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Car Lust Classic: Project: 2001 Dodge Caravan headlight lens restoration

Well, it's winter here on the North American continent, and a few inside repair jobs on the cars may be in order. Here's some great information from Big Chris on headlight lens restoration. This is timely advice, since we're in some of the shortest daylight of the year right now.

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On a steamy July night I decided it was time to fix the headlight lenses on my 2001 Dodge Caravan. As you will see in the videos, over time they have gotten very dingy and yellowed. My solution to the problem was to use 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System which is available through our hosts here on Amazon.com and for my final step I used Meguiar's #10 Clear Plastic Polish.

I used the Meguiar's #10 because I have that on hand from polishing the windshield on my motorcycle. Another final step option is Meguiar's PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner and Polish which might have a wider application of uses, but I didn't have any on hand.

The 3M system is awesome in that it uses a drill to do all the work. I had previously attempted this project on my wife's car by hand with other products (a hand sanding kit with multiple grits and polishing compound) and halfway through the first lens my arms were shot, and the lens was only about 20% better, not nearly totally clear like they are with this 3M setup.

The first video is an overview of the project. You'll see in it that it was about 95F and 75% humidity on the night I chose to do this project. And my garage is NOT air conditioned.

The second video shows the stage by stage progress as I clean the second lens. I am very satisfied with the final product, and will soon be doing this for my wife's 1996 Honda Civic.

 

 

--Big Chris

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Consumer Reports did an evaluation of headlight restoration kits recently. They said the Sylvania kit was best, and that the 3M kit was nearly as good. Here is the link: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/headlight-restoration-kits/buying-guide.htm

When you can buy replacement headlights for $80 a pair from Amazon or Ebay, why bother? Especially when most people report that after using these kits, the improvement doesn't last long.

My thoughts exactly, Sooke. I bought the 3M kit for my daughter's '98 Escort, but befor I could use it she hit a deer. In looking for a replacement driver's headlight, I found that junkyard prices are about $35 but Rock Auto has new unit with bulbs for $45, so I bought both and the 3M kit sits on the shelf.

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