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 #40141  by KuroNekko
 Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:43 am
In the recent months, my right headlight started to show some hazing from UV damage. Given that my car is parked outside and facing the south, the front of the car is often exposed to sunlight. Despite preventative measures, some mild UV damage started appearing on my headlight. Hence, I tried a technique to remove the haze using some Meguiar's products along with a foam disc attached to my cordless drill. The results were impressive so I thought to share the process in case others are starting to get this sort of UV damage on the headlights.

Materials I used:
- A cordless drill. Mine was a 18V cordless Makita drill with a 2 speed setting and variable torque control.
- A foam disc pad with a drill attachment. Mine was from a 3M headlight restoration kit.
- Meguiar's PlastX plastic polish.
- Meguiar's Headlight Protectant.
- A damp microfiber towel for cleaning.
- A dry microfiber towel for protectant application and buffing.

IMG_2566.JPG (1.72 MiB) Viewed 9556 times

For starters, this is what the headlight looked like before the process. The haze at the top is the UV damage. UV rays from the sun eventually harm the plastic of the headlights and cause them to haze to an opaque yellow over time, significantly reducing light output.
IMG_2550.JPG (1.77 MiB) Viewed 9556 times

1) The first process is to clean the headlight and then wipe dry. It's advisable to remove the headlight from the car, but it's not necessary. I did so because I was also replacing the bulbs, but it made the polishing easier. If you are going to polish the headlights with them on the car, it's a good idea to tape up the painted surface around the headlight with masking tape to prevent polish exposure and abrasives on the paint.

2) Set the drill to the low speed setting if applicable and select a medium torque setting. It's a good idea to start off slower. Apply a quarter-size amount of Meguiar's PlastX to the center of the foam pad that's attached to the drill. I obtained the foam pad in a 3M headlight polishing kit I've used before on a different car.

3) Contact the foam polisher to the headlight before powering the drill to reduce splatter. Then start the drill and move the drill slowly around the damaged area. Move the drill back and forth for a few minutes.

4) Wipe clean with a dry microfiber towel and check the haze. Reapply the PlastX to the foam applicator and repeat.

5) Once you see a reduction in the haze, set the drill to a higher speed (if applicable) and then set the torque setting higher, closer to the drilling torque. Reapply the PlastX and polish for a few minutes, moving the drill around slowly, overlapping the damage area.

6) Wipe after every few minutes to check the process. Once the haze is removed to your satisfaction, wipe the area with a clean microfiber cloth.

7) Apply Meguiar's Headlight Protectant to a clean microfiber towel and apply like wax by hand. Polish the headlight with the protectant and then wipe off clean. Follow by buffing the headlight with the microfiber towel. Repeat process until the headlight appears clean and clear.

Finished result:
IMG_2562.JPG (1.77 MiB) Viewed 9556 times
 #40145  by LPSISRL
 Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:20 pm
Other processes have you apply a clear coat finish to help it last. I guess time will tell whether that's necessary or not. I really need to do my wife's Odyssey head lights. They are getting pretty bad.
 #40164  by KuroNekko
 Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:23 pm
I basically apply the PlastX and Headlight Protectant at every car wash but by hand. However, I think of these as treatments rather than real preventatives given I've been using them for a while yet I still got the hazing. In the end, I think the only actual prevention is to limit the direct sunlight exposure on your headlights. I back-park on my driveway because it's too steep to front-park. My front drags if I back out of my driveway when front-parked. However, when back-parked, my car is facing the south and is often exposed to the sunlight for nearly all daylight hours. I'm basically hoping that these treatments and polishes will keep the headlights from getting yellow over time by treating the hazing early.

With cars that already have heavily hazed headlights, I don't think this particular process will help too much. They will likely require sanding before polishing. The 3M kit that I got my foam disc pad from included sanding discs.

I also wanted to share a discovery I found regarding the Kizashi's headlights. In Australia and New Zealand, you can buy headlight covers as a genuine Suzuki accessory. I'm not too surprised given the Suzuki hood deflector I have is made in Australia so the same company probably makes the window visors and the headlight cover. This cover may help prevent UV damage on the headlights while also preventing impact damage like pitting.

 #40172  by ragmopp01
 Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:17 pm
A possible solution would be to install 3M paint film on the headlights. This film does have UV protection built it. Now, I really can't verify this as although my car is 5 years old it is always in the garage. If nothing else it would protect the plastic from rock dings.
 #40176  by LPSISRL
 Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:56 pm
I've got 70K miles on my 2011. For the last year it's been kept in a garage but that only helps a bit on weekends. It's outside all the work days in the Virginia sun. My headlights are as clear as the day the car was new.
 #40178  by KuroNekko
 Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:08 pm
LPSISRL wrote:I've got 70K miles on my 2011. For the last year it's been kept in a garage but that only helps a bit on weekends. It's outside all the work days in the Virginia sun. My headlights are as clear as the day the car was new.

Interesting. My situation is the opposite. I park in a covered garage during work hours. It's parked outside otherwise. I also think the orientation of the vehicle in relation to the sun is a huge factor. My headlights directly face the sun as it's parked towards the south, maximizing exposure to the sun's rays.