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Liberty

join:2005-06-12
Tucson, AZ
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

Fogged headlight lenses

Mind was wandering as I waxed the truck this morning

I see tons of vehicles with fogged headlight lenses and did some googling as to cause/prevention/remedies
Didn't help much because mostly said due to light degrading surface

Down here in southern Az we have no shortage of harsh sun and none of my vehicles have ever developed fogged lenses
I wonder why

I have never gone to car washes and always use laundry detergent (cause that is all I got that is cheap)
Never waxed or put anything ever on the lenses, just wash all the baked on bugs off from time to time

I have a 99 Safari mini van that I bought when 5 years old and it is in the sun constantly and it has clear lenses

Ideas?


PrntRhd
Premium
join:2004-11-03
Fairfield, CA
Reviews:
·Comcast

The fogging is due to the plastic material used in the lenses breaking down from UV in sunlight. Some vehicles do not use the type of plastic that frosts and yellows such as your Safari.
You can improve the function of frosted covers by polishing the frosted surface and sealing the lenses but this is a temporary fix, if you get 6-9 months before they go frosted again it is considered successful.
You can also replace the headlight bucket assemblies and the problem will be solved for several years.



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to Liberty

One of my neighbors just replaced his. Apparently in the case of his car a certain model year is known to have that issue. Earlier models still had glass headlights and later models have changed the composition of the plastic so that it doesn't fog as quickly.

What upsets my neighbor is that the diminished headlight is a safety issue but no recall was ever issued for what is clearly a manufacturing issue. Instead the manufacturer and the dealerships appear to use this as a profit making opportunity and charge substantial $$$ for a simple piece of plastic (this may explain why you see a lot of vehicles with the fogged lenses).

For anyone not afraid of wielding a screwdriver themselves there are 3rd party replacements that are far cheaper then the OEM part.
--
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jeanmarc

join:2013-01-03
NY
reply to Liberty

And then there was fogging on my trucks headlights.

I bought the polish and rubbed away to no avail.

The fogging was on the inside of both "sealed" headlamp assembly's.

$ 100. at Amazon and I can see again!

At night!



Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

2 edits
reply to Liberty

Click for full size
Click for full size
said by Liberty:

Mind was wandering as I waxed the truck this morning

I see tons of vehicles with fogged headlight lenses and did some googling as to cause/prevention/remedies
Didn't help much because mostly said due to light degrading surface

Down here in southern Az we have no shortage of harsh sun and none of my vehicles have ever developed fogged lenses
I wonder why

I have never gone to car washes and always use laundry detergent (cause that is all I got that is cheap)
Never waxed or put anything ever on the lenses, just wash all the baked on bugs off from time to time

I have a 99 Safari mini van that I bought when 5 years old and it is in the sun constantly and it has clear lenses

Ideas?

New headlights do change the look of a car

sentra = 06 209K miles

I do need to replace the headlights on the impala since they pitted and start to get fogged up not too bad for a 10 year old car


hm

@videotron.ca
reply to Liberty

Laundry detergent? First I hear of someone using that. Liquid I hope... I can see the powder (if not 100% dissolved) leaving very. very fine scratches.

Whatever the case, you are doing something right. Maybe some people just have a bad wax/silicon/organic-solvent discoloration/etching or build-up? Hard to say. So many factors, including environmental factors. You can't put it on just one factor when a over a dozen are at play.

But seeing how you are doing nothing other than this, my first guess would be your detergent in mildly abrasive, thus removes (very slightly etches) what is there as you rub. If not, then I guess we should start looking a wax-based soaps, and polishes that people may use.

But you are doing something right. Whatever that is (or in your case, not doing).

The Rust proofing places here all do headlight restoration. Very fine grit machine sanding with a compound. I don't recall the cost, but when I called for rust proofing last week (to be done this week) it was under 100$. Think it might have been around 40$. For an older car, I think it's better than a new polycarb lens. Unless you plan on keeping it another 8 years or so.

In regards to restoration, as a do it yourself job, check youtube. Quite a few examples there on the cheap. With amazing results. You should be able to do this under 30-50$.

Someone above said it will last 9 months or so. Sounds about right, but it shouldn't dull to the point of what it was before. So you should get a couple of years out of it with some abrasive polish in-between.

I'll ask this when I get my car rust proofed this week and find out the price. Should be about the same costs across North America at the rust-proof shops.

On some makes of car a new polycarb (or plastic) covers exceeds a few hundred bucks...

Which laundry detergent? Brand? Liquid? Powder? Are you using?

BTW, on any of the plastic-chrome colored parts, or actual chrome, notice any whitening?



Grumpy
Premium
join:2001-07-28
NW CT
Reviews:
·Comcast
·AT&T Yahoo
·Callcentric
reply to Liberty

I've read this is the best way to restore headlight plastic

»www.sylvania.com/en-us/products/···kit.aspx

The last step is to seal the restored plastic with a dose of chemical sealant.
Trouble is, outside of mail order, they're hard to find (around here)


tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to Liberty

said by Liberty:

I have never gone to car washes and always use laundry detergent (cause that is all I got that is cheap)
Never waxed or put anything ever on the lenses, just wash all the baked on bugs off from time to time

I have a 99 Safari mini van that I bought when 5 years old and it is in the sun constantly and it has clear lenses

Ideas?

