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Detail Mutant

Opti-Lens Headlight Restoration Longevity

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I just did a headlight restoration on a 2009 Toyota Camry with the following process:

1. Initial clean of headlight using 1-256 ONR solution

2. Wet sand using 1000 grit (had to do two rounds as 1000 because of significant yellowing shown in initial first picture) followed by 2000 grit then followed by 3000 grit (result after wet sanding shown in second picture).  Used ONR at 1:256 ratio instead of plain water to aid in wipe down down of "slurry".

3. Compound with Hyper Compound followed by Polish with Hyper Polish (result shown in third picture)

4. Wipe down surface with Paint Prep to remove any residue.

5. Apply opti-lens and allow minimum 1 hour before exposing to exterior (rain) elements.

So I have two questions associated with the Opti-Lens product:

1. In order to protect Opti-Lens coating over the full 7 day curing period, can I apply opti-seal over top after 1 hour like is recommended for other coatings (Gloss-Coat)?  Or is the formulation of Opti-Lens different that this may have adverse effects on longevity of the coating?

2. I know Dr. G has stated that Opti-Lens is a permanent coating but in life nothing lasts for forever.  In order to justify the higher cost to future clients, I would like to offer some form of warranty.  I also know that the longevity will be based on how good a prep I did (ensure to remove the old failing coating on plastic lens) as well as the environment it is exposed to.  Assuming I did appropriate prep, what range of time can I expect the Opti-Lens  to protect the plastic from yellowing? 2 years for really harsh environments ( desert with 12 months/year of intense sun)?  5 years for more favorable environments (SW Ontario with less than 6 months/year of intense sun)?

https://photos.app.goo.gl/v63ZGGnsMGzj45JU6

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at the 17:16 mark he states that he applies Opti-seal after an hour to protect the Opti-lens while it cures to the polished surface of the headlight.

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Sorry I'm late to the party, but in my experience, I get a year or less before a car that's outside starts to get yellowing again.  I think Opti-Lens probably is best to put on headlights that haven't lost the factory coating, just like you wouldn't put Opti-Coat on a vehicle where the clear has failed already.

Just thinking out loud, Opti-Lens at a micron or two is much much thinner than a factory headlight coating, and I just don't think it can stop enough UV...and think about it...the factory coating may only last 5 years anyway (so what do we expect from a coating that's 10% or less of the factory thickness?)

If I was doing this for a living and wanted to offer a warranty, I'd look for a product that's more like the factory coating.

I loved the idea of Opti-Lens, but after repeated tries on a couple of cars (including one time putting on 3 coats), I always get the same results.  On the plus side it doesn't take much to polish out the yellowing after a year.

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@Setec Astronomy

Thanks for your sharing your experience.  This is very disappointing as a year or less is really no longer than potentially applying a standard paint sealant ( or a lens sealant in the cheap headlight restoration kits).  From what I have researched here and other boards, Opti-lens is specifically formulated to bond to plastic such that it performs better when the factory clear coat has been fully removed.  It there is still factory clear coat on lens (not started to yellow), it is best just to use standard paint coatings (Gloss-coat or Opti-coat pro).  I think one the main contributors to lens failure is road rash (mileage with lots of exposure to small rocks).  One of the clients I applied Opti-lens to commutes 150 km round trip daily on on the 401 Hwy in Ontario.  So we'll see in a year if he experiences the same premature failure that you have experienced.

I know for my personal vehicle (2011 BMW 328xi wagon) I have installed XPEL PPF on the headlight lens to protect from road debris that can lead to clear coat failure on the lens.  I wonder if I should be combining Opti-lens with application PPF after 1 week cure time.

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Bear in mind I'm at a lot lower latitude than you are.  I was also disappointed, but as I said I realized that a spray-on UV coating is going to be maybe 100 microns or more thick, even those that spray 2K clear as a refurb are going to be easily that thick, compared to what, a few microns of Opti-Coat Pro, less of Gloss-Coat, and I guess about the same as Opti-Coat for Opti-Lens, maybe 2 microns...I can't remember what they were claiming for Opti-Coat Pro.

I don't know if I agree the road rash is the factor...I think it's just the UV exposure.

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On 7/10/2018 at 8:27 AM, A&J said:

@Setec Astronomy

Do you think topping it with OCW would help with the longevity?

Sure, I bet if you applied OCW weekly it would help for everything.  For that matter any sacrificial layer (wax, sealant) is going to do something.

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Maybe one solution would be to offer a 12 month guarantee against the yellowing returning.

I have no concept of the costs or practicalities but perhaps the ideal would be the OPT PPF topped with something like Opti-coat or Gloss-coat

I assume other brands make headlight coatings, do we know about their durability?

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Optimum has a number of installers who specialize in headlights (a lucrative market given now many yellowed lens I see and how expensive replacements are) - several provide their own warranties.  One successful installer in Hawaii ( a tough UV locale) offers a 2 year warranty and has had no problems.  FYI

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