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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

The Hack buffs his headlights for Magnus Walker | Hagerty Media

I've had a couple of long articles recently, so you'll forgive me a short lateral pass. It won't surprise you that a guy who goes by the professional nom de guerre "The Hack Mechanic" is, shall we say, less than fastidious about the appearance of his cars. I don't do concours.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/the-hack-mechanic/the-hack-buffs-his-headlights-for-magnus-wal...
4 REPLIES 4
strassenmeister
Pit Crew

Aren't those headlights fairly easy to remove? Seems like it would be an easier / safer job that way. I sanded and polished mid-2000's VW headlights on the bench, then scuffed and clear coated them. Results were great.
The problem with these polishing kits is without the clear coat the polycarbonate will oxidize again quickly.
For headlights that are hard to remove, such as those that require removal of the bumper cover, you could use masking tape then duct tape over that for abrasion protection.
JonMiller
Intermediate Driver

What clear-coat do you recommend?
PlumCrazyChris
Pit Crew

I've used that kit, but it requires quit a bit of work. I've recently found that simply spraying and wiping off any mosquito spray with 40% DEET works miraculously to remove the haze on weathered headlights. I was skeptical, but hail totalled out minivan and we were sending it off with the insurance company. So I figured this would be a good opportunity to try it without any potential downside.
Like I said, it was nothing short of miraculous! My can was nearly empty, and I only got a few measly spritz's on to the headlights, but it still worked really well. So well, that I used it on my pickup while shaking the can to try to get the last drop on the plastic covers. It still did its magic to those as well.
One thing to understand, is that it evaporates really quickly, so be ready to wipe it off right away with a paper towel or rag. I think the solvents in the spray dissolve the plastic surface revealing the fresh clear plastic underneath. It may work with other sprays solvents, but I haven't experimented with this. It might be worth a trip to the junkyard with a bag full of different DEET concentrations or even other spray solvents...brake cleaner?? No offence to the above used kit, but I would never use it again.

Cheers, and your welcome.
Chris
MickHannickle
Intermediate Driver

You don't need the kit. Just wet sand with progressively finer grits until you're satisfied with the finish. Polish them with an automotive plastic polish and then, as strassenmeister points out, clear coat them or you'll be doing it all over again next year.