Reason For Use:
After searching high and low for four months to find the perfect used vehicle that would support the needs of both our family and farm, we were thrilled to come across a one-owner, well-maintained, low mileage 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe. It had everything we needed: high safety ratings, LATCH car seat tethers, cargo space, off-road abilities, towing capability, four-wheel-drive and a clear Carfax report. Plus it had features we hadn’t thought we would be able to afford, like leather, a sunroof, cargo cover, heated seats, fog lights and a roof rack. Other than being due for a new timing belt, it was up to date on all services and in perfect mechanical shape too… and just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the owner threw in a brand new portable Garmin GPS system (because his new car already had built-in GPS). We paid cash, received a signed title and drove home with giant smiles on our faces.
During the three hour drive from the East Bay to our home in the South Central Valley, we noticed the headlights appeared a little dim. The problem was temporarily remedied with use of the fog lights but we assumed we’d be replacing the standard bulbs with “bright whites”. Regardless, the situation wouldn’t be addressed until we visited Target the next morning.
The light of the following morning revealed an unusual issue with our new set of wheels: cloudy yellow headlight lenses. Neither Ryan or myself had ever had a vehicle with that particular issue so we hadn’t thought to look for it when we did our initial pre-purchase inspection. It was decided that we would need to start saving up to replace the lenses and compensate with brighter bulbs in the mean time.
We soon discovered that a set of “bright white” bulbs for our vehicle would cost close to $50. Unfortunately that kind of money was absolutely out of the question for our budget at that time. As we wandered the aisles at Target, however, Ryan stumbled across a possible alternative: the Fast Brite Auto Headlight Restorer Kit. For about $10, it was certainly worth a try!
According to the directions, I needed to wipe the headlights clean and dry them before applying the product. That took two minutes and utilized the miracle parenting tool known as a wet wipe, followed by a thorough drying with a clean spit-up rag.
Next, I had to “polish” the headlight by applying a dime-sized portion of the “Step 1: Lens Polish” to the yellow side of the sponge, in small circles “until smooth”. I was surprised by two things: First, the headlights were surprisingly rough on the yellow cloudy areas. Secondly, it took a LOT of muscle to smooth it out! …and didn’t quite feel completely smooth, even after letting Ryan give it a go. I also ended up using the equivalent of a quarter-size portion of polish on each headlight, but I chock that up to the fact that the directions were probably written for standard car-size headlights and our vehicle is a mid-size SUV. I used a different end of the clean spit-up rag to buff the polish off, as directed. I had to admit: It already looked impressively better!
The final step involved “protecting” the headlights by liberally applying the “Step 2: Lens Protectant” using the blue side of the sponge. This was the easiest part! It was smooth, wiped on easily and made the headlight lens super glossy!
Impressive! The headlights don’t necessarily look new, but still way better than they did! I tried to capture it on camera but the improvement was much more significant than the image portrays. The yellow color is completely gone and the cloudiness is almost completely gone and they are much brighter at night. I’m curious to see how long the shiny finish lasts though. Without a hardening epoxy, I’m afraid the “protectant” will wash away during the first big rain or car washing. I’m hopeful though, and I promise to keep you posted.
Place of purchase: Target
Ease of use: 8 out of 10
Effectiveness: 7 out of 10
Long term durability: To be determined