Visit our BAC Favorite Places Web Page

Author Topic: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?  (Read 1615 times)

Mike Shumack

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 986
  • Thanked: 243 times
  • Orlando, Florida
What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« on: March 12, 2019, 12:56:45 PM »
Does anyone have a product recommendation for something I can put on my clear plastic headlight lenses to keep them from getting dull and cloudy?

I replaced the left headlight assembly last year, and just did the right side last weekend. Seeing them both together at the same time, it's easy to notice that the headlight installed last year is already looking dull.

I saw a product at the auto parts store that is supposed to protect the headlight plastic from UV damage. But this stuff contains petroleum so I'm not sure if it is okay to use.

If anyone has recommendations, please share.
Thanks
- Mike

'05 Beaver Patriot Thunder, Vicksburg, CAT C13  525HP, Allison 4000MH, HydraLift

Bill Lampkin

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 280
  • Thanked: 65 times
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2019, 03:24:09 PM »
303 Protectant is supposed to block UV.  Spray it on, wipe it off. I use it on my tire sidewalls, and they don't fog up. (Just kidding).
2005 Patriot Thunder Lexington, 3 slides
40' tag axle (short wheelbase)
525 hp C13
The following users thanked this post: Keith Moffett

Chuck Jackson

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 107
  • Thanked: 29 times
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2019, 03:32:28 PM »
I just use a polish (any car polish will do) or cleaner wax. I do it once every couple of months and it only takes a minute or two per light. If you have severe hazing or yellowing you will have to use something stronger (or use one of the headlight restoration products first).
2008 Beaver Contessa 40' Pacifica 425 Cat

Al Anderson

  • 2002 Beaver Marquis
  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 18
  • Thanked: 14 times
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2019, 04:29:49 PM »
I own an automotive and to medium duty shop in the Denver area, where we have less atmosphere and thus more sun rays.  We do this repair several times a week and have experimented with probably 20 different products.  Some of them that claim they can be sprayed on and just wiped off are tempting but rarely last even a month before they start to haze up again.  All the product that do work have this is common.  You must start by mechanically removing the haze.  To do this we start by taping off the surrounding areas with a good masking tape.  This allows you to get a sanding device onto the headlight, or even your own muscle, without burning through the surrounding paint.  We then start off with a fairly course grit sandpaper disc on a drill or some device to mechanically remove the damaged plastic.  We will start with a 400 grit and do it in roughly five states ending in a 1000 grit.  While doing this we keep the headlight wet so the sandpaper needs to rated for wet sanding.  Once you get the headlight virtually clear the next step is critical.  You need to coat this now virgin plastic to keep it from quickly turning hazy again  Out of the 20 products we have tried the only two that have gone well beyond the one year mark without new hazing are the products built by 3M and BG.  Neither is cheap, but on our long term test truck we are at 18 months now, with one headlight done with each product,and so far they have virtually no oxidation.
Here is a link to the two products:
BG: https://www.bgprod.com/catalog/specialty/bg-quick-cure-headlight-restoration-kit/
3M: https://smile.amazon.com/3M-Medium-Headlight-Restoration-39174/dp/B07FT2MKWF/ref=sr_1_10?crid=2XEIEHZLFC4X3&keywords=3m+headlight+restoration+kit&qid=1552404126&s=gateway&sprefix=3m+headlight+restoration+kit%2Caps%2C172&sr=8-10

One other quick note; while some of the videos show doing this without mechanically device, like a sander, to remove the glaze, I can tell you it is a slow process to do it my hand.  My staff can do it with a drill in about an hour and a half and by hand it can take up to four hours to make it perfect.

