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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, on a lark, I picked up a 3M Headlight Lens Renewal kit - the one that you use with a power drill. I had used a Rain-X kit last year, with OK but not amazing results. I used the 3M kit this afternoon, and was impressed with the results, how little time and effort it took, and how nicely put together the kit was. I know others here have positively reviewed the 3M kit.

I had some of the sealant left over from the Rain-X kit, so I threw that on when I was done for good measure. This raises the question, 'Is there some kind of sealant I should be using?'. Meguires makes one, I think Rain-x sells stuff called Plastic-X, and there are a few others. Folks in the BMW forums talk about using diluted polyurethane for a more permanent solution, though they don't seem to report long-term results.

Any thoughts on this issue? I have plenty of stuff left in my kit, so no big deal if I have to do it again every year, but if there was a product that would keep them looking good a bit longer I'd like to know about it.

I also read about the various plastic films you can apply - that seems great, but they're way overpriced for what they are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Here's a follow up - I decided 'What the heck!' and went ahead and tried the Spar Urethane treatment.

Background - I used a manual kit last year with so-so results, shown in this post: http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2001154&postcount=8

After a year, even this modest improvement was eroding, so I went ahead and bought the 3m kit that works with a drill. The headlights were much better, but I was wondering about how/whether to seal. I found the recipe for spar urethane in another forum.

Since I had leftover 3M supplies and very bad foglights, I decided to give the whole procedure a try. It seems to have come out pretty well. Here's what you need...



Spar Urethane (I used oil based, which is a little hard to find - The idea is that this stuff is made for the outdoors and has UV blockers in it.)
Mineral Spirits
A brush or foam pad. In the forum above they recommend a blue shop towel, but I wanted more control.


After polishing up the lenses, you mix the spirits/urethane 50/50. It will be very thin. You gently paint it on after cleaning the lights with mineral spirits. The stuff is very thin, so ridges and bumps weren't much of a problem. I applied a second coat for good measure after a few hours. Masking is important, since the stuff will drip easily.

Here is the before from one of my fog lights:





Here's the finished product (the stuff you see is mostly inside! - oh, and remember this is after polishing with the 3M kit AND the urethane):



I'll follow up on how well this stuff holds up. But it's cheap and easy (assuming you were gonna polish up your lights anyhow), so even if it's not a once and for all solution, I decided it was worth a shot. Since I was there, I went ahead and gave the headlights another quick buff and applied it to them, too.
 

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Today, on a lark, I picked up a 3M Headlight Lens Renewal kit - the one that you use with a power drill. I had used a Rain-X kit last year, with OK but not amazing results. I used the 3M kit this afternoon, and was impressed with the results, how little time and effort it took, and how nicely put together the kit was. I know others here have positively reviewed the 3M kit.

I had some of the sealant left over from the Rain-X kit, so I threw that on when I was done for good measure. This raises the question, 'Is there some kind of sealant I should be using?'. Meguires makes one, I think Rain-x sells stuff called Plastic-X, and there are a few others. Folks in the BMW forums talk about using diluted polyurethane for a more permanent solution, though they don't seem to report long-term results.

Any thoughts on this issue? I have plenty of stuff left in my kit, so no big deal if I have to do it again every year, but if there was a product that would keep them looking good a bit longer I'd like to know about it.

I also read about the various plastic films you can apply - that seems great, but they're way overpriced for what they are.
Hope that polyurethane trick works but regarding the plastic film, here is my input. When we got a new Honda CRV back in 2004. The first thing I did was get some film from XPEL Headlight protection. Company is still around. There are others out there but XPEL is the one I used. Headlights on that CRV are still crystal clear after 8 years and 165K miles. I just saw another CRV in a parking lot tonight and it's lights were in terrible shape. Yellow'ed and clouded. Based on this observation, the films must have some UV blocking ability or something. They obviously protect against chips. All I know is that it was a good $45 investment 8 yrs ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When we got a new Honda CRV back in 2004. The first thing I did was get some film from XPEL Headlight protection. ...
I'm curious, how do these look on the car? Can you see them at all once they're installed? How do the edges look?

If I had a new car, I'd probably think seriously about a set. I've probably spent about a hundred bucks over the years cleaning and sanding mine.
 

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I'm curious, how do these look on the car? Can you see them at all once they're installed? How do the edges look?

If I had a new car, I'd probably think seriously about a set. I've probably spent about a hundred bucks over the years cleaning and sanding mine.
The film, although about a 1/16 or an inch thick, is not noticeable. Don't worry, no 4-eyes look or anything. I understand that most of our Saabs are not new and it's better to just 3M them every 2 years. After I did the 3M kit on my Saab lights, I just keep using some of that Meguiar’s PlastiX on them, says it offers some scratch protection and helps against chemical degradation. Some good wax helps as well IMO.
 

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I used Meguiars Headlight Renewal on my first Saab, cleaned it up a good bit but they were still foggy. When I got my second, the guy had bought brand new TYC headlights because his were foggy as crap. Gave me the old ones, and they were actually oxidized from the inside. The only thing I can think of would be air and moisture slowly getting in there over time thru the boots that cover the bulbs.
 

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The film, although about a 1/16 or an inch thick, is not noticeable. Don't worry, no 4-eyes look or anything. I understand that most of our Saabs are not new and it's better to just 3M them every 2 years. After I did the 3M kit on my Saab lights, I just keep using some of that Meguiar’s PlastiX on them, says it offers some scratch protection and helps against chemical degradation. Some good wax helps as well IMO.
Meguiars works wonders btw...used it on my buddy's 91 300zx and made the heads and tails look brand new
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The only thing I can think of would be air and moisture slowly getting in there over time thru the boots that cover the bulbs.
Yeah, I think someone must have left the cap off one of mine for a while - Now that my lenses are more clear I can see that there are a few dead bugs and a tiny spider web inside. I'm debating whether I feel like taking off the bumper and baking the lights apart. I'm leaning towards not since even with some haze inside I have twice the light I'm used to. And I'm not sure how the poly would handle oven heat.
 

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Yeah, I think someone must have left the cap off one of mine for a while - Now that my lenses are more clear I can see that there are a few dead bugs and a tiny spider web inside. I'm debating whether I feel like taking off the bumper and baking the lights apart. I'm leaning towards not since even with some haze inside I have twice the light I'm used to. And I'm not sure how the poly would handle oven heat.
They can handle the heat just fine, although they are a pain to separate. The only reason I was opening them was to paint the housing black as a fun set for a backup, but I couldnt get it open, and just gave up lol I had to install my dp and fmic so.I didnt want dick.with it anymore. But having clean headlights changes the front end entirely, not even mentioning how much safer it is.
 
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