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Can I Fix a Scratched Headlight Glass?

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Old 09-10-08, 02:45 AM   #1
LS600guy
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Default Can I Fix a Scratched Headlight Glass?

Last week I cleaned my LS600 and noticed some irregular scratches in a small section of the headlight glass. So I got out my Mother's Chrome Polish - which normally works wonders on windscreen glass - and to my annoyance it didn't remove the scratches, but fogged the area slightly. The good thing is that it's not that noticeable anyway to a casual glance, but it is to me.

Looks like the headlight is not glass, but some clever plastic derivative. Anyone know a way to get my glass back to new? I've heard that a new unit is around $7,000 per headlight, and I certainly don't want to go down that route.

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Old 09-10-08, 03:00 AM   #2
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The clear cover on your headlight is a Polycarbonate or similar material and while it is scratch resistant, it cannot withstand blowing sand, or other debris that impact its surface at high speeds. There are treatment/polishes that can remove and restore the finish to a like-new condition. If you search here or other like car care boards, you'll get lots of info on these products and their application. Alas, it is a methodical and time consuming process which tends to intimidate the average owner, so many turn to experienced body shops who are generally familiar with this process.
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Old 09-10-08, 08:47 AM   #3
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McGuire's makes a plastic polish designed for plastic windows or for boat or convertible plastic windows. I think that is your best bet in bringing that back. It's sold at most automotive stores and boat stores. Once you remove that scratch resistant coating (same on motorcycle shields) that area will be soft or will fade or scratch easily.

I highly recommend when your done to have a 3M shield put over the lens. I have than on my car and it works great. What I actually did was to put a clear 3M shield over the front end of the car, you can barley see it. The Lexus water based paint is also very soft and will start chipping. my paint started to chip last winter from one winter storm were they put salt on the road. The salt chipped the heck out of my paint one just one time an an 2 hour drive on the hwy.
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Old 09-10-08, 02:17 PM   #4
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LS600Guy, where have you been? Headlight lenses haven't been made out of glass for at least 20 years, maybe longer.

If you use Mother's Scratch Remover (although I prefer the Harley Davidson Scratch & Swirl Treatment better) that will take it out unless the scratches are real deep. For very fine scratches the Zaino version is good.
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Old 09-10-08, 08:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info.

I already have Meguiar's plastic polish for my Mercedes soft top windows, but this hasn't worked either.

Sadly there is no-one in my city who can work to my standards. I've polished my cars for years with my dual action orbital polisher and got exceptional results. But when I put my Lexus out to someone who appeared to know what they were doing, I got a body full of holographic polisher swirls. DIY seems to be the answer!
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Old 09-10-08, 08:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LS600guy View Post
Thanks for the info.

I already have Meguiar's plastic polish for my Mercedes soft top windows, but this hasn't worked either.

Sadly there is no-one in my city who can work to my standards. I've polished my cars for years with my dual action orbital polisher and got exceptional results. But when I put my Lexus out to someone who appeared to know what they were doing, I got a body full of holographic polisher swirls. DIY seems to be the answer!
I apologize if I'm not allowed to post other websites here, but http://www.autopia.org is a community of detailers all over the world. You may be able to find one in your neck of the woods. They also have plenty of useful info on how to remove scratches and such.
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Old 09-10-08, 08:21 PM   #7
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i bought my is300 wreck and my fog lights were messed up bad . i wet sanded them 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000 and used that McGuire's polish to buff them out with a high speed buffer and it came out real nice for a 2001 those lights look bad *** compared to how they looked so i cleaned all my lights up like this it looks real nice
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Old 09-10-08, 08:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimapb View Post
I apologize if I'm not allowed to post other websites here, but http://www.autopia.org is a community of detailers all over the world. You may be able to find one in your neck of the woods. They also have plenty of useful info on how to remove scratches and such.
Thanks, I've been a member for years, but haven't posted for a while. I should take a look.

