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    Thread: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights!

    1. Member IvanC's Avatar
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      04-27-2011 05:03 PM #376
      I used the 3M Headlight Restoration Kit (available at NAPA, WalMart, or online) and it worked great on my ten year old headlights. Took a while, but followed the instructions and did it right.

    2. 04-27-2011 05:45 PM #377
      I've polished many headlights, but now I'd rather just buy some glass lens replacements. Worth the money vs the effort to get plastic ones purrtty again...

    3. Member Cabin Pics's Avatar
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      04-27-2011 05:53 PM #378
      The first time I did this I polished the 3M in by hand.

      The second time, I got lazy, grabbed my porter, and went to town. Much easier

    4. Member
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      06-27-2011 08:49 PM #379
      If any of you are familiar with Goo Gone, I highly suggest trying it out on your headlights. I just sprayed some on my lights and wiped them off with a towel, and got results better than this sandpaper method within like 30 seconds. Not even kidding.

      So, if any of you own Goo Gone or know a place that sells it (Home Depot, Lowe's, Office Depot) buy some and use it on your headlights because I can guarantee you'll get better results, and it won't even take you a whole minute to do it.

    5. Member CJVR6508's Avatar
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      07-13-2011 06:29 PM #380
      Did this today, mine weren't bad but I knew they could look better!
      Great write up thanks
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    6. 07-19-2011 10:18 PM #381
      I have 2 jetta wagons a 2001 and 2002 I decided to try this out on our wagons. I am a seasoned body man so had pretty much everything on hand. I first tried it with 1000-1500 and buffed with a machine and 3m compound only on the 2001. It turned out ok...I mean it looks much clearer but there seems I am seeing remnants of a layer of plastic or something on the lens and you can see where this layer has deteriorated. It you can see a pitted slightly foggy appearance around where this layer ends mid way down the lens. It is MUCH clearer but far from perfect (yeah I am picky).

      So I take the 2002 and this time go anal on em...600-1000-1500-2000 wet soaked in warm soapy water 15 minutes. I flush and wet sand with all 4 grits and am quite aggressive. I see this same damn edge where there was possibly a plastic laminate or something. I get real aggressive with the 600 and it is not removing whatever this is. Then I polish with 3M compound and then Plasti-X and get basically the dead on same results as just using the 1500 and 3 M compound on the 2001.

      So I have had 2 cars with the exact same results, they are good but far from great. Are these headlights originally covered in a laminate? Is that what I am seeing and is this the best they are going to get? I was pondering being even more aggressive maybe even 400-and up through the grits again but I had these as smooth as glass not sure this irregularity is on the outside or the inside or even part of the plastic lens aging. Any info on this appreciated.

      The lenses look very good for now but I am not 100% satisfied with the results.

      Thanks!
      T

    7. 09-11-2011 12:54 PM #382
      Just did this with amazing results.

      Instead of 600, we started with 1000 grit.
      We used a Ryobi RB60 6 inch orbital buffer that spins at 4000rpm.
      We polished them with a Meguiar's W-8006 polishing pad.
      The headlights look brand new now.

      BEFORE


      AFTER
      2009 BMW E92 M3 [Previous Rides: '15 Golf R - '07 Cayman S - '04 DBP R32 - '03 20AE GTI - '91 GTI 16V - '84 GTI]

    8. Banned euroheadnyc's Avatar
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      02-29-2012 11:34 PM #383
      you should clear coat them so they wont turn back to yellow

      also you dont even need to buy the kit just use rubbing compound with a buffing machine

    9. Junior Member gdmhum's Avatar
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      03-12-2012 06:36 PM #384
      I've read another similar DIY for restoring headlights lenses, and they recommended finishing with a coat of car wax? What do you guys think? Would that help keep it from deteriorating again?

    10. Junior Member bkn05's Avatar
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      08-03-2012 01:04 PM #385
      Sorry about the grave digging but this has been my favorite DIY since joining. I did the first round last night after work before the sign went down and was amazed at the results! Before and after below! Great job, awesome DIY!





    11. 10-25-2016 12:05 PM #386
      I had my headlights polished and clear coated at Sam's Club. They charge $25, which is probably less than buying all the supplies needed, and they guarantee it for 5 years. The headlights on my 2000 Jetta are crystal clear now, and it made a huge difference when driving at night.

      I did stop by and watch how they did it, masked everything off and wet sanded with progressive finer paper, then at least two coats of clear coat. Took them about 1:15 to complete.

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