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Polishing headlights

Do any of you guys polish your own car headlights to remove the yellowing? How often do you do it and could you share with us your process?

Janet in Jerusalem

I have seen videos on YouTube about this. I have spoken to people who have done it. Ranging from different grades of wetting sandpaper, this is the key for what I have been told. There are kits you can purchase at a car parts shop. I hope this helps ! God bless

I did it once with tooth paste on a gas meter window so that we could read the dials.

I did & it was well worth the effort.
I purchased a 3m kit on Amazon
and followed the instructions :slight_smile:

Came out crystal clear.
And they give you a preservative to keep it that way for awhile.

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Since I can no longer edit my question, I will elaborate here in a reply…

When a headlight gets old enough, the toothpaste thing is no longer is sufficient. I wanted to know if any professional goldsmiths have done serious headlight reconditioning (well beyond toothpaste) just using materials we already have in our studios–grades of sanding followed by polishing. What grades of sanding papers? Which polishing media: Bobbing compound? Tripoli? Rouge? Compounds specifically for plastic? By hand without electricity? It doesn’t pay to go out and by a ‘kit’ (designed for people who have never polished anything) when you’ve been polishing decades and have a studio full of polishing materials and equipment :slightly_smiling_face:. My equipment isn’t of much use since the headlights have to be polished in situ and the car is nowhere near an outlet, but I’d like to be able to use the polishing compounds I already have. I can put a mirror finish on metal but don’t have any experience with plastic and want to make sure I will be able to get it crystal clear after sanding.

So, did you do it without electricity, what materials did you use, how long did it take, and how happy were you with the results?

PS Where I live, those little polishing kits will cost two to four times what they cost in America. With items ordered from the US, the shipping is usually more than the cost of the item!

One material for polishing windshields on aircraft is called “mirrorglaze”. Aircraft have to have crystal clear windshield glazing. It does things without scratching via both hand polishing and with buffing via hand held motors. Headlights or lens covers might be similar if they are plastic. It’s been along time, but it might be a help.

Nice weekend project for spring!


Interesting thread! Makes me wonder if anyone has had experience polishing a scratch out of the glass (crystal?) on a watch.
My running watch has a deep scratch, but I hesitate because it’s still useable, and I don’t know if it would make the whole thing trash if I scratched it all up. Or how much work it would be.

I seriously considered using jewelry materials, but (1) headlights are big and I don’t have a polishing wheel, and (2) this was for my wife’s car, so experimenting had its risks. I just ordered this very cheap kit from Jeff Bezos: Invisible Glass Headlight Restoration Wipes - Pack of 2, 95121

We used OFF Mosquito Repellent Pads to get the yellow off the headlights on a 2003 model car. This technique will not give you a polish but could save you sanding steps and then you could hopefully find a way to get the polish you want on the plastic. Good luck in your research and adventure.

Even in Amazon this product is “Currently unavailable. We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.” Certainly not available in Israel. ;-).
Janet in Jerusalem

Oh, wow. That’s bad news. As I recall, the product was suspiciously similar to some 3M polishing pads I’ve seen. White, rectangular, 8 x 10 cm, approximately, and about 3 or 4 mm thick. If you have a lot of yellow, it takes a while to get rid of that before the actual polishing starts to happen. Good luck!

I would start by using 400grit then 1,000grit, then buff with wool and compound, and lastly apply the sealant.
Or use this kit… SYLVANIA - Headlight Restoration Kit - 3 Easy Steps to Restore Sun Damaged Headlights With Exclusive UV Block Clear Coat, Light Output and Beam Pattern Restored, Long Lasting Protection : Automotive