Getting scratches out of headlight lenses- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Duck Fonald
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    Getting scratches out of headlight lenses

    Yeah, I could look around the i-nets, but I figured I'd let you guys flaunt your (lack of) knowledge, first.

    I've got some pretty good scratches on my headlight lenses, they almost look like they were buffed with steel wool. Any ideas on how to get these out?

    I saw reviews for restoration kits here, but not sure if these products will get these type of scratches out. Sounds more like they are for lenses that are fogged with age.

    While we're on the subject, what about scratches in the hard plastic that's around the interior of the car? Got a dog who likes to look out the window, and she's scratched up the armrests pretty good.

    Getting scratches out of headlight lenses-lens.jpg
    "Nobody likes me."

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  2. #2
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    I've always used insect spray and rub it out. Works for about a month or two.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    RAKC
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    I've spent enough time and effort doing these and using different products. I'm an automotive tech. If your not going to pull the headlights out and use a professional quality kit that requires a buffer then the 3m kit is the best there is for the DIY person as long as you have a handheld drill that has decent speed (not cheap walmart crap). Only kit that I have used that actually works worth a crap because it's not purely a cover up. It polishes the plastic lens.

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  4. #4
    TOP TIER LURKER
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    Pinch, apply liquid car wax like you would on the paint. Rub it well into the roughed or oxidized areas of the lens but also evenly over the entire clear lens area. Allow it to dry to a haze. Wipe it off. It's a temporary fix but it should provide a dramatic improvement while it lasts. The truth is, the lens needs to be replaced. The common issue here is that the clear coat on the lens is wearing off.
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  5. #5
    Your bike sucks
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    the 3m kit is the best there is for the DIY person
    I did this and it was cheap, easy and effective. I think I bought it on sale for like $15 but regular price was maybe closer to $30?
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

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  6. #6
    Bikesexual
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    Timely thread, I think I'm going with Hawg's suggestion and just buy new ones for the Mazda.

    I looked them up the other day and I can find them for less than $200.

    I have to ride with high beams at night. Can't see jack!
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  7. #7
    Duck Fonald
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawgzilla View Post
    Pinch, apply liquid car wax like you would on the paint. Rub it well into the roughed or oxidized areas of the lens but also evenly over the entire clear lens area. Allow it to dry to a haze. Wipe it off. It's a temporary fix but it should provide a dramatic improvement while it lasts. The truth is, the lens needs to be replaced. The common issue here is that the clear coat on the lens is wearing off.
    Yeah, I just tried that, and it didn't help. I think you're right, the clear coat is wearing off.

    Oh, well. As it's not interfering with the beam, I'll just leave it until my ship comes in and I can replace both lenses.
    "Nobody likes me."

    DJT

  8. #8
    TOP TIER LURKER
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Yeah, I just tried that, and it didn't help. I think you're right, the clear coat is wearing off.

    Oh, well. As it's not interfering with the beam, I'll just leave it until my ship comes in and I can replace both lenses.
    It happens to all lenses eventually.
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  9. #9
    Duck Fonald
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    Quote Originally Posted by gingus View Post
    I've always used insect spray and rub it out. Works for about a month or two.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
    Ok, this is weird, but I tried this after Hawg's car polish idea, and it actually helped the other lens that wasn't so much scratched. it seemed to dissolve the clear coat and shine up the lens a bit. I used REI's Jungle Juice, which is almost a paste. Thanks for the tip!

    We'll see how long it lasts- I may have to touch it up monthly, as you say, but it looks a lot better. The other scratched lens may be beyond repair. I might take it to my favorite body shop after this Kung-flu thing is over and see if they have any ideas.

    Edit: I Goggled this and it seems you should use repellent that contains Deet, and yes, it melts the protective coating. *shrug* Oh, well.
    "Nobody likes me."

