How to Permanently Restore Cloudy Headlights

What causes cloudy headlights?

Before we try to fix cloudy, hazy headlights, it's important to understand what happened to make them this way in the first place. By understanding what caused the damage, we can better understand how to repair the damage and more importantly, how to prevent it from happening again.

Whenever you see yellow, hazy headlights, you're seeing oxidation, which is caused by harmful UV rays from the Sun. The oxidation is actually just caused by air. But, the UV rays have damaged the plastic lens to the point that they have cracked. The cracked, plastic headlight then produces a chemical reaction when exposed to oxygen.

How to repair cloudy headlights

When it comes to removing oxidation from your headlights, you will see many recommendations. Obviously, you want the process to be as cost-effective as possible, but some of the suggested methods out there simply don't work. We have tried them all and only one has consistently worked better than the others. Wet sanding. Don't waste your time with the toothpaste method. Often times it doesn't work at all and sometimes, even causes permanent damage, forcing you to spend hundreds of dollars on new lenses.

Starting with around 800 or 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper, we remove the oxidation in stages, up to 3000 grit sandpaper. You must keep the sandpaper and the headlight wet so you don't gouge the plastic too much during the repair. After all stages of sandpaper have been done, we use a machine polisher and foam pad with a light polishing compound for the final touch. This is to remove any final ultra-fine sanding marks from the 3000 grit sandpaper.

Once our polishing stage is complete, we want to lock in the results of our like-new headlight. If you are satisfied with the way your headlight has turned out, it's time to apply a protective coating. We use a traditional ceramic coating that is used on your car's paint. You can also use any other clear coat available. Many of these are designed specifically for automotive use.

This final coating will protect the plastic from harmful UV rays, which is what damaged the headlight originally. The factory protection was destroyed by the Sun, causing the cloudy, oxidized plastic. You can reasonably expect 1-2 years out of most available clear coat options. Be sure to reapply your protection as needed to prevent future damage.

Instead of trying to follow step-by-step written directions, we thought it would be easier and much less boring to following along with our video. It's simple and at a pace that anyone can follow without getting confused. Check it out below!

Thank you for watching! As always, you can reach out via call, text or email anytime with detailing related questions. We are also available across most social media platforms.

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The SpeeDetail Team

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