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Howdy, all. This is a bit of a how-to and a bit of a product review. This is my second headlight restoration kit and I was very happy with how it turned out. Any questions or comments, don't hesitate to ask below.

Tools Needed:

Meguiar's Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit
Microfiber Towel
Drill
Spray bottle OR bucket for water
Glass cleaner
Disposable gloves (highly recommended)

Time required: 1-1.5 hours

All righty, so, here's the kit's contents:



This is upside down, I know.

Kit comes with two sandpaper wheels that velcro on to a sandpaper block, a sponge for the UV coating, a polishing wheel, polishing compound, and the UV coating.
There's probably enough in here for two or three jobs. It did both my headlights without using quite half of the consumables and I was pretty liberal with application.

I first applied some masking tape to each headlight to protect the surroundings. You could probably skip taping off the rubber seals, even though I did. The most abrasive steps are done by hand and there's not much risk of damaging them, I'd say. I would DEFINITELY mask the paint, in any case.



You can see where I taped the rubber seal. It's kind of a pain but it's up to you to tape it or not. I used a library card to get everything nice and sealed up.

Anyways, the first step is the 300 grit sandpaper wheel. Here's the passenger side headlight prior to any treatment:



And here it is after the first round of sanding:



I did a few passes with each wheel. Lot's of water, you can't use too much. I didn't spend half the time with this kit as I did with the first kit I ever used and I would tell anyone else to do the same. Get the major defects out, make sure everything is even, and move on. Most of your money is going to be made with the polishing compound and UV protectant.

After each pass, I'd check to make sure everything was evenly sanded. Anytime I had an uneven spot, I re-sanded the whole light again, focusing on the uneven spot.

Here's the light after the 1000 grit.



You can see where it's still wet towards the bottom, making it look un-sanded.. He whole light should look cloudy/hazy.

Next is the polishing compound. This is where you'll get the most bang for your effort. I did the first good coat with the drill but ended up taking the wheel off and doing of couple of extra passes by hand. The more time you put in here, the better the finished product will be.When in doubt about a certain spot, go back and polish it some more.

Meguiar's calls for a nickel-sized spot of compound on the wheel. I can never keep nickels and dimes straight and, honestly, you'll probably end up using way more for these heckin' chonkers.



That was the first application. Again, don't be afraid to take the wheel off after the first pass and go by hand. I'm sure a lot of work got done with the drill but it's harder to be thorough with it, I think.

If you used a lot of water, your tape is probably starting to come off at this point. I wouldn't sweat it too much, so long as your able to control where the abrasives are going.



Here's the first headlight after just polishing compound. Not bad and you could stop here. You'd definitely be stopping way short of how good they can look. Enter: the UV protectant coating.

This stuff is weird. It's the smaller bottle in the picture of the kit and it has a small pinhole cap for applying to the sponge. On anything but the headlights, it gets very tacky very quickly (paint included); however, on the headlights themselves, it goes on like water, gets tacky very quickly, then just kinda......disappears. There's probably some chemical reaction happening with the hard plastic of the headlight but after 15 minutes, it'll feel like you didn't apply anything at all. It also smells strongly of chlorine.

Anyways, don't panic if it gets on the paint. It will dry but it comes off fairly easy with a microfiber towel. If you haven't been wearing gloves, this is the time to put em' on.

I applied one coat, waited fifteen minutes, wiped with microfiber towel, and applied a second coat. Tomorrow, I'll buff with a microfiber towel for a couple of minutes. Anyways, here's the side-by-side and finished product.


I think the passenger headlight only has one coat of protectant in this shot.


Both headlights, two coats of protectant.

Overall, VERY happy with results. Definitely worth the $25 or whatever it was at Advanced Auto Parts. Came out better than expected. Overall, I'd say I'd go with this kit over the standard 3M kit anytime. If 3M has one that gives you a UV protectant, I'd be very interested to try it.
 

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Hey Remember_Turbonium? !

Nice write-up. Thank you for taking the extra time and effort to take pictures and do the write-up so we can all benefit from your hard work. This is the very kind of thing that makes this community the awesome place that it is.

Thanks again. Much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It was very, very good. I wonder if 3M has a kit with that UV protectant. That seemed to be the biggest difference between the two. I did a Forester XT's headlights with the 3M kit a few years ago and it came out really good but this Meguiar's kit is on another level. Interested to see where it sits in a year or so.
 

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I just clear coated my headlights recently. It would be interesting to see which product lasted longer. Hopefully we both can update our projects in 6mo, 1yr, 2yr, etc til one yellows again eventually. Its a slow race to the finish. :D
 

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I used this kit about 18 months ago and it lasted almost exactly a year before starting to fog a bit. On a recommendation of a friend, I removed the headlights from the car and had a bodyshop professionally polish them and clearcoat the lenses. they look amazing and the shop told me the clearcoat is rated the same as for body paint and should last at least 10 years even if the car was parked outside all the time (which it is not). That being said it cost around 200 Canadian dollars (so around 150 USD) per headlight and I had to remove the headlights, wait a couple weeks, and then reinstall and realign them.

They also recommended paint protection film on the lenses if I winter drive the car, but I don't.
 

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I recommend paint protection film period. My MR2's front end is covered in rock chips and damage from driving in the Bay Area, which has no seasons. When i bought my Lexus I had the front bumper and headlights done in self healing PPF and it looks brand new. The only parts that weren't coated where the chrome bits and they're already pockmarked after 18 months.
 

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I would do it, but many at our local autox club have found that the black/orange 'cone marks' you can get from hitting cones (clumsy clumsy!) are almost impossible to remove from PPF (as opposed to easily being removed from paint), so I don't put it on any of the race cars.

They do a great job of cleaning the gravel here in the spring, so my summer cars tend to stay pretty good. I do have it on our winter car / DD that sees most of the mileage (and all the winter driving).
 

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Yeah the cone rubber almost fuses to the PPF surface in the hot summer. Not an issue if you don't race much - I figure a race day without at least 1 cone hit, I'm not trying hard enough.
 
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