How to Restore a Plastic Headlight Lens

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A plastic headlight lens can crack or yellow over time, reducing your headlight's effectiveness. Restore your headlight lenses with the advice of an automotive expert in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Auto Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi there, Jody DeVere, askpatty.com, automotive advice for Women. I'm here today at one of my certified female-friendly locations, Puente Hills Hyundai, to show you how to take care of and remove a cloudy yellow or musty looking headlight lens. One tip I can share with you is that you first can test to see whether just polish will cure the problem. You can use a shop rag and a little piece of tartar control toothpaste, rub it on the lens, wipe it off and if you start seeing improvement you may only need to polish the lens. The other tip that I can give you is never use a household window cleaner on your headlight lenses. Things like Windex contain ammonia and using ammonia on plastic lenses will turn them yellow. Okay so it looks like our headlight lens needs a little more encouragement. So we're going to use some household tools and products to take our cloudy lens and make it crystal clear. The first thing that you're going to want to do is take a bucket of soapy water and clean the lens and dry it. Then you're going to take blue painter's tape and go ahead and tape well around your lens to protect the paint and also any chrome that may be around your headlight lens. Next, you're going to use 600 and 1200 or 2000 grit sandpaper and wet sand the lens to remove some of the cloudiness and yellow. As you're sanding you're going to notice a milky substance that starts running down. That's actually what you want to see. That means it's working. We're going to sand pretty much until we stop seeing that milky substance. That means you've pretty much sanded off all of the damage on your head lens. Now remember damage can happen on the inside and outside and the only thing we're taking care of today is the outside damage. To get rid of inside damage is a really big project. You're going to actually have to take apart part of your car to remove the headlamp. So you're results are going to be just on the outside damage. The next step is that we're going to use some glazing polish and use a drill at low speed with our pad to again try and get as much of the damage off the lens. The next step is that we're actually going to polish the lens and you're going to be really surprised at the polishing stage how clear your lens already looks, evenly polish across. You might need to do it a couple of times and there you have it. That lens compared to the old lens looks almost new. Congratulations. One of the most important reasons you want to do this is for good visibility on the road. When you're driving with cloudy lenses like these were, that actually diminishes the amount of light that you're shining in the road ahead of you at night and it's very important to have clear visibility and as much light as possible through clear lenses. So it's really a good idea not only for the cosmetic look of your vehicle but also for good visibility to take care of your headlight lenses. And that makes you safe, smart and car savvy.

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