Replacement Headlights

hburgart

Active member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Location
South Hill, Virginia
TDI
2002 Jetta
Where is the best place to buy replacement headlights for the 2002 Jetta? I bought some recommended 'Depo' brands and the adjustment screw stripped out on first alignment. Another person I know had the adjustment screw strip out on new replacements for an earlier Mercedes. I considered replacing the lenses on my original assemblies but I'd be willing to pay for new ones. The plastic lenses are already starting to yellow so it would be nice to have glass. I've heard about Hella but can't find where to buy replacements if they are available from this company. I don't think there are VW replacements available. I even considered adding some lights in the cutouts below the bumper to assist. I have terrible lighting. Thank you for any and all suggestions..
 

KrashDH

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
Keep your oem headlights and just replace the lenses. The OEM plastic quality (as well as reflector material quality) is hands down superior to any of the aftermarket crap.

Are you a Golf or Jetta? If Golf, glass lenses and be done with it (I would add some clear lamin-x film as well).

If Jetta, glass is harder to find but it's do able. I thought a member found some a while back. If not, plastic, but be aware the clearcoat on aftermarket lenses is usually garbage, and will crack, peel and yellow in no time.

If you have the means to sand down your lenses and prep them appropriately, you could take them to a body shop and have them 2 part clear coat them. It's a bit of a prep process though.
 

hburgart

Active member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Location
South Hill, Virginia
TDI
2002 Jetta
Hey, Thanks. I have a Jetta and I think you're right about glass lenses not being available for the Jetta. VXT Tuning sells the plastic lenses for Jetta and glass for Golf. It's looking like I'm going to have to do the lens replacement. I said I have my originals, I hope I do. Do you know what the proper sanding prep for the clear coat idea would be? Must be a pretty fine finish. Why did they start with the plastic? I hope it's at least some safety consideration and not cost, the latter being a real ripoff. Thanks again.
 

P2B

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Location
Toronto & Muskoka, Canada
TDI
2002 Jetta, 2003 Jetta, 2003 Jetta Wagon
 

KrashDH

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
I disagree with this.
They are NOT applying a proper clearcoat.

By their procedure, you are going to sand all the remaining clear off the lenses. Yes, you can polish them up to a brilliant clear finish, but with no clearcoat, they'll yellow. Those UV sealers are snake oil. They will not last on the lenses.

If you want to do it properly and not do it again, the final step needs to be a 2-part clearcoat. Not the 1 part clear you get off the shelves at the auto parts store.

Hit the lenses with 500 ish grit up to 800-1k grit. Make sure all of the old clear is off.

Don't go much finer than 1k. 2 part clear fills very well. Any coarser then it might not fill all the valleys, any finer and it might not adhere as well.

That blog has you use 2k sandpaper. This is ok if you are JUST polishing afterwards. But if you are applying a 2 part clearcoat, it won't adhere good at all. That's too fine. But the way they are doing it, it's not going to be a permanent fix, despite their attention grabbing title.
 

KrashDH

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
Fair enough. I have used 600/800/2k paper followed by rattle can clear. Lasts about 3 years.
How long it lasts depends a lot on your environment with 1k. I don't like doing things twice since it ends up costing more money (and time) in the long run.

1 part can handle a bit finer grit. It doesn't fill like 2 part does. Flows more like water. Hence how most of those cans tell you to apply it. 2 part really fills and levels out, but adhering is key.
 

benmarks

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2003
Location
Portland, OR
TDI
2004 Jetta GLS Sedan Platinum Gray
Hey, Thanks. I have a Jetta and I think you're right about glass lenses not being available for the Jetta. VXT Tuning sells the plastic lenses for Jetta and glass for Golf. It's looking like I'm going to have to do the lens replacement. I said I have my originals, I hope I do. Do you know what the proper sanding prep for the clear coat idea would be? Must be a pretty fine finish. Why did they start with the plastic? I hope it's at least some safety consideration and not cost, the latter being a real ripoff. Thanks again.
If you've already found the VXTuning website, the HID's they build are pretty high quality too, and basically plug & play. I owned a previous generation of them and they were a huge improvement over the original lighting. However, they usually require ordering a few months in advance these days.
 

Genesis

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Location
Sevier County TN
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
There's not a thing you can do that actually lasts.

The problem is that the clear plastic has anti-oxidizing chemicals all the way through it in the actual resin when made. That is consumed over time by UV. More on the surface, but it is all consumed. The outside-most deteriorates first and most (simply due to penetration) and you can clean it up a lot, but once that is gone, its gone. You are basically removing the top little bit when you do this, but the reason it deteriorates faster from there is that the next layer under it is nearly-depleted and then.... same thing.

