Let's use this information and add/subtract from it as necessary.
Note: Always check your local laws regarding tinted/smoked headlights or taillights. Perform these modifications at your own risk.
This is a transparent black spray paint used on taillights and other lenses. It can often be purchased from Summit Racing, Jegs, or eBay.
When using Niteshades, it's often a good idea to remove the light from the vehicle and set it up properly to avoid runs. For example, you can remove the "taillight bar" from a Cougar and lay it flat for optimum results. It is absolutely imperative that you clean the surface well before applying the paint. You will not be using a primer (for obvious reasons), so the surface must be perfectly clean to lessen the chance of "fish eyes" and other paint flaws. I've always used rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush to get wax out of the raised lettering. You may have success using Prep-All or a similar preparation product.
With VHT Niteshades, 2-3 coats will give you a smoked effect and 4+ coats will give you the blacked-out effect. I've always been satisfied with 2-3 coats, but it's entirely up to you. Be aware that you will have progressively decreased light output for each additional coat. Don't overdo it. Also, Niteshades has a propensity to be removed via polishing compounds and waxes. After several waxes of the car, I've noticed that the taillights are slowly returning to their normal state. The polishing and buffing will remove a small amount of the paint each time you do it. (I wax just about everything).
This is how two coats will appear:
How two coats look with darker ambient light:
Painted Headlights & Corners
This is a fairly basic modification. It involves painting the surfaces of your headlights that don't reflect light forward
and corner lights to achieve a smoked effect. In short, you can paint the bottoms and sides inside the housing, but not the faceted rear section. Many modern vehicles, such as the Grand Cherokee, have this exact setup for the same reason. I used high-temp satin black paint for mine and they've held up very well for nearly two years. This process involves disassembling the lights, painting the non-reflective areas, then sealing them back up.
The headlights are simple to take apart and reassemble, with just four clips and some basic adhesive. Some will suggest you put them in the oven for a few minutes to soften the adhesive, but I've had excellent results by just soaking the lights in very hot water for about 20 minutes. Now, the corners were a total nightmare. I spent almost two hours per corner during the project. Most of the time invested was using the Dremel and cut-off wheels to cut through the housings. There is no way to pry them apart to break a seal, as the plastic will just fracture. They must be cleanly cut all the way around and sealed back up at that joint. I used a lot of clear silicone sealant.
For those who have been frustrated by this project, it is
possible to do it properly and enjoy condensation-free lights for several years. My lights are a perfect example. You must be patient and use caution when cutting the corner lights.
This is how the lights will appear after the painting process:
For those who want to use Niteshades on their headlights to get the smoked effect, you may run into problems. Niteshades is very
prone to paint defects due to the fact that you can't use a primer. Most of the small flaws (fish eyes, orange peel, runs) aren't very noticeable in taillights due to their color and reflective qualities. However, headlights and corner lights will show nearly every flaw. It's best to use the painting method for a clean and reliable way to customize them. You may also purchase aftermarket covers, usually made by GTS, but they are fast-becoming difficult to find. They pop up on eBay every now and then.