When we purchased our '92 Civic project a few months ago, the headlights were so dimly lit at night that it was actually scary driving the car. The lights were so gunked up and filled with dirt that cars behind us kept flashing their lights at us thinking our lights were off. Once we bought a set of plastic JDM headlights we decided to not only restore them but also change the bulbs with Sylvania Silverstar bulbs.
There are tons of headlight restoration kits currently sold on the market that you and I have tried at one time or another. The problem is that they include sanding off the OEM UV clearcoat followed by a polishing process. After a few weeks the wax will eventually dry up and revert back to a set of cloudy headlights. Two parts included in the Sylvania kit that we haven't seen in stores before is the (first step) surface activator and the (final step) UV clearcoat. Yep, with this kit you reapply a UV clearcoat barrier just like all factory plastic headlights.
| Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit - Light The Way
| Here, you can see the yellow haze of our plastic headlights.
| Step 1: Spray the headlight with the activator. This removes some of the yellowing and softens the original clearcoat. Then, rinse with water. (We didn’t mask the lights as we had them removed.)
| The liquid pulls the yellowing off the plastic with a few wipes.
| Step 2: Wet-sand the headlight with the supplied 400-grit wet sandpaper. Keep the headlight and sandpaper wet for it to sand properly before rinsing.
| Step 3: Move onto the 1,000-grit wet sandpaper. Keep sanding until your bare fingertips feel a smooth uniform texture on the headlight with no rough spots.
| Step 4: Finish the sanding process with the 2,000-grit paper. You should now see an even white haze on the plastic. All rough and high spots should be sanded down to a nice even finish.
| Step 5: Use the clarifying compound to cut the headlight surface down even finer. To speed things up we used an air sander, but you can sand using your hands just the same before you rinse and dry.
| After polishing, your hazy headlights should look this good. This is where most headlight restoration kits stop.
| The Sylvania headlight restoration kit adds a final UV clearcoat step like on factory OEM headlights for clarity and protection.
| Step 6: Spray on the activator again to remove any remaining dirt, rinse, and then dry. Now simply apply the clearcoat with the pad provided. We had a spray gun handy, so we decided to just spray it on.
| Bam! Look at these beauties.
| That yellow haze is completely gone.
| Taillights are made of a different type of plastic and are much easier to restore.
| Our body shop had a cabinet full of Meguiar’s products. The 105 Professional Ultra Cut Compound made our taillights better than we’ve ever seen them.
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