Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Milwaukee, WI
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Not disagreeing with you, but pointing something out here:
Actually, many of the hazed headlights you see on the road, like almost every Dodge Neon ever for example, are because of the grade of plastic they used not holding up against simple aging, heat from the bulbs, UV exposure, acidic rain, and all the other crap a car gets exposed to outdoors. In those cases, it has little to do with how well you maintain your vehicle. The manufacturer just used a poor material. Choosing a UL 746C compliant material and keeping interior temperatures down inside the light housing would go a long way toward fixing most of those issues. Hazing is a much harder repair than simple surface scratches because it penetrates deeper into the material, sometimes all the way through, and can sometimes even start on the inside of the lens which you normally can't get at to repair. This a chemical process the lenses go through and owners can't really do much to prevent this other than never taking the car outside, which is obviously not realistic.
The sealant you're talking about is usually a hard-coating, not just a simple clear coat. It's a similar material that is used on Blu-Ray discs to make them harder to scratch than normal plain, untreated polycarbonate DVD. It is meant to help harden the surface of the material to make it harder to scratch which is a separate issue from the hazing aspect. These hard-coatings commonly used now have a UV-blocker ingredient in them to help act as a sunscreen of sorts which help prevent, or at least delay, the hazing from setting in. Surface scratches are about the only thing you can do anything about, but you're right that it's only going to be a temporary fix because of the reasons you've stated. The best fixes are going to involve a reapplication of some kind of hard-coating with some UV protection built in. I've heard some people try using some of that clear bra 3M film on their headlights before, but I've never heard anything on how well it does or doesn't work. If internal heating of the light is one of the problems, then I'd think it could make things worse by adding a layer of insulation. I would expect some impact on the light it throws out, too, by adding some distortion and/or reduced range of the beams. It might be illegal in some places, too, if caught with a film on there.
His: 2018 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, Machine Grey
Hers: 2016 CX-5 Sport FWD, Reflex Blue