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Shine up your hazy headlights

Consumer Reports magazine: March 2012

As people keep their cars longer, oxidation of commonly used plastic headlight lenses is an increasing problem for drivers. Oxidation creates a haze that can significantly reduce headlight illumination, creating a safety hazard. And because hazing occurs over time, you might not notice the creeping danger.

Replacing the lenses or having them professionally cleaned are options but can cost $200. For a fraction of that, you can use a headlight lens cleaning kit.

We recently sampled four kits, all costing $21 or less, on several older cars: 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System 29008, Fast Brite Auto Headlight Restorer Kit, Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit, and Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer. All the kits remove the cloudy surface of plastic lenses by using abrasives. Three then polish the lenses back to a smoother finish, while a fourth skips directly to the sealant stage to finish the lens. Two other kits also use a sealant. All can be purchased either online or at auto parts and department stores.

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