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Headlight protection

2603 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  danham
The "2010 Golf TDI buying checklist" recommends having a UV-resistant laminate applied to prevent yellowing of the plastic lenses. I inquired at a good auto detailer and he mentioned it can cause trouble. The headlight could overheat because the film will slow down the dissipation of heat.

On the other side haven't vehicle manufacturers been using plastic lenses for years...long enough that I haven't seen any yellow lenses when I walk around a parking lot.

Anyone else have facts on this?
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Just found this on the a Titan Window Film companies website.

Q. Can Scotchgard â„¢ Paint Protection Film be used on headlights, foglights or windshields?
A. No, the Department of Transportation does not allow any film of any kind to be put on headlights, foglights or windshields.
Ok, right away that didn't seem accurate. Tint is allowed in the front windshield in some states at least, and that is a kind of film. I had never heard that that headlight films were not allowed. Anyways, I just had them installed on my headlights and fog lights. The installer (Frontguard in Annapolis, MD) said that the thicker material for the headlights and fog lights did not breathe as well, and he said that the fog lights will occasionally start to blacken (in that case remove them right away) because the fogs ran hotter than headlights. He never mentioned that they were not allowed by law.
The invisiguard site says theirs are legal. I think that as long as it's clear, nobody will ever bother you/notice them. I wouldn't get yellow, blue, or smoke tints because those alter/dim the light.

Yes, manufacturers have been using plastic lenses for years but I still see yellowed headlights. It takes a few years of exposure but they get pitted and foggy.
I am using Plexus, an excellent aircraft plexiglass polish/protectant/cleaner that I have used for years on motorcycle windshields and helmet shields.

I can't say yet, obviously, whether it will prevent yellowing of my JSW's headlights over time, but it has helped prevent that on my bikes and it has none of the possible drawbacks of film.

BTW, one of the worst things you can do to these kinds of materials is use alcohol-based cleaners (Windex, for ex.). That will make them "craze" and yellow a lot faster. My wife's Passat is unfortunately proof of that.

My business installs 3M scothgard automotve paint protection film on paint and headlight lenses.

Their film is not DOT approved on lights, but it certainly has never caused any of my customers to fail a state inspection or negatively effect the performance of their lights.

Out of thosands of installations we have only experienced a problem on one Mercedes ML350 foglight where it has actually melted the film a little. That was only on one of many ML's we have done and one out of thosands of applications that we have done.

We have installed the film on the whole line of VW's and have not experienced any problems. Its on my Jetta Wagon and doing a great job.

I highly recommend it.

3M also makes a headlight resurfacing kit to help sand/polish yellowed lenses, but it is only a temporary fix and the lenses will yellow even faster because the UV coating has been sanded off.

I recommend protective film applied to the lenses before you get any problems IE chips, pitting, etc.
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My wife's Passat lights are pretty badly clouded, so a quick question: if you do the sanding/polishing, does film take the place of the original UV protection, or will they degrade quickly regardless?

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