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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I’m coming from a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee where it takes about 15 minutes and $80 to replace OEM Halogen headlights with good old eBay aftermarkets so please forgive my first stupid-long post just looking for help.

After wrecking my Jeep, I found (and jumped on) a great deal on a white, mint condition 2008 Altima SE 3.5 with 37,000 miles on it and the first thing my OCD brain focused on was the typical oxidation and surface fog/scratches for a car with so few miles on it. My “problem” is that it’s only on the TOP third of both headlights, The FRONT of the lights look brand new - so much so that even the dealership said they didn’t want to use their BG kit to do the entire light because it would be a shame to remove the rest of what looks like the OEM coating. They didn’t even try to sell me lights - pleasant surprise for me!

Before I went to them, though, I found these on eBay:



They looked pretty cool and not much money, but then I read about removing the entire bumper to replace - WHAT?!!! That’s how I ended up at the dealership asking about cleaning and that’s also when I first learned I had HID. Great, now I have OCD as well as HID. They showed me how they took a sec to light up and were whiter than the fogs and high beams – also said they ran about $800 a piece just for the assembly (versus $159 for the aftermarket Halogen set on eBay)!

After waaaaaaaaay too much time searching forums and researching cleaning kits and/or replacement options, I still don’t know what I have – factory HID, an aftermarket kit or something else. This is the article that really screwed me up: How To Tell If Your Car Has OEM HID Or Aftermarket HID Kit | IJDMTOY Blog For Automotive Lighting

My lights DO look BRIGHT white but not a perfect line like the pictures on that site, making me think they are aftermarkets. I also don’t see any writing on the headlamps anywhere that would tell me model, type, etc. and, at this point, I still don’t even know the difference between projector, reflector, HID, Xenon, CCFL, etc. so I have no idea what my options are. Here’s a shot of the front followed by a shot of the top to show how crappy the top looks:





Anyone able to tell me what these are?
[Close up of the bulbs if that helps]



RESTORING: If these are factory HIDs, am I stuck with trying to clean only the top half (if that’s even a possibility)? Do I sand/polish the whole light or just wait until they completely turn to crap?

REPLACING: I would loved to have been able to buy those “black” eBay Halogens and have brand new lights with that kind of look but I don’t think they’ll work from everything I read. Since cleaning is really only a temp fix, I’m not afraid to put “some” money into cool replacements, but again don’t know what my options are.

Thanks in advance – much appreciated!
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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6,365 Posts
Take a breath...all is good.

Check the bottom lip of your headlight lenses...you will find the bulb type embossed in the plastic. D2R if you have HIDs. Now, the R standards for Reflector, which means no lense, so no crisp cut off line....but instead the HID bulb uses the reflector in the back of the headlight assembly to focus the light out the front...in a less than perfect but entirely acceptable way.

cleaning up the fogging in the upper part of the lense will take you less than an hour start to finish and cost you less than $20 and the result will look like $1,600 worth of new parts. Go get your self a reputable headlight refinishing kit from your favourite parts store.

Now, this is the important part. Using 2 overlapping layers of 2" wide masking tape, mask off the surrounding paintwork, ie the hood, the fender and the front plastic bumper..to prevent your sanding from scuffing the paint.

Follow the instructions in the kit, washing the work area often with lots of clean water. Change the water every time you change to a higher grit. Keep your work area wet. Once you've worked your way up through the 2000 to 6000 grade papers, you'll already be seeing a marked improvement. Remember side to side, then up and down, change to higher grit and repeat. Finish off with the polish, let dry and buff with clean lint free cloth (well clean anyways). Go for a well deserved beverage of your choice.

Your $20 and hour of hard labour will buy your at least 2-3 year of 'as new' looking headlights. Then you can do it again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Take a breath...all is good.

Check the bottom lip of your headlight lenses...you will find the bulb type embossed in the plastic. D2R if you have HIDs. Now, the R standards for Reflector, which means no lense, so no crisp cut off line....but instead the HID bulb uses the reflector in the back of the headlight assembly to focus the light out the front...in a less than perfect but entirely acceptable way.

cleaning up the fogging in the upper part of the lense will take you less than an hour start to finish and cost you less than $20 and the result will look like $1,600 worth of new parts. Go get your self a reputable headlight refinishing kit from your favourite parts store.

Now, this is the important part. Using 2 overlapping layers of 2" wide masking tape, mask off the surrounding paintwork, ie the hood, the fender and the front plastic bumper..to prevent your sanding from scuffing the paint.

Follow the instructions in the kit, washing the work area often with lots of clean water. Change the water every time you change to a higher grit. Keep your work area wet. Once you've worked your way up through the 2000 to 6000 grade papers, you'll already be seeing a marked improvement. Remember side to side, then up and down, change to higher grit and repeat. Finish off with the polish, let dry and buff with clean lint free cloth (well clean anyways). Go for a well deserved beverage of your choice.

Your $20 and hour of hard labour will buy your at least 2-3 year of 'as new' looking headlights. Then you can do it again!
Took a deep breath - thanks, because I did need that today! Also, REALLY appreciate you taking the time on the weekend to help me out and especially for the tips on cleaning.

Gonna' sound nuts but I went over both headlamps with a magnifying glass and couldn't find anything. Then I went back out two more times again with the magnifying glass but also with readers on. Man, must be getting old 'cause holy crap...NISSAN, VALEO SYLVANIA [clear as day] and a very faint D2R in the middle - you rock!!!

Not a fan of the amber turn signals after seeing those cheap eBay aftermarkets I posted at the top. But now that I know I have OEM HIDs, I guess it's cleaning and restoring unless I want to fork over some bucks for some type of custom type headlights that I see most of the posters here have, yes?
 

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Registered Boozer
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310 Posts
After you refinish, you may as well hit it with a UV resistant clear coat so you won't have to keep cleaning and polishing the fading & yellowing every few years.
 
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