Found a fix for sun damaged headlights

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Joe-G, May 3, 2013.

  1. Joe-G

    Joe-G Member

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    I bought my 2010 Prius used and the sun had already started causing the foggy looking damage to top of the headlights. I hate that look but have had limited success with off the shelf products to cure it in years past on my mother's car (pt cruiser). I thought I'd try again and picked up the product pictured on the left below.

    I was pleasantly surprised how well this Meguiars product on the left works....just a little buffing with a rag and the lights look like new. I have used the product on the right on my other cars for years and the lights still look like new so I applied it to the Prius too to keep it looking sharp.

    If the lights are heavily damaged I would think you'd need to go for the wetsand and buff route, but for light damage this product worked great for me. Hope this helps someone.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Here is a link to my how to thread for more heavily damaged lights.

    Make sure you apply the UV block religiously afterwards or they will yellow again!

    Headlight Restoration | PriusChat
     
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  3. Joe-G

    Joe-G Member

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    Good point and good link.:)

    I am pretty persnickety about it, my 16 year old truck looks good as does the Vette. My mom's car was a disaster, but I was able to buy new lights for $74(!) including bulbs. Wow was that cheap. Wish the fancy LED's on the Prius were so cheap.

    I had to return my HID upgrade bulbs (I will go update my thread). I should start a new thread on them, the Ebay cheapos just don't last so now I'm looking for a better alternative. Of course I don't want to pay $150 for them so that presents a problem..;)
     
  4. Kengatorfan

    Kengatorfan Junior Member

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    My wife has a 2006 Corolla that I use Turtle Wax Headlight restorer on. It is not expensive but requires a bit of "elbow grease". The first time took quite a bit of time and you have to re-do it about once a year, but it doesn't take long on the reapplication.
     
  5. Former Member 68813

    Former Member 68813 Senior Member

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    I discovered that even cheap rubbing alcohol will remove the yellow discoloration in my old corolla. But it comes back in several months. However, I never tried the sealer. Where do you buy it?
     
  6. Joe-G

    Joe-G Member

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    I got the cleaner at Wal Mart and the sealer at Pep Boys but I bought them years apart. My guess is Pep Boys has both, I didn't see the sealer at Wal Mart.
     
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  7. Clay2013

    Clay2013 Junior Member

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    I restored my daughter's 2008 Mazda this weekend. I used the Meguir's Heavy Duty kit from Advanced Auto Parts. It was dramatically better than the 3m kit. It contains everything you need, including the Plastx shown above and the UV protectant. I highly recommend it.
     
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  8. RaZa

    RaZa Member

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    personally i would not use anything that is just a magic clear your headlights type of product. they'd just be masking the problem, not really fixing it. i bought a 3m headlight restorer kit and it worked very well. a true fix for any headlight problem will take a little elbow grease, but it's worth it. My wifes cars headlight were so fogged and yellowed over you literally could not see the bulb through them. After using the kit I had them crystal clear. It's amazing how well those kits can work on seemingly hopeless headlights.

    now i just do the occasional touch up with the kit, but I didn't know about the sealants, so I will get some of that and definately apply it.
     
  9. Joe-G

    Joe-G Member

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    I use the sealant on my Vette, my truck and my minivan, the lights look like new on all 3 and I want to keep them that way.

    Good testimonial on the 3m kit, I'd tried a kit that came with a buffer for the drill and different rouge 5 years ago on my Mom's and they didn't hold up at all. Looked decent for a while but quickly yellowed again, finally, they were so bad I just bought new. I thought the $75 price was amazingly cheap for 2 lights including bulbs. Vette lights are $2000 or so.
     
  10. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    I'm guessing automatic car washes rub off the factory protectant coating and that's why they turn yellow.

    Alan.. Sent with Tapatalk 2
     
  11. Joe-G

    Joe-G Member

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    Possibly, I know Vettes come with a film coating, I've seen cars with that peeling/checking. My car has been garaged day and night most of its life and never put in a car wash so it looks as new.

    The Prius has no sort of film coating.
     
  12. Kengatorfan

    Kengatorfan Junior Member

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    "Fogged", yellowed , or opaque headlights are a SAFETY issue and it should be a ticketable/warning offense legally. I see so many cars that are neglected to the point that there should be a law, that if not enough light is where it is supposed it be that it needs to be corrected! If you can't see at night how can you safely drive? I am not an advocate of more laws, but people don't use their heads and tend to be a little lazy! :(
     
  13. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Nah, the sun's UV bakes the coating and the plastic. :) The UV output from headlight bulbs doesn't help either. Fine material abrasion can also remove the UV coating and etch into the plastic.

    The UV shield supplied with the kits works well but it doesn't address fine particles abrading the lens. :(
     
  14. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    All newer cars should have a UV protectant that coats the headlight. If they didn't they would yellow VERY quickly. The reason your Vette never had a problem is because it doesn't sit in the sun 12hrs a day like non-garaged cars. :)

    The Prius headlight is more susceptible to UV degradation because of the massive amount of plastic that sits in direct view of the sun. The GenII was particularly bad.

    My GenII NEVER went through a mechanical car wash and the headlights started to yellow after 5yrs. :) It spent most of it's time in direct sun and sometimes under a carport but wasn't garaged.
     
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  15. Joe-G

    Joe-G Member

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    Vettes do indeed have a film, I can promise you, as often it starts peeling on older cars like my 05. But you are absolutely correct that my car's crystal clear headlights stems from the fact that it's been garaged during the day (either at home or work) virtually its entire life.

    I HATE the foggy look, and agree it's a safety issue, so I jumped on the Prius right away and stay on top of the sealant from time to time. BTW my mom told me she is no longer afraid to drive at night, it made such a dramatic difference!

    I was so pleased with the results of the products above that I wanted to share.
     
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  16. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I'm not arguing that the Vette doesn't have a film. That is different than the UV coating (paint-like) that comes on headlights. Could it be that you have clear bra material on them like xpel? XPEL Head Light Protection
     
  17. Joe-G

    Joe-G Member

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    No the factory film is much thinner than that. I know of that product, some friends have it and the "clear bra" on their Vettes. Personally I hate it.
     
  18. Former Member 68813

    Former Member 68813 Senior Member

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  19. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Was I just lucky?
    My last vehicle, I did NOTHING to the headlights and they stayed incredibly clear.

    Well I did soap them up and rinse them off when I was washing the entire vehicle...but that's it.

    Maybe it's climate related? Oregon get's a lot of cloud cover...so not a lot of constant beating sun. But I've never really done anything special to maintain headlights and I've never really had a problem.

    (Knock on Wood).....now my Prius headlights will probably start to fade like an old mans eyes with cataracts.
     
  20. Joe-G

    Joe-G Member

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    Pretty sure it's directly related to UV exposure, and here in FL, the sunshine state, we have a lot of very direct sun. We are also at a much lower latitude so our sun is more overhead, and our days are longer on average during the year. When I moved here I really noticed it. It might only be 80 degrees here, wonderful in the shade, but the direct sun feels like 120!
     
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