Good luck but keep the end in mind.  Once this is done it is amazing how much more light you will get and how much newer your rig will look.
Al Anderson, 2002 Beaver Marquis, 42 Feet Long
Cat C12 505 HP
2 Slides with a Tag Axle
2013 Wrangler 4 Door
The following users thanked this post: George Harwell, Jim Nichols, Stan Simpson, Jerry Emert, Mike Shumack

David T. Richelderfer

  • David, Leslie & JB
  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1088
  • Thanked: 302 times
  • 2004 Marquis Sapphire 45, 505 hp C-12
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2019, 04:30:39 PM »
My brother-in-law is a car buff.  He was recently turned-on to Meguiar's PlastX - Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish.  After using the PlastX, he waxes the lens covers with Meguiar's Mirror Glaze.  He cleaned, polished and waxed both my pickup and coach headlights.  They now look like new... again.
David, Leslie & JB
Towing a black Chevy Avalanche
Using a Blackhawk Towbar & Evenbrake
RF Mogul Eagle 3 for DISH TV
Go Beavers, OSU Class of '71
RVing since 1973
Constitutionalists, Golfers & Capitalists
Your luck is the residue of your management
The following users thanked this post: Mike Shumack

Mike Shumack

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 986
  • Thanked: 243 times
  • Orlando, Florida
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2019, 04:57:36 PM »
Thanks for the info.
I don't need the buffing kit (the light assemblies are new). The one-year old light just needs minor clean up. 

So now I just want to protect them - in the link to the 3M kit was this "wipe on protector"

This product has very good reviews https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KIVYE6G/ref=crt_ewc_title_huc_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A2EJCTH67GJMT3  maybe I'l give it a try.  The other choice I suppose is to apply wax regularly as David said.
- Mike

'05 Beaver Patriot Thunder, Vicksburg, CAT C13  525HP, Allison 4000MH, HydraLift

Jerry Emert

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 928
  • Thanked: 159 times
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2019, 06:07:22 PM »
I own an automotive and to medium duty shop in the Denver area, where we have less atmosphere and thus more sun rays.  We do this repair several times a week and have experimented with probably 20 different products.  Some of them that claim they can be sprayed on and just wiped off are tempting but rarely last even a month before they start to haze up again.  All the product that do work have this is common.  You must start by mechanically removing the haze.  To do this we start by taping off the surrounding areas with a good masking tape.  This allows you to get a sanding device onto the headlight, or even your own muscle, without burning through the surrounding paint.  We then start off with a fairly course grit sandpaper disc on a drill or some device to mechanically remove the damaged plastic.  We will start with a 400 grit and do it in roughly five states ending in a 1000 grit.  While doing this we keep the headlight wet so the sandpaper needs to rated for wet sanding.  Once you get the headlight virtually clear the next step is critical.  You need to coat this now virgin plastic to keep it from quickly turning hazy again  Out of the 20 products we have tried the only two that have gone well beyond the one year mark without new hazing are the products built by 3M and BG.  Neither is cheap, but on our long term test truck we are at 18 months now, with one headlight done with each product,and so far they have virtually no oxidation.
Here is a link to the two products:
BG: https://www.bgprod.com/catalog/specialty/bg-quick-cure-headlight-restoration-kit/
3M: https://smile.amazon.com/3M-Medium-Headlight-Restoration-39174/dp/B07FT2MKWF/ref=sr_1_10?crid=2XEIEHZLFC4X3&keywords=3m+headlight+restoration+kit&qid=1552404126&s=gateway&sprefix=3m+headlight+restoration+kit%2Caps%2C172&sr=8-10

One other quick note; while some of the videos show doing this without mechanically device, like a sander, to remove the glaze, I can tell you it is a slow process to do it my hand.  My staff can do it with a drill in about an hour and a half and by hand it can take up to four hours to make it perfect.

Good luck but keep the end in mind.  Once this is done it is amazing how much more light you will get and how much newer your rig will look.
Al, I see on Amazon that they sell the 3M coating in a two pack along with a 3000 grit wheel.  Is that the same coating you mentioned above?  Starting with clear lenses I am guessing that the coating would be enough.  Do you agree?  I really hate to get into sanding even with 3ooo because I have almost no experience and would rather buy new then ruin a pair and then buy new anyway.  Thanks for your advice.
Jerry, Chief USN Retired
2003 Patriot Thunder Lexington 40' 3 Slides
C-12 Ser#  2KS89983
4000MH

Bill Sprague

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 750
  • Thanked: 342 times
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2019, 06:34:40 PM »
I used the 3M kit that came with a foam pad for my drill when it got bad.  I kept it clear after that with the Meguiar's PlastX.
Bill Sprague
Past Region 1 VP
2019 Tiffin Wayfarer 24TW
Past 3 year owner '15 PleasureWay Pursuit
Past 12 year owner of '04 Monterey w/Cummins ISC 350

Jim Edwards

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 189
  • Thanked: 54 times
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2019, 07:19:15 PM »
If you are looking for serious protection you may want to look at. You will need to know what the original headlight assemblies are from. 
https://www.xpel.com/headlight-protection-kits.

