How to restore oxidized headlights


Why Restore Your Headlights?

Oxidized headlights can ruin the entire look and value of your vehicle. Whether it be a brand new car or an older vehicle, headlights can cost thousands of dollars to replace! Not many people understand that it can also be a safety hazard when driving in the nighttime and harsh weather conditions. It obstructs your lights from beaming through the plastic limiting how far, wide and bright you will be able to see the coming road when it matters most.

How Do Headlights Get Oxidized?

OEM headlights nowadays are made from acrylic and oxidize when exposed to intense UV light. Headlight lenses come with a clear coat to help prevent oxidation build up, but eventually, the coating wears off, and the sunlight turns the hard plastic yellow. You must cut and refine the surface of the headlight in order to get rid of the dead layer of plastic and reveal the full clarity. 


Mask off the surrounding area of the headlight with masking tape to avoid sanding sheet making contact to the paint. This will prevent having to do excess work polishing out sanding scratches from the paint or surrounding trims.


Open pack of 2500 grit Latex Self-Adhesive Sanding Sheets and peel off adhesive strip from back. Properly align and apply to Easy Grip Hyper Flex Water Spot Sanding Block.


Saturate surface of the headlight with clay luber.


Work the Easy Grip Hyper Flex Water Spot Sanding Block with 2500 grit sanding sheet back and forth and in a cross hatch motion. You will see the water runoff look yellowish and gradually start to become white. Saturate with more Clay Luber if necessary as you go. Repeat this until the headlight becomes rid of the oxidation and has a clear/hazy look.


Further, refine the surface of the headlight with 3500 grit Latex Self-Adhesive Sanding Sheets. This will refine the surface from heavier sanding scratches and smoothen it out to make polishing faster and easier.


Analyze the condition of the headlight. If you use more aggressive sandpaper to remove heavier layers of oxidation, use V32 Extreme Compound and an orange hex-logic cutting pad. If you used the 2500 grit use V34 Hybrid Compound first with an orange hex-logic cutting pad to get rid of medium sanding scratches. Make sure to work the product until the abrasives break down and it becomes fully clear and buff off with a premium microfiber towel.


Further, refine the surface of the headlight by using V36 Cutting Polish with a white hex-logic polishing pad. This will restore the shine and clarity of the headlight and remove lighter micro sanding scratches to achieve a clear, scratch free finish.


To achieve the highest possible shine and clarity, finalize the finish of the paint with V38 Final Polish and a fresh white hex-logic polishing pad.


PROTECT YOUR HEADLIGHTS! Apply a coat of sealant such as JetSeal to provide a long lasting coat of protection to your headlights. This will prevent UV rays from penetrating the plastic and causing it to oxidize and possibly crack.

Before and after

On the left side you have a yellow and faded headlight which can cause a safety hazard when driving at night.

On the right side you have a fully restored, clean and full clarity headlight that will enhance visibility when driving at night and adding a better overall look to the vehicle.