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Restore or Clean a Dull Headlight Assembly

20993 Views 25 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  James Mike
The headlights on my Crownvic weathered to the point that I added driving lights to increase night time visibility. I tried cleaning them a number of times with a cleaner polish but that didn't quite do the job.

Finally I tried a Plastic Cleaner Polish, and I couldn't believe the difference. There are a number of products on the market for varying prices. I can not comment on which is better, but I'll give you some ideas. I imagine that for the most part they are equally effective.

There are complete kits that include very very fine sand paper, or other abrasives, cleaning rags, and plastic polish. OR one may purchase just the plastic polish and use an abrasive you already have lying around.

The first time around, I used some turtle wax cleaning compound, followed by PlastX Each are available at Walmart for less than $5 each.

The next time around, I used some 000 grade steel wool, and Plastx. The steel wool did a little better job than the turtle wax cleaning compound. I bought the steel wool at K-mart for about $3.00 It was a pack of 6, two each of three different grades.

In either case, the headlights on all my cars are now restored to pretty near their original brilliance for less than ten dollars.

Once you have restored yours, you'll notice how many cars are on the road with dull headlights, and you'll want to stop everyone and tell them how easy it is to restore them.


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Actually if you take your time, and us patience, wet sanding, and going to higher grades, then using toothpaste, and a buffer will do the best job. Then you get a good sealer. That's what we do in the warehouse if we get one as a core. There is no core from dealer, but some people think there is, so we fix them, and rebox them. They last just as long as the new replacement ones. Or get an older car with glass lights, and just wipe them off lol...

Btw, learned it watching stacey david on Gearz tv.
This is the way I go, minus the toothpaste. To finish I use Meguiar's Plastx with buffer, topped with carnuba wax, then sealant. Whenever I detail the car I run over with polish, wax and sealant to maintain.
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I was thinking more along the line of cheapness, but your way is prefered dave. thank you for the addition.
No problem. Keep in mind I have Plastx on hand (only have approx $1400 worth of detailing supplies and tools in my garage:eek6:) I'm trying to find some pics of a set I did with this process.

Here we go


Bumper Automotive exterior Auto part Automotive lighting Car

After (you can see a before light above.
Headlamp Automotive lighting Light Vehicle Car

Headlamp Automotive lighting Vehicle Light Car
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Jonzo, - please tell us exactly what you refer to as "a good sealer" . I would like to try that , but have been afraid to ruin a good finish by adding something that I wasn't sure of - Thanks.
I think he's referring to paint sealant such as Meguiar's #21 etc.

Some examples.

Hope the link is ok..
To D.Acker - that was a good link thanks :thumbsup: That Autogeek is a cool site ! -Not sure if I'd be happy about putting a wax based product onto clear plastic though, so I'm going to research that a bit more. Nevertheless, Autogeek has many good products, so THANKS anyway -:)
AutoGeek rocks!! I use both paint sealant and carnuba wax on my lights. It provides UV protection, UV is what causes the fading and hazing in many cases. I've never had any trouble using wax or sealant on my lights.
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I have used the Meguiar's head light restoration kit before with good luck. Toothpaste really doesn't do much. Tried it as well. Once I found I could just buy new headlights for less than 50.00 a pair. I didn't waste my time with trying to clean faded ones again. Even though they come out nice when cleaned. they are still not super clear and dull again pretty quick. I have replaced the headlights on 3 cars now. None for more than 55.00 for a pair and they also come with new bulbs. If you need to save more, cleaning will do. But dollar for dollar and time wise. I would just buy new for as chap as they are. Just my 02 here
What models were you purchasing for? Contour\Mystique (98+) lights will run $100+ per side easy, I spent somewhere around $180 for a new set for our Windstar (cheapest I could find and not OEM). Just curious because normally light assemblies are not that inexpensive
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