Head Headlight restoration - Civinfo
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 25th April 2018, 08:17 Thread Starter
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Headlight restoration

My civic is a 56 plate, and has(had) really badly deteriorating headlights.

The surface of the headlight had started to get quite brown and faded. I decided to give the headlights a bit of a spruce up with one of those kits you can buy where you attach some sandpaper to a spinning disc on a drill.

Well, the results weren't that good... mainly due to the fact that I hadn't charged my drill up overnight and it wasn't spinning very fast, my fault

I only managed to get one headlight done that evening, before the drill just died completely.

Now the sanding had indeed got rid of the scummy surface and brown colour from the headlight, but now instead of being clear the whole thing was cloudy (albeit a clean cloudy).

If you're not aware, the kit comes with 3-4 sanding discs, you start with the small number "grit" to get rid of the rough surface and grime then after each pass you move to the larger "grit" paper to get a smoother and smoother finish. Finally there's another attachment with a foam pad which you're supposed to use the provided "polishing compound" on the lights.

You get 2 sets of the above, obviously 1 set for each headlight... but the light wasn't clear enough and I had to use the 2nd polishing compound to get the one light clear enough to drive with.

Over the following weeks/months, I'd simply not had much time (and the weather had been crap) to buy another kit to do the other headlight and yesterday I put the civic through it's MOT.

It passed, but one of the advisories was "Headlamp deteriorated but light output not reduced - both". It had been a few months since I last took any notice of the headlights to be honest, so I looked and the headlight I'd not tried to restore was really bad.

Then I remembered I had an old bottle of T-Cut for silver paintwork. I thought it might work as a polishing compound, so I applied some to the crappy headlight just for giggles... nothing to lose really, as I might be in for a set of new headlight clusters anyway.

It only bloody worked didn't it!!

I only had 10 minutes before I had to go watch the football with my mate, but in that 10 minutes the crappy headlight is now the better of the 2. It will need another going over, but all the brown/green/yellow fading has gone and the lens is perfectly clear again.

Just thought I'd share
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 25th April 2018, 08:35
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Funnily enough I used some t cut on mine recently and it brought them up a treat
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 25th April 2018, 08:36
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What really surprises me about your post, is not that T cut works because I have done the same on my wife's Jazz, but why people would even consider using abrasive discs of any sort on the soft plastic of their headlights and then have to polish it back to remove the fine 'scratches/misting' caused by them anyway as a first 'go to'.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 25th April 2018, 08:42
 
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PlastX from meguiars (cheap). Although I've never left my lenses go bad enough to turn brown even on our now 12 year old Accord.


The others mentioned here are not made for headlights and strip the UV protection away. Which means after restoration you'd be better off applying some clear protective headlight film or they will deteriorate quicker than the first time.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 25th April 2018, 08:42
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Sanding actually works, you just have to be patient with it.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 25th April 2018, 09:38 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M8TJT View Post
What really surprises me about your post, is not that T cut works because I have done the same on my wife's Jazz, but why people would even consider using abrasive discs of any sort on the soft plastic of their headlights and then have to polish it back to remove the fine 'scratches/misting' caused by them anyway as a first 'go to'.
Too much time watching Wheeler Dealers mate lol

Gutted I didn't just use T-Cut in the first place, but I've learned my lesson. Will be polishing them up later after work.

I've seen people use a coat of lacquer after the desired finish is achieved... thoughts?
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 25th April 2018, 10:56
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Too much time watching Wheeler Dealers mate lol
Never watched it. Perhaps I should?
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 25th April 2018, 12:11 Thread Starter
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I can binge watch that program all night lol

There was an episode where instead of paying a couple hundred quid on a pair of headlights, they just restored them with one of these sanding disc kits.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 25th April 2018, 20:53
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On my old gen 7 civic I used ultimate compound and a chemical guys yellow pad for hard paint on my da machine
Came up a treat and then regular polish and wax afterwards
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 28th April 2018, 15:14
 
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I need to do my Dad's diesel - can you tell which one of us spends more time waxing?

DSC_0079 by Alan Jones, on Flickr
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 28th April 2018, 15:28 Thread Starter
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I need to tackle the heavy scratches that appear to be just on the front left wing only... Strange. Probably going to give it a proper wash wax n polish at some point
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 28th April 2018, 18:20
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I love the fact Honda's have soft paint so it's very easy to correct

I hate the fact it has soft paint as it gets scratched just by looking at it

Double edged sword
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 21st July 2018, 15:23
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I used Plastx on my 56 plate headlights. They're not perfect but the result is night and day. Before and after.

