Complete Headlight or Foglight Restoration: Fix dull, hazy, yellow, pitted lights

Picture of Complete Headlight or Foglight Restoration: Fix dull, hazy, yellow, pitted lights
This will show you how to restore old plastic head/foglights that have become hazy, oxidated, or chipped/pitted so that they look brand new. Also, depending on how badly your headlights have deteriorated, you may notice much improved light output and better night visibility.

Warning: This is for PLASTIC headlights/foglights. Do not attempt on glass.

What you need:

Sandpaper - 400, 800, 1000, 1500, and 2000grit (total of $8 at hardware store)
ScratchX or PlastX ($5 at autozone, advance auto, pep boys, etc)
Soft cotton cloth, or microfiber polishing/waxing pad

Total Cost = $13......compared to hundreds of dollars for new headlights and foglights
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Step 1: Wet Sanding

Picture of Wet Sanding
1) Start with 400grit sandpaper

2) Get a bowl of water and dissolved a few drops of dish detergent

3) Wet sandpaper and sand with light to moderate pressure in horizontal direction.

4) Rinse, repeat in vertical direction

5) Rinse, repeat in small circles

6) Rinse

7) Repeat steps 1-6 with 800grit sandpaper, then 1000, then 1500, and finally with 2000grit

Here a some pics of the process to give you an idea of what things will look like after some of the sanding stages (forgot to take a pic of 1000grit, but you catch my drift)....

Step 2: PlastX Application

Picture of PlastX Application
Ok, now you're done with the "hard" part.

1) Everything needs to be completely dry. So wipe with some paper towels and let air-dry for a few minutes.

2) Apply a few drops of PlastX to the lights

3) Use cloth or microfiber pad and rub in small circles until the PlastX begins to disappear
(You are filling in the fine scratches left from the 2000grit sandpaper to give it a smooth finish.....don't rush this step, it may take a good 3-4min depending on the size of the lights)

4) Once the PlastX is nearly gone, use a clean part of the cloth and wipe of the excess thoroughly. (You will hear a high pitched squeaking sound when all the residue has been removed.)

5) Stand back and admire your work!!!
candle3604 years ago
Nice one. I learned the trick of using 1500, and wet sanding it. They showed me that at the bodyshop. But I didn't know you could completely do this.. Awesome instructable!
JerryMopar5 years ago
Are those Dodge Neon headlamps? Those yellow so bad, Ive seen some that look as bad as when you scuffed it with 400, just more yellow tinge! I have to take the headlights out of my 94 Plymouth Voyager, and buff them with white rouge on my buffing wheel, Ive seen Plastex before, Ill have to give it a try!
mannetti21 (author)  JerryMopar5 years ago
Those are actually 2001 Maxima foglights. And the PlastX alone is garbage, doesn't do a thing. I actually applied 3 coats of PlastX to the left light in the second pic before I tried the sanding...and as you can see it did nothing.
rimar20005 years ago
Very good work. And it is eco-friendly!