View Full Version : Headlight restoration results, by hand, w/pictures!

Oct 18th, 2014, 10:29 PM
Ok so this is my second post on the forum. First I'd like to say this forum has been such a great tool for learning all there is to know about detailing. I want to thank every single one of you for taking the time to help each other out, and share your wealth of knowledge :xyxthumbs

So I decided to give headlight restoration a shot this afternoon. Results were fantastic! I decided to start with the least amount of cash spending as possible, so I utilized some old rubbing compound and polishing compounds I had sitting in my garage (I was surprised they weren't completely dried out yet). The products were from Turtle Wax (sorry Meguiar's, I just didn't want to spend extra cash for something I already had in my garage). I was going to use the DA polisher, so I taped around the headlights but after first trying it out by hand, I realized it was going to be a piece of cake and ended up not using the DA polisher after all, and finished it entirely by hand...using thee old "wax on, wax off" method :lolol:. Of course, my headlights were not that bad to begin with, so it was easy to achieve clean results by hand.

The process was simple:

1. Tape around edges
2. Rub the "rubbing compound" using microfiber pad applicator
3. Give it a good "rub/scrub" with the microfiber pad applicator
4. Wipe clean with microfiber towel
5. Rub the "polishing compound" using separate microfiber pad applicator
6. Work the polish into the headlight, constantly rubbing until the polish turned into a haze, then started to disappear
7. Wipe clean with microfiber towel
8. OPTIONAL - Apply wax
8. DONE!

The following are before and after pictures, enjoy!



This was taken in the middle of the polishing process, you can see to the lower right hand side of the headlight it's starting to look clear already


I did not apply wax afterwards. But I'm quite sure if I did, they would probably look slightly better. I know I can probably get them to look clearer, however as stated above, I was looking for the easiest way. Perhaps next time I will pull out the DA polisher, and or maybe even sand them down and purchase that opti lens coating stuff. It states that it will "forever" keep your headlights looking like new (http://www.autogeek.net/optimum-opti-lens-headlight-coating.html (http://www.autogeek.net/optimum-opti-lens-headlight-coating.html)). Has anyone had any experience with this, results? I'd love to hear about it!

These are the 2 exact products that I used for this process:
http://images.drillspot.com/pimages/24541/2454151_300.jpg (http://images.drillspot.com/pimages/24541/2454151_300.jpg)
http://www.best-auto-detailing-tips.com/images/turtle-wax-polishing-compound.jpg (http://www.best-auto-detailing-tips.com/images/turtle-wax-polishing-compound.jpg)

The Guz
Oct 18th, 2014, 11:36 PM
You should definitely apply a wax or a better yet a synthetic wax to keep them from yellowing again. Meguiar's even offes and over the counter headlight protectant. It is cheap and it is recommended to be applied every 6-8 weeks. I bought opti-lens but have not used it. My headlights have x-pel on them so they won't yellow and it protects from rock chips. I bought opti-lens to have in my packet until my car or my immediate family members cars needs some headlight restoration that requires sanding.

Oct 19th, 2014, 04:56 AM
You are absolutely right. After thinking about it, I definitely need to apply wax, better to be safe. Let us know how the opti works out once you end up using it, I'm very curious because at its price range and lifetime guarantee, its definitely worth it. But I will also look up Meguiar's version.