Yellowing headlights
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Cadillac DeVille 1985 to 2005 including:
1985-1992 Fleetwood, 1993 Sixty Special, All FWD Forum Discussion, Yellowing headlights in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Just curious, does having the headlights running all the time cause yellowing headlights? Mines were yellow when I bought the ...
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    GM_Ridin' is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Yellowing headlights

    Just curious, does having the headlights running all the time cause yellowing headlights? Mines were yellow when I bought the car and I hate when I see devilles (dts mostly) with these crystal white headlights and wonder how mines got yellow to begin with??

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    rodnok01's Avatar
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    Re: Yellowing headlights

    UV rays will yellow the lenses and the heat from drl's don't help, can be polished out though. If the low beams look yellow when on they're getting old and need replaced.

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    GM_Ridin' is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodnok01
    UV rays will yellow the lenses and the heat from drl's don't help, can be polished out though. If the low beams look yellow when on they're getting old and need replaced.
    Thanks for the tip. Yes the lows are yellow but that's standard for a stock halogen bulb anyway. Polished out huh? Well I did use a repair kit and they improved but still not to my standards. I'll do some more research on the best method on cleaning them, heck I may even pay the pros but if not I give up and need new ones. So you think its possible to get them looking like they did fresh off the lot? Or just simply better than yellow because if there's no methods to get them brand new looking I won't even waste my time.

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    basscatt's Avatar
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    Re: Yellowing headlights

    polishing out the headlights - if done correctly -
    will make the headlights look absolutely brand new -

    HOWEVER -

    expect to spend at least an hour on each headlight -

    the ONLY way to do it PROPERLY -
    is to begin with 400 grit wet paper and sand off all the old coating -
    then sand with 800 to eliminate the scratches from the 400 -
    then 1200 - 1500 - 2000 - finally 3000 -
    then buff with rubbing compound -

    the last step is to apply a new UV coating to protect the freshly prepared lens -
    some friends and I have developed a coating that really works well -

    a 50/50 mixture of spar urethane and mineral spirits -
    applied by hand with a lint free cloth -

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    I typed a fairly long reply, but it didn't post. But it was along the lines of ^^that^^. I've restored many headlights by wet sanding and buffing. Several sets, including the ones on my Seville, looked like someone poured honey on them, and let them bake in the sun, yellow, crusty, and barely transparent. Look at the picture in my album, they're crystal clear now.

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    Re: Yellowing headlights

    Quote Originally Posted by GM_Ridin' View Post
    Just curious, does having the headlights running all the time cause yellowing headlights?
    No. Mine are still like new.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
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    Re: Yellowing headlights

    ......... or you can use one of the multitude of headlamp lens restoration kits on the shelves at any car parts store. Some members like the Meguiar's and 3M kits. I have had great success with a kit from www.customchemicalpkg.com , also available in parts stores.

    To do it correctly takes time and sweat.

    The headlamp picture(s) in my albums are the result of an hour's work on each assembly with the above kit.

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    GM_Ridin' is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Quote Originally Posted by basscatt
    polishing out the headlights - if done correctly -
    will make the headlights look absolutely brand new -

    HOWEVER -

    expect to spend at least an hour on each headlight -

    the ONLY way to do it PROPERLY -
    is to begin with 400 grit wet paper and sand off all the old coating -
    then sand with 800 to eliminate the scratches from the 400 -
    then 1200 - 1500 - 2000 - finally 3000 -
    then buff with rubbing compound -

    the last step is to apply a new UV coating to protect the freshly prepared lens -
    some friends and I have developed a coating that really works well -

    a 50/50 mixture of spar urethane and mineral spirits -
    applied by hand with a lint free cloth -
    Well thanks as always basscatt. Where can I find this spar urethane and mineral spirits you speak of, somewhere like Walmart maybe? Also just mix half of each in a bottle should do the trick huh?

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by MoistCabbage
    I typed a fairly long reply, but it didn't post. But it was along the lines of ^^that^^. I've restored many headlights by wet sanding and buffing. Several sets, including the ones on my Seville, looked like someone poured honey on them, and let them bake in the sun, yellow, crusty, and barely transparent. Look at the picture in my album, they're crystal clear now.
    I'm on the phone app version right now so it won't let me view your album so I'll have to check when I get a chance... unless you don't mind posting a quick pick...

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    No. Mine are still like new.
    Good to know...

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Submariner409
    ......... or you can use one of the multitude of headlamp lens restoration kits on the shelves at any car parts store. Some members like the Meguiar's and 3M kits. I have had great success with a kit from www.customchemicalpkg.com , also available in parts stores.

