How To Restore Your Headlights For Under $30

 Headlight Restoration Kit

A step-by-step tutorial to bring any automotive headlight back to new condition, no tools required. 

Ever cruise down the road and notice a car with plastic headlamps that are completely hazed up? Even worse, have you owned a vehicle that, over the years, has become less and less luminant at night?

Earlier designed headlights, while made of glass with less of a tendency to fade, have more of a tendency to crack. Modern headlights, however, are all plastic—good for the cracking issue, but bad for fading.  

Typically what makes the plastic lenses look faded over time is that they become oxidized and the clear coat UV protection wears off. Additionally, over time, dirt and contaminants can work their way into the plastic producing a brownish tint. The good news is that Sylvania has developed an inexpensive kit to restore your lenses which delivers great results in under 30 minutes. 

 

 

Before:

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After:

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Kit Contents:

  • 1 Oz. Surface Activator
  • 1 Oz. UV Block Clear Coat
  • 1/2 Oz. Packet of Compound
  • 400 Grit Sandpaper
  • 1000 Grit Sandpaper
  • 2000 Grit Sandpaper
  • 1 Blue Cloth Applicator Towel
  • 2 White Polish cloths
  • Vinyl Glove

Suggested Additional Supplies:

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Spray Bottle filled w/ Water
  • Painters Tape (Optional)

 The Process:

1. First you want to either remove the headlamp from the vehicle or tape it off so that your not making contact with the vehicles paint. Spray it off and clean it.

2. Then, wipe the headlamp completely dry and use the surface activator. Spray it on the surface of the headlamps and let this sit for 30 seconds, then wash with water and wipe it off.

3. Now, wet the headlamp with water and use the 400 grit sandpaper to remove any haze, oxidation, and remaining clear coat. Use circular motions, medium pressure, and keep the service wet with water. Do this until the entire lens has a uniform light haziness and is smooth to the touch.

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4. Using 1000 grit sandpaper, wet the headlamp with water and sand for approximately 5 mins re-wetting as necessary. Use medium pressure.

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5. Repeat using the 2000 grit sandpaper, but use more pressure.

6. Next, use a quarter sized dollop of the sanding compound and place it onto one of the white towels. Wet the headlamp and rub the surface with the compound for approximately 5 mins. When complete, rinse the lens thoroughly and completely dry it off.

7. Now reapply the surface activator for 30 seconds, rinse off and completely dry. This will fully clean the lens in preparation for the last step.

8. Lastly, make the sure the headlight is completely dry, then put on the supplied glove, and soak the folded edge of the blue towel with the UV block clear coat. Wipe the lens in smooth side to side motion starting in one corner of the lamp and ending in the other. Repeat the process with slight overlap until the entire surface has been treated.

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9. Allow 1 hour to dry before touching and 4-6 hours before driving.

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Topics: Do-It-Yourself, Video

About the Author: Jay VanGorden
Jason has been with the company since 2011. He's been in the automotive industry for over 15 years and brings a great amount of automotive experience to FCP. He graduated from Universal Technical Institute of Exton PA. in 2005 and then went on to graduate from the Volvo S.A.F.E program in 2006. From there he worked at a Volvo dealership achieving his ranking as a Certified Volvo Technician in just 2 years, and a Master Volvo Technician in only 4 years. Jay VanGorden (Dr. Jay) is a Master Volvo Technician and Volvo Catalog Manager at FCP Euro. He can be reached at jasonv1@fcpeuro.com