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Bikerman

Restoring Foggy Headlight Covers

10 posts in this topic

Hello,

I've seen a lot of products on the market for restoring the plastic lenses which cover the headlights on Auto's and I've even seen people posting they can restore/clean them up with Tooth Paste. I have my RV in the shop right now for regular maintenance and my technician is suggesting to have the "Lens of the headlamp resurfaced so they're clear again. They want $70.00 per headlamp.

This seems a little bit expensive for something I might be able to do myself with OTC products. :)

Anyone have or had this problem and used a successful technique to clean or restore them?

Thanks

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Bikeman, 3M makes a kit that work fairly well. The kit I purchased was about $25.00. It took one kit per light plus my time. I might reconsider that cost if I knew then what I know now.

Herman

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dd69,

I agree with the number of lights you were able to do but my lights were really bad. Mine almost looked like they had been sandblasted. I was looking for replacements but could not bring my self to pay Monaco's price. I found out that they are from a BMW, right now I can't remember the year. FYI to those out there, most MH headlight assemblies are from a auto mfg.

Herman

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dd69, I agree with the number of lights you were able to do but my lights were really bad. Mine almost looked like they had been sandblasted. I was looking for replacements but could not bring my self to pay Monaco's price. I found out that they are from a BMW, right now I can't remember the year. FYI to those out there, most MH headlight assemblies are from a auto mfg.

Herman

...and can be bought from an Aftermarket supplier for not much more than some of these "kits" sell for. The job beomes finding out which automoble light they used.

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In my view, $70 per light is either a bargain or rip-off depending on how you value your time. I have tried a couple of kits and looked at several others. They are mostly worthless.

The actual process is simple and I relatively easy to so, but it takes time to do it right. Some of the kits only provide a polish that will fill in some of the haze. These work for a while on minor problems, but the real repair requires restoring the original optical finish on the plastic. I proceed as follows:

1 - Tape off all body work so only the surface to be finished is exposed. Use plastic sheets and tape as this will be a wet process.

2 - Start with 400 grit wet or dry sand paper (From an auto parts store) Tear off a piece about 4 inches square.

3 - Dip it in a container of water and start rubbing the foggy light. This will scratch the light and make it even more cloudy than before. Do not be alarmed just continue dipping and rubbing.

4 - After a while (5 minutes or so) wash with clean water and dry.

6 - Look at the surface. if the entire surface has an even finish continue the process, if not go back to step 3 and repeat until you have a uniform finish.

7 - It is important the finish is uniform. If scratches or other defects show up later, you will lose all the work past this point.

8 - When you have a uniform finish, throw away the square of sand paper then carefully wash the entire surface including the plastic surround and your water container. If you leave any grit from this sandpaper it will later scratch the surface and you will get to start over.

9 - Select a square of 800 grit sand paper and repeat the entire process.

10, 11, 12, 13 - Repeat again with 1200, 20,000, and finally 50,000 grit. You are almost finished. Clean up, remove the covering and polish the now perfect light with any good grade of plastic polish. It took me about 1 hour per light and a lot of elbow grease. While I am glad I tried the process and the results are still good 4 years later, the next light that needed repair, I paid $120 for a new light. Your time may be less valuable than mine.

A Side Note: I recently watched folks at Camping World do this task. They use a power sander and a dry process. The results look good and I suspect it took about 30 minutes per light so $70 sounds reasonable to me.

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I used automotive polishing compound by hand and was successful in clearing them up quite a bit. I also used a buffer with the polishing compound on another set of headlamps and they turned out great. Two bucks and ten minutes. They may not be as good as new but they are pretty close.

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Replacement is not always that affordable. My van headlights were shot and the dealer quoted $300 each as it was a large complete assembly. The 3M kit worked great. I did not housing the first day and the other (with a second kit) the second day. They were hard to tell from new and the amount of light available on the street was amazing. A few months later the van committed suicide and threw itself off a 30' cliff but at least it could see its way down! I sure was glad I saved that $600!

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I used Crest Total whitening toothpaste and my orbital polisher to restore the headlights on my daughter's 1998 Toyota Camry. Worked fantastically and was cheap. This after the sandpaper left my arms ready to fall off and one of those off the shelf kits restoration kits didn’t even make a dent. I am sold on the toothpaste. Any brand will do but it needs to be "whitening" as those contain the polishing compound necessary. Some water may be needed while polishing but very little.

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Hello Everyone,

Thank you for your great responses. I have done some investigating and Consumer Reports rated the top brands for ease of application, Overall brightness, and longest lasting. Their pick was: "Sylvania/Headlight restoration kit with UV block white coat".

3M was rated second, but they noted it didn't last as long and needed to be redone every 6 months. The third rated was a Turtle Wax product and the fourth wasn't even worth mentioning here :-).

The Sylvania Restoration Kit with UV block white coat is only $19.99. I have read the reviews online and everyone gives it a 5 star rating. One person commented that he ran out of Sandpaper, so he had to buy more, but overall most people said the product lasted them between 4 - 6 years. They said it takes about an hour and some of them even provided pictures (Before and After) of the headlights they restored.

I think I can find a little time to get this done while only spending $20.00 bucks. I liked the idea of "Whitening Tooth Paste", but I'm not sure how long it will last in your part of the country. This product is supposed to hold up under all conditions and the UV Block white coat is supposed to be excellent protection in very sunny places.

Thanks again and I hope this information is helpful too.

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