Hazy Headlights Fix with Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by ua330, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. ua330

    ua330 Junior Member

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    I finally got around to fixing my tired-looking hazy headlights with Headlight Restorer by Chemical Guys.
    The car not only looks better but also light output has improved (check out the last pic)
    The process is 1-step and overall it yielded good results for me.
    Check out the before/after pictures.
    [​IMG]B_A1 by Roman G, on Flickr
    [​IMG]B_A3 by Roman G, on Flickr
    [​IMG]B_A2 by Roman G, on Flickr
    [​IMG]compB_A by Roman G, on Flickr

    The cutoff after is much sharper which means less glare and better light down the road.

    Check it out on amazon:


    I also made a youtube video about the process



    Anyways hope this is helpful to you guys/gals
     
    #1 ua330, Feb 25, 2021
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2021
  2. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    Few years ago I was looking for this from Chemical Guys and they did not have anything at that time. They thought it was a good idea and said they would look into it.

    I personally like 3M Headlight restorer.
     
  3. ua330

    ua330 Junior Member

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    I'm glad they listened.
    Is the 3M one also 1 step or multiple?
     
  4. alftoy

    alftoy Member

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    Amazon affiliate marketer?

    Also easier to use 1000 grit 3M wet sandpaper, then 3000 grit 3M wet.

    Then spray with Krylon UV clear. Under $10. It's UV that degrades the plastic headlights.

    UV-Resistant Clear Coating | Krylon

    Will last a lot longer than headlight restorers which you have to redo every year or 2, regardless of brand.

    Basically like colour sanding auto paint before clear coat. Check youtube.
     
    #4 alftoy, Feb 25, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  5. qmanqman

    qmanqman Member

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    3M product is a PITA. You have to sand off the yellowing plastic with 3 grits and then polish.

    Now that you got them cleaned up you need to coat them so they don't yellow again. Not sure what to use. I used some Rustoleum clear coat that was supposed to be UV proof but it sure didn't last long. Walmart's automotive garage will actually do both of them for $25 and they coat them with something that actually works.
     
  6. ua330

    ua330 Junior Member

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    Well it depends on the use case right? I've owned a few Prius's and they all have had this issue (I did live in TX and CA and non of those cars were garaged)
    When I tired the wet sanding then clear coat it was effective for made 1.5yrs but then gave out still - albeit I didnt use Krylon, I used RustOleum with "UV protection" and "non-yellowing" but that failed.

    What I like about this option is how quick it is - I dont mind having to redo it even 2x a year as long as it takes me 15min each time. The sand/paint method I would be out there an hour or two - then wait for the clear to dry and hope no flies got into it.

    So just my preference :)
    If you've had success the other way [thumbs up] you go for it.
     
  7. ua330

    ua330 Junior Member

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    I wonder if putting a sealant or wax on top would slow down the destruction?
     
  8. pasadena_commut

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    The Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer contains wax. I wonder if you might not have achieved nearly the same results with any other type of wax. There are two things that go on with headlight yellowing: actual changes to the plastic and the accumulation of little nicks and chips at the surface which scatter light. Wax won't do a thing about the former but by filling in the irregularities in the surface it improves the optical properties dramatically. This particular product combines a polish to remove some of the surface material and wax to seal it up. I doubt it will last very long, or provide much protection against further deep UV damage in the plastic. Your before headlights were not all that bad. I would bet this stuff wouldn't do squat on really badly yellowed headlights. Anyway, if it works in your use case, great, by all means continue using it. Please follow up and let us know how long it stays clear. Some of these products leave a protective coating to which dirt sticks, and it would be good to know if this one does or does not do that.
     
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  9. ua330

    ua330 Junior Member

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    Sounds like you know what you are talking about :)
    I agree about the polish just based on what I saw on my MF towel - bunch on gunk. It would be interesting to try on an abused headlight - may need to go to a pick-n-pull and testing it out heehee
    I will for sure keep you guys posted especially now that the sun is coming out more and more.
     
  10. TheLastMojojomo

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    By far one of the easiest ways to polish headlights is to use Mother's Mag & Aluminum Polish.

    Just rub in a couple of gobs on each headlight and buff for five minutes using a towel or polish pad with a drill and they come out crystal clear. Repeat every 6 - 12 months depending on local UV index. 20190719_152710.jpeg 20190719_154412.jpeg 20190720_190632_HDR.jpeg 20190719_154424_HDR.jpeg

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  11. TheLastMojojomo

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    A simple polish will work for any headlight that is UV damaged, no matter how yellow. It's just the outer surface that oxidizes from the sun. You just need to sloth that off by either sanding down to a fine grit or do it the easy way and use a polish. It's the same principle. If they're any serious chips or cracks a polish/sanding disk won't do the trick.

    Also, damage can potentially occur inside the headlight due to the heat generated by incandescent bulbs if the vehicle uses them. It can easily get 200+ on the inside of the lens and can often result in spider cracks and warping/yellowing. Lens and reflector design will affect how this occurs.

