NOTE from Sunset North Car Wash Operations Manager: “it’s that time of year when it gets dark earlier, so be sure you have optimal nighttime headlight power! For those with the time and patience, here’s all the details for a DIY approach. You can also give us a call to have our Pro Detailers bring your headlights back to life.
Dim and yellowed headlight lens aren’t just unappealing, they can also compromise your safety. They reduce visibility at night and can impair your ability to see while driving, putting you and your passengers at risk.
Fortunately, fixing foggy headlights is a simple task that you can do on your own, without having to spend a lot of money at the mechanic. Our guide is a complete handbook for Headlight Restoration 101: Discover the Best Kits and Techniques for Stunning Result, as well as some quick temporary solutions if you’re pressed for time.
• Best Three Headlight Restoration Kits: Mothers NuLens, Turtle Wax Restorer, Rain-X Kit
• Temporary Fix: Baking soda and vinegar create a paste for shiny headlights.
• Five Steps to Clean Foggy Headlights: Prep, Tape, Sand, Clean/Polish, Apply UV sealant. Follow specific product instructions for best resultBest Three Headlights restoration kits
1. Mothers NuLens Headlight restoration kit
If you are not the owner of a detailing shop, you might not have the necessary tools to restore your car’s headlights. Fortunately, there is a solution available in the form of headlight restoration kits. Among the many options available in the market, our top choice is the NuLens headlight restoration kit by Mothers, which has been handpicked by Amazon for its quality and effectiveness.
This kit is designed to quickly and safely restore, maintain, and preserve all types of smooth, glossy plastic and acrylic headlights to crystal clarity. With just one step, it efficiently eliminates common issues such as yellowing, stains, hairline scratches, smudges, and defects. Not only that, but it also comes with the accompanying PowerPlastic 4Lights polish that not only restores crystal clarity but also provides a robust protective, oxidation-inhibiting polymer coating that can prevent further deterioration from external elements.
The NuLens headlight restoration kit is an excellent investment for those who want to keep their car’s headlights looking like new. Moreover, if you ever run out of any product from the kit, there is a convenient option to purchase each item separately. With this kit, you can save time, money, and effort by restoring your car’s headlights to their former glory without needing to go to a detailing shop.
2. Turtle Wax headlight lens restorer
Looking for a reliable solution to restore your dull and yellowed headlights? Look no further than the Turtle Wax® Renew Rx® Headlight Lens Restorer, the top-selling package in its category. This effective product eliminates mild oxidation and restores your headlights to like-new clarity, while also sealing them to prevent future yellowing.
The kit includes different types of grid restoration pads, a spray bottle of lubricant, a lens clarifying compound, a lens sealing wipe, and a lens base clear coat wipe. Get ready to see the road ahead with crystal-clear visibility!
3. Rain-X Headlight Restoration kit
Rain-X Headlight Restoration is a reliable and effective solution for restoring clarity to cloudy or yellowed headlights. This high-quality product is designed to remove oxidation, discoloration, and hazing, enhancing visibility and improving the overall appearance of your headlights.
With its easy-to-use application process, Rain-X Headlight Restoration allows you to achieve professional results at home. By rejuvenating your headlights, this product ensures safer nighttime driving and adds a fresh, polished look to your vehicle.
Say goodbye to dull headlights and enjoy crystal-clear visibility with Rain-X Headlight Restoration.
Temporary fixes to cleaning headlights
Baking soda and vinegar
It might interest you to know that baking soda and vinegar are two of the most versatile products out there, much like toothpaste. Baking soda, for instance, is particularly effective at breaking down pollutants, while vinegar is great at getting rid of dirt from car headlights. Here’s a link to our post on how to clean headlights by mixing equal parts baking soda and vinegar, and then apply it to your headlights. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a soft cloth.
What causes foggy headlights?
When you initially purchase a vehicle, all of its components, including the headlights, are generally wonderfully gleaming. After a few months, the once-shiny headlights are replaced with cloudy headlights owing to:
The majority of current automobiles use polycarbonate plastic headlights. Polycarbonate material, unlike glass, develops small fissures that become yellow when exposed to sunshine, eventually resulting in a hazy or foggy look of the headlights.
Time and Weather Conditions
Although polycarbonate plastic headlights are normally coated with a protective film If the coating film on your car is exposed to extreme weather conditions for a prolonged period, it may begin to peel off. Additionally, vaporized water can cause condensation to form and get trapped in your car’s lightbox. another prevalent cause of dulling headlights.
Dirt and chemicals
If you drive frequently, your car may accumulate a thin coating of dirt and chemicals, resulting in yellow headlights.
Five steps to clean foggy car headlights
There are many ways to restore headlights, especially with the advanced technology we have today. From getting headlight restoration kits to using a polishing compound, it is available to you online or at a car detailing shop. Here is by far the best process of how to restore headlights with sandpaper grit. The sanding process can clean foggy headlights and once completely dry once again reveal the shiny headlight lenses.
