Mark Reply to on 3 October 2016
|As with many other people I was a little sceptical about taking sanding discs to my headlights, but they were in such a state that it was either that, pay a professional £70-£100 to renovate them, or replace the units (£100's more!) to avoid an MOT failure. After checking reviews and narrowing down the choices to either this kit from 3M or the one from Autoglym (both names and brands I've used before and trust), I decided the edge was with this kit and went ahead with the order, adding the small bottle of UV sealant in order to ensure that whatever finish I ended up with would at least be protected from future sun damage etc. I then waited for a good, dry and fairly sunny day so I would be able to see what I was doing and get all my lights done in one hit, cracked open the kit and got stuck in. I got through three fully charged batteries on my Ryobi cordless drill (set to the lower speed setting 1) and my arms and hands still ached a day later, but the results were just as promised by the blurb on the kit, much to my own surprise and relief. Even my mother-in-law said they looked like new units when I was done about 3 1/2 hours later, so it really does pay to (a) read the instructions and follow them to the letter and (b) take the time to do the job right. My lights went from heavily yellowed and fogged to 'as new', so if the UV sealant I applied (two coats, apply, leave to dry, buff off & repeat) after washing everything down when I was done do their job then I'll be very happy, with clear, bright, safe lights again, a must now that the nights are drawing in for winter.
Some observations: Don't apply too much pressure when sanding - a light drag feeling that doesn't make the drill's note drop seems best, and use a combination of strokes depending on which disc is on the pad. For the early stages with the coarser pad, shorter strokes that repeatedly go over a slowly widening area were best to show the layers of lacquer and fogged plastic coming off, moving onto longer, more even passes across the whole light unit when you switch to the finer sanding discs and the polishing pad. Be thorough and make sure you've really cleared off all the old lacquer so that the headlights really do go a uniform milkiness - that's the scariest part, and the one at which both myself and anyone watching sucked their teeth and shook their heads in doubt, but stick with it as it really does all come good in the end. I have a W211 model E Class and so had four lights to renovate, two 'side' lights and two main headlights - if you have the same model then open the bonnet before you mask up. It means less masking and much easier access to polish/sand the tops of the light units. I did one set with the bonnet closed as I was concerned about how much dust would be made, but it really wasn't anywhere near as bad as I'd feared with the majority falling down in the direction of the drill's rotation so when I moved onto the second pair I opened the bonnet and found the whole process much easier as a result - lesson learned if I ever need to do this again! Also there were enough sanding discs, polish etc. in the kit to do the whole job, so unless you have lights the size of windows you should be fine for pretty much any car I'd think.
In short, if you're having doubts then don't - this kit really does work if you follow the instructions and take your time to be thorough and careful. My lights look amazing now and I keep going out to look at them as I still can't believe how much better they came up - thoroughly recommended kit! Just remember to get the UV sealant as well and apply two coats to make sure your hard work and effort are protected from the sun longer term. I'm going to give my lights another refresher treatment with the sealant every month or so when I clean and polish the car so that hopefully the renovated finish I currently have will last long enough that I won't need to do it again for a number of years.