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Old 04-15-2012, 10:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Sylvania headlight restoration kit

not paintball content, obviously

My daily grinder appliance car is an '03 Ford Focus. Boring and reliable, has 120k miles on it. The headlights were, of course, starting to really show those years and miles

I heard good things about the Sylvania headlight restoration kit, so I snagged one from amazon.com

Amazon.com: Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit: Automotive

well, it plus about 45mins of sweat equity produced some great results today. On to the before and after pics

Before:





as you can see, yellowed and nasty looking from the years and the mileage.

After:





All I can say is "wow." The results were much better than I anticipated. Frankly, the after pics do not really do justice to the improvement. They are as close to new as possible, IMO. The directions were easy to follow, the process was not really time consuming. Basically you use a stripping agent first, then 3 successive stages of wet sand paper - 400, 1000, and 2000 grit. That is followed by cleaning the lenses and then using a polishing compound, then the stripping agent again, and finally a UV sealant. All you need is some paper towels and a spray bottle with water in it. I did both headlights at the same time, stage by stage - and as noted earlier it took me about 45mins.

If you have an older car in need of some headlight PM, I highly recommend you try this first before considering much costlier replacement parts.
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I used this on my woman's camry which had headlights much more faded than yours. But I got the 3m kit made for a drill, so no sweat for me and the same great results.
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sold an assload of he 3m kits when I worked at the parts store. Great kits. I imagine the Sylvania is quite similar.
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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saw those kits. read the box.

it cleans by destroying the faded uv protection layer that keeps the plastic from cracking under the sun.

not sure how important that layer is, so i didn't buy it. i'm interested if it has any effect in the long run.
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Old 04-16-2012, 01:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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According to his review, the last step is applying a new one, so I'd assume that it wont have too much negative effects.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice. We have an 05 focus with 133k on it an I figure in two more years I'll have to do this.
Thanks for the heads up
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I had a good chuckle when I saw this. I drive a 1996 Toyota 4Runner and although I noticed the headlight output slowly becoming weaker over the years (since 1999), I didn't think to change out the bulbs - heck, my old 1991 Volvo used to go through bulbs twice a year - why change a working piece of equipment... So this winter I got a little frustrated with how dim the lights were and I figured that it was about time to clean and polish the Lexan lens covers that I've had on the truck since early on (much cheaper than replacing glass lens assemblies). Went to the local Canadian Tire and bought a lens restoration kit and thought that I'd better pick up a new set of bulbs - just in case. To make a long story short, the new bulbs, combined with clear lenses, put out more light when in DRL (daytime running light) mode than the old ones did on high beam... The bulbs that I took out were original from the factory - 16+ years ago...
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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update - I drove the car around a bit tonight . . . wow, the improvement in headlight performance is very noticeable
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Do you take apart the lights? Or is it just on the external cover?
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Do you take apart the lights? Or is it just on the external cover?
You don't need to take them apart or remove, you can do this on the car. If it's not already stated in the instructions, I would mask the areas around the headlight with blue painters tape to protect the paint.
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