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Discussion Starter #1
If your headlights still work but are yellowed, pitted or severely scratched, there is a great fix.
I bought a used 2012 Opulent Blue CTS coupe about a year and a half ago with 12000 miles. It's a beauty but the headlights detracted from the overall look. I finally got sick up and fed of the look so i researched polishing acrylics and plastics. I found a great how to video and followed the procedure that was used and the results are truly amazing.
I went to Lowe's and got a Craftsman headlight polishing kit which had most of the stuff i needed. It comes with a 3" hook and loop sanding pad. 2 800 and 2 1500 grit sanding discs, a 2000 grit cushion disc, polishing compound and application pad. This is a good kit to start with but needs some in between grit sanding discs to really get a good smooth headlight surface. Since my headlight were in such poor shape, i started with 320 grit. I started there because the lenses were pitted with hundreds of small pitts and lots of scratches. I went from there to 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, finishing with 2500. I used a spray bottle of water to keep the surface wet while using the sanding discs and to spray and wipe the headlight clean between grits.
Be forewarned after you start sanding, you will be thinking "i done ruined this headlight lens". But don't worry. When you're done you be very pleased with your work. Just remember to be patient and let the sanding discs do the work. There's no need to push hard when sanding. Light pressure is all that's required.
Make about 7-10 passes per grit going in a hashtag pattern. Up and down is 1. side to side is 2 and so on.
I'm no expert at this so anyone can achieve good results.
Here are a few pics.

lens after 320 grit
573525


after final polishing
573526


573527


O yea, i almost forgot. Be sure to tape up around the headlights. You don't want to be sanding on your paint. Also. Make sure you cover your hood, fenders and grill. This process slings liquid everywhere.
Here are a couple pics of my car on the tail of the dragon.

573529


573530
 

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Go ahead, blame me. Everybody does 馃檮
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Nice work! (y) (y)
 

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'09 CTS DI FE1 Luxury
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1,493 Posts
Good job! I've done this a few times myself. Did you seal them after the polishing?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No, i didn't seal them. That is a good idea though. I think i'll see if the local PPF installer has some scraps they would sell.
 

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2010 CTS Sedan Luxury 3.6
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i was going to ask the same question about sealing.
i was thinking about grabbing the ceramic sealing/coating headlight kit from Adam's polishes.
 

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'09 CTS DI FE1 Luxury
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1,493 Posts
I can't recommend a sealant but would recommend sealing them. I used the stuff that came in the headlight kit and it seemed to do the job.
 

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2014 CTS Coupe Premium
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Excellent work! It's odd that a car with only
12000 miles had headlights in such poor condition--maybe the car was outside? I'm around 55000 and mine look fine.
 

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2014 CTS Coupe 3.6 RWD Perfomance Pkg, TriCoat White Diamond
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If your headlights still work but are yellowed, pitted or severely scratched, there is a great fix.
I bought a used 2012 Opulent Blue CTS coupe about a year and a half ago with 12000 miles. It's a beauty but the headlights detracted from the overall look. I finally got sick up and fed of the look so i researched polishing acrylics and plastics. I found a great how to video and followed the procedure that was used and the results are truly amazing.
I went to Lowe's and got a Craftsman headlight polishing kit which had most of the stuff i needed. It comes with a 3" hook and loop sanding pad. 2 800 and 2 1500 grit sanding discs, a 2000 grit cushion disc, polishing compound and application pad. This is a good kit to start with but needs some in between grit sanding discs to really get a good smooth headlight surface. Since my headlight were in such poor shape, i started with 320 grit. I started there because the lenses were pitted with hundreds of small pitts and lots of scratches. I went from there to 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, finishing with 2500. I used a spray bottle of water to keep the surface wet while using the sanding discs and to spray and wipe the headlight clean between grits.
Be forewarned after you start sanding, you will be thinking "i done ruined this headlight lens". But don't worry. When you're done you be very pleased with your work. Just remember to be patient and let the sanding discs do the work. There's no need to push hard when sanding. Light pressure is all that's required.
Make about 7-10 passes per grit going in a hashtag pattern. Up and down is 1. side to side is 2 and so on.
I'm no expert at this so anyone can achieve good results.
Here are a few pics.

lens after 320 grit
View attachment 573525

after final polishing
View attachment 573526

View attachment 573527

O yea, i almost forgot. Be sure to tape up around the headlights. You don't want to be sanding on your paint. Also. Make sure you cover your hood, fenders and grill. This process slings liquid everywhere.
Here are a couple pics of my car on the tail of the dragon.

View attachment 573529

View attachment 573530
Beautiful shine, what wax/polish are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
573644

This is the wax i use. i also recently did a color correction on it using the Chadwick Triple Play system. The paint now almost has a plastic look to it. It has a great shine and is very slick to the touch.
 

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'09 CTS DI FE1 Luxury
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1,493 Posts
I forgot to mention before that your coupe looks great!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks CaddyFred.
when i first started looking for a car i was dead set on getting a White Diamond Tricoat one. every one i looked at had more miles on it than i wanted or the price was more than i wanted to pay for a used car. i've never been a big fan of blue but when i went to look at this one i really liked the color. i negotiated the price down a bit where i was happy with it.
i really love the car.
 

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'14 CTS-V LongRoof; '16 ATS-V Sedan,' 04 Trailblazer 4x4; '10 CTS LongRoof gone but never forgotten
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You have done a nice job on your car. It definitely shows.
 

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'09 CTS DI FE1 Luxury
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1,493 Posts
I've always liked blue cars and disliked white but the tri-white CTS changed my mind about white. If I could choose any color I'd likely go with dark cherry for the CTS but there are more important considerations when choosing a used car. I'm pretty happy with my white sedan and I hope that you really enjoy your beautiful blue coupe.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the compliments. I really do enjoy driving this car. I retired Nov 1st last year and moved from Texas to Tennessee. Last week i went back to visit friends and on the return trip back to TN, i made the 14 and 1/2 hour drive in one day. It's a very comfortable car. even when dirty it still looks good.
573783
 

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08 CTS DI
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I like the blue. You're not done yet, in a few short months they'll look like Cadillac cataracts again. Fortunately for you, you've done the hard work by removing the factory clear. This topic was covered not to long ago by acstudios, who described a restoration process using Helmsman Spar Urethane mixed with mineral spirits in this thread;


I tried the off the shelf quick kit and it improved the lenses a good bit, but in a matter of about 3 months they looked like "Who done it" again. The second time around I used the urethane mix after similar staged sanding prep and the end result was lenses that really looked like new. I attached a pic because I can no longer find the thread I posted the results in.

I'm planning to experiment with a pair of GM clear lenses from another car, using a higher percentage; 70% & 100% urethane and 50% with two to three layers (have to sand in between) and letting them sit outside and bake in the sun for months to see which yields the best results. The 50% mix has held up well, but it's time to renew them after 9 months. Depending on the results of the second application with either a higher percentage of urethane which has UV protection, or multiple layers, I do have a can of the two stage 2K clear which is a professional grade clear that is supposed to offer the best results over an extended period of time. Since it carries quite a health risk to use, I'm waiting to make sure it is necessary before bothering with it.
 

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