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Help please: Cleaning Litronic lenses (outside surface)

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The Litronic headlight lenses on my 2002 C2 have (in spite of regular hand washing of the car) accumulated, for lack of a better term, atmospheric "goop" better defined as all that crap including bug, tree and road stuff that a good cut and polish would remove from a painted surface (the car is parked on the driveway as we don't have a garage). :(

However as the lens is "plastic" for lack of a better description, I am stumped as to how to clean the surfaces beyond using a car wash solution in water. I tried Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Clear Plastic Cleaner but without luck, and if anything the lenses are now looking like they have a swirl finish much like a black painted car that hasn't been polished.

Has anyone successfully cleaned these lenses to get this stuff off them, and what did you use? Any thoughts, comments, and recommendations would be appreciated. No, getting a garage is not an option - by-law issues with the size of our lot!.


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  • 9 months later...
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Porsche Ron,

I was doing a search on this very topic. I too have accumulated some sort of gunk on my plastic headlamp cover that will not come off with regular car wash soap. Did you ever find something to remove grime and leave the lens clear? Anybody else?

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  • 4 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I bought my 02 C4 with 59K miles about 2 months ago. The headlights were in terrible condition. The plastic was yellowed in spots and very unappealing. I went to Autozone and bought the 3M kit with the drill attachment for polishing the lenses. It comes with several grades of sandpaper, some polish and the drill attachment. I followed the instructions and after several hours had crystal clear headlights. If your headlights are badly yellowed, like mine were, you may need additional sandpaper. I used some wet sanding paper for furniture with the same grit wrapped over a sponge sanding block. Yeah, they were that bad. It took me about 3-4 hours, but they look new. I've very happy with the results.

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+1 for wet sanding. I used 2000 and 1000 grit sandpaper and wet sanded (by hand) the lights, using PLENTY of water. Then I used Plast-X from Autozone to polish them up. They started out nasty, yellow and scratched - but now almost look brand new.

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Please STOP, do for the love of your cars not put sandpaper on your headlights. They are treated much like camera lense filters and if you remove this coating your headlights will start turning yellow and clouding (look at a 5 year old Ford, Dodge,etc.). If someone is truely having a problem with their headlights Post a pic and I will check in from time to time with a remedy. The best cure all for Polycarbonates is metal polish, use either Meguiar's, or Eagle One paste in the little round container. First clean the headlight with soap and water then using moderate pressure and a wax applicator pad rub it into the headlight like you would wax a car in a circular motion. A little elbow grease and about 3-4 minutes will clear most imperfections from the headlight without destroying the coatings. Then buff it off by hand! The surface temperature can incrase dramatically in polycarbonates and they will blister, mar, burn quickly so I highly recommend all work is done by hand. Heck try it on your neighbors cluncker, put a smear on half of one of his yellowed opaqued headlights rub it in for 2-3 minutes and then buff it off.

I own a Window company and we restore Bullet Proof Glass in Banks etc. Yes we do use a sanding kit, a professional sanding kit, with a water feed line and a slurry catch, and adjustable speed settings. A power drill and a pad of any kind can go from a time saver to destructive in about 10 seconds flat, and if you use these on treated headlights the heat and friction will actually cause the coatings to peel off in some cases. Many people have wasted their money on plastic restoring products and met with less than desireable results. These products are like car wax they are for the maintenance of the surface not for restoring that 20 year old sun burnt no clear coat having excuse for why your car appears to be slightly blue paint to new. The trend of poly carbonates and saving money has the manufacturers producing them as they are cheaper and lighter than glass, but to treat them like Porsche and a couple others do is to expensive. These products are and effort to give consumers a tool to prevent this from advancing but it cannot do what is necessary to optically repair the surface. Just take a minute and ask yourself what do you do to the plastic trim on your car to protect it? Well now consider that your headlights are plastic. . . . HTH

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