How much is proper car wash... $3.00 a bottle that will last a year? Detergents are made for removing things like wax. Wax is made for protecting paint from the elements and to make paint remain looking good. Not all paint will fail but without proper maintenance there is certainly a chance of clear coat failure. proper washing and "waxing" is pretty good insurance.

Ideas on what? Maintaining head lights? Simply apply the wax to them just as you do the paint. Use a synthetic wax which will have some UV protectant in it.

Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Future Nine Corp..
·T-Mobile US
·Optimum Online
reply to Liberty

I've procrastinated on changing the head lights on my 98 Honda Civic. They've very foggy as well, borderline yellow. I can still see at night so I haven't bothered.

I use Palmolive dishwasher liquid from the Dollar store to wash the car. In the four years I've had this car, the paint is just starting to look a little hazy around certain parts, but I think that's likely due to age. It's still original paint. I do wax the car with Turtle Wax, it does help restore the shine.



Bender2000
Bite My Shiny Metal Ass
Premium
join:2002-05-06
Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, QC
reply to Liberty

I have the same problem on a 2007 Mazda6. I wish my headlights were clear. It really affects night time driving. The cost of new headlamp asseblies for a Mazda6 is pretty sucky though, so I'm going to have to live with the permanent fog. I guess most people live with it. I've seen the commercials that claim some miracle liquid restores the headlamps like new, but I seriously doubt any "as seen on tv" product will do that.


Liberty

join:2005-06-12
Tucson, AZ
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to Liberty

The only reason I included the type of soap I use is because I recall years ago when I had window film applied, they made certain I got it in my head not to use any window cleaner with ammonia in it.
And I have no idea what is used in commercial carwash places so wanted to be clear I don't use them either

Powdered laundry soap doesn't have ammonia in it
Maybe not what some others first choice is but for me, I always got it, its cheap, it works for 20+ years - a combo that is damn tough to beat

I wash my trucks maybe once a month in buggy months and not very often in winter
Wax maybe 2-3 times year because bugs come off easier
My lens and paint are fine, I obviously don't baby my finish yet I see tons of fogged lens and yucky clear coat

The reply mentioning different type of plastics are used makes sense to me and will go with that
Thanks all



hm

@videotron.ca
reply to Bender2000

said by Bender2000:

I have the same problem on a 2007 Mazda6.

The thing I keep asking myself, should your headlights even be that fogged up after 6 years? Is that even normal for polycarb (assuming it is polycarbonate).

Could some of these car polishes, waxes, soaps, rust-proofings, and sealants be the cause?

I think this is even what the OP is pondering. He raises the question of why. Even though he uses non-recommended detergents and never laid wax or anything else on his car and they are clear.

It does indeed raise a question.


hm

@videotron.ca
reply to Bender2000

said by Bender2000:

The cost of new headlamp asseblies for a Mazda6 is pretty sucky though, so I'm going to have to live with the permanent fog. I guess most people live with it. I've seen the commercials that claim some miracle liquid restores the headlamps like new, but I seriously doubt any "as seen on tv" product will do that.

Your avatar area shows you to be in the MTL area.

Give these people a shout. Only takes a phone call to find out.
»www.antirouille.com/en/services/···toration

They also have stuff for the do-it-yourself people, but that would require some initial sanding or buffing on your part. If you are up to that.

Rickn23

join:2011-04-28
San Jose, CA
reply to PrntRhd

I have a 2003 Subaru Forestor. The lenses started fogging when it was about 5 years old (I think about 100,000 miles). I suspect my daytime running lights contribute to the fogging.

I've suscessfully used Meguire's PlastX to remove the fogging. I also use their sealant. It only lasts a few weeks before the yellowing is noticeable. Both products are about $6 each.


tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to Network Guy

said by Network Guy:

I use Palmolive dishwasher liquid from the Dollar store to wash the car. In the four years I've had this car, the paint is just starting to look a little hazy around certain parts, but I think that's likely due to age. It's still original paint. I do wax the car with Turtle Wax, it does help restore the shine.

I'm hoping that you wax every time after you wash... as using dish soap removes that wax every time you wash.

No offense but I fail to see why people don't spend $3 on a good car wash... one that _won't_ strip the wax every time they wash.

Modern paint can last 20-30 years and still look good... with proper care.

PrntRhd
Premium
join:2004-11-03
Fairfield, CA
Reviews:
·Comcast

3 edits
reply to hm

Here in the States, sites like RockAuto carry complete headlight buckets in various prices and quality, ranging from OEM quality to economy lights.
Just remember the lighting manufacturers self-certify US DOT compliance, so the lights may not have identical-to-OEM reflectors or bulbs. You don't have to use the dealer for these if you are handy and know how to aim lights after installation. (No, they don't come pre-adjusted).

