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How to clear my foggy headlights?

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by drakeb252, Jan 24, 2023.

  1. Jan 24, 2023 at 5:36 PM
    #1
    drakeb252

    drakeb252 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know how to eliminate foggy headlights so they’ll look like new?
     
  2. Jan 24, 2023 at 5:39 PM
    #2
    JasonLee

    JasonLee Hello? I'm a truck.

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    Many ways. The easiest is to buy new OEM housings.

    Outside of that, wet sanding with various grit levels of sandpaper and then finish with a UV protectant and/or wax. There are commercial products for this. Here's a website full of junk ads that show you some examples: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/best-headlight-restoration-kit/
     
    drakeb252[OP] likes this.
  3. Jan 24, 2023 at 5:51 PM
    #3
    kozy

    kozy Active Member

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    Here's the process that works pretty well for me:

    1. Wet sand with 800 grit 2 times covering the whole light
    2. Wet sand with 1200 grit 2 times covering the whole light
    3. Wet sand with 2000 grit 2 times covering the whole light
    4. Apply plastic polish. I use this product from meguiars with a foam wheel drill attachment a little bit similar to this one.

    Be aware that your headlight fog will look WORSE until step 4, don't panic. Also, I'm sure there are better UV protection products out there but I've been using the meguiars one for 7 or 8 years and it works great.
     
    usmc2msu likes this.
  4. Jan 24, 2023 at 5:53 PM
    #4
    jacpa

    jacpa Well-Known Member

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  5. Jan 24, 2023 at 5:55 PM
    #5
    HondaGM

    HondaGM Roll Tide

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    I polish my 09 a couple times with a buffer and mothers aluminum mag polish…just have to turn at a low speed
     
  6. Jan 24, 2023 at 6:13 PM
    #6
    Marshall R

    Marshall R Well-Known Member

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    I polished them on my 2007 2 or 3 times over the years. The 1st time they came out looking like new. Not quite as good the 2nd and 3rd times, but still a huge improvement. I finally broke down last fall and bought new ones. Made a HUGE difference in my 16 year old truck. Not only does it look better, but I can see better at night.
     
    jackn7 likes this.
  7. Jan 24, 2023 at 6:29 PM
    #7
    Geeves77

    Geeves77 Well-Known Member

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    Tooth paste. No, I have not smoked to much tonight. Try it!!!!
     
  8. Jan 24, 2023 at 6:34 PM
    #8
    point45

    point45 Well-Known Member

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    I used to polish them at least once a year and use the protectant.

    Just clearcoat them after polishing. I haven't had to polish them in 2 years.
     
    Sprig likes this.
  9. Jan 24, 2023 at 9:36 PM
    #9
    TacoTuesday1

    TacoTuesday1 Well-Known Member

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    replace
     
    19BlancoAmocat and CaTaco101 like this.
  10. Jan 25, 2023 at 2:05 AM
    #10
    Mudsock

    Mudsock Well-Known Member

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    Rock auto and buy new ones.

    Every time I polished lenses, they would get foggy/ dull again in a short amount of time. The non oem light assemblies aren’t very expensive.
     
  11. Jan 25, 2023 at 4:03 AM
    #11
    Doc Samson

    Doc Samson Well-Known Member

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    Depends on how much effort you want to put into it! I've never had much luck with any kits but I also haven't tried any recently. ChrisFix has a couple of good vids and I've used his method several times to good effect...
     
  12. Jan 25, 2023 at 4:42 AM
    #12
    FishaRnekEd

    FishaRnekEd Well-Known Member

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    I take the same buffing wheel that i use for paint.

    I use whatever polishing compound i have for paint.

    Scrub it off with dish soap when done.
    Dry it and see how it looks.
    Repeat the process again if necessary.

    After it looks as smooth and clear as it's gonna get, i get a clean polishing pad and put a coat of mother's cleaner wax.

    Let it fully dry and wipe off.

    Same exact process i use for paint.

    Nice and smooth, bugs won't stick.

    Old my old plastic was really yellow (not going to buff that out) so after 17 years, i finally replaced the whole assembly.
     
  13. Jan 25, 2023 at 4:44 AM
    #13
    FishaRnekEd

    FishaRnekEd Well-Known Member

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    Toothpaste has the same grit in it as other lite polishing compounds. (Ground, fine Diatomaceous earth)
     
  14. Jan 25, 2023 at 4:53 AM
    #14
    Venom

    Venom Well-Known Member

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  15. Jan 25, 2023 at 7:16 AM
    #15
    Leomania

    Leomania Well-Known Member

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    All stock, baby!
    Depending upon how yellow your lights are, and whether it is limited to the outside of the lenses, you’ll get varying results from a cleaning/restoration product. Mine looked fairly bad, I polished them well with a Rain-X windshield polish, and that got them 90% of the way there. I then purchased this inexpensive 3M kit, which has a 3000 grit sanding pad and a couple packets of UV protectant. They got it another 5% clearer, and to my eye, they look great.

    @kozy is spot on about the “looks worse until the protectant goes on”. You’re going to think, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?” but in the end it looks fine, so long as you’ve polished through the degraded plastic to the clear stuff underneath.
     
  16. Jan 25, 2023 at 8:22 AM
    #16
    SpreadHead

    SpreadHead New Member

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    Definitely go the polishing route these other guys have mentioned. The aftermarket headlight assemblies look cool but are garbage compared to the OEM, and OEM housings are expensive. You've got nothing to lose trying to polish them up and add the UV protectant. Maybe $40 Tops in supplied to do this. Maguires plastic polish works really well with a rag wheel or foam pad on a standard drill. Then just wipe on the UV coating stuff. It'll last years.
     
  17. Jan 25, 2023 at 9:58 AM
    #17
    BlkDakDave

    BlkDakDave Well-Known Member

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    I heard about this about a year or so ago. I had some on the shelf so I gave it a try and it worked great. I follow up with a coat of Meguiars Gold Class Carnauba paste wax.
     
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  18. Jan 25, 2023 at 11:31 AM
    #18
    jaymac10

    jaymac10 Well-Known Member

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    It's easy to get them clear, the trick is to keep them clear! I did mine with a kit. I followed instructions and only applied one coat of the UV clear coat. Will re-do process this summer and put on 2-3 clear coats which will hopefully last longer than a couple years.
     
  19. Jan 25, 2023 at 11:51 AM
    #19
    CaTaco101

    CaTaco101 Well-Known Member

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    What’s the cheapest online for oem?

    im not keen on polishing my headlights every year or two.

    I’ve heard they get worse faster after you first polish so you have to keep polishing.
     
  20. Jan 25, 2023 at 7:48 PM
    #20
    Mudsock

    Mudsock Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I got lucky, but, mine have been on for 5ish years and still look great. And they weren’t very expensive.

    RockAuto.com
     
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