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I've also heard good things about this headlight spray coating, which prevents the plastic from yellowing if used proactively. Any opinion on whether this is needed, or if the Meguiar's Ceramic Wax can accomplish the same thing since both are spray applications (no buffing)?

https://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-G17804-Clear-Headlight-Coating/dp/B01M4RVVX6
I'm not sure if the Meguiar's hybrid ceramic wax protects against damage from UV light. I personally wouldn't use the headlight spray because you don't want to get over-spray on the paint. I need something more dummy proof. :grin: The Meguiar's hybrid ceramic wax is pretty much dummy proof. You don't even have to make sure you coat every inch perfectly on the car cause when you rinse it the water will spread it out evenly. It works on plastic, glass, and the wheels so no need to worry about getting it on something I shouldn't.


Some ceramic wax products does offer UV protection like this one that are more expensive and probably requires a little more effort to properly apply. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y5KQSKF/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A14AEVHLCWPZQ5&psc=1
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've seen clear films that are sold for protection and/or restoration. I thought about adding in yellow version over the clear cover for rear turn signal lights. I considered adding this XPEL video and product to the headlights of my older Honda after "de-yellowing" them, but don't have experience with them yet.
 

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My daughters '02 Jaguar X-Type ("Mom's Hand me down") has severe yellowing of the headlights, and since they are impossible to find, and when we do they are $500 each, we regularly buff them. MY '02 Ford Explorer Sportrac lights eventually yellowed, but I found cheap replacements for about $80.

My Wife's 2015 Prius has huge headlights that look like they point directly to the sun, whereas my 2019 Insight has little slits for headlights.

OK, so we generally keep our cars for a long time (I have a 1922 Ford and a 1981 Delorean :smile: - so yeah, we keep them around for a while).

I've been thinking of getting this "Headlamp UV Protectant Film" as a cheap insurance to protect the plastic from yellowing. I have ZERO knowledge or experience with it.

https://www.xpel.com/shop/headlight-protection-film

Thoughts? Experience? Waste of time or ??

Thanks,

Doogie
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mention of the XPEL headlight protection film came up briefly in prior thread on "High Replacement Cost of LED Lamp Assemblies" - where @cganesh asked for input on coating to protect lenses from rock damage, (and the XPEL clear bra was briefly discussed in a thread on "Fit and Finish") but forum experience with it was limited.

Yellowing of the plastic (polycarbonate) lens covers over time is due to the protective coating breaking down due to the sun's direct UV rays and/or indirect exposure from general outside parking/use and ambient UV exposure. I think heat also contributes to break down of the coating, so run-hot headlight bulbs can also speed up the yellowing process. The concept of UV films or coatings is to prevent or slow the degradation process that will inevitably follow.

Like you, I keep my cars for a LONG time and considered the XPEL headlight film for the Insight... but I'm choosing not to do anything (other than including spray wax to the headlights when I wash/wax my car).

My thoughts on doing nothing:
  • The Insight headlight area is narrow and protected from direct sun/UV exposure by the front turn signals and 'wing' - so overhead UV exposure (and potential rock damage) is less than on other cars.
  • The Insight's LED headlights run cool and minimize any heat-related breakdown of the coating.
  • My car is garaged 90+% of the time when not being driven.
  • If/when the LED headlights fail, the current process is for the whole headlight assembly to be replaced rather than single bulb(s). Unlike my prior Hondas, this means that the full headlight assembly (including the plastic front exposed to sun/UV) may need to be replaced anyhow in the future.
  • In addition to the LED headlights themselves, the headlight assembly includes the front turn signal light and daytime running lights - so if/when either of those fail, I'd also be replacing the full headlight assembly.

Single-LED bulb replacement (vs full assembly replacement) may become an option in the future AND the LED headlights are expected to have 20k-50k hours of operating life - so the argument on assembly replacement may not last forever. But until then, for the way Honda has designed it, I think of the headlights as a "replacement part" rather than a lifetime part, so I'm not over-investing time, money, or effort into protecting them.

Overall, you may choose to approach it differently based on your experiences with other cars... but just wanted to share my 2 (or 3) cents as food for thought. :)
 

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I put a 3M clearbra on the front bumper and headlights. Probably excessive, as it's still a sub-30k car.
 

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So it's been 18 months since I bought my Insight. I noticed this cloud like haze on the plastic housing of the headlights when I have them on at night. I don't see it during the day when the headlights are off. Did some research and the plastic oxidizes from the sun's uv rays... Makes sense since I park my car outside year round. I went to Walmart(Amazon sold out) and bought Meguiar's PlastX cleaner & polisher.


