Give Me 2 Hours & You'll Have Headlights That Look Like New
Updated: May 25, 2020
Replacing headlights can be very costly and in some cases brand new replacements aren't even available. So that leaves you with 2 options: purchase some slightly used headlights or restore your current lights.
Now not all headlight restoration processes are created equal and results do vary from each method. We use an extensive process that has been tried-and-true. Here are the 3 steps we take to bring back clarity and maximum brightness in your headlights.
STEP 1. Sanding
It's going to look a whole lot worse before it gets better.
First we begin by assessing the depth of the scratches and thickness of the discoloration on the lenses. This will give us a better idea of what grit sandpaper we will start with.
For example: If by our assessment the damage isn't too deep we would start with 800 grit sandpaper and work our way up to 2000 grit to complete the sanding process. We won't sand any higher than 2000 because the polishing will take care of the rest.
Out of the whole restoration process this is definitely the messiest one. So making sure the vehicle is cleaned afterwards and the adjacent panels are tapped off is very important.
(If your vehicle came with fog lights you should restore those as well to complete the look!)
BMW X5 headlights getting sanded down
Our Favorite Brand: Nu-Evo Abrasives
STEP 2. Polishing
Time to make the lenses clear again
After a thorough sanding of the lenses we go straight into polishing using a variety of pads and compounds to bring back that clarity. We start polishing with a coarse pad to remove any additional scratches that were left behind from the sanding process and work our way up to the final finishing pad.
To ensure that we're getting the best results from this we use compounds that have no silicone or fillers in them. This is especially important because fillers and silicone can "hide and conceal" imperfections in the surface. Which we don't want because these are the problems we are here to fix and not hide.
(This is the most satisfying part as you really get to see that high gloss and reflection)
Polishing the BMW X5 headlights with our Rupes Polisher
Our Favorite Brands: Menzerna & Scholl Concepts Compounds
STEP 3. Coating
A very important step that most skip out on
To keep your headlights looking like new we need to coat them. The lenses are thoroughly cleaned to remove any dust, dirt or compounds to prepare the surface for the ceramic coating. The coating is then carefully and evenly applied with a suede applicator. Once it has flashed on to the surface the lenses are buffed to remove any excess.
We use a Ceramic Coating from the geniuses over at CARPRO™ specifically designed for plastics. This keeps your headlights protected from the elements with a hard scratch resistant and UV resistant surface.
(The coating needs 24 hours to cure so don't get the headlights wet!)
BMW X5 Headlights Coated & Headlight Restoration Completed
Our Favorite Brand: CARPRO™ DLUX Ceramic Coating
Now this process is very thorough and time consuming but the results are always amazing. This is the method we use everyday at the shop and long gone are the days of headlights turning yellow again after the first wash. We ensure that your headlights will look just like new and stay that way.
Do your headlights need a restoration? What methods are you familiar with?