Jim Edwards
2005 Monterey Laguna III, 40 ft Cat C9
2007 Country Coach Affinity 45 ft Cummins 600
15 Grand Cherokee

Mike Shumack

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 986
  • Thanked: 243 times
  • Orlando, Florida
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2019, 08:13:00 PM »
That link is for a pre-cut film that is to be applied to headlight assemblies. It's expensive - and more than I'm wanting to pay. I think one of the wipe-on coatings will be good enough for now. BTW the '05 Patriot used the 1998-2001 Lincoln Navigator headlights.

And thanks for thanking the time to look this up and provide a link.
- Mike

'05 Beaver Patriot Thunder, Vicksburg, CAT C13  525HP, Allison 4000MH, HydraLift

Al Anderson

  • 2002 Beaver Marquis
  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 18
  • Thanked: 14 times
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2019, 08:37:28 PM »
Mike, I couldn't find a 3M package that had the 3000 grit, but, this would only work as a final pad.  We have also found that even with the 1000 grit paper as the final pad, the minor scratches that are left turn almost 100% invisible once you apply the 3M wipes.
On my Marquis, I ended up replacing my headlights a year after I cleaned them since they had someplace they were getting moisture in one of them even after applying a sealant to the O-Rings.  The new ones I ordered where the smoke color that look great.  The only downside is they eat some of the light and I had to go to LED bulbs to overcome the tint.  While I am thrilled with them now it was a chore to get the alignment perfect after replace the bulbs with LEDs.
Regards,
Al
Al Anderson, 2002 Beaver Marquis, 42 Feet Long
Cat C12 505 HP
2 Slides with a Tag Axle
2013 Wrangler 4 Door
The following users thanked this post: Stan Simpson

Doug Allman

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 446
  • Thanked: 193 times
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2019, 01:35:32 AM »
Al, have you done anything with the F11 product for paint protection? I have read previous info on Forum and think I want to use for our coach but just looking for another prospective view point as you seem to be involved on a daily basis. Would like your input.  TKS
1991 Beaver Contessa  1994-2012   3116 Cat
2004 Beaver Marquis    2012 - 2017  C-12 CAT
2017 Entegra Cornerstone 45B   600 Cummins

Keith Moffett

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 893
  • Thanked: 271 times
  • Every day is a blessing!
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2019, 06:33:32 AM »
Doug, see Top Coat F 11 on you tube.  Very interesting but have not tried it yet.  Similar products are 'the Solution' and 'Torque'.
If the headlight is extremely fogged you might wet sand.  Moderate or less fogging though can be dealt with with two treatments of White Diamond polish and a couple good rags.   
White Diamond is available in pint size at many auto stores.  It says metal polish but the label reads plastic as well and it works great!
2007 Patriot Thunder
45' C-13
2006 Explorer Ltd.
DW is Carol
Safe travels and
May God bless!

Al Anderson

  • 2002 Beaver Marquis
  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 18
  • Thanked: 14 times
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2019, 07:16:23 PM »
Mike,
I have never tried F11.
Sorry
Al Anderson, 2002 Beaver Marquis, 42 Feet Long
Cat C12 505 HP
2 Slides with a Tag Axle
2013 Wrangler 4 Door

Don and Kathy DuCharme

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Thanked: 9 times
Re: What product to use on headlights to keep plastic clear?
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2019, 02:44:32 AM »
I just used a Mother's kit purchased from K-Mart, and it did an amazing job on our very oxidized headlight lens. Now we will see how long it lasts. Will try the Mejuires product to maintain.
07 Contessa
C9;400HP