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  10. #10
    EAT MORE GRIME
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    i suck it up and buy new oem assemblies. 8 more years hassle free, worth it vs long term labor.
    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

  11. #11
    Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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    Buy a new set. I had fogged lenses and instead of going the buffing route I just bought aftermarket lights. The whole assembly, easy swap out and a slight smoked look offsets the vehicle. Way cheaper than I thought. I think I paid $140 for the pair but there are many different options out there and many are cheaper than this.

    This photo is a truck like mine pulled off the net. Just to give you an idea of what the stock factory ones look like.

    Name:  938F71B4-D2D1-44CE-B2AC-E6CD29F3938C.jpeg
Views: 30
Size:  20.3 KB

    And this is my truck with the new lights.
    Getting scratches out of headlight lenses-fc2a131a-b4b2-49b8-a0d7-ace614a3f8ce.jpeg
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  12. #12
    Duck Fonald
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Buy a new set. I had fogged lenses and instead of going the buffing route I just bought aftermarket lights. The whole assembly, easy swap out and a slight smoked look offsets the vehicle. Way cheaper than I thought. I think I paid $140 for the pair but there are many different options out there and many are cheaper than this.

    And this is my truck with the new lights.
    Attachment 1319243
    Looks nice!
    "Nobody likes me."

    DJT

  13. #13
    Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Looks nice!
    Thanks, I was torn on going with original factory look or a slight smoked lenses. Glad I went with the smoked ones, Iím happy.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Buy a new set. I had fogged lenses and instead of going the buffing route I just bought aftermarket lights. The whole assembly, easy swap out and a slight smoked look offsets the vehicle. Way cheaper than I thought. I think I paid $140 for the pair but there are many different options out there and many are cheaper than this.

    This photo is a truck like mine pulled off the net. Just to give you an idea of what the stock factory ones look like.

    Name:  938F71B4-D2D1-44CE-B2AC-E6CD29F3938C.jpeg
Views: 30
Size:  20.3 KB

    And this is my truck with the new lights.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	FC2A131A-B4B2-49B8-A0D7-ACE614A3F8CE.jpeg 
Views:	15 
Size:	257.8 KB 
ID:	1319251
    DJ, that's like sooo totally style counsel!!!
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawgzilla View Post
    DJ, that's like sooo totally style counsel!!!
    Lol
    Iím so far behind on the latest SoCal lingo.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  16. #16
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    Yea just get new lights.

    When I did auto body and there were scratches on some panels or white crease lines we would hit it with a heat gun or lightly rub it with some brake cleaner. Go easy with the brake cleaner. And rub lightly if it is textured.

  17. #17
    g=9.764m/s2
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    Iím gonna try a hand polish with Bar Keepers Friend and will report back...
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  18. #18
    Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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    When I was considering the buff method, this is the kit I was going to go with. It gets solid reviews.

    $33

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Meguiar-s...n-Kit/16386195

    Finch, after a second inspection of your photo. Those scratches may be too deep for the old buff job.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  19. #19
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    Hmmm, get error when trying to edit previous post.

    I agree with others that the kits to buff out the lenses seem a temporary fix. I have found my motorhome lenses to oxidize again within a year.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    Hmmm, get error when trying to edit previous post.

    I agree with others that the kits to buff out the lenses seem a temporary fix. I have found my motorhome lenses to oxidize again within a year.
    Thatís because the buffing not only takes off the oxidation but it removes the protective layer thatís supposed to keep them from oxidizing. Buffing makes them more vulnerable to oxidation afterwards. Oxidation will happen faster after buffing and itís a temporary fix that needs to be repeated more often once itís done the first time.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  21. #21
    Nothing seems to kill me
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    I bought a used truck a few years ago and the lenses where yellowed and scratched up. After pricing new ones I decided to try the Sylvania Restoration Kit and it worked great. About $20 I think. It has a UV blocker that you put on at the end to help it from discoloring again. It was a little bit of work but the end result was great. The lenses looked brand new and still look great after 2 years. YMMV..
    Sweet Jesus don't let the judge release me, what if she's a Zombie or a Dracula and tries to f&*king eat me.

