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After buying new headlamps for my GTA I realized that the xenons are probably most expensive part on the car as you could easily buy an engine for the price of new xenon headlamps. As they are pretty prone to stonechips, and I can see how my headlamps look on the other 147 after some years, I searched some way how to protect them with some clear foil. I would like to share my experience from the process and the results, maybe somebody would be interested in protectiong the headlamps as well.

I ordered two sheets of suitable size from ©Lamin-X.co.uk™ Vehicle headlight,fog lamp,spot light tinting,ventureshield 3m paint protection film for cars,motorcycles

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP01.jpg

The installation was pretty straight forward but you can never be careful enough and I am sure that next time I would do a better job.

First the lamps need to be cleaned as well as it gets:

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP02.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP03.jpg

It is a pleasure to work with the foil when it hot so at every step it was helpful to heat it up first with a hairdryer.

I carefully covered the front of the headlight, slowly enough to avoid any air bubbles under the foil as much as possible:

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP04.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP07.jpg

Then I stretched the hot foil around the edges and cut the residuals off with a knife. Then I pressed the foil onto the headlight and tried to get rid of the locked air inside:

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP05.jpg

The large air bubbles can be popped with a needle and pressed back:
http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP06.jpg

However you can’t avoid air bubbles and during the process a lot of miniature ones formed inside the foil:

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP08.jpg

Actually the headlight looked pretty horrible:

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP09.jpg

But the seller claimed the foil is breathable and the bubbles should disappear in a few days. And it’s true, most of them did, however not all. And the reality was not few days, but few weeks.

Headlamp after 2 weeks:

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP10.jpg

After 4 weeks:

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP12.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee114/gotcha147/GTA Q2/Headlamp protection/HLP11.jpg

There are still some miniature marks but I think they will eventually disappear. It seems the temperature helps and I am sure that after the summer it will be great. At the moment you can see some little bubbles but they look like imperfections in the plastic and nobody would tell there is a foil on the headlamp. Part of the foil on one of my main beams looks a little milky when under direct sunlight from the side, but the general impression of the result is that the headlamps look 98 percent new.

Main factor for me is that the foil is like rubber or silicone so it’s a little soft and absorbs impact. It can be scratched or chipped by a stone but it has an ability to heal itself like if it was a gel. Mainly if heat is applied.
 

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Should give it some protection.

I ordered the 6% tinted sheets a while back to do my Xenon headlights and my taillights.
Not going to attempt this until it is warmer though.

Do you not spray water on the headlight and then squeeze it out like you do when installing tinted window film?
 

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AO Car Of The Year Winner 2015
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Discussion Starter #3
Do you not spray water on the headlight and then squeeze it out like you do when installing tinted window film?
Not this one, this is basically a sticker that you peel off the waxed paper and apply on light. The film is about 0,5 mm thick, probably more. It is like mobile phone display protective film, peel off and stick on avoiding dust. Trapped air will get out through.
 

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Did a search on youtube and found they have posted a how to. They do you use water to allow some movement after the film is applied.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Did a search on youtube and found they have posted a how to. They do you use water to allow some movement after the film is applied.
Lamin-x Protective Films - Protect with Style

and

©Lamin-X.co.uk™ Vehicle headlight,fog lamp,spot light tinting,ventureshield 3m paint protection film for cars,motorcycles

are selling very different product

the US one sells a thin film used mainly for tinting purpose and it fits using water like the window tinting film

the UK one sells thick 3M protective film applied as sticker using heat. Here is How to install it with pics - Front install ©Lamin-X.co.uk™ Vehicle headlight,fog lamp,spot light tinting,ventureshield 3m paint protection film for cars,motorcycles
 

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Same company same stuff just tinted in different colours/grades.

Strange they suggest a spritz of water for the headlight but for the foglight they say dry :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Same company same stuff just tinted in different colours/grades.

Strange they suggest a spritz of water for the headlight but for the foglight they say dry :confused:
Trust me, this film must be applied dry on the lights, here is the quote from the site:

"use a spray bottle to mix a very weak solution of water / washing up liquid, Use a clean cloth and thoroughly clean the lights. Completely dry the lights and wipe clean using a quality microfibre cloth, a quality microfibre cloth is anti-static so will provide a dust free install. Peel back the film and apply it centrally over the light. With the film laid on surface of the light, you should stretch/pull the film around curves and contours while using the supplied squeegee working your way from central points. You can lift/re lay the film within reason while still using the squeegee."

The lights have to be clean, dry and dust free. It’s really a sticker and you can’t make the glue side wet. I know the other type of foil that applies wet. This one is really thin and you can slide it on the headlight on the water layer and then squeeze it out, just like window tinting or paint protection film. This is different type.

Here you have install manuals:
Downloads ©Lamin-X.co.uk™ Vehicle headlight,fog lamp,spot light tinting,paint protection films

Everything is installed dry, except the paint protection film that is a different type of foil.

And I have just the info from their website, but the UK and US company dont seem to be related:
http://www.lamin-x.co.uk/about.htm
 

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It looks good anyway.. :) My '45 came with the perspex lamp protectors (clip on perspex) and they did a brilliant job of keeping the glass safe... just that dirt/water gets in behind the perspex and eventually goes green with algae! :D

You'll find with the plastic film that as it chips you may get water and dirst ingress behind it.. so probably a regular "re-heat" might be needed to keep it from staining behind the film.. Still better than a smashed glass though... :thumbs:


Ralf S.
 
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