Headlamp Lens Restoration




Posted in WorkshopCars

Introduction: Headlamp Lens Restoration

First Instructable :)

In ireland there are stringent tests carried out on older cars every 12months. Earlier in the year my car failed for headlamp beam clarity as a result of discoloured, heavily scratched and cloudy/opaque headlamp lenses.

I had two options
-1. Replace both headlamps €€€€
- 2. Try a headlamp restoration kit

I opted for option 2 at a cost of €18 and I must say I was shocked at how well the process worked. That is why I write this Instructable as I was initially skeptical but the results were remarkable and worth knowing about

Step 1: Required Items

A headlamp restoration kit.

I opted for a German branded manual kit. The kit comprised of
1. Varying sheets of fine wet sandpapers (2000-5000 grit)
2. A soft sanding block
3. A cleaning cloth
4. A polishing cloth
5. Polishing paste

6. Lens sealer spray

For cleaning
- A car sponge
- Workshop Paper roll
- A water spray bottle (helps with the wet sanding process
- WD-40 (or mild degreasing solvent)

Step 2: Clean the Headlamps

I used water, then WD-40 to fully clean and degrease 10year of grime from the headlamps

Step 3: Follow the Instructions!!

Just follow the instruction manual for the kit. Note: the headlamps were heavily scratched so the sanding process was key to the success of this project.

In summary the process is:
1. Wet sand the lenses using the 2000 paper. This step removes macro scratch defects from the lens. I spent 20mins per headlamp

2. Wet sand the lenses using the 3000 paper. Further removes and polishes more micro defects from the lenses ~20mins

3. Wet sand the lenses using the 5000 paper ~15mins. This removes and cleans up the surface of the lenses to a perfectly smooth finish.

4. Rub in the polishing compound using the polishing cloth. Apply generous amounts and rub in using small circular motions. This step shines and removes any discolouration. ~10mins

5. Wipe down the headlamps with water and dry using the workshop paper
6. Spray on the sealant and lightly buff to a haze. Leave for 15min then wipe down
7. Finally clean the headlamps with water

Note: it's worth spending time completing the sanding stages to achieve the best result

Step 4: Before, During and After Images



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    I've used the 3M kit but it doesn't have the final spray on "sealant." That seems to be what really eliminates all the sanding marks. I believe it is a clear acrylic paint with UV protection.

    Thanks bh. I had come across the toothpaste trick before, but as my lenses were heavily scratched I opted for the sanding method which came with the kit.

    The kits typically work well, but if you dont want to spend much, toothpaste does the trick! Grab a tube and some paper towels and start rubbing, wipe it off with a wet towel!