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How To Polish Your Tail Lights

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Posted

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.

supplies.jpg

-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)

wet.jpg

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.

fade.jpg

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.

poli.jpg

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.jpg

side by side -- notice the reflection.

shutter.jpg

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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Posted

Nice write up. I should polish my wagons tails

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Posted

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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Posted

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... :) If I get around to it, I will, but I'm trying to save money. heh... lol

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Posted

and u couldnt do this befo the dragon :D

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Posted

and u couldnt do this befo the dragon :D

I did... it was only 1 tail light though :P

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Posted

I did... it was only 1 tail light though :P

dam :(

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

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Posted

I did... it was only 1 tail light though :P

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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Posted

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

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Posted

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.com/Mods/glass_polishing.html

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Posted

Damn it Nazi. Search don't hijack:

http://volvospeed.com/Mods/glass_polishing.html

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

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

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Posted

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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Posted

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)

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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Posted

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:

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Posted

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:

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... :lol: haha

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