Keeping Headlights Clear

Discussion in 'Bodywork' started by 4 Strings, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. 4 Strings

    4 Strings Member

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    Plastic headlamps. A safety feature?
    I'm sure this may have already been covered somewhere, but is there any way to keep them from going milky?

    My old S210 E240 is blessed with glassy clearness and I'd like to keep them that way. Already 16 years old, they are certainly due a turn.

    Is it just a case of keeping them clean?
     
  2. bob6600

    bob6600 MB Club Veteran

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    Polish them up and then protect them with some lacquer. They will probably fade again over time but a polish once a year is worth the results
     
  3. DSB SL AMG

    DSB SL AMG Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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  4. Londonscottish

    Londonscottish Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I used the Autoglym kit on the OH's Clio. Worked well. S211 next

    http://www.halfords.com/motoring/car-cleaning/car-cleaning-kits/autoglym-headlight-restoration-complete-kit?cm_mmc=Google+PLA-_-Car+Cleaning-_-Car+Cleaning+Kits-_-179824&_$ja=tsid:60494%7Ccgn:GoogleShopping%7Ckw:179824&istCompanyId=b8708c57-7a02-4cf6-b2c0-dc36b54a327e&istItemId=mmtxttxam&istBid=tztx&_$ja=tsid:35522|cid:344535484|agid:25437357604|tid:aud-80976661549:pla-209598380884|crid:89797548604|nw:g|rnd:6241570994206118079|dvc:c|adp:1o1&***id=CjwKEAjwy6O7BRDzm-Tdub6ZiSASJADPNzYrVD45hrqQUsHqnrYS0xUAOoYCF-3AznmMeETUH9hw5RoCKMDw_wcB
     
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  5. jotter22

    jotter22 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Looks like a comprehensive kit better than the megs one will look at this at the weekend. (Just a bit of a coward with the fear of destroying the lenses all together)

    Tony.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    4 Strings

    4 Strings Member

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    Thanks, currently doesn't need restoration, just don't mind a bit of work keeping them that way!

    Does the plastic oxidise, hence the bloom?
     
  7. Pondman

    Pondman Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    In answer to your Q, yes it is deteriation due to uv damage and heat. Just like any plastic left outside it will fade and get brittle eventually :(

    Try to keep the car out of direct sunlight if possible and protect them with a uv protecting paintwork sealant.

    I have used a Dual Action machine polisher on a couple of vehicle headlights now, very effective with a fine bodywork finishing polish. It takes the damaged layer of plastic off and back to a new finish. But, best to protect/seal directly afterwards to slow future deterioration. The kits mentioned do exactly the same thing only manually.

    Hope this helps?
     
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  8. OP
    OP
    4 Strings

    4 Strings Member

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    Yep, perhaps mine has spent much of it's life garaged and so survived so well (and why there's so much variance in how these have survived).

    Well, it's outside now, some of that uv protecting paintwork sealant required.

    Is the plastic a safety thing or did MB go cheap?
     
  9. Pondman

    Pondman Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Rules and regs of safty in the automotive industry :rolleyes:
     
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  10. vijilants

    vijilants Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I used the Megs kit on my son's Yaris which as the plastic type of headlamps.

    I just used the kit but didn't spray any top coat. At the time the results were fantastic, however within a year they looked worse than ever.

    I think you need to spray a top coat to make the thing last.
     
  11. Jane270ML

    Jane270ML Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Meguiars and Upol Clear #1 Lacquer (use out of direct sunlight, mask around headlight and spray lacquer from a good distance or you'll get 'orange peel' look).
     
  12. Londonscottish

    Londonscottish Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Don't worry about the lenses - all you're doing is taking them back a few microns.

    I liked the Autoglym kit as it takes through 3 or 4 grades of wet and dry and then the polishing compound. Easy.

    As others have suggested, though, maybe worth sealing them afterwords.

    Or failing that polishing them occasionally maybe?
     
  13. ali84uk

    ali84uk New Member

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    Toothpaste works a treat ! ...look it up ;)
     
  14. Pondman

    Pondman Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Yeah, and if you get your wheel washing brush and give the grill the once over with toothpaste too your MB will have minty breath ;)
     
  15. malphadour

    malphadour Member

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    I've just done a full polish and seal on my lights - will be posting it pics later hopefully.

    The 3M polishing kit is about £15 to £20, and the sealant is about £8 - so not a lot of money.

    You need to give your self 1 to 2 hours MAX - my lights were terrible (MOT failure even with super bright bulbs fitted bad) and it took me just over an hour to do both sides.

    You need a low power mains drill or decent battery drill, something to spray water and I recommend a small stool to sit on to save your back!

    It really is a simple job - just needs a little bit of patience and follow the process. You can't mess it up unless you are a ham fisted buffoon.

    Once you have done the polishing it is essential that you do apply a sealant - these are usually cloth applied - its almost the same routine as waxing your car - apply sealant -leave for 5 minutes and wipe off. Then repeat.

    Without the sealant the plastic will yellow very quickly due to UV.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
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  16. bob6600

    bob6600 MB Club Veteran

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    Out of interest, which sealant did you use?
     
  17. PatMorgan

    PatMorgan New Member

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    1200 wet n dry, 2000 wet n dry, G3 cutting compound, Top coat cutting/polishing compound and finally resin polish/sealer. Takes about 1/2 Hr to allow some drying. Wet and dry needs loads of water, don't let it cut dry! Mine were borderline MOT failure and the MOT man suggested G3-which was handy as I had some. Compound will NOT work by itself-you must remover the yellow/faded areas and only wet n dry will do that. I didn't use a drill/polisher as didn't want to slip and mark the paint. Fold the wet n dry to a small area that is smaller than you hand and you will be able to guide is circular motion.
     
  18. Gazwould

    Gazwould Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I've always been confused by this subject as I think it's the UV coating that oxidises !

    Totally removed poor condition starting with 600 , didn't seal , apply any product and it didn't come back , 5 years now .

    If you don't totally remove UV coat it will come back , be brave , you're not going to sand through that thick plastic .

    After all the rear lights don't have the coating and aren't affected and they're more in the sun.
     
  19. Edd1968

    Edd1968 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    As part of my business valeting business I offer headlight restoration.
    I tend to use the 3M restoration kit as it's fast and very easy to use.
    These were mine and Mrs Edd1968's CLK headlights before and after. Then I use 9h ceramic coating to protect them.
    IMG_20190210_080903.jpg IMG_20190210_080918.jpg IMG_20190210_081146.jpg IMG_20190210_081134.jpg
     
  20. Will

    Will MB Club Veteran

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    I have to agree, I’ve done a few sets now over the years (Clio, 911, Mercedes) have never used any coating and never had any issues.

    I think the coating may have originally been applied to protect the softer plastic lenses from swirls and scratches etc?

    My logic without coating them is once the hard part is done (stripping off the weathered coating) if the plastic lenses ever needed a quick polish it would take all of 5 minutes to do without any coating to remove first :cool:

    Have never needed to though!
     

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