    My 09 Prius Touring uses HID bulbs and they dont get much warmer than air temp on the inside of the lens so this does not occur.

    A family members 07 Pontiac Grand Prix has serious yellowing and spider cracks on the inside and their vehicle uses incandescent headlight bulbs.

    My 04 CR-V suffers from this to a slight degree now as well. The owners I bought it from had just replaced the headlight lenses before selling to me a couple years ago. A few dozen hours with the incandescent headlights on they started to warp slightly on the inside. Took a thermometer gun to them and headlights were over 150 degrees Fahrenheit and too hot to touch. Switched to LEDS and they now remain at air temperature.

    The damage that was done is just enough to annoy me and cause a slight loss of clarity in the headlights. Haven't decided if I'm going to replace the lens yet or try and take the ones I have off and sand the inside of the lens to save money.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    #11 TheLastMojojomo, Feb 27, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  12. ua330

    ua330 Junior Member

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    I had not thought of using a metal polish wow. I guess whatever works for you.

    side question - what type of turn signal bulbs are those? switchbacks by any chance? did you have to change you flasher relay because they are LED?
     
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  13. TheLastMojojomo

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    There are tons of reviews and YouTube videos using Mother's Polish for headlight polishing. Works great!

    Yes those are LED Bulbs. I've used a couple different bulbs from Amazon. The first brand I bought was Alla Lighting. Those things are trash. Never buy from Alla. Then I bought some Antline Bulbs. Likely another Chinese seller but much better quality and more LEDS/brighter.

    Also, they are just plain LED turn signal bulbs. You can not use switchbacks on a Prius because the blinkers do not double as DRLs (Daytime Running Lights).

    Yes I did change the relay to a high tech relay called a TapTurn Strobing Relay for about $110. I use my Prius to deliver mail so I like to be as visible as possible. That's also why you see the lightbar on my Prius in the photos.

    While trying to link the website for the TapTurn, I learned the creator passed away so they are no longer available. :(

    There is a similar product called a SmartTap from DiodeDynamics with less features but still very similar for $60.


    Here is a video showing the various strobe patterns from a different user. There are some modes he leaves out though. There were several different models of the relay offering various modes. You'll have to watch different YouTube videos to see all the features and compare against the SmartTap.



    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    #13 TheLastMojojomo, Feb 28, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
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  14. qmanqman

    qmanqman Member

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    FWIW toothpaste works great. It just doesn't last. The lenses need to be re-coated with some type of UV proof clear coat.
     
  15. ua330

    ua330 Junior Member

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    I think that essentially using toothpaste as a polish, not for me :p
     
  16. pasadena_commut

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    There must be 10K posts in various forums concerning ways to do that. Popular products people use include polyurethane "spar" coatings (designed to protect wood from high sun exposure on boats) and various spray on clear coats. None of them seem to hold up for more than a year or two. The Sylvania

    Headlight Restoration Kits - Remove Haze, Restore and Protect Headlight | SYLVANIA Automotive

    and 3M

    https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/all-3m-products/~/All-3M-Products/Automotive/Auto-Care/Automotive-Products/Headlight-Lens-Restoration/?N=5002385+8709313+8710800+8711017+8711413+8716716+3294857497&rt=r3

    kits have proprietary coats. I can't speak for 3M, but the Sylvania one is good for at most a couple of years, others report much shorter intervals:

    Restoring 3 years after Sylvania Headlight Restoration?

    I don't know how long vinyl headlight covers


    2007 Toyota Prius | Headlight Protection Film - LampGard Lens Protector | WeatherTech


    would last. They would be about $50 plus shipping and tax. The cheapest headlight replacements for a 2007 Prius on rockauto are about the same price for one, or about double for both of them. I would expect that those would probably be good for at least 5-10 years since the UV coating on headlights from the manufacturers seems to be much better than anything so far identified aftermarket.

    I have also tried "Blue Magic headlight sealant". It does seem to protect the lens BUT it is some sort of oily material which attracts dirt and yellows on its own. It can be washed off with detergent and then reapplied but it is not even close to a permanent fix.

    So in summary, I have not yet tried anything which could be considered a magic bullet. But I have not tried the vinyl covers.
     
  17. qmanqman

    qmanqman Member

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    My daughter's 2007 Prius has the headlight covers and they are still as clear as day. Not sure when they were put on but she didn't put them on and she's had the car 5-6 years.
     
  18. pasadena_commut

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    From:

    https://www.headlightarmor.com/faq.aspx

    and here (this URL works even though it ends up saying "You are being redirected...")

    You are being redirected...

    they estimate 3 to 5 years, with sunny areas being at the low end.

    From all of this I suspect a couple of coats of wax might be the most cost effective with not much more work in total than installing and maintaining vinyl.
     
  19. pasadena_commut

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  20. ua330

    ua330 Junior Member

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