Plastic Taillight Lens RepairFix your hard-to-find light lenses
Classic and collector-car light lenses are often damaged over the years by rocks or other road debris. Small holes or chips can be easily repaired instead of having to replace the entire lens. In some cases, replacement lenses are non-existent or extremely costly. Most auto parts suppliers carry a variety of kits for repairing plastic lenses at home.
The process is simple and will usually work unless the hole is too large or you're trying to replace a broken-off chunk of plastic. This broken lens is on a red taillight from a mid-sixties GM car. The hole is about the size of the end of your finger. Each repair has a different process, depending on the pattern or contours in the plastic. Read the instructions carefully before starting the repair.
The repair kit contains clear plastic film that can be taped to the backside of the hole. The instructions also suggest tape or modeling clay, depending on the contours of the part. Determine the surface pattern prior to starting the repair. We tried the film first and then changed to tape to cover the back of the hole. The film will only work on a smooth surface, and the back of this lens is multi-faceted. Regular transparent cellophane tape worked best on our particular lens. The area must be sealed enough to prevent the repair liquid from leaking out the backside.
The repair material is catalyst-activated and must be mixed according to the instructions. After the catalyst is added, you have about 15 minutes to get the material in place. The catalyst is added (the bottle might become warm) and the bottle shaken vigorously for at least one minute. The material can then be pulled into the supplied syringe for application or carefully poured into the hole right out of the bottle.
We used the syringe method to put the repair material into the damaged area. Care must be taken here not to squirt too much into the spot or it will overflow. For a small repair like this, only a few drops of the thick mixture are required. For lenses that are 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick, only a small amount of material will be needed.
The finished lens must be allowed to dry for at least two hours before removing the tape, film or modeling compound. The color of the material is dark when first installed but will lighten up when dry. Here, the repaired spot still appears dark because it isn't completely dry yet. When reinstalled on the car, the lens will no longer appear damaged.
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