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



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      07-31-2013, 07:40 PM   #1
B2STYB0Y
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Restoring Headlights

So I went down to Wal-Mart and picked up the Turtle Wax Headlight Restorer and everything felt fantastic, buttery smooth. However looking at the headlights with the lights on I can see what looks like dust or something. Is there any way to clean this cause feeling the outside of the headlight it seems the product worked very well. I have some pics that hopefully see what I'm talking about.
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      08-01-2013, 05:58 AM   #2
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1. What grit are the finishing papers supplied? You may need to finish off with an even finer grit.
2. What if any UV protection is supplied in the kit?


Ultra Violet Protection - polishing or wet-sanding headlights without renewing their ultra violet (UV) protection is a false economy, unless this protection is replaced, the end result is that you'll have to do them again in a few months (repeat this polishing process enough and there will be no material left to work with)


TOGWT® Autopia Detailing Wiki Article - “Headlight Restoration” - http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia...tml#post1506615
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      08-01-2013, 07:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B2STYB0Y View Post
So I went down to Wal-Mart and picked up the Turtle Wax Headlight Restorer and everything felt fantastic, buttery smooth. However looking at the headlights with the lights on I can see what looks like dust or something. Is there any way to clean this cause feeling the outside of the headlight it seems the product worked very well. I have some pics that hopefully see what I'm talking about.
It looks to me like you/the kit just isn't aggressive enough to achieve perfection. These specs are what remain of the original damage (the worst of it). You need to remove more material if you want to get rid of it completely.

Adequately (and affordably) replacing the UV coating is somewhat of a debate. Lots of posters claim that certain things block UV (like wax, or 3M protection film which says right in their product details that it's UV transparent) but I don't believe there are as many options as people believe.

OTOH, correcting damage that is nothing but a little UV yellowing after a few months/years is trivial compared to rock pits and sand blasting.
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      08-01-2013, 07:52 PM   #4
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Those specs are actually rock chips that would take way too much removal to be worth the effort. This is just the nature of the front end of the car and you can't do much about it. Otherwise it looks like you did a great job!
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      08-01-2013, 09:49 PM   #5
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      08-24-2013, 11:03 AM   #6
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Get yourself a 3M Headlight Restoration kit and don't be afraid to take a drill to it, just make sure you mask off all the painted surfaces to protect them. Those rock chips you're seeing that look like "dust" will come off, here is an example I did on a 10-year old BMW.


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      08-24-2013, 10:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamil_S View Post
Get yourself a 3M Headlight Restoration kit and don't be afraid to take a drill to it, just make sure you mask off all the painted surfaces to protect them. Those rock chips you're seeing that look like "dust" will come off, here is an example I did on a 10-year old BMW.


Does that kit include some sort of UV protection? What's it going to look like in a few months? Will it yellow at all?
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      08-25-2013, 12:59 AM   #8
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Just my own experience, for what it's worth:

I've restored 4 sets of headlights in the past 3 years using a combination of wet sanding with 800-3000 grit sandpaper followed by the 3M drill attachment for polishing. To counter the loss of the OEM UV protection that gets lost in sanding the rock ship and pits away, I applied clear Lamin-X film afterwards to all of the headlights. They offer a product with the film that they market as "UV protectant" to spray on the film. It supposedly works (and smells) like automotive sunscreen.

I wash my car, on average, once every two weeks, and after the washes, I apply the UV protectant as just part of my routine. In two years, every set of headlights I've done this for still looks absolutely brand new. I'll add that I'm sure the owners of the other cars are not nearly as diligent with car cleaning as me, but their headlights have shown zero fading or yellowing as well. As far as how well this process holds up over an extended time period like 5+ years, I couldn't say at this point.

The other advantage of the clear film (whether you use Lamin-X, 3M, or any other brand I assume) is not having to ever worry about any future rock chips or pitting again, so you won't have to go through this whole restoration charade again in a few years, if you plan to keep your car that long.

Hope that helps.
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      08-25-2013, 01:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stangorang View Post
Does that kit include some sort of UV protection? What's it going to look like in a few months? Will it yellow at all?

Whenever I use the restoration kit I go with the compound followed by sealant which will usually last 6+ months, for longer protection you can go with a 3m or alternative clear protective film as someone mentioned.
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      08-27-2013, 04:39 PM   #10
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I did my 02 pickup lights about a year ago with the turtle. Looked great for about 2 months. Now they are more yellow than I started.
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      08-27-2013, 05:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamil_S View Post
Whenever I use the restoration kit I go with the compound followed by sealant which will usually last 6+ months, for longer protection you can go with a 3m or alternative clear protective film as someone mentioned.
+1
that's what I have been telling guys
when I bought my car, I had to clean headlights and cover them with clear protective film , since its all good
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