I decided to fix up the dodgy tinting job I did last week on the weekend. So I removed the tail lights once again and got the hair dryer on them. After about an hour of blowing hot air on tint and flattening the air bubbles out that were at the edges I can safely say that the tinted lights look 100% better and much cleaner. All it took was heating the film for about 30 seconds at a time and stretching the film out while pushing all the trapped air bubbles out. So with a blistered thumb and some burnt fingers the job was done. I may keep these lights on for a while now since they look much better than the stock ones I had on before – the tint job did hide some cracks and scratches on the plastic lens.
What did I learn today?? – Don’t blame the product – blame the dodgy workmanship. If I had bothered to go hard with the hair dryer last week I would not have been re-doing the lights this weekend… Lesson learnt…
So what’s next?? – well I just bought my ticket for Hong Kong in November so right now I’m broke. I do want to get a new rear muffler when I get back from Hong Kong but that will have to wait until end of November – maybe it will be a christmas present to myself.
Finally got around to tinting the taillights I bought a week ago. This was my first ever attempt at tinting and all I can say is if you want this done to your lights PLEASE do not get me to do it for you. This is my guide to how NOT to do it.
First of all there are 2 main ways to tint lights – they are: (a) using a tint film or overlay or (b) using a clear coat spray paint. I decided on the film because of the fact that I could remove it if I didn’t like the tint or got bored with having dark taillights. Spraying a tint on the clear plastic is practically permanent, it can be removed but would entail many hours of sanding and buffing – Let’s just say that after my effort of buffing and polishing the taillights last week I’m not doing it again if I don’t really have to. I may still spray the taillights at a later stage if I get bored with the film (or it starts peeling).
OK on with the HOW NOT TO guide.
(1) DO NOT buy cheap no name brand tint off the internet no matter how cheap it is. As they say you buy cheap stuff you get cheap stuff. Again I resorted to Ebay and well guess what – the tint was rubbish. It came rolled up in a tube with no instructions or packaging, basically the seller just cut some off a big roll and sent me a portion of it. The film was quite thick and the backing side with the adhesive was way too sticky – in hindsight I would think a tint which is made of a thinner micron would be better to use, It would be easier to apply as well as heat up and mould to the right shape. The tint I used was moulding to shape but as soon as it cooled down it went back to its former shape, especially around curved areas. Below is an example of the bubbling that occurred after the film cooled down.
(2) Make sure you get quality branded product. If I do this again I will be sure to buy 3M brand or something similar.
(3) DO NOT get me to do it for you
For my first attempt it wasn’t a bad effort I guess. Up close is where you see all the bad workmanship but from afar it looks fine. I only really tinted the taillights as it had a few small scratches and cracks in the plastic. As I said I will live with it for awhile until I get bored and remove the tint and/or buy new taillights.
I also replaced the clear side repeaters with smoked ones today to match the taillights
So again I bought some more things online. This time I got a set of tail lights for the Astra. The guy I bought it from did show me a picture of the condition the tail lights were in and he thought that water had seeped into the inside of the plastic cover. After looking at the images I thought I could work with it – maybe putting a smoked vinyl tint over the lights to hide the blemishes, so I did the deal and bought them for $90 – brand new they are $200 so I thought it was a good deal.
As you can see they are marked with something that looks like paint, water and maybe some oxidation – it didn’t look too bad in the pictures but when I got them they looked hideous. I examined the plastic lens and saw that the marks were in fact on the outside of the plastic lens… THANK GOD FOR THAT !!! – It would have been a helluva mission to get the plastic lens off as they were glued onto the back of the casing.
I got some wet and dry sandpaper 800, 1200 and 2000 and my trusty bottle of Meguiar’s PlastX plastic polish and cleaner. I sanded the lens with the 800 grit paper first and got most of the stains off, then hit it with the 1200 grit in an up-down direction to smooth out all the roughness. Cleaned the lens off with some water and then hit it with the 2000 grit in a left-right direction – the 2000 smoothed it even further and left it quite smoked and hazy. At this stage I thought I had killed the tail lights and thought to myself “what a watse of $90” – so I got out the PlastX polish – I applied it on with a foam applicator in a circular direction and then in an up-down direction. All I can say is “WOW” this stuff really works!!!
I have used many waxes and polishes in the past but nothing has worked as well as the Meguiar’s range of products – It was amazing – the tail lights looked brand new. Please know I do not work for Meguiar’s (or any of the companies I have recommended in my “Stuff I Use” page) but after using this product I am a total Meguiar’s convert… It seriously DOES WORK !!
I may still tint it on the weekend to give it the dark smoked look as there are a few scratches I could not get out with sandpaper – I just hope that the tint will not make it too dark – I will put up more updates on the weekend once I have tinted them and mounted them on the car…
OK this is the stuff I used – try it for yourself
Meguiar’s PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner and Polish