    To do it correctly takes time and sweat.
    These kits are ok... Could be simply how I'm doing it not sure but they deff work but also deff not to that brand new quality I'm looking for. But like you said it takes time and sweat so maybe I didn't spend as much time needed to do it correctly.

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    Re: Yellowing headlights

    The first time you do the lights will take a while, getting the old clear coat off sucks and that's what is yellowed. I did mine my first set a couple times before I got good results and I've been buffing and color sanding cars for a long time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GM_Ridin'
    I'm on the phone app version right now so it won't let me view your album so I'll have to check when I get a chance... unless you don't mind posting a quick pick...
    The iPhone app? Click on the picture of my car over one of my posts, that'll take you to my profile. At the bottom, you'll see two "buttons", Profile and Photos, click Photos.

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    I have also had good luck with the wet sanding method on my jeep. The 99-04 grand cherokee seems to be the worst yellowing headlight on the road today. I found it a lot easier to remove the headlight from the car but I don't know how much of a pain that is on your car. After the wet sanding I used the 3m kit and they have been clear as new for about a year. I just apply the uv treatment after every few washes.

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    GM_Ridin' is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoistCabbage
    The iPhone app? Click on the picture of my car over one of my posts, that'll take you to my profile. At the bottom, you'll see two "buttons", Profile and Photos, click Photos.
    IPhone yuck! Android baby lol. But ok I'll try that.

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    GM_Ridin' is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Quote Originally Posted by basscatt
    polishing out the headlights - if done correctly -
    will make the headlights look absolutely brand new -

    HOWEVER -

    expect to spend at least an hour on each headlight -

    the ONLY way to do it PROPERLY -
    is to begin with 400 grit wet paper and sand off all the old coating -
    then sand with 800 to eliminate the scratches from the 400 -
    then 1200 - 1500 - 2000 - finally 3000 -
    then buff with rubbing compound -

    the last step is to apply a new UV coating to protect the freshly prepared lens -
    some friends and I have developed a coating that really works well with

    a 50/50 mixture of spar urethane and mineral spirits -
    applied by hand with a lint free cloth -
    My headlights are not hazy and slightly yellowed now due to my previous efforts to clean them. So with that said would you suggest still starting off with 400 grit sand paper?

    Also you never did get back to me on where I can find this stuff used as a coating for the lenses and if I just mix half and half in a empty bottle or simply apply equal amounts of both on my lenses then polish them in.

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    steelybill is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Yellowing headlights

    I did the headlight lenses on a VW Passat, with a buffer and Mother's polish. Worked very good. Of course they were yellow, but not rough etc like some described here.

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    basscatt's Avatar
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    Re: Yellowing headlights

    would you suggest still starting off with 400 grit sand paper
    YES - there are no shortcuts to the process -
    you have to grind off ALL the old/original coating -
    and it takes 400 grit to cut through it -

    that first step is the most critical - and takes the longest -
    all the steps following the first one are just removing the scratches - finer and finer -

    after all the sanding and polishing -
    clean the lens THROUGHLY with DENATURED ALCOHOL -
    it will get all leftover solvents and oils off the lens -

    oh ya - you can get the supplies from Menards - Home Depot - etc -

    the final coating -
    a 50/50 mix of
    MINERAL SPIRITS - and SPAR URETHANE -

    make sure you get MINERAL SPIRITS and NOT paint thinner -

    for the SPAR URETHANE - the best is
    MINWAX - HELMSMAN SPAR URETHANE - be sure to get CLEAR GLOSS -

    get a small container - I used a plastic pill bottle -
    clean it with the denatured alcohol -
    DO NOT use rubbing alcohol - it is only about 70% pure -

    in the clean container -
    put in EXACTLY 1/2 ounce of MINERAL SPIRITS -
    and 1/2 ounce SPAR URETHANE -

    STIR GENTLY but throughly - DO NOT SHAKE -

    use either a BLUE SHOP PAPER TOWEL -
    or a piece of LINT-FREE COTTON -

    fold the towel or cloth into a 2 inch square -
    get it completely saturated - but NOT dripping with the mixture -
    apply it to the lens gently rubbing into the surface in a circular motion -

    the last thing you do is lightly wipe the lens side to side -
    to even-out the coating - and to remove any lines -

    if you prepped the lens properly - there will be no bubbles or spots in the coating -

    if you notice any imperfections -
    use the mineral spirits and wipe down the lens to remove the coating - and start over -

    if you take your time - the results will be a headlight that looks brand new -

    Attachment 99903 Attachment 99904

    YES - this is a before and after of the same lens -
    took about an hour to do - but I have done a lot of them -

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