Top Five Tips When Restoring Headlights
After so many years of grime, wear and tear, your headlight lenses will become foggy and the quality of light will dim significantly. This problem is easily fixed by bringing your vehicle to a professional or auto glass guru to restore your headlights to their original luster and brightness.
But if you’re on a budget or you’re an avid do-it-yourselfer, you will need these top five tips to help you successfully clean your headlamp glass.
Be Sure To Use Multiple Grain Fine Sand Paper
When you first start rubbing your foggy headlight glass, you want to begin with a 1,000 grit sandpaper using the wet/dry sandpaper. You need to make sure it’s wet when you use it.
When you’re finished with each size, be sure to dry the area well. Then slowly use finer and finer wet/dry sandpaper.
The recommended sizes are 1,500, 2,000, 2,500, then 3,000 grit paper. By using finer and finer grains, you’ll slowly remove that layer of foggy, pitted plastic. Your final rub should be with a fine steel wool that removes the last of the small pits. Be sure to use a fine brush to remove any excess plastic pieces.
Each Pass Should Be Perpendicular To The Last
As you use a finer and finer grain sandpaper, make sure your strokes are perpendicular to the last one you used. So if you rubbed from right to left with 1,000 grain sandpaper, when you change to 2,000 grain, you’ll rub up and down. Repeat until you’ve finished with the fine steel wool.
This guarantees you’ll have great cover and won't miss any areas. Circular motions won’t cover nearly enough surface area and you can't guarantee to get all the headlight lens covered.
Take Your Time. Do Not Rush
The fastest way to ruin your headlight glass is to rush your sanding. Many of us have wanted to just rub a few times on each pass. This is not a good way to ensure your headlights will be their brightest.
So, take your time and make sure each grain size of sandpaper is used over the whole area of the headlight glass. If you have to make a second pass, that’s fine, just do it perpendicular to the last pass. But take your time and inspect it often.
Use A Good Clean Polishing Cloth
When you are finished with the sanding, the next step is polishing the headlight to remove any pits and smooth out the plexiglass. Using a good quality cloth with no extra lint is important for this step. Using a flannel or microfiber cloth will ensure you have the right polishing cloth.
Also, make sure your cloth is completely clean. You don’t want to have any extra particles from dirty hands or dirty parts on the cloth as this will totally defeat the purpose of cleaning your headlight. So, make sure your cloth is clean and free of debris.
Use A Good UV Sealant To Protect Your Headlights
This tip is crucial to keeping your headlights clear and clean for a long time.
UV light is what helps degrade the glass in the first place, so applying a good sealant that protects against UV light will go a long way toward having great lasting headlights.
Some polishes like Sylvania and Lenz Solution are made to give you UV protection.
Bonus Tip: Use Masking Tape To Protect The Other Areas Of Your Car
This should be a first step to ensure that the other parts of car are protected from the sanding process. You only want to remove the pitting from your headlight glass, not create streaks in your hood.
As a DIYer, you want to ensure your work will last and with these tips, you’ll be ready to have clear headlights for a long time.