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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > Regional Forums > USA - New England > new england and headlight plastic



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      11-03-2014, 10:40 AM   #1
borisivan
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new england and headlight plastic

For those of us in northern new england, and drive during the winter, I'm sure your headlights are horribly pitted from all the sand. It makes the front end of the car look horrible.

Has anyone around here attempted to restore the plastic/glass/whatever-it-is? My guess is that nothing will really work unless it's wet sanding. Doesn't sound like a big investment, but I'm just nervous that I'd do it wrong and screw it up.

What have you guys done? Lived with it, or addressed it?

I wish I would have thought of getting the transparent cover just for the lights, which could probably be easily replaced every couple of years.
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      11-03-2014, 10:41 AM   #2
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That's exactly what I did man, installed protective film and have replaced them once already. The headlights still look good.
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      11-03-2014, 12:24 PM   #3
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Hmm... I should do this too. They look good now, want to keep it that way.
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      11-03-2014, 12:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zero2sixtyZ View Post
Hmm... I should do this too. They look good now, want to keep it that way.
How on earth does your 2007 still look good if you live in Boston? Do you not drive it more than 10 mph in the winter?

Mine looked like crap after 1 winter, maybe 2. And it's definitely pitted/dots (like you would expect from sand), not 'foggy/discolored'.
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      11-03-2014, 01:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borisivan View Post
How on earth does your 2007 still look good if you live in Boston? Do you not drive it more than 10 mph in the winter?

Mine looked like crap after 1 winter, maybe 2. And it's definitely pitted/dots (like you would expect from sand), not 'foggy/discolored'.
Last bumper saw winter only when the roads were clean of snow, but still suffered the wrath of salt.

Earlier this year, I traded for the M-Sport bumper w/Xpel clear bra. She will be parked this winter, very soon in fact.
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      11-04-2014, 12:03 PM   #6
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Living/driving in New England with a 6 year old car, I too had this problem. I found that it is indeed possible to address the issue via the "3M Headlight Restoration Kit". This is a wet-sanding system that really is do-able by the average (non) skilled person.

Once you get past the scary idea of taking sandpaper to your $1000 headlight lenses, you simply follow the package directions. As the instructions repeat endlessly, TAKE YOUR TIME and really do each stage of sanding well. I know, because I took more time on one side than the other, and the side that I spent the most time with definitely looks better...but really, even the (slightly) slacker side is very much improved.

This kit is one of the ones that requires a power drill to do the sanding. The kit provides the sanding disks, the drill attachment to hold the disks, and rubbing compound (for the final wet sanding stage). There are other brands of kits that don't require a drill, but I think they would not work nearly as well. I tried one of those non-drill kits with a previous car - a MINI, which had the same pitting problem and twice as much plastic on the lenses - and it definitely did not work as well as the 3M kit.

Be sure to tape all around the headlights so as to avoid paint damage.

But seriously, when I finished this work - it took about an hour for both headlights (it might have taken 10 minutes longer if I'd worked as hard on both lenses) - the lenses looked almost as good as new.

Google it...there are lots of others out there who have had similar positive experiences.

The kit is widely available at Autozone and similar places...or very inexpensive on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/3M-39008-Headl...+polishing+kit

Good luck!
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      11-05-2014, 01:14 PM   #7
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Thanks!

Sounds like the wet sanding thing gives great results when you take your time, and isn't too difficult. From what I read elsewhere, taking the lights out can make the sanding much easier.

I'm going to do this in March/April, after this years unwanted sandblasting is complete.
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      11-10-2014, 09:13 PM   #8
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jsunma I'm curious how long did your lenses stay clear? the problem I see with wetstanding is you take off the UV protection/clearcoat and the lenses are then much more susceptible to the issue
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      11-11-2014, 09:40 AM   #9
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I had my headlights refinished when I had my bumper respected, and they looked brand new after
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