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Cooley On Cars
Clear up your headlightsCooley tries seven ways to clear your headlights -- and the winner surprises him.
[MUSIC] Yes, poor car with cataracts. Very common, especially of cars of a certain age like on our 99 Lexus here. This polycarbonate plastic molded headlamp modules Tend to do this. And they're bad in three ways, this is not a trivial problem. First and foremost it reduces the amount of light that is coming out of the assembly. That's the point of a headlight in the first place. When you're fogged up like this you also put out a distorted beam. This is going to **** with the beam pattern the manufacturer intended and third and perhaps most impactful for some of us. It looks awful. You have a beautiful car and then yuk. Let's see if we can clear these up. Now I've bought out a whole smattering of official and home-brew remedies for this thing. Some require a lot of work, some say they don't require any. I wanna find something that works really well. To make sure we can see how these products compare to each other and against the lens the way it started. I'm gonna quarter off these headlights with tape into four pieces each, seven solutions and one control section. Some of these I'll buff by hand, others I'll attack with a power drill with one of these pad kits you can get on Amazon for like 20 bucks. [MUSIC] First of all, the product called Wipe New isn't just about wiping. It's about sanding like so many others, there's a little sanding block with a coarse side and the finer side. Once you've finished the sanding you wipe it with this magic chemical applicator the one that makes you wanna pass out. And things start to look really good. But here's the problem, the instruction say to avoid any contact with moisture or even dew for 24 hours. I don't know about you but my car lives outside. Next up is the 3M headlight restoration kit. Get ready to sand. This is the most old-school thing I'm trying today with lots of levels of sanding. Once you start with disk, you need to finish because that is a non-functional headlight now. Okay, now we are gonna turn from the two hand applied ones I think all the rest I'm gonna do with a buffing pad on a power drill and that's after, I've mopped my brow because that was much work as this one over here wasn't. This looks really good so far I gotta say. Let's see if toothpaste works. how stupid could this be? [MUSIC]? I'll be damned. Ok, on now to MEGUIAR'S PLASTX. This is a plastic polish, raves about how good it is for headlights. Does look good doesn't it? This one is the one that scares me the most. This is the simichrome metal polish. Which I got to say it's kinda heretical that I'm using it on a plastic. As a result, I'm gonna do this one by hand with a buffing clothe and not use the drill. Another trick when you're dealing buffing of anything like this is to vary your pressure as you work through the jobs. So start with your heaviest pressure and then lighten up as you go. It's analagous to starting with the heavier grit. And then fining it up, as you go through the job. Okay, this stuff is called Neutral Clear. It's also called Island Girl cuz that's who makes it. It is strictly a wipe-on. You moisturize the plastic surface. And then while it's damp with that stuff, they recommend a triple O steel wool. To loosen up grime. I'm gonna use some 3,000 here which is probably too fine, but better safe than sorry. Looks pretty good when it's wet. But as I often find with the Vinyl convertible top windows I use this on. It tends to dry and finish just a little cloudier than you'd hope. And now I'm gonna go back to the drill. This time we'll throw on a pad for my glass polish. Again, a heretical choice because it doesn't say plastic polish. It says glass polish. Well let's try, because we know the worst comes to worst. We just buy Kenly new headlights. [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] Okay, we gotta rank these, right? We did seven different ways of clearing up your headlights. And look Left one patch looking like hell. Here's my winner and I've got to tell you I'm kind of surprised. This McGuire's Plastic polish. This stuff right here. Squirt it on, buff it. It was real straight forward. It's easily available and And I was amazed how good the results are. That's our clearest quadrant. But almost as clear is this where we did the 3M thing. But I'm ranking it second because you've got this buffing pad, all these hook and loop different grades of sanding paper, the buffing compound. Doesn't bother me, but I'm kind of into tinkering with cars. If you want a straightforward job, you don't want to **** with all that. The Griot's Glass Polish and the Simichrome Metal Polish, I'm putting in third place. They're in a tie and they were both one stage applications. In fourth is the Island Girl vinyl restorer and the tube of toothpaste. Now they're both close to last but neither are intended for this. And our lowest result was the one that promised the pie on the sky, this Rust-Oleum wipe and go thing. But once you open it you realize there really was a sanding process. And you gotta let it sit for 24 hours and all kinds of things that could go wrong. Plus, this little applicator that does the magic work. God, it smells like the stuff that Dall had to start making when they get put out of the napalm business. That's crap. So you got a lot of ways to clear up your headlights. And if you don't wanna do sanding and go through layers of all that abrasive, which I get You got a great option here. You just hit plastic polish. You can use your headlights Cuda. [MUSIC]