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Old 09-11-08, 05:59 AM   #9
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I've had to polish / wet sand the headlights on multiple Lexuses over the years.

If it's deep scratches, you'll have to start with wet sanding 1000 / 1500 / 2000 / 2500 / 3000 grit sandpaper (sometimes hard to find the finer papers), then polishing in multiple steps, eventually finishing with PlastX. When completed, they can look ALMOST as good as new.

Don't forget to tape up the surrounding painted areas of the car.

It's doable and worthwhile, but does take time and effort.

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/show...lights+Scratch

In fact, I need to do this again for my LS430. Think I'll take some pictures with a tripod and macro lens this time for my own edification.
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Old 10-28-13, 02:22 AM   #10
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Default How to repair/restore any glass headlight from scratches

ITEMS NEEDED:
Power or Battery Operated Drill (Max1600rpm)
Couple of clean plastic bowls/buckets
Spray Bottle of Water
Clean lint free cloths
3" polishing felt wheel (Harbor Freight or Automotive Store)
Cerium Oxide-Powder Only comes in 8oz - 55gal drums (Purchase from Autoglass companies)

PROCEDURE
• First for best results you should do this work in a shaded area or in a garage so long as you’re out of direct sunlight.
• Make sure the glass headlight has been cleaned and after it has been cleaned make sure you dampen it again and leave it this way.
* In the meantime place your felt polishing wheel into a small bowl/bucket of water to allow it to soak while you make your mixture in a separate bowl/bucket.
• Place about two tablespoons of the cerium oxide into a plastic mixing bowl/bucket and add a small splash of water.
• Use a small rod or stick to stir the mixture until the powder dissolves in the water. You’ll want to end up with a slurry that’s about the consistency of heavy cream. Keep stirring and adding small amounts of water until you reach the right consistency, which you can check with your finger. (If you put too much water then it will not become a thick cream so you’ll have to add another small amount of the powder to thicken it up again).
• Check your felt polishing wheel. You want it damp, but not dripping wet.
• Attach the wheel to your electric or cordless drill and dip it lightly into the polishing slurry. Then before you turn on your tool, first rub the cream onto the entire glass headlight to avoid any splatter. Then turn on your tool.
• Buff the scratched area, starting slowly at first, then increasing the speed. Keep the felt polishing wheel moving from side to side at all times and use moderate pressure. Eventually, a dry film will form over the scratched area as you work. Stop buffing before the film is completely dry.
CAUTION:
• When the slurry is almost dry, be careful. Buffing dry glass can overheat it and it could crack. So don’t overdo it. Always be sure the surface is sufficiently damp when you are working on it.
• When the slurry is dry, just wipe it off.
• You can repeat the process if any scratches or stains are still visible.
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Old 10-28-13, 07:27 AM   #11
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sand... polish... seal...
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Old 10-29-13, 12:00 PM   #12
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2008 called - it wants its thread back.

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Old 11-02-13, 10:27 AM   #13
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Because they actually sand down the surface of the headlight and then sand it back to a high gloss I expect the mobile cloudy lens repair businesses would remedy this unless the scratch is very deep. When I had my foggy lenses done on my old car it was $50 or $60 in the DC area. They typically schedule to come to your house or business so it is super convenient. Search for a reputable business in your area, the kits don't work so well and for the cost you can't beat this solution if you are able to locate a reputable company in your area.
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Old 11-08-13, 05:47 PM   #14
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i had my body shop scuff & sand my scratches(the entire lens).. and as an added measure i had the clearcoat them and then wetsand, buff an polish them....car clear is super durable.. i did this to my gs300 (which i had 10 yrs...) an had no issues after painting.. i did these over 2yrs ago an they look showroom fresh...

about $75 per lens....what a deal!!!
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Old 11-08-13, 05:47 PM
 
 
 
 
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autopia, cleaned, deep, fix, glass, gs300, headlight, headlights, maguire, mercedes, plastic, polish, sanding, scratch, scratched, wet

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