How to Restore Headlights

April 9th, 2018 by

2018 Nissan Sentra Red Hood

While you can always head to Tamaroff Nissan for professional headlight installation, have you ever wondered how to restore headlights on your own? The process requires a little patience and elbow grease, but with the right tools, most drivers can bring a set of dingy headlights back to life in an afternoon. If you want to know the best way to restore headlights, check out our instructions below to bring back the shine on your car!

Why Do Headlights Go Foggy?

The plastic that covers your headlights is incredibly strong and durable, but it becomes damaged from UV exposure over time. The result is a cloudy or foggy appearance that dims the strength of your headlights. That’s why it’s important to do the occasional headlight restoration, whether by professional hands or your own DIY skills.

What Tools Do I Need for Headlight Restoration?

Here’s a list of the basics:

  • Washing and waxing supplies
  • Low-tack painter’s tape
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Wet/dry sandpaper in various grits
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Polishing compound
  • UV sealant
  • Orbital polisher (optional)

What Steps Do I Take?

The headlight restoration process is surprisingly simple. It just takes a little preparation and a lot of scrubbing!

  1. Start by washing the vehicle to start with a clean canvas and prevent mess.
  2. Mask off the headlight area carefully with painter’s tape to protect the exterior from scratches. Consider removing chrome trim for extra protection.
  3. Soak 1000-grit sandpaper for ten minutes and start scrubbing the headlight lens in straight strokes, spraying the surface with water to keep it wet. Keep going until pits, scratches, and discoloration disappear.
  4. Clean and dry the area.
  5. Repeat the sanding process with 1500-grit sandpaper, but sand at right angles to your previous work rather than repeating the same strokes. This gives a more uniform appearance. Clean and dry when done.
  6. Repeat again several times with your 2000-, 2500-, and 3000-grit sandpaper. Make sure to keep sanding at right angles to your previous work. Check your painter’s tape periodically to ensure that it hasn’t torn.
  7. Apply polishing compound on a microfiber, moving in a circular motion. This should clear up the haze. Use an orbital polisher instead if you have one handy.
  8. Clean the remaining compound and wax the lens with paste car wax. Apply a layer of UV sealant as the final step.

Learn More DIY Skills with Tamaroff Nissan!

Find out how to care for leather seats or learn a little more about Nissan OEM car parts.

Posted in Auto Care, Auto Tips