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Old 04-13-2013, 06:25 PM   #1
devildoc82
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Default DIY Headlight Clearcoat

Hi guys, I just wanted to share my experiences with a technique I've seen on the autopia forums (http://www.autopia.org/forum/car-det...e-answers.html)

Basically, the process involves mixing a 50/50 mixture of odorless mineral spirits and a can of Minwax Urethane Clear Gloss. You'll need some blue Scott shop towels for application.



I had to buy the Minwax online, the local Home Cheapo didn't sell it. This is the link if you're interested.
http://www.amazon.com/Minwax-43200-Helmsman-Urethane-High-Gloss/dp/B000VZJGTK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365891202&sr=8-1&keywords=minwax+43200http://www.amazon.com/Minwax-43200-Helmsman-Urethane-High-Gloss/dp/B000VZJGTK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365891202&sr=8-1&keywords=minwax+43200

The mineral spirits and shop towels should be readily available.

Anyways you'll need very little of each when mixing. I filled a plastic party cup with about 1/4" of the mineral spirits and Minwax, and swirled it around a bit. Afterwards, I took the shop towel and folded in half about 4 times and saturated it with the mixture in the party cup. I made about this much and I still had plenty left over:



I had just polished my headlights with my orbital buffer, and before applying this stuff, I wiped down the surface with the mineral spirits and wiped any excess off. You'll want to use gentle horizontal strokes when applying the Minwax, working from the top of the headlight surface down to the bottom. I repeated this process about 5 times. Any streaks you see during application will go away, trust me. Maybe having the headlights perpendicular to the ground helped, I'm not sure.

I let it dry overnight, and now the headlights look like glass...these pictures don't do them justice! I'll post again after a while to let you guys know how durable the coating is, and hopefully they don't peel and yellow like my old headlights did after a few months.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 04-14-2013, 01:10 PM   #2
LUMBERZACK
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Wow! they look great! I might have to give this a try, my head lights are fairly chipped up.
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Old 04-14-2013, 04:38 PM   #3
BraveSTi
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Wow.. good job. Someone on this forum gets it!
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
alecb
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Those look really good. I may have to try this when my headlights get nasty.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:42 PM   #5
subyhatch05
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^hopefully you clean em first!
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:27 PM   #6
hoseclampmod
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Awesome! I'm definitely going to have to give this a try. My headlights could use to TLC.
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:26 PM   #7
SW4GGON
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Awesome! What kind of polish did you use to buff them? Also did you sand or anything prior to buffing? Definitely need to do this soon.

Last edited by SW4GGON; 04-16-2013 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:30 PM   #8
blackstidriver123
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do you have a before picture?
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:10 PM   #9
11STIxx
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that looks really awesome! sadly I think I'd have to do this to my 2011; the plastic these days just doesnt seem to hold up as well; the tops of my lights have what look like watermarking or haze; would you consider putting a UV clear vinyl cover over this now or is it best to leave it like that?
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:35 PM   #10
trueno92
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thats ok, but the minwax is not as durable as the acrylic/polycarbonate.. it looks good now, but after a few months of driving and intense UV, it MAY not hold up well and require another buff-down/recoating...
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:42 PM   #11
moss
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They do sell several UV spray on clear coats specifically for headlight restoration, just an FYI
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:01 PM   #12
devildoc82
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Well, the Minwax is an outdoor product. The formulation contains UV inhibitors, and from what I've seen over the internet its held up pretty well despite the $14 price tag.

You might be right about it not being as durable as acrylic/polycarbonate, but having a $XX UV light to bake on a hardcoat yourself or paying to have it professionally done really isn't feasible for people on a budget like me. I'm hoping it'll last more than a few months though!
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:49 PM   #13
trueno92
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doc82, let us know how it holds up!

if we could find some pitting/chip resistant coating, i'd be all for it!!
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:02 PM   #14
Concillian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moss View Post
They do sell several UV spray on clear coats specifically for headlight restoration, just an FYI
Are any a reasonable price? Most of the ones I've seen are $40-50+ for a tiny amount.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:09 AM   #15
Dale2011WRX
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Looks great, but wouldn't a Lamin-X type film be a lot more durable?
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:11 AM   #16
Kean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale2011WRX View Post
Looks great, but wouldn't a Lamin-X type film be a lot more durable?
Definitely would.

Also, I have often wondered if a Lamin-X or XPel like film could be an effective alternative to spray-on coatings after correction. .....given the fact that they adhere to the lens and provide effective UV protection already (not to mention resistance to damage from impacts).
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:25 AM   #17
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How is the lamin-x film? I've been looking at getting the clear, but I'm not sure if I have $44 to spend on headlight film unless its totally worth it. I will probably just end up sanding them with 1000 grit and working up to 2500. They have a decent amount of chips.
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:35 PM   #18
Thomistopheles
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I've been using this method for a while. Did my Legacy's projector headlights with it last year, still look perfect after suffering through the salt and sand of a harsh Wisconsin winter. The car is outside 24/7.



I recently picked up Opti-lens, application is easier and faster than working with the urethane. We'll have to see how that holds up, since it's a new product.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:55 AM   #19
ScoobieNoob
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What were the headlights polished with in the first place to remove the initial oxidation/haze?
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:27 AM   #20
jay25RS
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This process worked great on my girlfriends '03 Accord. Her lights were so bad that it was difficult to see at night and now they are 100% better. I did this back in October and they still look great!
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Old 05-28-2015, 03:29 PM   #21
kingsalami
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoobieNoob View Post
What were the headlights polished with in the first place to remove the initial oxidation/haze?
Meguiar's Ultimate Compound works great with an orbital buffer & a cutting or polishing pad.
For heavy oxidation, wet sand with 1000 grit followed by 2000 grit sandpaper, then polish with the UC. They'll look like new!
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