Thursday, August 28, 2014

Headlight Lens Restoration

Awful, crappy yellow looking headlight lenses on the 12-year old Acura.   Turns out you can't buy new lenses; the headlight assembly and lenses are an integral unit.  Aftermarket replacements start around $160 a pair for basic units, and of course you can pay as much as you want for halogen, projectors, etc.

Additionally, to replace the headlamps on this car you have to remove the bumper -- at the rate I work, this would be a several hour job.

So after some research, and several "headlight restoration" videos, I decided to try restoring the existing lenses.  Basic process is sanding, using progressively finer grits, ending with rubbing or polishing compound.

Rather than buy all the materials separately, I bought a 3M restoration kit, claiming to contain all necessary materials, for about $15.  It took about 2 hours total, from masking to final washdown.

Here are the headlights before I started:

During rough sanding (300 - 600 grit):

After rough sanding -- an opaque, frosted look:

Finished -- after rubbing compound.  Not clear, still has a milky translucency.  But got rid of most of the nasty yellow oxidation, and it's a definite improvement.  Probably could have gotten them more clear with another hour of elbow grease and some polishing compound. 

1 comment:

  1. Did you do this just to improve the headlight's appearance, or do the headlights work better now?