The stuff worked and cleared up my headlight's cloudiness. Took a microfiber towel, squeezed a pea size amount, started rubbing, and less than a minute later everything cleared up. The headlights are back to the original brightness at night. 😲 I did notice the headlights appearing less bright at night but I thought it was my night vision deteriorating. :LOL: I went and did the plastic housing on the taillights, too. PlastX cleared up the plastic enough that I finally saw a dead spider stuck on the bottom of my rear passenger side taillight. I'm not even sure how it got in there... 😨
5549
5550


I wish I knew about PlastX earlier because I definitely could've used it for my previous vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To clarify - did you mean tail lights, matching your pictures? If not, can you post pictures of headlights as well?
 

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To clarify - did you mean tail lights, matching your pictures? If not, can you post pictures of headlights as well?
I tried taking pictures of the headlights at night but the photos were too grainy. Also applied 303 UV Protectant after the PlastX.

Edit:
Got one that shows the headlight clearly. This was after using PlastX. I didn't think to take a before pic. 😅
5551
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So it's been 18 months since I bought my Insight. I noticed this cloud like haze on the plastic housing of the headlights when I have them on at night. I don't see it during the day when the headlights are off. Did some research and the plastic oxidizes from the sun's uv rays... Makes sense since I park my car outside year round. I went to Walmart(Amazon sold out) and bought Meguiar's PlastX cleaner & polisher.
Do you think the haze that you saw could've been deterioration of the "303 UV Protectant Spray" that you tried/mentioned above? The description sounded like frequent reapplication was needed to maintain protection... or maybe the haze was from that product fading?

Also, were you continuing to apply Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax on every surface, including headlights/tallights since purchase?

Wondering if one of these coatings, plus outdoor exposure accelerated the haze?
 

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Yep, still applying Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Wax. I need to finish my last bottle before I transition over to Turtle Wax Hybrid Ceramic Spray again. I need to find the article again but I've read that the cloudiness can happen quickly on a new car, too. Daily driving from road debris and road grime hitting the plastic housing not just from the sun's uv rays. Sealants like Meguiar's Hybrid Wax should reduce the chance of it happening. It's even suggested to apply car wax after cleaning & polishing the plastic to extend the protection. 303 UV Protectant Spray is water based so I don't think that can cause plastic to turn into a cloudy haze as it fades. It's safe for plastic as stated by the manufacturer.

Edit:
Here’s a problem that has become literally epidemic. Cloudy, discolored headlamp lenses. This is caused by the ultra-violet light from the sun. It attacks the surface of the plastic and causes it to get little pock marks and checks in it and so on, and you see it as this cloudy appearance. That diffuses the light into the air around the car and in general you can’t see when it happens. The unfortunate thing is it happens when the car isn’t all that old, too. But the fortunate thing will be that most of these can be restored. Clearing Up Cloudy Headlights | MotorWeek
What Makes Headlights Cloudy?

  • Oxidation: Acrylic headlights oxidize when exposed to UV light. Headlight lenses come with a clear top coat to help prevent this, but eventually, the coating wears off, and sunlight turns the hard plastic yellow.
  • Flying debris: Your headlights take a beating from gravel, road salt, and other debris that gets kicked up as you cruise down the road. This wears down the top coat and creates pits and scratches on your headlights, adding to their cloudy appearance.
  • Dirt and chemicals: After several years on the road, a thin layer of dirt and chemicals form on the lenses. This opaque layer dims the beam coming from your headlights.
  • Water vapor: Headlights are manufactured with a watertight seal, but wear and tear can cause this seal to break. Condensation then forms inside the lens where you can’t wipe it away. The water droplets scatter the beam of light, further impairing nighttime visibility.
https://glassdoctor.com/blog/why-your-headlights-get-foggy
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Semi-random thought... but it occurred to me that unlike my older Hondas, I'll need to replace the full headlight assembly on the Insight if/when the LED lights burn out.

The downside is that this replacement may be several years out (since LED), but the upside is that yellowing/hazing can be addressed at same time by replacement (since full swap). It's at least minor consolation, given the ~$500 price tag for each side's headlight assembly.
 

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PPF is the way to go. My 2013 accord headlights look like the milkyway as they have thousands of microchips. Not yellowed bit chipped so much they haze the light output. PPF would have prevented this.

I applied some 3M PPF to the sills of my other car since my toddler keeps on stepping on the sills. I learned that PPF is is not easy to apply even with heat and a regimen of vinyl and window film tools. Perhaps xPel and Llumar/Suntek are easier to apply than 3M since they are newer materials???

The lights are really exposed on the 3 both by UV and from road debris.
I've been putting off putting PPF on the Model 3 lights since I keep on saying I'm going to pay someone to PPF the entire front end, so why waste $40 on a headlight kit?

The Insight I want to do as well, but the all that plastic trim around the lights would make it difficult.
 
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