :shock: those will addressed next,this first step removes first layer of oxidation and really shows up the flaws in the plastic....and cleans plastic for next step, more tomorrow

And the left over polish will come right out of letters etc,with a soft bristle toothbrush under water.

OK so we polished the oxidation off, so it doesn't clog the sand paper.

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part 3

Next we need:

Warm soapy water

220 grit wet/dry sandpaper

400 " " " "

600 " " " "

Only need a few small squares,get them wet(dry paper will not work,paper just scratches and clogs up.)

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so starting with 220 paper,and keep lens and paper wet,do small circles with light pressure,you can feel it "cutting" the surface,when it stops "cutting"

wash paper and lightly sand til parts is smooth.(afew min.)

220

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if there are still scratches repeat with 220 paper til' they are gone.

then it's on to 400 grit...same as 220.....(about a min.)

400

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then if surface is smooth and 220 scratches are gone.....move on to the 600 grit paper....and repeat process.

600

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now surface has no scratches from the 400 paper and is very smooth,so break out the polishing compound and apply one coat to see how sanding turned out.

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part 4

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looking good....a few more coats of polish.....

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so you'll notice the deep scratches from branches etc are now ....gone

a light coat of wax...will be next.

this was about a 15 min process.

so compare before

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and after.

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2010-09-27175512.jpg

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A side note: do not use this process on "soft" plastic.

If it "feels" soft with your fingernail, it will not work.

So no plexiglass or some plastics used in gauge covers. It will be scratch free but hazed over from polish scratches.

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The 3M system worked amazingly well for me. Yes, you need a drill, but who doesn't have one!?

It does take time and it's a bit scary as the lens looks worse before it gets better, but it does get better and it does make a nearly crystal clear headlight lens. I think I posted my before and after pics here somewhere so if you would like to see, let me know and I will try to search out the post.

Here's a video how-to for the process.

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On my daughter's car, the headlights were oxidized over, yellow and fogged. We used toothpaste and it cleaned them right up! It has to be a whitening toothpaste but it is a fine grit polish and works with a buffer or elbow grease and was amazing!

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Used the Meguiar's kit on my 2004 Southwind which uses wet sanding and a drill to do the final buffing and it worked like a champ. Only took 15 mins and every thing is crystal clear.

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OK, most every product out there, works, some better than others. Now that you have the lenses clean and shining again, how can you keep them that way. I wipe mine off once a month or two with alumimum wheel polish, and rag is yellow. The lenses look brand new, but nothing I have used will protect them from yelllowing again? Any suggestions?

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The aluminum wheel polish may be a little harsh for the plastic and may be removing oils from the plastic which causes them to "dry out" and look like crap.

Just use a good wax that is UV stable.

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The aluminum wheel polish may be a little harsh for the plastic and may be removing oils from the plastic which causes them to "dry out" and look like crap.

Just use a good wax that is UV stable.

Are you saying don't polish just use wax? There are compounds out there to coat the lens after buffing that will prolong the shine.

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Are you saying don't polish just use wax? There are compounds out there to coat the lens after buffing that will prolong the shine.

Nope, just saying that after the scratches have been polished out,we just wash and wax them to keep them shiny.

If they get rubbed against trees etc, and get scratched again we just polish them out and apply wax to protect the finish

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I have used Turddle Wax Headlight lens restorer. You rubb it in let dry and buff off with a soft cotton rag.

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Bluemagic lens restorer is a great product if your len is just cloudy. I have done headlight lenses that were yellow and looked really yellow and bad and they came out like new. They also make a protectant that you put on to help keep them looking like new. It takes a little elbow grease and don't use microfiber towels. An old sock works great and don't let the cream dry on the lens. Buff the creme off the lens while its still wet. This product is avaliable at your local PEP boys

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