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Saturday, May 2, 2015

For Your Other Car #1...Headlight Lens Polishing

My wife's 2007 Honda Odyssey's headlight lens were starting to show their age and were pretty foggy. For those of you that have any car manufactured in probably the last decade or so (maybe more?), you may experience this problem.
Foggy lens...not as bad as some I've seen.
Once my wife mentioned it, I acted...like a good husband! I found a kit by 3M on Amazon that got good reviews and, finding it cheaper than I thought it would be, decided to go for it. Note that the link on Amazon as of this moment (9:30pm, EST on 5/2/15) shows a single kit for $10 that is not sold by Amazon, so you'll pay shipping if you have Amazon Prime. I was able to get mine from Amazon for $13.75 with Prime shipping, so watch what you are ordering if you go this route as the single kit IS available directly from Amazon, but at a higher price.

It is essentially a 3-step process. Using a drill (I used my cordless Milwaukee), you start with 500-grit sanding disks, then move to 800. Then, a foam disk that I think is equivalent to about 3000-grit. You finish up with a sponge wheel and some polishing compound. All of this stuff is included in the kit...sandpaper, wheels, polishing compound, etc. Given what it cost, I thought this was a pretty good deal and figure it would have cost at least twice that to have someone do it for me.
After the 500-grit paper...this made me nervous.
The kit claims to have enough to do one car unless it has very large lenses. Maybe I should have changed out the sandpaper more often, but I easily have enough stuff left over to do another car.

I did the driver's side first and it came out great. The passenger's side was next and the battery on my drill was running low so my drill speed wasn't as fast. This is probably my biggest lesson learned. If you are using a cordless drill, make sure the battery is fresh before you start each lens as the speed of rotation makes a difference. Don't be afraid to go back to a coarser grit if an area doesn't come out well after hitting it initially with the finer grit (or polishing compound). I did this a few times.  Also, tape up the area around the lens really good. I should have used another "row" of tape other than what you see above as I caught the car's paint a few times and it takes it up pretty good.
Pretty drastic improvement...quite happy.
All in all, it took me only about an hour. After you convince yourself that you have to destroy it to make it better, it goes pretty smooth. Tape off the area extra good and go to town. The instructions were well written and easy to follow with recommendations throughout for a successful job.