I chose to replace the headlights on my 2003 Tacoma with mid grade lights...and I could not be happier at being able to see at night ever since. I got fed up with trying to polish the covers in the rain. When I changed the halogen capsules themselves the lighting pattern changed and I was able to see even better.
The lights I got were TYC brand, less than $40 ea.



Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to Liberty

said by Liberty:

I see tons of vehicles with fogged headlight lenses and did some googling as to cause/prevention/remedies
Didn't help much because mostly said due to light degrading surface

none of my vehicles have ever developed fogged lenses

I have a 99 Safari mini van that I bought when 5 years old and it is in the sun constantly and it has clear lenses

Ideas?

Do you have plastic or glass headlight housing lenses? Glass doesn't fog/degrade. Only the plastic units/lenses fog and/or degrade with UV exposure.
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV

On my VW they don't fog. They get sand blasted when the wind blows the sand and dust when driving here. Scratched all to pieces. I think when I go and get new ones, I will put some type of covering on them so it doesn't happen again.



Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2

Has anyone tried "wipe new"

it says they did 100 "powerful car washes" (I think they are full of it since that masking tape they had on it would have fallen off?)
--
Live Free or Die Hard...


Liberty

join:2005-06-12
Tucson, AZ
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to tcope

said by tcope:

said by Network Guy:

I use Palmolive dishwasher liquid from the Dollar store to wash the car. In the four years I've had this car, the paint is just starting to look a little hazy around certain parts, but I think that's likely due to age. It's still original paint. I do wax the car with Turtle Wax, it does help restore the shine.

I'm hoping that you wax every time after you wash... as using dish soap removes that wax every time you wash.

No offense but I fail to see why people don't spend $3 on a good car wash... one that _won't_ strip the wax every time they wash.

Modern paint can last 20-30 years and still look good... with proper care.

I bought my 69 F250 in something like 82
I have taken care of finish like rest of my 'fleet' and while the paint is waaaaay past its prime, its not in terrible condition

My 99 Safari van's paint is still in very good condition

My '11 Tacoma is pristine

Perhaps industrial pollution and road chemicals contribute to paint degradation
but my personal experience with detergent washing and infrequent waxing, in my desert environment, works fine for me

Makes me wonder if the power washer car washes have a large affect on paint hazing....

Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Future Nine Corp..
·T-Mobile US
·Optimum Online
reply to tcope

said by tcope:


I'm hoping that you wax every time after you wash... as using dish soap removes that wax every time you wash.

No offense but I fail to see why people don't spend $3 on a good car wash... one that _won't_ strip the wax every time they wash.

Modern paint can last 20-30 years and still look good... with proper care.

Usually I wax after every wash. The paint doesn't look as good when I don't.

The paint on the metal portion of the body still looks good for a car that's 15 years old. I need to look into repainting the plastic bumpers though.

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2

I suspect that the harsh detergent is drying out the paint. The wax hides this but the paint is still being damaged.


Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Future Nine Corp..
·T-Mobile US
·Optimum Online

It doesn't look dried out, it looks like the paint is becoming washed out, sort of glazing. This goes away after I wax. To me that's a sign of paint aging. I know Honda Civics don't exactly have factory paint that stays shiny beyond one decade.

I've owned newer vehicles and wash/wax them the same way. This Honda is the first one that's started to look like this.


tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2

said by Network Guy:

It doesn't look dried out, it looks like the paint is becoming washed out, sort of glazing. This goes away after I wax. To me that's a sign of paint aging. I know Honda Civics don't exactly have factory paint that stays shiny beyond one decade.

Yes, the paint is starting to oxide very easily. At this point the wax is only serving to hide this condition. Properly maintained the paint can last for much longer.

Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2

So the Palmolive is accelerating the oxidation and there's no turning back at this point? Or will using a car wash liquid help mitigate?


tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2

I can't say for sure but from what I usually see, the process can't be stopped/turned turned around. Keep in mind that this is the clear coat we are talking about... not the colored paint. It's the clear that you are seeing going foggy. Palmolive is harsh. It's made that way to dissolve grease and other crap from dishes.

Personally I see no reason why not to buy a $3 bottle of car wash that will last for a year.


Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2

Something like this?


tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2

IMHO any wash made for a car will be better. That is concentrated so I'm assuming it will make a boat load of wash buckets. What you use is personal preference (but anything is better then dish soap). I like Megs Gold Class. I usually buy it at Target in the fall and it's around $3.00/bottle. I fill a 5 gal bucket with 4 gals of water and add 4 ounces of wash.



Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2

Cool. Thanks for the tip.



Bender2000
Bite My Shiny Metal Ass
Premium
join:2002-05-06
Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, QC
reply to hm

oh cool, thanks. When I get some time, I'll check and see how much they charge. Seems it's just a sanding and a buffing. Doesn't look too difficult.