Headlight Restoration Project "How To" with pics

Discussion in 'Mustang Sound & Shine All' started by Lex, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. i agree this should be a sticky
  2. Just wanted to add a little to the process.
    should also use a little dishwashing liquid in the water before you start sanding.
    after the 2000 grit paper,3m rubbing compound works best then polish them up.
    wax them every few months and no need to worry about those ugly lites again.
  3. awesome techique, I'm gonna try this out on a set of fogged up smoked headlights I got for cheap :nice:
  4. Well I did this a few weeks ago and was mildly successful. I removed the majority of the problems on both headlights, but one of them still looks fairly foggy. I'm planning on going through the whole process again on it, but I think there is a bit of corrosion and discoloration on the inside. Anyone know how to get the cover off to clean the inside?
  5. This guide worked perfectly for me even though all the stores in my area were out of the 600 grit. I just had to spend a little extra time sanding, but wow! what a difference! :banana:

    Oh, for those asking about if this works on the trunk lid light, yes it does. I did the exact same thing as the headlights and it's as good as new. A bit hard to fit the buffer under the spoiler, but I got it.

  6. This guide was great, worked wonders on my 93. The pics just doesnt show how good they turned out.

    dsc00716fs1.jpg BEFORE
    dsc00717ru1.jpg AFTER


    Attached Files:

  7. Thanks for the inspiration, I did the headlights on my 95 GT and they look as good or better than new:SNSign:
  8. Thanks for the advise. I have a 99 and the headlights were just terrible.
    For any 99-04 Mustang owner, just pull the 2 rods that hold the headlight in, unplug the lights and you can work on them in the without the taping of the body. They will just pop in and out with ease. I suggest leaving the bulbs in place as they will keep moisture out of the lens area.
  9. I'm gonna try this on my 87' GT as soon as I am done with all the house renovations my wifes making me do. After I painted the car the foggy headlights really stick out and I was about to buy some new ones but mabey I will try this.
  10. Man, the headlights on my '91 GT were YELLOW and DISGUSTING :jaw: before I did this. What a difference afterwards!!!! They literally look brand new. I used the 600, 1500, 2000 Grit paper in that order, and then the Turtle wax scratch remover. After all this they looked decent but still didn't have that real clear new look. I then used the Plastix Polish stuff and what a difference that made....that product works miracles! Save your $200 bucks and give this a shot first, it works!
  11. For those who want to save time/money...you might be able to skip alot of the steps.

    I just bought a 94 Cobra with headlights that were very yellowed and dull. I masked off the surrounding painted areas, and used Rubbing Compound followed by Polishing Compound. This really did the trick, and now my headlights are like new.
  12. does anyone suggest maguires headlight restoration kit?
  13. i would add to this VERY OLD thread since it has been resurrected that using a soap and water solution to wetsand is better than just water as it lowers the friction point down. kinda like how you dont claybar using 100% water. its always some sort of soapy solution.
  14. I've been doing this for a few years. Gets a bit repetitive after awhile. A little over a year ago I picked up a used set of SVT headlights. They were yellowed and hazed badly. but can't beat that for free. I cleaned them up real good. The last couple of times I ground the crap out of the lens with 400 grit sandpaper. Trying to get as much of the yellow out as possible. As much as I have tried, I absolutely cannot get all the yellow out. I suspect the lens is yellowed through to the other side. Either way, I have cleaned them up at least once a month. Yeah, after a month they are starting to look like crap again. This is a nice fix, but requires constant maintenance. I am tempted to buy a new set soon.
  15. Sometimes you can't get all the yellow out.

    If you've sanded with a paper that aggressive, you've probably removed all of the hardcoat; if you have not, you may have some of the remaining hardcoat that is yellow and it needs to be sanded a little more.

    Having done this myself a few times, I can say I've been better off starting at 800 or 1000 and work up from there -- finessing it saves you work in the long run.

    Ideally if you've polished with a headlight polisher (such as the PowerBall 4Lights or the Meguiar's) and used a plastic polish, so you'll help finish it properly to make it less susceptible to further oxidation.

    The routine application of a plastic polish with UV protection can keep them looking good for longer. You can do this by hand if you keep it up regularly.

    Attached Files:

  16. yeah, the hardcoat has been gone. The clear finish is the first thing to go. Once the clear starts coming off from the top, it's NO MORE. It's just a plastic lens now. I have put wax on them, specifically the Meguires yellow wax in the can. I would put a coat on, wait a day, put another coat on. I have put a total of 4 coats on those things and they still haze out and look like crap in a month or less. This was before I sanded them with 400. I generally do the 800 - 1500 - 2000 routine< but it just wasn't working out too well. The plastic had a very rough texture to it on the lens front. Like it was badly weathered. The rough texture was still hazy & impeded the light output. The normal routine wasn't getting it out, so I went to 400, then worked back up the chain, and then polished and waxed.

    I never go for those headlight resto kits. I figured I have batches of sandpaper in nearly every grit range (besides the elusive hard to find 3000 grit), plus I have all sorts of waxes and polishes, many are Meguires. Oh and I also have a big 1 lb can of MAAS. That stuff saves me time in the middle, and all I need to do after that is the finishing compound and wax.
  17. If you don't reseal with a new hardcoat -- which if done professionally costs about $100 -- you need to protect it with a final high-speed polish with a plastic polish.

    Leaving the surface unprotected is very likely why they're oxidizing again so quickly. They may look good initially, but microscopically there are ridges and valleys that multiply the exposure to UV rays, rain, harsh elements and ultimately oxidation.

    If you might already have a PowerBall Mini or other small polisher that you can run at higher speed with a plastic polish, get one of the kits that includes the polisher and a plastic polish. I have the Mothers kit, and it says you need to keep using the plastic polish routinely with its UV plastic polish for protection -- without the UV protection, the plastic will start turning yellow all the way through.