A Question for the Chemistry Geeks and Auto Buffs Out There

The plastic covers over my headlights are becoming opaque. Not the best situation. There are products out there that promise to restore that plastic to its virtually-invisible former self, but as far as I can tell all those products simply polish the surface of the plastic. It seems to me the damage is cause by ultraviolet radiation and likely goes more than skin deep.

Still, I’d like to believe the commercials that say they can restore my headlight covers to their former optic glory. I just don’t want to spend the precious cash dollars to find the claims to be bogus. Is there anyone out there who can either a) explain or b) attest to the worthiness of these products?

10 thoughts on “A Question for the Chemistry Geeks and Auto Buffs Out There

  1. What he means is that probably the radiation induced damage is only a thin layer on the surface of the lens that probably can be removed to restore the transparency of the lens.

    • Thanks! I knew UV didn’t penetrate some materials very well, but violet passes through clear plastic and it doesn’t penetrate the skin either. So, I didn’t want to assume.

      I suppose the clouding itself is a clue; if UV didn’t interact with the plastic (so it could pass through), then it wouldn’t cause chemical changes.

      Now I’m off to get some polish.

  2. Pat and I have purchased a headlight lens restoring kit, but we haven’t used it yet. It comes with two bottles of goop, one of which has warnings not to let it touch paint or chrome lest it discolor those substances — that’s the stuff that removes the yellowing. Then there’s a second bottle of goop that’s to be applied after the yellow is removed, to prevent future yellowing, sort of a sunscreen for headlight lenses, I guess. The kit also comes with a two-sided pad, with a terry-cloth-like side for applying one substance, and a chamois-like side for applying the other.

      • The first kit was (if I remember correctly) $12.95 plus $7 shipping. The second was free plus shipping. After I ordered the two sets, I was given an opportunity to buy as many sets as I wanted for something like $4 plus shipping. These guys make a lot on shipping.

        Since I got two sets, I could send you my extra one … I won’t even charge you for shipping. Email me your mailing address.

        • Just tried the kit — the stuff works, although the first step requires a bit more elbow grease than depicted in the commercial. I sent you before-and-after pics in email and put them on Facebook too.

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