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If your headlights look a little cloudy, consider this a sign to clean them. Believe it or not, it really isn’t that hard and it can make a big difference in the overall look of your vehicle. The video above introduces AMMO’s Larry Kosilla as he goes through the process of restoring your headlights step by step, corrects common mistakes, and details exactly what you will need to complete the project from start to finish. We’ve also included links to everything you might need for the job, below. Of course, always keep in mind that every car is different, which means the process may vary slightly from vehicle to vehicle. Always be sure to consult your manual before performing any type of work on your car.
Amazon Basics Masking Tape – $ 6.35
First, you will need masking tape to tape the area around the headlights. Any masking tape will do, but if you need to take a new roll, this one is as good as any.
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth (24-Pack) – $ 11.83 (15% off)
Chances are you have a few in the garage already, but if you’re in the market for some new microfiber towels, these are a great option. These Amazon Basics cleaning cloths measure 12 “x 16” and come in a pack of 24, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to lighting your headlights.
Rayson Empty Spray Bottle – $ 4.23
Obviously any old spray bottle will do for this job, but we promised this list would be ‘everything you’ll ever need’, so just in case you need to buy a new one, this is what you need. is a super affordable option with a ‘comfort grip’ trigger.
5 Inch Tockrop Hand Sanding Blocks – $ 11.59
You’ll need a sanding block at different times in the process, and this pack gives you two options for the price of one. Either design, round shape or mouse shape, works with standard 5 inch sander discs. They can be used for wet or dry sanding and they are designed to allow the user to quickly and easily replace discs.
LotFancy 5-inch 8-Hole Sanding Discs (60 Pieces 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, 2500, 3000 Grit) – $ 9.49 (14% off)
For the restoration job of your headlights, you will only need a few sanding discs. In fact, you should only need a 1000 grain disk, a 1500 grain disk, and a 3000 grain disk. This pack includes all of that and more. While you can head to the local hardware store and save a few bucks buying a la carte, this package is so affordable, it’s not even worth it.
Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound – $ 16.99
In our how-to video above, Larry suggests using your “favorite” compound for the job. Well, he’s one of us. Meguiar’s is a trusted and respected automotive brand, and while you can use just about any compound you like, this 20 oz. the bottle is a great option.
BLACK + DECKER 8V MAX Cordless Drill – $ 28.25
Don’t worry, you don’t drill into your headlights for any reason, but a drill is useful for attaching a pad of wool to the made up part of the headlight restoration. We have an option for wool pads and an adapter just below, but if you don’t have a drill lying around, this Black + Decker lightweight cordless drill is a great option. At just under $ 30, it’s very hard to ignore.
22 Piece Car Foam Drill Polishing Pad Kit, 3 Inch Polishing Pads – $ 12.99 (24% off)
This 22-piece pack includes 16 sponge polishing pads, 2 wool pad pads, 2 drill adapters and 2 suction cups. For your lighthouse project, you will probably only need a wool pad, a polishing pad, and one of the drill adapters, but at this price it’s easy to keep a few extras on hand. tomorrow.
Swan Isopropyl Alcohol – $ 7.76
There isn’t much to say about rubbing alcohol. Is it alcohol? Yeah. Can you use it on your headlights as part of the restoration process? Yeah too. Do not hesitate to take this 16 oz. bottle or use whatever old rubbing alcohol you have around the house.
Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish – $ 12.99
Just like the compound part of your project, you can also use your own favorite polish, but if you’re looking for a recommendation, this one is solid. It’s effective when used by hand or with a polisher and should do a good job of removing swirls and towel marks from the headlights.
Meguiar’s Keep Clear UV Headlight Coating – $ 8.44
Finally, you will need a UV protective coating to spray on your headlights to make sure that all your hard work in making your headlights shine is not wasted after a few days of sun damage. You can choose any UV coating you like, but be sure to read the directions on the one you choose before you apply it. For under $ 10, this option from Meguiar’s is excellent.
Video transcription instructions:
[00:00:00] Headlights are like your car’s eyes and when they are hazy, yellow, and hazy, seeing well at night can be a problem. And during the day, the look like this. Find out how to restore clarity today on Autoblog details. This vehicle has been detailed from start to finish in 10 episodes. Visit autoblog.com/details to see the full transformation details. For the first step, open the hood or tape the surrounding areas to prevent damage to the paint.
[00:00:30] Masking tape is perfect for this application. Wash the headlight with water and a microfiber towel to clean off any heavy debris that might be interfering with the sanding discs. Place 1000 grit sandpaper on a block of foam and move side-to-side, no circles, no back-and-forth, and no water during this phase of the process. This is called dry sanding. As you will notice, the skin of the dead headlight flakes off leaving a white residue. This is normal, so don’t panic.
[00:01:00] Once the headlight is sanded evenly from side to side, wipe or blow dust off the surface of the headlight. Any remaining dust can contaminate the next process, causing deeper scratches or haze which can be a challenge to finish, so it’s important to work clean. Place 1500 grit on a block of foam and spray the sandpaper with water before applying it to the light. A few quick jets are enough. This is called wet sanding. Now move the paper up and down and not side to side as we did in step one.
[00:01:30] This is done to counter the first marks of sandpaper in the opposite direction. When finished, spray water on the headlight and wipe again to make sure no particles are left for the next step. Then switch to 3000 grit paper and repeat the same process, but sideways once more to counter the 1500 grit sanding marks created in the previous step. It is your final hand sanding that will bring the flagship to a point of refinement that can be easily machine restored.
[00:02:00] The polisher will get the very fine marks from the headlight with more consistency than by hand. So gradually refining by hand until you can use a machine is the safest way to complete this project. Then dial in the 3000 grit sanding marks in the headlight with a microfiber cutting pad or wool pad and your favorite compound. This can be done with a home drill or a three-inch detailing machine. I chose to use a three inch tire because I have access to compressed air. After just a few passes with compound, the headlight lens should look much clearer.
[00:02:30] After thoroughly mixing, quickly buff the plastic with a foam pad and your favorite polish to remove super fine scratches left after the mixing step. Use a precision lamp to check your work or simply turn on the headlights themselves to see the lens better. If all looks good, wipe down the headlight with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils or polish residue for the final protective coating. A UV protective layer should be immediately applied to the lens after the process is complete.
[00:03:00] It is clear that the original UV coating applied at the factory faded and anything that was left would have been removed from the previous abrasive steps. It is therefore essential to apply a new UV coat to avoid a fuzzy or yellow lens in a few weeks, or even days, if left untreated. Before applying UV protection, be sure to read the instructions for your particular coating. Finally, apply the UV coating at a distance of four to six inches from the lens with medium arm speed. Let it dry for three to five minutes, then apply a second coat.
[00:03:30] Do not remove the masking tape for at least 15-20 minutes and avoid wetting the lens for at least two hours to allow the coating to cure properly. Keep in mind that at first the coating doesn’t look very smooth, but once it dries it levels out and you can’t even tell it’s there. This repair was carried out during the restoration of the whole vehicle which was broadcast over 10 consecutive episodes from start to finish. You can see the whole process at autoblog.com/details. Finally, restoring your headlights is not just an aesthetic solution. It can increase the luminous flux by 20-30% to help you see the road and get home safely.
[00:04:00] If you found this video useful, please share and follow all the latest in-depth videos by liking or subscribing to the Autoblog page. I am Larry Kosilla from ammonyc.com. Thank you for watching.