Add one more thing to products which no longer last...
My 1996 car has plastic headlights and these "yellow" with age so you can
barely see at night! I thought I was going night blind...
Anyway in the past headlights were glass and you would just replace the
light when it went out. Now you need to get a "headlight restorer" product
which attaches to your drill and you "sand off" the yellowed surface of the
plastic, then buff the scratches out with finer and finer sandpaper. Then
the lens is clear again and you can see at night!
I'm spending all my time "fixing" things like this lately!
On Fri, 6 Mar 2009 08:08:40 -0800 (PST), Limp Arbor
Yea those fancy lights demanded by the designers are a real
step down. With the sealed beams you could buy an new light for a few
dollars, use a screwdriver to install it in a couple of minutes and it
was as good as new. Now ........
Why did you let the designers convince the regulators to allow
this? OK I know about the false argument of lower profile lights
allow better lighting, but if you look at cars today, few are taking
advantage of that possibility. It is time to re-establish the old
In my state, 6% of accidents are attributed to bad road conditions (road
out, sudden sinkholes, etc.), 6% to mechanical malfunction (brake failure,
blowouts, etc.) and the remainder to driver error.
With about 14 million vehicles in my state, at about $40 per pop for a
safety inspection each year, that's $560 million to keep the accident rate
down to 6%. Maybe if we let the accident rate due to mechanical malfunction
double, we could use the money to cut in half the driver-error rate.
The only cars I have noticed that on are those of US manufacturers. I
had to clean up the cheap plastic lenses in order to see at night on a
car that I later sold. It was really only a temporary fix. Other
manufacturers seem to use a quality polycarbonate that doesn't yellow.
You can see the same thing on other items. A common one is big box
quality fluorescent fixtures that have a lens or diffuser. A quality
polycarbonate diffuser will still look good after 20 years of use.
They "yellow" due to exposure to ultraviolet light, and, if you'll
notice, you don't see these plastic lenses so often cracked, broken,
or with "BB holes" in them.
My '96 headlights look like brand new, because it has always been
Only if you can't ID the 25 cents worth of material contained in your
first one. A sliver of 600 grit and a mouthful of buffing compound
will do the job nicely. The "sealer" is completely unnecessary.
A body shop might provide these for a 6 pack, or five bucks. If you
offered $10, you'd still be $10 ahead.
And, the lenses are better (and easily) buffed out by hand.
Carefully, if you don't want to scratch your paint. A little masking
tape will help with that.
On Fri, 06 Mar 2009 13:03:19 -0800, Eric in North TX wrote:
Fogging and yellowing of plastic headlight lenses is not restricted to
American made autos. They all do it and all had more problems with it
earlier than they do on newer models. The UV protective coatings have
gotten better is the only difference.
I've been looking for a used Ford Ranger. I had my eye on an '04 but then I
saw the $500 '87 had regular replacable headlights and now I'm thinking it
might be worth the paint job, new engine and transmission, chassis work, new
upholstery, and many hours fixing all the little things that don't work just
to get the old headlights. I think I'll keep my '78 Ford truck too. It has
round headlights. They don't even cost very much.
I don't know but it is possible they are polycarbonate. A good quality
polycarbonate is clear and hard and looks a lot like glass. From what I
can tell the US manufacturers choose to use a cheap quality acrylic
instead of a polycarbonate. A good quality polycarbonate will not yellow
under such use.
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