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I know the prescribed method for rejuvenating dull plastic headlights is to use 50 different grades of sandpaper, wet and dry paper, cutting compound with a mains-powered machine polisher and 20 different kinds of resin polish, but...

 

...  I couldn't be arsed with all that. :lol:

 

As a shortcut, I purchased myself a bottle of Meguiars PlastX clear plastic polish, which promises to bring dull old headlights back to life.  I got it from Amazon (link below), no issues.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0000AY3SR

 

71hIyEv3zfL._SL400_.jpg

 

This really is the lazy man's headlight restoration - all I did was apply the PlastX using my cheapy 12v Halfords electric polisher, buffed it up by hand with a microfibre cloth, and gave the lights a smear of Collinite 476S wax, in the hope of a longer-lasting shine.

 

I thought I'd do the obligatory "before and after" pictures, to show how it went.

 

Nearside headlight before polishing

 

IMG-20130803-00126_zps9e9f1de5.jpg

 

Offside light before polishing

 

IMG-20130803-00127_zps56bad1a0.jpg

 

Nearside headlight after polishing

 

IMG-20130803-00128_zps0b782f19.jpg

 

Offside light after polishing

 

IMG-20130803-00129_zpsae4895df.jpg

 

As you can see, the end result isn't 100% perfection, but I'd say it's about 80%.  I think I'd have to go down the sandpaper/cutting compound/mains polisher/faff route for the final 20%.

 

But, given the condition of the rest of the car's front end (yes, that is 156,000 miles worth of stone chips you can see in the pictures), 80% is good enough for me. ;)

 

So, in summary, it's possible to get decent(ish) results with a bottle of PlastX and 30 minutes of time.

Edited by Morgan528i

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Trick of the Trade is Brasso...the wadding type you get in that little old fashion tin...works amazingly well !

 

Good results with the Meguiars though, well done.

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Trick of the Trade is Brasso...the wadding type you get in that little old fashion tin...works amazingly well !

 

Good results with the Meguiars though, well done.

 

Funnily enough, I tried Brasso polish wadding on my previous set of (MoT-fail) headlights, but it didn't have much of an effect. :(  I knew I had to bite the bullet and replace them, so when a forum member came up with a set of pre-facelift clear corner xenons from an M5, I chewed his arm off. :lol:

 

Poor results with Brasso is why I bought the PlastX, otherwise I would have stuck with the Brasso. :)

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Raymond reckons toothpaste is the thing. He didn't say which brand. Probably the ones that claim to whiten your teeth. ( or wear the enamel off them ) Haven't tried it yet, so can't comment.

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Raymond reckons toothpaste is the thing. He didn't say which brand. Probably the ones that claim to whiten your teeth. ( or wear the enamel off them ) Haven't tried it yet, so can't comment.

 

I can imagine toothpaste with an abrasive element (or "bits" in) would be quite effective.

As to which brand is the best for that, Raymond would be your man. :lol:

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I've got the 3M restoration kit to use. Any recommended sealant to use afterwards?

 

I just used my usual bodywork wax on the lights, once the work had been done.

 

For reference, that's Collinite 476S.  That was 2 weeks ago, and the lenses still look good. :)

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One done, I'll do the other tomorrow, took longer than I thought and sore knees all round-

 


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IMG_20130820_175141_zps74ab5950.jpg

 

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Not absolutely 100% (only because of a couple of chips and a couple of small spots that I could have sanded more, only noticeable if you look really closely though) but infinitely better. The way they were really ruins the whole appearance of the car.

Edited by DirtyHarry88

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Great video. Liked the advice about alternate left right, up down motion. Makes perfect sense when explained, but never occurred to me. I would have been going at it in circles.

Good results by OP too. My attempts have been poor so far with a cutting kit - T-cut I think.

Think I may have the guts to go for it with the 'professional approach' at some point. Need to get the right equipment sorted - those pads with the Velcro look handy.

A mate has a machine polisher - never used one myself.

Questions:

- How easy is it to overdo it with a machine polisher and damage/burn the plastic?. This makes me nervous. More than the taking of sandpaper to the lens in the first place.

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Can't you just replace the lenses on the OEM Hella Headlights like the E46 people do?

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Has anyone done this as in the vid yet and know a good source for the wet and dry?

I'm going to give it a go and want to buy some applicators and pads. All I can find on eBay seem to be tiny 35mm or thereabouts. Looking for 320, 500, 1000, 3000 - struggling to find all in one place.

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