2013~2016 1st gen CX-5 headlight restoration

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2014 CX-5 Touring
Our 2014's headlights are looking a little degraded along the tops of the lenses. I'd like to do a restoration, but I'm concerned about the textured areas along the top edge that show up under the edge of the hood. Has anyone tried restoring their 1st gen headlight lenses? How did you handle those textured areas? Did you wet sand, dry sand, or something else?

I've done dry sanding and 2K clearcoat on other headlights with good success. But I'm not sure how well sanding will work with those textured areas on the lenses.
 
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2020 CX-5 GT AWD
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This is back when I had the first gen CX-5. I payed some professionals to do it and I was happy with the result. If I remember right, I believe it was around 120-140$ for both.
 
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2014 mazda cx-5 touring FWD
Man is this a timely post on this subject. Just 2 days ago I finished restoring my headlights on my 2014 touring. My before and after pictures look just like your before and after pictures (except for one tiny run that you have to hunt for LOL - must be careful about runs as the coating calls for a medium wet coat with a 50% overlap - done twice).

I used Meguiar's PlastX and Meguiar's Headlight Coating. I just rubbed the polish with an old coarse washcloth using mostly circular motions and occasional back and forth horizontal strokes. Then taped newspaper around headlights and wiped with rubbing alcohol before spraying. Total investment of about $18 and some elbow grease.



I bought mine at Walmart for basically the same prices as Amazon.

To answer OP's question, I just polished the textured areas along the top surface a little bit to clean them - saw no need to do much as they don't illuminate anything.. Concentrated efforts on the clear portion that the bulbs shine through. Very satisfied with the improvement at little cost. Has to be one of the biggest bang for the buck things I did on this car. Easy job really. Just don't rush if you decide to do it.
Edited (again) to add: My headlights have some minor clouding/crazing on the INSIDE of the lens but you have to get close to see it. Can't do anything about it and is minor enough to not be concerning. I'll do them again in the future before buying new headlights if at all possible.
 
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2014 mazda cx-5 touring FWD
UPDATE: Don't know if I'm being premature in posting this in case the Meguiar's clear coating really does dry to a hard finish, but yesterday while checking out how it was holding up, I rubbed the lens lightly with my thumb and it left very tiny scratches from my dry skin. I'm wondering if it really is a somewhat soft plastic coating rather than a clear paint topcoat which dries harder. Regardless, no more swiping with a paper towel while giving the windows a quick cleaning when removing road grime especially in winter between car washes. Need to be gentle cleaning them if scratch easily.

Just thought I'd put this out there for anybody contemplating going this route. Might pay to use something that dries hard. I may have been better off just giving them a wax coat after polishing. At least that can be easily renewed (and removed if so desired).

I don't know what the professionals use but Tomescu might have gotten a durable, long lasting restoration on his headlights.
 
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2014 CX-5 Touring
Interesting. I watched several videos from this guy who SWEARS up and down and every way sideways by that Meguiar's product, and says 2K clearcoat is just horrible for headlight restoration. I've done some headlight resto's with 2K clear that came out amazing, but I don't have any long term experience with them yet.
 
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South Carolina
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12 MZ5 13 CX-5
I also love the Meguiar's headlight treatment, and I've tried just about all of them.
What I do is both open the hood and then tape off the bumper so I don't hit it with the sandpaper. Works very well for me.

I suppose removing the bumper cover is the best way to do it, and though removing the bumper cover really isn't that difficult, it's kind of a pain in the ass from a time involved standpoint, vs just using some painters tape.
 
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2014 CX-5 Touring
I also love the Meguiar's headlight treatment, and I've tried just about all of them.
What I do is both open the hood and then tape off the bumper so I don't hit it with the sandpaper. Works very well for me.

I suppose removing the bumper cover is the best way to do it, and though removing the bumper cover really isn't that difficult, it's kind of a pain in the ass from a time involved standpoint, vs just using some painters tape.
so you didn't have the apparent finishing issues that @Jmaz mentioned above?

Did you sand over the textured areas along the top edge of the lenses? Or did you just avoid those areas? I'm afraid if I avoid those areas, they'll have a noticeably different appearance than the rest of the lens.
 
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2019 CX-5 White Pearl Sig
I just finished doing the headlights on my 2004 Accord using the Sylvania kit. It was $20 from Amazon. The lights are oem so the finish was definitely going away, not terrible, but yellowed along the top third where they get more sun. The kit includes 400, 1000, and 2000 grit sandpaper, but I didn't use the 400 because I didn't think they needed it. Took about two hours, it could be done in less time but I'm fussy and prepped for a longer period of time than the directions call for. I didn't think to take a "before" pic but the lights were in typical condition for a 19-year-old vehicle.

I think this kit would work well even on the textured surface of a Mazda's lights. The spray cleaner in the kit is really good at removing the yellow, and rather than try to sand that area I'd just hit it with the spray and a toothbrush. Save your elbow grease for the smooth portion.

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2014 mazda cx-5 touring FWD
I just finished doing the headlights on my 2004 Accord using the Sylvania kit. It was $20 from Amazon. The lights are oem so the finish was definitely going away, not terrible, but yellowed along the top third where they get more sun. The kit includes 400, 1000, and 2000 grit sandpaper, but I didn't use the 400 because I didn't think they needed it. Took about two hours, it could be done in less time but I'm fussy and prepped for a longer period of time than the directions call for. I didn't think to take a "before" pic but the lights were in typical condition for a 19-year-old vehicle.

I think this kit would work well even on the textured surface of a Mazda's lights. The spray cleaner in the kit is really good at removing the yellow, and rather than try to sand that area I'd just hit it with the spray and a toothbrush. Save your elbow grease for the smooth portion.

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Your car looks really clean for an '04 and the headlights look great too. Hopefully my 2014 vintage headlights will look that good in another 10 years. That Sylvania kit looks worthwhile. Does the clear coat dry to a hard finish?
 
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2019 CX-5 White Pearl Sig
Your car looks really clean for an '04 and the headlights look great too. Hopefully my 2014 vintage headlights will look that good in another 10 years. That Sylvania kit looks worthwhile. Does the clear coat dry to a hard finish?
Thanks. The topcoat is supposed to dry to a hard finish but mine had only cured for a couple of hours by sunset today. I bought the kit based on testing done by YouTube's Project Farm. I have seen reviews on the Sylvania kit and the clarity should remain anywhere from a couple of years to several, depending on the amount of sun exposure. Sylvania sells an "essentials" kit for $10 that appears to be a way to touch-up the clarity when it starts to fade without having to go through the sanding process again. It would just be a matter of wiping the headlights with the cleaner and then applying a new topcoat. That could be done in less than five minutes, so I think the Sylvania kit is pretty good.
 
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South Carolina
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12 MZ5 13 CX-5
so you didn't have the apparent finishing issues that @Jmaz mentioned above?

Did you sand over the textured areas along the top edge of the lenses? Or did you just avoid those areas? I'm afraid if I avoid those areas, they'll have a noticeably different appearance than the rest of the lens.
I sanded the whole thing.
 
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2014 CX-5 Touring
They also sell the plastic lense cover on ebay for about $90.
yeah I've seen those and even posted about them a few months back, but didn't really get much response. I've considered doing a clear projector lens swap, which if I do then I would also consider getting those replacement lenses.
 
yeah I've seen those and even posted about them a few months back, but didn't really get much response. I've considered doing a clear projector lens swap, which if I do then I would also consider getting those replacement lenses.
Yeah seems like a good idea.. but I'm curious if they'll only last as long as the polished out OEM ones... 🤷🏽‍♂️