Attempting to clear-coat it doesn't work long-term because you can't replace what was in the plastic originally and it will then deteriorate under the clear, which defeats the attempt, and then you get to sand that off as light compound will take forever to get through the clear. This is similar to what happens when you have failure under the clear with modern paints which, unlike the older 2-part linear urethanes that the EPA won't let anyone use anymore, that were much more-resistant to sun damage.

The only real fix is replacement and the aftermarket plastics are more-cheaply made and simply don't have the same level of UV resistance as OE. If you can get glass that helps but of course glass can break more-easily than plastic with impact -- and as of quite a while ago (when I last tried) for the Jettas, anyway, you can't find glass anymore.

I just take Novus to it every few months which keeps them reasonable. Perfect, no, but it is what it is and is good enough.
 

Zak99b5

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Location
Albany NY
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI
I've sanded down (up?) to 800 then used 2k clear from a rattle can on two sets of headlights.

It's been 3 years and they still look as good as the day I cleared them. Will they look as good after three more as they are now? Time will tell.
 

KrashDH

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
Attempting to clear-coat it doesn't work long-term because you can't replace what was in the plastic originally and it will then deteriorate under the clear
How do you figure?
2k body clear has UV inhibitors. How does the UV get past the inhibitors mixed in with the 2k? Your paint under your clearcoat on your car doesn't deteriorate... Unless the clear fails.

Define long term? I had a set I sold that were going on a decade that looked great after my resto (not for this car)
 

ducatipaso

Airhead Butcher
Joined
Nov 17, 2001
Location
norcal
TDI
2002 Jetta TDI
or spend the time to seek out glass lenses, then apply lamin-x to them. I've done this to both my MK4 GTI and my Jetta TDI. Jetta lenses are getting hard to find but they're out there.

these lenses are made by Helix, an aftermarket supplier. good luck!

 

KrashDH

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Location
Washington
TDI
2002 Golf
or spend the time to seek out glass lenses, then apply lamin-x to them. I've done this to both my MK4 GTI and my Jetta TDI. Jetta lenses are getting hard to find but they're out there.

these lenses are made by Helix, an aftermarket supplier. good luck!

Were those ones you bought off a member? If not, if a vendor is selling Jetta lenses, that's a score. I agree def do the lamin-x with glass
 
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hburgart

Active member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Location
South Hill, Virginia
TDI
2002 Jetta
Were those ones you bought off a member? If not if there is a vendor selling Jetta lenses that's a score. I agree def do the lamin-x with glass
or spend the time to seek out glass lenses, then apply lamin-x to them. I've done this to both my MK4 GTI and my Jetta TDI. Jetta lenses are getting hard to find but they're out there.

these lenses are made by Helix, an aftermarket supplier. good luck!

Hi, Thanks for your input. So, you have glass lenses in your Jetta? Where did you get them?
 

ducatipaso

Airhead Butcher
Joined
Nov 17, 2001
Location
norcal
TDI
2002 Jetta TDI
I picked mine up through a seller on VW Vortex - you have to be patient and persistent.
 

John Wesley Hardin

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2022
Location
Rockport Texas
TDI
2003 VW Jetta 1.9 Diesel GLS , Five Speed Standard Shift
Where is the best place to buy replacement headlights for the 2002 Jetta? I bought some recommended 'Depo' brands and the adjustment screw stripped out on first alignment. Another person I know had the adjustment screw strip out on new replacements for an earlier Mercedes. I considered replacing the lenses on my original assemblies but I'd be willing to pay for new ones. The plastic lenses are already starting to yellow so it would be nice to have glass. I've heard about Hella but can't find where to buy replacements if they are available from this company. I don't think there are VW replacements available. I even considered adding some lights in the cutouts below the bumper to assist. I have terrible lighting. Thank you for any and all suggestions..
I bought Anzos headlights for my 2003 Jetta it has projection lenses and reflector . So there are separate lights for bright and dim. They look great. They fit as they should. I was backed into a corner when I installed them, so I would do things different now.
Before you install them remove the access panels to see what type of bulbs are in there. I would replace the bulbs with LEDS right off the bat.
They are difficult to adjust and if you have to replace the bulbs good luck you are going to have to remove the shroud and remove the headlight to access the panel. There may be another way , but Im not seeing it. Thats why I say before install replace with LED and your good
 

John Wesley Hardin

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2022
Location
Rockport Texas
TDI
2003 VW Jetta 1.9 Diesel GLS , Five Speed Standard Shift
or spend the time to seek out glass lenses, then apply lamin-x to them. I've done this to both my MK4 GTI and my Jetta TDI. Jetta lenses are getting hard to find but they're out there.

these lenses are made by Helix, an aftermarket supplier. good luck!

 
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