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How To Polish Your Tail Lights


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#1 Jaxx

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 03:26 AM

So you're working on your car and you realize your lights are faded, and you're looking for a way to polish them.

I'm no expert, so I'm sure there are flaws in my write up... please read the whole thread because I'm sure there are better ways of doing some times... If you attempt to do this, it is at your own risk, and at your own risk only. I, nor Volvospeed is responsible for any actions you take.

with that said... Here's what you're going to need.


-taillight you want to polish (or any plastic lens)
-sand paper -- i suggest 400 or 600 grit.(i used 600) MAKE SURE this sand paper is wet/dry paper. you also want 1000-2000
-water. You're going to be wet-sanding the tail light.
-Polishing compound (I used Brasso)
-cotton towel or shirt... This is to use the polishing compound. this might depend on your compound too.
(OPTIONAL)
-Gloves, keeps your hands from getting too dirty
-lubricant for wet sanding (I used Bon Ami, a cleaner)



start wet sanding. make sure that you don't go dry. have plenty of water on the light. If you have a lubricant, use that.



after all that, this is what you should have. It should seem very dull and not very shiny. you can go all the way down to take all the prints made when it was manufactured, but that is your decision.

Start polishing it again with some 2000 grit. this should get rid of most big surface scratches. again, don't let the surface go dry. it shouldn't take much when you're on this stage.



You should have something like this now.

From here, hit it up with some polishing compound to get rid of all the scratches, and give it a smooth, reflective finish.

Before and after comparo:

side by side -- notice the reflection.


You can see very clearly the light source on the polished one and how faded/pitted the 13 year old one is.

comments welcome. good luck.

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#2 Dmsee

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 03:50 AM

Nice write up. I should polish my wagons tails
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#3 Serge

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:07 AM

Excellent work!

You might want to spray your lights with a bit of clear coat, since the first few steps take off any UV protection they had. Plastic tends to darken/yellow with exposure to UV. Just a thought however.

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#4 Jaxx

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:33 AM

QUOTE (LiquidKernel @ Dec 27 2007, 11:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Excellent work!

You might want to spray your lights with a bit of clear coat, since the first few steps take off any UV protection they had. Plastic tends to darken/yellow with exposure to UV. Just a thought however.


thanks for the tip, and the comment, Serge. I can't imagine that anything was still there though... smile.gif If I get around to it, I will, but I'm trying to save money. heh... lol

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#5 '93 Dave

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:41 AM

and u couldnt do this befo the dragon biggrin.gif

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#6 Jaxx

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:42 AM

QUOTE (NA850 @ Dec 27 2007, 11:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
and u couldnt do this befo the dragon biggrin.gif


I did... it was only 1 tail light though tongue.gif

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Nadine | ME7 S70 T5 601 - sold
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#7 '93 Dave

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:43 AM

QUOTE (jaxx @ Dec 27 2007, 11:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I did... it was only 1 tail light though tongue.gif

dam sad.gif

i could say that i was ahead the entire time so i couldnt see, but with my experience thats really unfair sad.gif

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#8 BuDeKai

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 07:26 AM

QUOTE (jaxx @ Dec 27 2007, 11:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I did... it was only 1 tail light though tongue.gif

it did look silly but you could definately tell the differance.

jaxx, weren't u in the middle of that writeup when i called you for a filter?
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#9 7 VII 7

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:51 PM

how would you polish your headlight lenses??? Chuck did a write up but I can not find it

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#10 Che'_Moderator

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 05:03 PM

QUOTE (7 VII 7 @ Dec 28 2007, 10:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
how would you polish your headlight lenses??? Chuck did a write up but I can not find it


Damn it Nazi. Search don't hijack:
http://volvospeed.co..._polishing.html

#11 7 VII 7

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 05:04 PM

QUOTE (Che_Moderator @ Dec 28 2007, 12:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Damn it Nazi. Search don't hijack:
http://volvospeed.co..._polishing.html


I searched... could not find anything posted by you.

found it about 2mins after I posted this... THANKS!

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#12 JVW855R

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 07:07 PM

You can remove the lettering if you start with 220,then 320 ,400,600,800,1000,1200,2000,then any compound then machine glaze then hand glaze then wax is the best way

i restored plently of lights and customized i'll do little write up in the spring
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#13 Jaxx

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 08:02 PM

QUOTE (BuDeKai @ Dec 28 2007, 02:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
it did look silly but you could definately tell the differance.

jaxx, weren't u in the middle of that writeup when i called you for a filter?


sure was. I'm impressed with the difference, and you can mainly tell only with reflections. I haven't gotten around to doing the rest of the lights, because I'm not sure it would be worth my time (i was looking for that bling-blau look)


QUOTE (JVW855R @ Dec 28 2007, 02:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You can remove the lettering if you start with 220,then 320 ,400,600,800,1000,1200,2000,then any compound then machine glaze then hand glaze then wax is the best way

i restored plently of lights and customized i'll do little write up in the spring


yeah, you can start with a lower grit if you like, but it means more work later. more work with 400 would have definately taken off the lettering, I didn't spend too much time with it, it was mainly to get all the surface scratches off, not the lettering.

yeah, I'm glad you brought up the point about waxing though. I had forgotten to put that in there...


and can this be stickied?

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#14 Oreo931

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 09:15 PM

Before going through this process, something that seems to also work well for plastic polishing is Meguires PlastiX. I dont know if you tried that prior to doing this, but it works well. Nice write up though tup.gif

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#15 Jaxx

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:12 PM

QUOTE (Oreowned @ Dec 28 2007, 04:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Before going through this process, something that seems to also work well for plastic polishing is Meguires PlastiX. I dont know if you tried that prior to doing this, but it works well. Nice write up though tup.gif


plastiX is still just a polishing compound. you can use it after all these steps, but using it by itself won't get rid of everything such as pitting and such over the years... unless you work at it for a good 5 hours or so... laugh.gif haha

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#16 POSTITSORGTFO

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:26 PM

Nice write up.


Next step for you is to get the V70 Tails and tint them laugh.gif

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#17 Mesoam

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 12:24 AM

there's a member who did a quick easy mod, you can sand down those logo's and make them 100% smooth, it will also ease the polish process
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#18 NGB

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 01:01 AM

QUOTE (Mesoam @ Dec 28 2007, 07:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
there's a member who did a quick easy mod, you can sand down those logo's and make them 100% smooth, it will also ease the polish process

They look better close-up that way, too smile.gif

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#19 jordanvw

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 06:57 AM

looks good...wish i would have known this before i threw my old hazy taillights out!!!!!!!!!

doesnt matter..i have v70 tails on my wagon now anyway..

why does this only happen to the 850 wagon taillights and not the V70 ones or sedan ones???

anyway, if your too lazy to polish your taillights, i have some that are in perfect shiny shape if anyones interested... dont need any polishing..
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#20 JESSEXC

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 04:31 PM

I've done this on the rear tail lights of a 850 wagon and it looks just as good. All it takes is a buffer, compound, cleaner wax and about 15 min of your time.

Here is a headlight that I did today

Just used a cheap compund and wax


Before




after



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