My headlamps suck! They are clouded and badly faded. Turns out my PT Cruiser came with non-UV-protected headlights... So I tried the toothpaste idea (no go).
While sitting out front with my sweetie looking at my freshly cleaned car with fugly faded headlamps, I thought that maybe rubbing compound may do the trick. It did with a little ingenuity!
1 bit o' rubbing compound
1 Strong arm or a drill and cotton polishing disk (I opted for the disk after about two minutes of hand buffing)
1 bit o' car wax to seal it all in
and some clean rags
Total time: 30 minutes
**I take no responsibility if your results are not as awesome as mine, I'm lucky, so only do this if you can afford to replace the lamps if you have real problems. Now on to the fun stuff...
Total savings since I had all these items listed above: $150 (replacement cost for new lamp shrouds)
Clean plastic lame clouded headlamp with window cleaner or water
Apply rubbing compound and buff for several minutes adding more as needed. (don't let the plastic get too warm)
Wipe off rubbing compound and clean around the lamp shroud
Add car wax and buff to a nice shine
Wipe with clean cloth
Enjoy the new brighter headlamps! (and if appropriate have a beer to celebrate your accomplishment!)
I don't know how long this will last, but I will update if it does stay clear for a reasonable time frame.