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How to polish headlights?


Car maintenance includes a wide range of activities, from routine oil changes to bodywork and locksmith work. To keep your car in perfect condition, in addition to maintenance, the list includes regular car wash, dry cleaning and headlight polishing. Car service center will gladly perform these types of work, but if you are moved by the desire to save money or an exploratory instinct, you can do a lot on your own. For example, to polish the headlights at home is quite realistic. You only need to stock up on the necessary materials and learn the intricacies of the process.

The headlights of modern cars are made of plastic, which replaced glass. Over time, the capacity of plastic decreases significantly. During operation, the outer layer of plastic headlights is exposed to UV rays, temperature fluctuations, the surface suffers from stones, dirt, improper washing. As a result, the plastic gets scratches and micro-cracks, in which the dirt accumulates, the headlights become dull and yellow. However, polycarbonate glasses can be restored to their original condition with the help of polishing. The service is quite widely available in car service centers, but you can polish the headlights at home as well. Only if the car is long overdue for scrap, to do so is at least irrational. It’s better to recycle such a car for good money:

To polish by hand you will need sandpaper or polishing wheels, a grinder, and a special paste. You can do without the machine, but you will have to put a lot of effort to friction with the necessary force. If you do not remove the headlight, prepare materials to cover the body, such as masking tape. You will need a towel, lint-free cloths and degreaser in the process.

Headlight polish

Car enthusiasts use a variety of products for polishing, most are equally good for both plastic and glass headlights. In this case it is recommended to use gentle means for glass polishing, and the plastic ones will withstand treatment with any coarse sanding. You can use improvised means and professional polishes. What can be used for polishing car headlights?

Tools at hand can help in simple cases, with a slight tarnish or yellowing, they include:

Toothpaste. Any toothpaste is applied to the headlight and rubbed in a circular motion using a towel or a piece of soft cloth. The polish should be applied for 5-7 minutes, and the rest should be washed off with water. Tooth powder is used for polishing headlamps with severe damage, as the powder is more abrasive. The powder is applied to a damp cloth or towel and rubbed, then washed off with water.

Gauze paste is applied to a cloth or towel and rubbed over the surface.

According to car enthusiasts, micellar water is able to return shine to plastic and glass. The product, which does not contain alcohol, is suitable.

Sandpaper will help to remove scratches and give a shine. Have enough paper of different abrasivity, start with the coarsest one, gradually passing to the finest one. This is done by hand or with a rotary sander.

Professional specialized polishes, sold in stores, clean the surface, and improve the optical characteristics of plastic and glass headlights. The actual polishes themselves are available on the market, as are kits for polishing at home. The tools are used in accordance with the instructions supplied.

Headlight polishing technology

To achieve the desired result, you need to perform polishing correctly, following a sequence of steps. In the most common polishing plastic headlight polisher the steps are as follows:

Prepare the headlight. If possible, remove it. It is necessary to wash the headlight and apply a degreaser. If the headlight is not dismantled, you should protect the body parts with masking tape, remove the grille, protect the elements that can be damaged in the process of polishing

Proceed to the grinding machine, starting with abrasivity 600, going to the fine gradually – 800, 1000, 2000. Finish with abrasive 2500-4000. The duration of grinding is 3-4 minutes, after each treatment, moving on to a finer abrasivity, wash away the rest of the material with water.

When the headlight is matte, work the surface with a foam wheel and polish applied to it until it appears shiny. Periodically moisten the wheel with water and do not exceed 2500-3000 rpm.

Polishing a headlamp from the inside is done for cosmetic purposes, as the inside surface is not affected by mechanical damage. To get rid of clouding, remove the headlight, unscrew the bulbs, pour enough polishing fluid, seal the holes with tape, shake until the headlight becomes transparent.

It is recommended to polish once every two years. The need to repeat the procedure occurs earlier if the finishing step was not performed correctly.

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