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Old 05-26-2012, 09:59 AM   #1
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What's best for buffing headlights?


Car headlights tend to get hazy over time. I have hand sanded then buffed mine using a 1/3hp bench unit with a buffing wheel. Some headlights, however, are not easily removed. What is the least expensive alternative for buffing using a corded hand drill?

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Old 05-26-2012, 11:53 AM   #2
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What's best for buffing headlights?


I've seen headlight buffing kits at auto stores. Some are even meant to atttach onto a drill, but are more expensive than the hand kits. $7 or $8 all the way up to near $30, for the drill one.

Never used them though. Let me know what you do and how it works.

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Old 05-26-2012, 12:34 PM   #3
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What's best for buffing headlights?


My wife recently used the hand powered Turtle Wax kit. Easy enough to use. Results looked great. A year later, the lenses are starting to look a little cloudy again. Most of the pros use a ball that chucks up in a cordless drill. Don't spin it too fast or push too hard, or you can burn the lens. Any parts store will have several versions in stock and on display.
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Old 05-26-2012, 03:33 PM   #4
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What's best for buffing headlights?


I had an assembly (high, low, signal and driving lights) that popped a seal and clouded (1999 Jimmy). I bought a new assembly on line for about $50.00 complete with bulbs). Now it looks so much better, I am going to replace the other side.

The bulbs (high and low) are not as bright as the new original ones, but close.

I had the box in my car when getting an oil change and the mechanic put it in about 2 minutes and was ashamed to charge for the installation. He then asked why I went to the internet when I could have gone 4 blocks the street to buy the same product from the same country.

I know there is a difference between inside and out of lenses, but an old assembly may have a limited life even after polishing. I am just witing for rock chip on my windshield with with 170,000 miles of exposure to improve my visibility.

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Old 06-18-2012, 11:02 PM   #5
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What's best for buffing headlights?


I use Mother's Mag wheel polish followed up with 303 protectant. If you use the 303 from the start you will never have a problem. My daughter's Explorer is 10 years old and the lenses are like new.
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:17 AM   #6
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What's best for buffing headlights?


303 is great stuff, but not all lenses are made equal. Our 2000 Buick had nothing applied to the lenses, and they looked new after seven years before we traded it, where as my daughter's 03 Pontiac is very cloudy. Every year I have to clean them up with some car cleaner wax, and then put 303 on. Maybe the protective coating was already gone before we started using 303. I still just think it is the quality of the plastic. Love that 303 on tires.
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:50 AM   #7
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What's best for buffing headlights?


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303 is great stuff, but not all lenses are made equal. Our 2000 Buick had nothing applied to the lenses, and they looked new after seven years before we traded it, where as my daughter's 03 Pontiac is very cloudy. Every year I have to clean them up with some car cleaner wax, and then put 303 on. Maybe the protective coating was already gone before we started using 303. I still just think it is the quality of the plastic. Love that 303 on tires.
Strange isn't it? Both vehicles mfg by GM.
303 is also good on the dashboard, plastic trim and leather seats. I'm restoring a 20 year old Class C motorhome and it really brought the interior of the E-350 cab back to life. It is great stuff.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:09 AM   #8
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What's best for buffing headlights?


I tried the Mother's kit on my 98 GMC Sierra, but I think they were too far gone, it didn't work worth a crap. I was using a cordless drill, however, maybe I'll try it again with a corded one. I even followed the directions to the letter (I rarely do that) with the sandpaper and everything.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:50 AM   #9
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What's best for buffing headlights?


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I tried the Mother's kit on my 98 GMC Sierra, but I think they were too far gone, it didn't work worth a crap. I was using a cordless drill, however, maybe I'll try it again with a corded one. I even followed the directions to the letter (I rarely do that) with the sandpaper and everything.
I didn't get a kit, just used the Mag and Aluminum polish with a microfiber cloth. Here's a picture of the '99 Silo headlight when I did part of it.

I hope the picture isn't too big. I'm a newbie.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:25 PM   #10
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What's best for buffing headlights?


I am a mechanic and we use a bg product that is really simple. Its 500 grit 1000 grit and then 2000 grit i use water as lube and clean and let dry then use a clearcoat of any kind. I apply it to a foam brush and apply opposed to spray so i dont have to mask the front of the car and its way easier do this while the essemblies are still in the car. Hope this helps. The drill ones are relying on the drill or air drill to create enough heat to smooth over the lense but you would still have to use a clearcoat of some sort.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:59 PM   #11
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What's best for buffing headlights?


I followed up with 303 Protectant but don't think it lasts too long. I should apply the 303 more often.
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:22 PM   #12
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What's best for buffing headlights?


On my wife's 2004 Santa Fe, I wet-sanded the lights using some high grit paper (don't recall how high). Then went after the headlights with my PC random orbital and a Meguires 105 and 205 compounds on a pretty-aggressive pad. Looks like new.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:02 PM   #13
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What's best for buffing headlights?


I just called Alliance Auto Body Parts around the corner, after calling a guy on Craigslist for some new headlights.

Craigslist upgraded lights (aftermarket) : $120 for a pair.

Alliance upgraded aftermarket headlights: $40 a piece new.
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:41 PM   #14
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What's best for buffing headlights?


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Strange isn't it? Both vehicles mfg by GM.
Dont worry GM is not alone here- Honda and even Mercedes. Look like cataracts.......
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:59 PM   #15
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What's best for buffing headlights?


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Strange isn't it? Both vehicles mfg by GM.
Yes, but different years, different line, and probably a different supplier.

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