Sunday, August 26, 2007

Restoring the Headlight Lens on a Toyota Camry

Our Toyota Camry has had a clouded headlight lens for several years now and it bothered me every time I would be either washing or working on the car's engine. It could be compared to someone having cataracts in their eyes. So after the success I had with the Internet fixing the sticking accelerator I looked for a solution for this. I found that a number of people were wet sanding their lens with different grades of sand paper used with water and/or rubbing compound. The pictures they showed of the before and after looked impressive but it was taking them hours to repair the lens based on what I read.

So I went to Autozone to look for ultra fine sandpaper (1000-2000 grit) to see if removing some layers of the plastic lens would in fact fix the cars problem. I found the sand paper but in the same section of the store I found a product from CCP called 5 Minute Headlight Restorer for about $12. Well, 5 minutes sounds a lot better than hours sanding so I bought it.

What the kit consists of is a circular plastic plate with a metal shaft, a number of sponge pads with rubbing compound on them and some instructions. You will need a drill, a clean rag, window cleaner, paper towels, and spray bottle with water. First, you need to clean the lens with the window cleaner and paper towels getting the surface clean and smooth. Next, put the bit in the drill and remove the paper from one the circular sponge pads to reveal its adhesive side. Stick the adhesive side to the plate. Mist the pad to get it damp but not too wet. I used a cordless drill to do this work. Next light press the pad to the lens and let the drill spin the sponge on the lens. I worked the sponge back and forth across the lens until I had covered the surface of the lens. I did this several times stopping every so often to make sure the sponge was still damp and if not misting it some more. A white film developed on the areas I had treated and I after finishing with the drill, I took the spray bottle and rinsed the lens. I then took the dry rag and cleaned off the lens.

It was quite a difference. The lens looked a lot more clear. See the pictures. I did the other lens with the same sponge and it cleaned the film off it as well.

The directions said if the film was inside the lens then it would need to be replaced. Luckily, the lens I was treating had the film on the outside.

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