What you will need to clean headlights
• warm and soapy water
• plain water
• painter’s tape
• sandpaper sheets – 600, 1000, 2000
• polishing compound
• polishing cloth
• microfiber cloth
• UV sealant
• elbow grease
1. Prepping to clean headlights for restoration
Never do your sanding dirty headlights! Even though you are taking off the foggy layer of the headlight, you still have to make sure it is clean prior to the sanding process.
2. Tape off the car headlights
To prevent any potential damage to your car’s paint, it is imperative that you take the necessary precautions when cleaning your foggy headlights. One effective method is to cover the surrounding paint with painter’s tape, using two pieces to ensure full coverage. Alternatively, you may choose to remove the headlights entirely, although this will require more time and effort. Remember, these steps are crucial in maintaining the pristine appearance of your vehicle.
After you have cleaned your foggy headlights and used a painter’s tape to cover the unnecessary areas, you can begin the sanding.
To complete the task, you will need elbow grease and several grits of sandpaper. The finer the sandpaper, the greater the grit. Begin with the coarsest choice and work your way up to the finest.
3.1 Dry sand with 600 sandpaper
To remove the cloudy layer on your car’s headlights, it’s crucial to follow the correct steps. Start by using 600 grit sandpaper and sand horizontally in straight lines until the entire surface is covered. Maintain a consistent pattern until you achieve the desired outcome. In situations where the headlights are excessively cloudy and oxidized, it may be necessary to utilize 400-grit sandpaper to ensure a thorough cleaning.
3.2 Wet sand with 1000 sandpaper
Apply water (as a lubricant) to the surface of your headlights with your water spray bottle, then lightly wet sand using 1,000 grain wet or wet-dry sandpaper. Consistent sanding motions are recommended for an easier headlight repair procedure. Continue to lubricate the surface with water.
3.3 Wet sand with 2000 sandpaper
By now, your headlights should appear clearer, but a final round of sanding is necessary to achieve optimal clarity and smoothness of the headlamp lens surface. Just like in the previous step, apply water to the surface and utilize a 2,000 grit wet-dry sandpaper in consistent circular motions, to achieve the desired results.
4. Clean and polish
4.1 Polishing cloth
To achieve a shiny, brand new look for your headlights, it is crucial that you clean and polish them correctly. Start by eliminating any debris with alcohol and paper towels for sanding. Then, use a flannel polishing cloth to apply the polishing compound in a continuous motion to achieve a smooth and flawless finish. This method will effectively remove any foggy coating, and your headlights will regain their clarity once again.
4.2 Polish wheel
To restore your headlights to their former glory, it’s crucial to use the right equipment. Power equipment is the way to go for the best results. For the most effective outcome, we strongly recommend using a cotton buffing wheel on an angle grinder or a felt polishing wheel on an angle grinder or die grinder. Be aware that using a polishing compound can hinder your results. To avoid this, use a blue rouge buffing compound bar when using these types of buffing wheels. However, exercise extreme caution and work on a low level to prevent overheating the plastic surface. Overheating can cause serious damage to the light, so take your time and work carefully.
5. Apply UV sealant
While sanding can be a convenient and fast method for restoring your headlights, it may not provide a long-term solution. If you want to avoid having to repeat the process frequently, you should consider applying a UV sealant. Doing so will remove the hazy effect of your headlights permanently. This will prevent them from oxidizing and help maintain the shine you achieved through sanding. For optimal results, we recommend applying at least three coats of the sealant.
Is it OK to polish headlights?
Yes, it is generally okay to polish headlights. Headlights can become cloudy or yellowed over time due to exposure to UV rays, oxidation, and other environmental factors. Polishing headlights can help restore their clarity and improve visibility while driving at night.
Can I safely do headlight restoration myself?
Absolutely, with the right tools and products you can restore headlights without taking your car into a shop.
If you are unsure of your abilities, however, taking it might be a good idea as you need to be very careful.
Is WD-40 good for cleaning headlights?
No, WD-40 is not recommended for cleaning headlights. While WD-40 can be used for various purposes, it is not specifically designed for cleaning or restoring headlights.
How much does it cost to polish your headlights?
On average, professional headlight polishing services can range from $50 to $100 per pair of headlights. DIY headlight polishing kits are also available, typically costing between $10 and $30.
Does toothpaste remove hazy headlights?
Yes, toothpaste can be used as a DIY solution to remove haze from headlights. Its abrasive properties can help to polish the surface of the headlights and reduce the hazy appearance. However, it is important to note that toothpaste is not specifically designed for headlight restoration and may provide temporary results.
About the Authors
Proud owner of AutoFetishDetail, where the emphasis lies in the finer points. Passionate about instructing, guiding, and providing expert consultation for all things related to meticulous detailing.
In the world of cleanliness and hygiene, Sabrina Tretyakova stands as a beacon of expertise and dedication. As an ISSA-certified cleaning technician, Sabrina brings a wealth of knowledge and three years of unwavering commitment to her profession. Having served a staggering 1,200 clients.
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