Fixing Those Stubborn Faded Opaque Headlights.




About: I am a kid for life, creative, curious, with a desire to improve the lives of the people around me.

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!  

Items needed:
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)

Step 1:
Clean plastic lame clouded headlamp with window cleaner or water

Step 2:
Apply rubbing compound and buff for several minutes adding more as needed. (don't let the plastic get too warm)

Step 3:  
Wipe off rubbing compound and clean around the lamp shroud

Step 4:
Add car wax and buff to a nice shine

Step 5:  
Wipe with clean cloth

Step 6:
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.


Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Be the First to Share


    • Furniture Contest

      Furniture Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest
    • Hot Glue Speed Challenge

      Hot Glue Speed Challenge

    3 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Great write up. I did the same. but I used red rouge rather than rubbing compound. keep it up!


    5 years ago

    Great write up. I did the same. but I used red rouge rather than rubbing compound. keep it up!


    6 years ago

    Wet sanding with 1100 grit sand paper before the rubbing compound and not only does it faster but you get a truly better surface as this is a polished surface. Also if you want to spend a little more money you can buy a can of UV protectant clear coat and make it last a very long time. And yes this works well as I have don't it for years to many cars that still have good head lights. This also works for motorcycle wind screens!