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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wash, Wax, Detailing and Cosmetic protection/repairs > Headlight scratches



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      06-04-2013, 05:26 AM   #1
Rupes
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Headlight scratches

Hi guys,

I bought my 2011 328i used and it came with a fair share of deep swirls and scratches on the plastic headlight housing. Can anyone recommend a good product for removing swirls on plastic like this?
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      06-04-2013, 07:34 AM   #2
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I've had good results using the 3M headlight restorer kit.
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      06-04-2013, 08:04 AM   #3
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Don't do anything to them. When you polish or compound headlights, you remove the factory coating that stops them from fading, clouding, and yellowing. Only polish and compound if they are faded, clouded, and yellowed.
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      06-04-2013, 08:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Otruba_843 View Post
Don't do anything to them. When you polish or compound headlights, you remove the factory coating that stops them from fading, clouding, and yellowing. Only polish and compound if they are faded, clouded, and yellowed.
Correct; after you polish them,cover them with 3M Paint protection film kit, it is available from www.invisiblemask.com
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      06-04-2013, 09:48 AM   #5
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Guys, thanks for the feedback and I totally get what your saying. However, this car, despite being only two years old, was severely abused. The headlight scratches are probably a result of two things: an idiot with some sort of sander, and an amazing amount of rock chips. The sander part you can probably imagine in your head, and the rock chip parts looks like dozens of very small bug splats. Is my only option really to either replace the headlights or keep them as is? I tried to take a picture but it just doesn't do it justice. These things look really rough
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      06-04-2013, 10:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupes View Post
Guys, thanks for the feedback and I totally get what your saying. However, this car, despite being only two years old, was severely abused. The headlight scratches are probably a result of two things: an idiot with some sort of sander, and an amazing amount of rock chips. The sander part you can probably imagine in your head, and the rock chip parts looks like dozens of very small bug splats. Is my only option really to either replace the headlights or keep them as is? I tried to take a picture but it just doesn't do it justice. These things look really rough
Post a picture of them. I have a lot of rock chips on my headlights too. There is nothing you can do about them unless you replace the lenses. I just live with it.
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      06-04-2013, 10:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupes View Post
Guys, thanks for the feedback and I totally get what your saying. However, this car, despite being only two years old, was severely abused. The headlight scratches are probably a result of two things: an idiot with some sort of sander, and an amazing amount of rock chips. The sander part you can probably imagine in your head, and the rock chip parts looks like dozens of very small bug splats. Is my only option really to either replace the headlights or keep them as is? I tried to take a picture but it just doesn't do it justice. These things look really rough
As long as follow up with some kind of protection like SHEEDI wrote, you will be fine. Read through this thread especially the section on protection. You can also use a sealant, but you will have to apply every month or so.

http://www.autopiaforums.com/forums/...storation.html

There are a bunch of headlight restoration kits. I've personally used the 3M kit with good results. You can also use some Plast-X or a paint polish/compound on a DA.
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      06-04-2013, 12:44 PM   #8
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the 3M kit works great. basically you need to wet sand it down. I start with 1000 grit, then 2000 grit, and finally 3000 grit. Buff it out with an abrasive pad with a rubbing compound to remove the haze left by the sanding. I would just invest $20 in the 3M kit unless you have all the items i mentioned laying around. Also buy a headlight sealant to protect your hardwork Just remember to reapply the sealant every few months
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      06-04-2013, 01:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otruba_843 View Post
Don't do anything to them. When you polish or compound headlights, you remove the factory coating that stops them from fading, clouding, and yellowing. Only polish and compound if they are faded, clouded, and yellowed.
if you put a layer of sealent twice a yr you ll be fine. IDK who said sealents only last a month.....???

Show car waxes and others like Dudu juice/p21s last a month.

Most sealents last 4-8 months. Some like Klasse last 12-13 months. So as long as you coat them 3 times a yr your fine. just dont do the 3 coats all in the same weekend.
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      06-06-2013, 12:01 AM   #10
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Is there a more permanent solution ?Mine are getting old.

Not yet clouding, but yellowing a bit and faded for sure. It's not bad enough to command immediate action, but it could certainly look better. I just don't want to have to micromanage my headlights and reseal them every month, I know that I am not OCD enough for this. I'd rather go for a more complex but permanent solution, like actual paint sealant or something.
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      06-06-2013, 12:07 AM   #11
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Is there a more permanent solution ?Mine are getting old.

