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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What’s the actual solution to fix it ?

I use Meguiars headlight restorer every 2 weeks and they still look yellow.




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We use a 3M polishing kit at the shop. We have an apprentice who's gotten really good at it. You need to literally sand away the oxidized plastic using a random orbit sander. We start with 400 grit (240 is available but we never use it), working down to 1200 or 1500. Then the polishing pads and compounds come out. It makes a real mess all over the front of the car, but on most headlights we are able to get out 90-99% of the yellowing. Then we put a layer of Mothers hard was on the light, let it haze and buff it off for ozone and UV protection. Body shop next door does the same except the wax, they spray a layer of clear coat on the light instead.

Our shop charges $89 for the service. If you kept the light waxed it'd probaby stay clean for quite a while. The longer term fix is replacement OEM quality headlights.
 

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Yup. I don't think the headlight yellows and loses transparency because the plastic actually turns yellow; it's the pitting on the front surface of the plastic that catches years of tiny particles of road grit and dirt. This dirt and pitting has to be stripped off.

I don't believe the TV ads of something that is just a wipe-on goop that magically clears the lens.

The first couple of times I did this, I used a 3-M kit from the auto parts store. Followed the instructions and it lasted about one year until it needed redoing. The 3-M kit does not contain a new top coat for the outer lens, nor do the instructions mention anything about that. I do think that a top coat would help the restoration last longer.

The last time I restored the lights, I used the 3-M pad to do the rough sanding and the next finer grit up. Then I wet-sanded with 600 grit wet/dry paper. After that, I switched to an abrasive product called micromesh. I normally use micromesh in my woodworking shop; I have it 8 grit sizes from 1500 up to 12000. I stepped up through those grits in wet-sanding the lens. I got a decent smooth, clear finish. It sounds like a lot, but it only took about an hour start-to-finish. The micromesh is cloth-backed and lasts for many uses and is easily hand-cleaned at the kitchen sink with a little dish soap. It's also durable when wet-sanding.

Micromesh is pricey but does last a long time provided you clean it after use and don't get it too hot while using it (little risk of that in this particular application).

I have not experimented with top coats, though I'd like to find something easy that's a wipe-on. Maybe I'll try the wax next time, but in my wintertime environment, I don't think it will last long between all the dirt and road salt we drive through.
 

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@Noltz is correct. You have to wetsand them and polish them to a finish to really have lasting results. IMPORTANT note is after you get them polished you must protect them with sealant or some sort of protectant coat (wax) otherwise they'll continue to oxidize.

Here's a set I did last year. Wetsand several passes till it stopped dripping yellow water, M105, M205, finish with Adams Super Sealant. Last time I saw this 4 Runner the headlights still looked like this.
 
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Out of curiosity why get a 2nd set? Do you plan to do a BLHM or retrofit as well? Tape off the immediate surrounding to protect your paint and spend a couple hours on a weekend. The kits with the different grades do work and come with a sealer, quite the difference afterwards.
 

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I did this to my truck and it last about 2 years. I've got an 2007 so those lights were all kinds of yellow when I did it. I did seal mine, so I think once you get them cleaned by wetsanding then keep on top of putting a treatment on it every few months then they would stay clear.
 

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Mine aren't getting yellow they are getting a white cloud across the top edges...Is it the same fix for this as with the yellowing?
 
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Mine aren't getting yellow they are getting a white cloud across the top edges...Is it the same fix for this as with the yellowing?
My 2010 is starting to do the same thing
 

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The ones that I just did were not yellowing either. They just had that whitish haze/cracking on the top.

The passenger was the worst. On my 07' Tundra it was the same way. But I just used that excuse to buy new headlights. Shoot they were $164 for the BHLM for the Tundra.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Out of curiosity why get a 2nd set? Do you plan to do a BLHM or retrofit as well? Tape off the immediate surrounding to protect your paint and spend a couple hours on a weekend. The kits with the different grades do work and come with a sealer, quite the difference afterwards.


Truck has aftermarket ones right now and I’d like to BLHM the ones I get.


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