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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 18th August 2018, 21:47
 
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I've used T-Cut before on motorcycle screens to polish out light scratches with pretty good results. Pretty much any sort of paint restorer/cutting polish should work the same way. I would only resort to using sanding for really deep scratches or pitted areas which the polish won't get rid of.

Although they're not as bad as some I've seen I need to do my headlights too but it'll be a job for another day.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 18th August 2018, 22:38
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Appreciate it's an EP3, but a friend came over to learn how to change her oil now she's decided to keep (and restore) her car.

Quick pass with 3000 grit and then some meg to polish - took 10 minutes, you coundn't see the bulbs on the offside beforehand.
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File Type: jpg after.jpg (93.4 KB, 99 views)
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Last edited by stimcity; 18th August 2018 at 22:44.
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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 19th August 2018, 10:22
 
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Millions of vids on YouTube where people use toothpaste!
Then again whatever works is better than cloudy lenses.
I usually use T cut or some Farecla G3.
A mateís car failed itís MOT on cloudy lenses, you couldnít even see the bulbs they were that bad.😆
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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 19th August 2018, 10:50
 
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Lots of stuff on Youtube as suggested. In one video I watched recently, a guy used WD40, which is a very quick and effective fix going by the video, but ultimately short-lived from his follow up video. The same guy then applied mosquito repellent (after it was suggested in the comments) and this also proved effective, but probably not a long term fix a la WD40.
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 1st September 2018, 15:35
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Just thought I'd add my experience of restoring my headlights on my 2006 8th Gen Civic (Which I have owned for 12 years!).

Like others here mine were going a little crusty and yellow, which turned my HIDs from cool white to pee yellow. I'd tried plastx before which was adequate but I wasn't completely satisfied with the results. Recently I saw this on YouTube: Chris Fix's 'How to Restore Headlights Permanently'
Which involves wet sanding the old peeling clear coat and spraying new clear coat from a spray can. I followed the instructions on the video and added a couple more steps to deal with the orange peel after spraying new clear coat; Wet-sanding down with 1500 grit wet/dry to remove the high spots, then 3000 grit to get a fine haze, then finished with Meguires Polish (Mirror Glaze 83 - Professional Dual Action Cleaner/Polish) and Colinite wax (No. 476s). Now, I had no prior experience doing this sort of thing, and sanding my headlights was a little worrying at first! But the results speak for themselves.

I wish I had some more before and after pictures, but here are some for the plastic grill case. As you can see in the photos I already did the headlights. I'm really happy with the results. It took me a couple of days but it was totally worth the effort. It is now completely clear and silky smooth. The clear coat is: Rust-oleum Crystal Clear Protective Coat - Clear Gloss (which I bought from Wilko) as I couldn't find the exact clear coat used in the video. Its supposed to be UV resistant and non-yellowing, but only time will tell. I hope this helps anyone looking to do restoration work on their headlights. Now I'm just wondering if I can do the same for my peeling boot lip spoiler.
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File Type: jpg Side-After.jpg (84.0 KB, 63 views)
File Type: jpg Front-Before.jpg (73.1 KB, 58 views)
File Type: jpg Front-After.jpg (87.0 KB, 57 views)
File Type: jpg Front-After2.jpg (76.2 KB, 59 views)
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Last edited by kho; 1st September 2018 at 16:21.
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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 1st September 2018, 23:08
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going back to original post you have the sanding discs the wrong way round
you should use larger grit first to get rid of the bad marks then use the finer grit to get rid off the rougher grit sanding marks then use a compound to fine polish the rest of the scratching out
if you can get hold of some its always best to finish headlights off with some sort of uv protection polish
tooth paste does work but only if it it contains bicarbonate of soda
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 1st September 2018, 23:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M8TJT View Post
What really surprises me about your post, is not that T cut works because I have done the same on my wife's Jazz, but why people would even consider using abrasive discs of any sort on the soft plastic of their headlights and then have to polish it back to remove the fine 'scratches/misting' caused by them anyway as a first 'go to'.
if its only light clouding then no need to sand
but for heavy staining or deep scratching/clouding it is easier to give a light sand as it removes all much easier then just polish up
for badly affected lights it is a lot easier to start by sanding
and also gives a better end result
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