Not yet clouding, but yellowing a bit and faded for sure. It's not bad enough to command immediate action, but it could certainly look better. I just don't want to have to micromanage my headlights and reseal them every month, I know that I am not OCD enough for this. I'd rather go for a more complex but permanent solution, like actual paint sealant or something.
Guys, here is permanent solution as I described earlier.
Get them fix using 3M Headlight restorer and cover them with 3M Clear Paint protection film and you don't have to worry about them after 3M PPF applied. My car's headlights are covered with 3M PPF and I don't need to polish them anymore,i just wash them.
save your time, energy and money on keep cleaning them every few months etc.
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      06-11-2013, 09:01 PM   #12
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These are my headlights before and after I used the meguiars headlight restoration kit. It knocked down some the smaller rock chips. The kit came with 1000 grit and 2000 grit wet sanding pads, meguiars plasticX, meguiars headlight protect, and a buffing drill attachment. I'm wanting to get rid of the larger rock chips, considering trying a 800 grit wet sand and then 1000, 2000 then plasticX then a sealant.

My question is if I get more aggressive with the wet sanding is it going to compromise the plastic causing it to be more prone to oxidation in the future. Or have I already done that and should just continue with the project. The larger rock chips are hard to see in picture but they are there and look even worse with the lights on at night.

Sorry for the
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      06-11-2013, 11:15 PM   #13
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for permanent protection that's easy to apply, check out opti lens. Im doing mine in a few weeks but gonna have a friend shoot some clearcoat om them. Otherwise i would of definitely gone with opti lens. link: http://www.autogeek.net/optimum-opti...t-coating.html
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      06-12-2013, 12:22 AM   #14
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Opti lens = $60
Is it laced with 14k gold?
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      06-12-2013, 09:42 AM   #15
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Opti lens = $60
Is it laced with 14k gold?
i guess it's sort of on par with opti coat or those other permanent sealing products.
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      07-23-2013, 09:14 PM   #16
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These are my headlights before and after I used the meguiars headlight restoration kit. It knocked down some the smaller rock chips. The kit came with 1000 grit and 2000 grit wet sanding pads, meguiars plasticX, meguiars headlight protect, and a buffing drill attachment. I'm wanting to get rid of the larger rock chips, considering trying a 800 grit wet sand and then 1000, 2000 then plasticX then a sealant.

Does a sealant come with the meguiars headlight restoration kit? or do you buy that shit seperatly, and... if you do.. what is the best kind to buy and where?
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      07-24-2013, 08:24 AM   #17
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OP:

If they are as bad as you say, including what looks like a botched attempt to fix them, I'd break out all the wet sanding stuff and go at it.

Yes, there's a hard coat that you'd sand off but it sounds trashed anyways from the way you describe it.

I wet sanded mine and researched but didn't purchase a replacement hard coat ($$$$$$). I've been keeping wax on me and there's no sign of hazing after a year. I don't know if 3m film would protect. I have seen specs on the film which say it is UV transparent so that when used on paint it won't change the way protected and unprotected areas "age". The film s a good idea but I wouldn't count on it to solve the UV problem.
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      07-30-2013, 08:24 PM   #18
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OK guys, my headlights have the protective layer actually peeling off and there are lots of rock chips. For the 3M kit do I need to pop the front fascia off so I can get the drill into the pointy corners of the lens?
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      07-31-2013, 06:44 AM   #19
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OK guys, my headlights have the protective layer actually peeling off and there are lots of rock chips. For the 3M kit do I need to pop the front fascia off so I can get the drill into the pointy corners of the lens?
On the E9x I would remove the lights from the car (requires removing the bumper) and restore them off the car. It's the best way to do the best job and ensure that you don't accidentally cause paint damage on the car.

My suggestion (which I haven't completely followed myself) is to do a full wet sanding, top coating, then put X-Pel film on the lights and never have to do it again. After a few years the film might start to show signs of sand blasting - peel and replace and it's as good as new.

A lot of people say that the 3M film will protect the lights from UV and you don't need a top coat. 3M's own documentation has said that their protection films are UV transparent so that covered and uncovered paint ages identically and doesn't change tint as the years go by so I wouldn't make any assumptions that the film will keep the UV out. You run the risk of having the light yellow underneath the film making it a pain in the butt to fix.

All that being said, I only had time/opportunity to do the wet sanding more than a year ago - I have no top coat or protective film applied yet - and there's no sign of yellowing. I wipe on a coat of wax every time I wax the car, but I also have no reason to believe that a couple of microns of wax blocks UV either (like everyone says on the forums).
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