Headlamp lenses going opaque

My Suzuki Baleno headlamp lenses are going opaque around the edges (not in the middle)
Is this an MOT failure and what is the chance of being able to clean them? 
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  • facade
    facade Posts: 6,902
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    edited 5 November 2023 at 3:05PM
    The tester may take no notice, give an advisory, or if he thinks it is bad enough a minor (still a pass)

    4.1.1.
    (b) Headlamp reflector or lens:

    (i) slightly defective      = Minor (pass)
    (ii) seriously defective    = Major (fail)



    Mine passed whilst cloudy all over, they need to be severely opaque and cut down the light output or throw the beam pattern out to fail.

    You can buy expensive kits to clean them, but you can polish them with brasso or toothpaste, or any mildly abrasive polish.

    If they are opaque, you can sand them with 1200grit wet 'n dry used wet and then polish.


    The deadly UV rays from the Sun will quickly cloud them again, so to keep it at bay a little longer wipe them with a polymer paint sealer.




    I want to go back to The Olden Days, when every single thing that I can think of was better.....

    (except air quality and Medical Science ;))
  • facade said:
    The tester may take no notice, give an advisory, or if he thinks it is bad enough a minor (still a pass)

    4.1.1.
    (b) Headlamp reflector or lens:

    (i) slightly defective      = Minor (pass)
    (ii) seriously defective    = Major (fail)



    Mine passed whilst cloudy all over, they need to be severely opaque and cut down the light output or throw the beam pattern out to fail.

    You can buy expensive kits to clean them, but you can polish them with brasso or toothpaste, or any mildly abrasive polish.

    If they are opaque, you can sand them with 1200grit wet 'n dry used wet and then polish.


    The deadly UV rays from the Sun will quickly cloud them again, so to keep it at bay a little longer wipe them with a polymer paint sealer.





    Thanks - but it is accessing them, that is the problem - how do I get to them ?
    Aren't they sealed ?
  • GrumpyDil
    GrumpyDil Posts: 1,565
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    There are lots of YouTube videos online showing people polishing out opaque headlights so I don't think there will be anything to stop you polishing them out. That said, if it's only around the edges maybe take the car for an early MOT (so a month early) and if you get a fail you will have time to polich them out and take the car back. For a retest. 
  • MouldyOldDough
    MouldyOldDough Posts: 1,653
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    edited 5 November 2023 at 4:11PM
    Aren't the lenses glued to the reflectors?
    I have found a local company who can do it for £30 at my home
    I think that would be safer?
    Certainly a lot cheaper than replacement lenses (upwards of £450 per side!!) 
  • GrumpyDil
    GrumpyDil Posts: 1,565
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    edited 5 November 2023 at 4:40PM
    The lenses form part of a sealed unit. It is possible to split them with a lot of care but I'm not sure what you are doing here as all the polishing examples I have seen involve polishing on the car.

    That said kits seem to start around 12.00 so 18.00 for someone else to do the work. 
  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,233
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    It's usually the outside that goes cloudy, not the inside of the lens.  So a good polish of the outside should improve it enough to ensure an MOT pass.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • facade
    facade Posts: 6,902
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    Yes the cloudiness is a surface defect caused by exposure to deadly UV rays, when it gets as bad as mine you can feel that the surface is matte with a finger.

    you just polish the outside surface.

    If the cloudiness is only at the outside edges I'd take no notice (Now I am Old, I take no notice of most things that don't actually stop the wheels going round or make the car unroadworthy)
    I want to go back to The Olden Days, when every single thing that I can think of was better.....

    (except air quality and Medical Science ;))
  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Posts: 20,233
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    edited 5 November 2023 at 8:01PM
    If you can spend an afternoon on it, this kit gives good results

    https://www.eurocarparts.com/p/holts-headlight-restorer-kit-553999170

    If you want a quick fix, try this

    https://www.eurocarparts.com/p/armorall-headlight-restorer-wipes-549990150

  • Ectophile said:
    It's usually the outside that goes cloudy, not the inside of the lens.  So a good polish of the outside should improve it enough to ensure an MOT pass.
    I am fairly sure that mine have gone cloudy on the inside 
  • Goudy
    Goudy Posts: 1,430
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    edited 6 November 2023 at 8:57AM
    Ectophile said:
    It's usually the outside that goes cloudy, not the inside of the lens.  So a good polish of the outside should improve it enough to ensure an MOT pass.
    I am fairly sure that mine have gone cloudy on the inside 
    Are you sure that's not condensation?

    If any moisture has got in from say a crack, the heat from the bulb will make them all steamy, which then condenses on the coldest surface as it cools, which is usually the inside of the lens.
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