3M Headlight Restoration Kit Review

In my last post I suggested using Toothpaste to Restore Cloudy Headlights. It will work…. if you spend the whole day doing it!

To save yourself time and sanity I'd suggest buying a 3M Headlight Restoration Kit. These kits range in price from $15-20, and generally work well.  For restoring the headlights on my Mom's '97 Chrysler Town & Country I bought the 3M Headlight Restoration Kit. It took me about 4 hours to do it properly.  The process is basically what a body shop would do to restore and refinish headlights.  Except you use a drill and save a ton of money since you DIY!

Here are Pictures of the Before and After on my Mom's '97 Chrysler Van.

BEFORE
AFTER

I did this on March 6th, 2010. That was about 2 months ago, and the headlights still look pretty good. The headlights were so dim nobody wanted to drive the Town & Country at night, but now that's not a problem.  (Well I don't want to drive it because it's van but that is obviously a separate issue.)

Restoring your headlights is extremely beneficial for your safety and other drivers out on the road.  Not only did this improve the appearance of the van, but the ability to see the road at night and in bad weather greatly improved and other people will be able to see the van better.

It's possible the headlights will get cloudy again, meaning I might have to buy another headlight restoration kit and redo this.  If you want to avoid this in the future I would recommend going down to your local auto parts store and buying a UV clearcoat spray in a can.  Headlights that come from the factory have a UV clearcoat protection on them, which helps protect from UV damage and debris.  Generally when the UV clearcoat wears off is when you start to get cloudy, hazy, and yellowed headlights.

The 3M Headlight Restoration Kit doesn't have any sort of clearcoat spray that comes with the kit.  Some kits, like the Slyvania Headlight Restoration Kit, come with a UV clearcoat application.  I should put a protective UV coating on the van's headlights, to ensure I don't need to refinish the headlights again.  I would recommend you do the same if buy the 3M kit.

Here are some tips for the 3M kit:

  • I was oversanding with the 600 grit sandpaper. The paper would gum up, before I realized it. It probably would have been helpful to wet the 600 grit paper a little bit every so often.
  • You get only 1 piece of 3000 grit sandpaper. It would have been helpful to have 2 pieces in my opinion. I did one headlight then I moved onto the other one, but by then the paper was used up. It took me forever to do the other headlight. I would suggest switching back and forth on each side if you are headlights are really cloudy, hazy, or yellowed.
  • You must Tape-up around your Headlights! I probably would have done a lot of damage to the paint if I didn't! I just used blue Painters Tape you can buy at any local hardware store, which worked fine.
  • I would suggest using a Corded Drill, which is what I used. If you try to use a Battery Powered Drill, I'm sure the battery will run out before you finish and you will be waiting for the batteries to charge.
  • As the video says in the beginning you definitely should have a Spray Bottle and some microfiber towels.
I hope this helps people restore their own Headlights. If you have seriously cloudy, hazy, or yellowed headlights keep in mind the 3M kit probably will not work.  You might need to get them refinished and restored at a body shop.  However, it is worth it to at least try the 3M kit first since it's not that expensive.  I'd imagine your headlights will still look a little bit better.
If you have any questions about using the kit please leave a comment below.

Restoring Cloudy Headlights with Toothpaste!

If you drive a car that is about 10 years-old or older, I bet you have what's known as “Cloudy Headlights.”  I'm sure you've driven late at night, and noticed that your Headlights don't light up the road well.  You can barely see anything in front of you when driving!  You thought to yourself “Should I replace my Headlights?  Is there an inexpensive way to fix this?”

There is actually a good way to fix your Cloudy Headlights.  Using some Toothpaste!  What?  Yeah, that's right Toothpaste!  It's an old restoration trick I heard about once, but never thought it would work.  Well.. it does!  Basically what you have to do is go outside to your car with Toothpaste and a microfiber towel.  Put some Toothpaste on your towel, and rub it in in a circular motion with a good amount of force.  After a few minutes you should notice a difference.

I don't know why this works (well I don't really want to know why because it's weird that it does!)  Using Toothpaste will work but…. it will take forever to do the both Headlights.  You'll also use a lot of Toothpaste!  I'd suggest getting a Headlight Restoration Kit at your local Auto Parts Store. 

My First…. Motorcycle!

I know this is supposed to be an Automotive Blog, but I thought I would share this anyway.  I bought this motorcycle yesterday!  It's a 96′ Yamaha Virago 250cc with only about 4,500 miles on it.  It's a perfect bike for a beginner motorcyclist.  I hope this gives me many years of great riding!

Premature Brake Wear

A few days ago my Mom complained that her Van was making “A loud noise!”  I took it around the block, and after hearing Screeeeech coming from the front….. I immediately knew it needed new Brakes.

Yesterday I replaced the Front Pad and Rotors.  Pictured below you can see I clearly marked the Left- Side and Right-Side Rotors.  As you can see in the pictures, the Left-Side Pads and Rotor were completely worn out.   You should be able to see the grooves in the Rotor, which happens when your Brake Pads wear down and are Metal to Metal.   If you notice on the Right Rotor it is smooth, the way it should be.  The Left had Premature Brake Wear, due to a seizing caliper.

Premature Brake Wear is serious.  If your Brakes get Metal to Metal, your stopping power seriously decreases.  This is a good example of what happens if you don't get your Brakes checked and maintained frequently!

LEFT

 The Rotor has grooves in it, and the top Pad is seriously worn down!

RIGHT

 These look ok, but needed to be replaced as well!

Synthetic Oil

In my last post I suggest getting your Oil changed every 3,000-4,000 miles.  If you feel that's just to often for you there is a solution…. Synthetic Oil!

Regular Oil, that you most likely have in your car right now, will only last for 3,000-4,000 miles.  Synthetic can last 2 or 3 times longer.  Meaning you could go 10,000-15,000 miles between Oil Changes!  Imagine saving all that time and hassle!

Synthetic Oil cleans and protects your engine better.  Your car's fuel economy can improve.  It will make your engine last longer.  It has higher boiling point, so if your engine is overheating Synthetic Oil won't burn up as readily as Regular Oil.  On cold days, it will provide more even lubrication.  Many people argue that it's also better for the Environment, because you use less Oil over the life of your car.
      
Are you asking yourself “Why hasn't anybody suggested Synthetic Oil before?”  There might be several reasons, but the main reason is Price!  Synthetic Oil lasts longer, but is more expensive.  A typical Synthetic Oil change at a shop might cost $70-90, not including disposal fees and taxes.  Many people just don't want to spend that much.  Actually… most shops don't even carry Synthetic Oil, because there isn't much of a demand.

I put Synthetic in my Toyota Camry!  I feel it's worth it.  Usually Auto Parts Stores have special deals to buy 5 quarts of Synthetic Oil with a high-quality oil filter for $30.  It saves me time, since I only change it every 10,000 miles instead of 3,000 miles.  I checked my dipstick yesterday, and 6,000 miles later Synthetic Oil still looks new! 

Even though Synthetic Oil is great, I wouldn't suggest it for cars with 100,000+ miles.  I tried using it in my Mom's Van…… it leaked out.  Synthetic Oil is so viscous and cleans so well, it tends to leak through older engines that have used Regular Oil.

It's better to switch to Synthetic early in a car's life.  You'll prevent any problems from switching over if you do.  Many high-end manufacturers, Ferrari, Aston Martin, etc factory fill cars with Synthetic Oil.  So why not your car?