  22. #22
    Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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    Yes, as Cup-Ton said, the UV blocker at the end is the critical step to giving a buff job longevity.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    i suck it up and buy new oem assemblies. 8 more years hassle free, worth it vs long term labor.
    This is the course to take. Just did this to a 20 year old GMC Sierra. Along with the new white paint and the new OEM stuff looks great. When you consider a car note, which I havenít had for 18 years, it is minimal in cost/return.
    Freedom is a shield against the negative consequences of the Foolishness of others.



  24. #24
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    If you're a sadist (and I did this):

    Wet sand with progressively finer grits until at least a 2000 grit. Then polishing compound and lots of hard work.

    It's the best forearm workout going.

  25. #25
    Duck Fonald
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    Quote Originally Posted by OzarkFathom View Post
    This is the course to take.
    Yeah, they're not that bad off just yet.

    Maybe in a few years.

    Getting scratches out of headlight lenses-headlice-sm.jpg
    "Nobody likes me."

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  26. #26
    High Desert MTBer
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    I went down to my local Octopus car wash where they do a 30 buck headlight lens cleaning service. Mine were so bad I was hardly able to see at night, and I tried a lot of the posted remedies. My eventual solution was a whole lot less painful and they came out literally like new...
    It's all Here. Now.

  27. #27
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    Just add an LED light bar

  28. #28
    One ring to mash them all
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    Quote Originally Posted by driver bob View Post
    It's the best forearm workout going.
    I beg to differ, sir.

    Research, learn, and grow. Agree or disagree with evidence and analysis.

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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Thanks, I was torn on going with original factory look or a slight smoked lenses. Glad I went with the smoked ones, Iím happy.
    Shoot, yeah, that looks a lot better.
    I need to replace the lenses(and paint!) on my old Tundra, but one of my coworkers wants it, so that can be his problem.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by the one ring View Post
    I beg to differ, sir.

    Ha, I almost posted this in the ďOC Quarantine ActivitiesĒ thread the other day.

    Quote Originally Posted by OwenM View Post
    Shoot, yeah, that looks a lot better.
    I need to replace the lenses(and paint!) on my old Tundra, but one of my coworkers wants it, so that can be his problem.
    Thanks, Iíve had several Tacoma owners compliments on them and inquire where to purchase. People that donít know the difference just compliment on the truck. Itís a 2006 and if you donít know the subtle body design changes over the years some think itís fairly new. These new headlights really made a difference in appearance I think. Thereís other aftermarket ones that go even further with LED and a really dark smoked lens. I liked the dark but not the round LED style lights behind the lens. Just didnít fit the year of the truck so I went with the more subtle design. Blacked out background with slight smoke to the lens with the factory looking lights behind the lens, If that makes any sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockerc View Post
    I went down to my local Octopus car wash where they do a 30 buck headlight lens cleaning service. Mine were so bad I was hardly able to see at night, and I tried a lot of the posted remedies. My eventual solution was a whole lot less painful and they came out literally like new...
    Friend told me wally-world offers the same service.
    If you diy, like others mentioned, the uv protectant (wipe or spray) will keep them looking good. Think it's included with the bigger name kits, 3M, Meguire's, etc.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  32. #32
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    I read the thread title and immediately checked to see if it was authored by Picard.
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  33. #33
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    I've used a 3m kit for years on several vehicles, once you get it down it takes less than a beer or two to do both lights. It usually lasts @ a year and a half here in high altitude CO. Still on the same kit, probably done 8 lights?

  34. #34
    Duck Fonald
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankout View Post
    I read the thread title and immediately checked to see if it was authored by Picard.
    Well, there's a difference. I actually use some of the info and report back.

    But, yeah.
    "Nobody likes me."

    DJT

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