cleaning car headlights


We've got about 210,000mi on the car at the moment, and the clear plastic lenses for the headlights are getting decidedly yellowed/murky after so long - they're getting to the point where taping candles to the front of the vehicle might be more effective ;)
I keep seeing ads for some sort of restorative polish stuff (which may well be snake oil) - but it got me wondering if a DIY concoction might be worth a try - e.g. I've found in the past that combinations of toothpaste and baking powder work very well for removing scratches from CDs, for instance, but I wondered if anyone can recommend any other home remedies? :-)
cheers
Jules
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Brasso used to be recommended for cleaning cloudly plastic windows in flexible soft tops on convertibles. Might be worth a shot.
Tim
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If its actually gone yellow though its probably UV damage.
Brian
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On 20/10/2011 18:00, Jules Richardson wrote:

I have had good results sanding with wet and dry paper followed by a machine polish with a Dual Action type machine.
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David


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Surely that only works on glass, not plastic?
Brian
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Brian Gaff wrote:

You can polish plastics OK too.
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Jules Richardson wrote:

Problem is jules, that the yellowing may actually be in the body of the plastic itself. Due to UV degradation.
Expect to have to buy new lenses, but try a bit of T-cut on the old ones first
e.g.
http://www.autogeek.net/3mperllrubco.html
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On Thu, 20 Oct 2011 19:11:01 +0100, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Yes, I suspect so - but it's a question of whether it's a thin layer on top (which it might be possible to polish out) or if it goes deeper.
(I actually wonder if the restorative stuff is just a polish, or if it's something along the lines of that retrobright stuff which claims to tackle UV-damaged plastics)

Hmm, I don't think I have any t-cut, but I do have various other odds and sods with different abrasive properties, so maybe it's just a case of experimenting a bit :-)
Replacing the lenses is a definite possiblity, atlhough they might be "too expensive" for a vehicle that's travelled considerably past one light-second ;-) (but maybe I can find ones in a junk yard that are better - our car's spent much of its life ungaraged too, on top of the high number of miles)
cheers
J.
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On Thu, 20 Oct 2011 17:00:41 +0000 (UTC)

When I was in the US, the stuff you want was regularly advertised on TV, made by a well-known company. I'll try to find out what it was called.
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On Thu, 20 Oct 2011 19:41:46 +0100, Davey wrote:

Yep, they advertise it all the time, although it's one of those "but wait! Get another can free!" type of TV deals that smacks of taking months for delivery and then turning out to be total crap :-)
(my favourite of those at the moment is that flexi-seal "rubber in a can" stuff, where they cover a screen door mounted into the bottom of a boat with the stuff - they don't say how many billion cans they used doing that, and I noticed that delivery time is a whole 6 months)
cheers
Jules
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On Thu, 20 Oct 2011 19:21:49 +0000 (UTC)

Could well be, I never needed it, so have no personal knowledge of it. Oh well.
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On 20/10/2011 23:02, Davey wrote:

Could it be Meguiars PlastX?
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With a 1000% markup...
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On Thu, 20 Oct 2011 23:27:33 +0100, gremlin_95 wrote:

Ahh, brain finally engaged - Fast Brite is the stuff I keep seeing advertised (but probably different to what Davey remembers - it doesn't seem to be made by any "well known company").
Some further googling seems to suggest that it's generally regarded as a load of bollocks :-)
cheers
J.
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On Thu, 20 Oct 2011 23:27:33 +0100

I don't think so. I seem to think it was Simonize.
But try this, from 3M, which is quite a large company. http://3mcollision.com/how-to/detailing-department
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After serious thinking Jules Richardson wrote :

If you wet them and the murk improves, then all they need is a mildly abrasive polish - Brasso, T-cut, Autosol or any similar mild abrasive will work fine.
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Harry (M1BYT) (L)
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A Mondeo perchance?
It's because the wrong bulbs have been fitted, you need the 'proper' Ford ones which don't emit UV, which causes the plastic to yellow.
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Surely you are likely to get more UV from sunlight than driving with the lights on?
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You would have thought so. Perhaps there's a UV-filter coating on the front of the lenses, but not the rear.
I do know, though, that the main cause of yellowed headlight lenses on Mundanos is due to using the wrong bulbs.
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What was so special about either the Mondeo bulbs or headlights?
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