How to Restore Headlights: The Best Method

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Over time your car headlights can get foggy, this cause by oxidation.

Replacing headlights can be expensive and it’s usually unnecessary.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to get them looking as good as new permanently.

Requirements:

  • Scissors
  • Plastic Bag
  • Masking Tape
  • Paper Towels/Microfiber Cloth
  • 400, 600 & 2000 Grit Wet Sandpaper
  • Spray Bottle
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Clear Coat (Must be non-yellowing, UV resistant and made for plastic)
  • Carnauba wax

Step 1. Remove the headlight (If possible)

It’s not necessary to remove the headlight, so only remove them if it’s easy to do so.

Step 2. Tape off the headlight

When it comes to applying the clear coat, we don’t want any overspray onto the paintwork.

Cover the headlight and surrounding area with a plastic bag and tape it down.

Carefully cut a hole in the bag following the shape of the headlight.

Once you’ve cut a hole, apply the masking tape around the edge of headlights ensuring that you don’t get any on the headlight itself and that there are no gaps.

Step 3. 400 Grit Wet Sand

Depending on how foggy your headlights are, you may be able to skip this step.

Apply plenty of water to the 400 grit sandpaper and headlight using a spray bottle and begin sanding the entire headlight in a circular motion.

Make sure you don’t press down too hard because 400 grit is pretty corse.

Once you’re finished with the 400 grit you need to go over the headlight once more in a horizontal motion.

Step 4. 600 Grit Wet Sand

Apply plenty of water to the 600 grit sandpaper and headlight using a spray bottle and begin sanding the entire headlight in a circular motion.

You can press a little bit hard with the 600 grit.

Once you’re finished with the 600 grit you need to go over the headlight once more in a horizontal motion.

Step 5. Clean the headlight

Spray the headlight with water and wipe it with a low-lint paper towel or microfiber cloth.

The reason for this is to clean off any plastic residue from the sanding. Otherwise the fine 2000 grit sandpaper wouldn’t work.

Step 6. 2000 Grit Wet Sand

Apply plenty of water to the 2000 grit sandpaper and headlight using the spray bottle and sand the entire headlight in a circular motion.

You don’t want to press down very hard with this sandpaper, the goal is to only skim the surface.

Once you’re finished with the 2000 grit you need to go over the headlight once more in a horizontal motion, like in the other sanding steps.

Step 7. Dry the headlight

Using a low-lint paper towel or microfiber cloth, dry off the headlight.

Step 8. Apply rubbing alcohol

Put some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel or microfiber cloth and clean the entire surface of the headlight.

After applying the alcohol, let the headlight dry off.

Step 9. Thin coats of clear coat

After the headlight is dry from the alcohol, apply thin, even coats of clear coat and let it dry in accordance to the instructions on the bottle.

Step 10. Wax

Finally, take a microfiber cloth and wax the headlight.

Make sure you follow the instructions of the car wax you’re using.

Conclusion

This is the best method for restoring your headlights because not only is it cheap, it’s permanent.

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