How to Restore Headlights PERMANENTLY

How to Restore Headlights PERMANENTLY

Hey guys, ChrisFix here today I am going to show you how to restore your headlights permanently so your hazy, oxidized headlights go from this… to this all for around $10 a headlight you might have seen other methods that get your headlights clear like kits you buy in the store such as the 3M kit you also might have seen some home remedies such as using baking soda, toothpaste, vinegar, bug spray all of these methods are only temporary and the lenses will just become hazy and oxidized over time this method I am about to show you is the only permanent method that doesn’t require any maintenance such as adding wax or adding a sealer every so often not only do hazy, oxidized headlights look bad they also decrease the value of your car so not only will you make your car look better, but you are going to help increase the value of the car by fixing your headlights Here is everything you are going to need to do the job we have scissors, a garbage bag, and tape this if for taping off your headlight if you are going to keep your headlight on your car or truck then you are going to need to tape it off and use garbage bags to protect the paint now if you are going to remove the headlight form the vehicle, then you might just need some tape we have paper towels we have sandpaper we have three types of sandpaper 400 grit 600 grit and 2000 grit If your headlights are really yellow, oxidized, and hazy, then you will need to start with 400 grit but if they are not that bad, you can start with 600 grit and we are going to be doing a wet sand so you are going to have to use a spray bottle or some type of water source like a hose and when you finish wet sanding you are going to clean the lens off with alcohol before you go to the final step which is using a clear coat in this case we are using a gloss clear and it is made for plastic and the big thing is you want it to be non yellowing and UV resistant the reason your headlights are all foggy, yellowing, and oxidized is because the clear coat on the headlights gets chipped off over time from rocks hitting it and just the wear-and-tare of driving and this clear coat will put a nice barrier so the plastic cant get yellow and hazy again most people have scissors, a garbage bag, and paper towels but if you are going to buy the other stuff it will cost you around $20 so to make your headlights permanently clear $10 a headlight, that is not bad especially since some headlights can cost over $100 each! I have seen headlights that are over $250 each! so let me show you the whole process it’s quick it’s easy and you get awesome results that last the lifetime of your headlight so the first step I would take is, if you headlights are easily removable I would remove them it is a lot easier to do this off the car unfortunately for the PT Cruiser it is a pain to get the headlights off so I will paint them on the car and just to show you the results you should expect I was testing out different methods different sanding grits different clear coats and what I am about to show you is how I got my best results and you can see how clear those are and this is permanently clear this method will work on any headlight and get it nice and clear and you already saw the results so let me show you how to get those results these headlights are pretty bad so I will start with 400 grit sandpaper if your headlights are not this bad you can start with 600 grit sandpaper 400 is a little more gritty 600 is more fine and we will finish it off with a little bit of 2000 grit which is super fine Because we are keeping the headlights on the vehicle now is a good time to get your tape out and we are going to tape around the whole headlight and leave a nice barrier so we don’t scratch the paint Im using extra wide painters tape it will help later on when we put the garbage bad around this because we have to cover the paint on the vehicle so now we have the whole edge covered there is no car paint exposed anywhere in here Now I have my 400 grit sandpaper and I have water, and I am just going to spray the headlight with water Im going to get my sandpaper and I will spray it with water make sure both surfaces are soaked the water acts as a lubricant and prevents deep scratches into the lens surface, you just want lite scratches to buff out any oxidation you have and you want to keep the surface wet and I am not pressing hard just go in a circular motion now as you do this with the 400 grit you will notice a milky color running down that’s all that oxidized, yellowing plastic that’s coming off your headlight and that’s good you don’t want to go crazy with the 400 grit you don’t want to press really hard you can press harder with the 600 grit since 400 grit is pretty coarse on a headlight like this you also want to get into the groove right here and then our final sand with the 400 grit is going to be a horizontal sand not a swirl anymore so you can see our scratches are horizontal they’re not swirled anymore that is the last step that we did the reason why you want horizontal scratches is so that when you spray your clear coat it is less likely to run and has an edge to grab onto I don’t see anymore of that yellow, oxidization or haze I just see the haze that was created from the sanding so now we can move to the 600 grit again get your headlight soaking wet get your sandpaper soaking wet and start with the 600 grit with the 600 grit you can press a little harder you can see the finer plastic particles coming off the headlight that is exactly what you want to see now that we did a bunch of the swirling motion with the 600 grit we are going to switch to the horizontal sanding and with the final horizontal sanding with the 600 grit we have that top layer of the oxidized headlight completely removed and the headlight lens is getting really smooth so now that we have finished with our 600 grit we will move up to the 2000 grit but before we move up to the 2000 grit we need to clean these off just going to use some water and wipe it down with a paper towel the reason why we do that is because the 2000 grit is very fine and any plastic particulate that is still on here is going to clog up the sandpaper and you won’t get a good final sand and this final sand is going to help you get a really good finish on your clear coat so just spray it down and get a paper towel and wipe it down now we are going to get 2000 grit its going to be a wet sand as well you don’t want to press really hard on this you just want to skim the surface you are just going to cut down some of the edge that the 600 grit put on here and after you do enough of the swirling motion you can do the horizontal motion and this will be the final touch Good, you can see even with the 2000 grit this looks a lot better it’s still going to be hazy, don’t worry you want it to be hazy there’s still going to be micro scratches on the surface here the clear coat will fit that in now you are going to dry it with a paper towel and after it drys you will see a nice haze on here so now we will grab our alcohol and we will put it on a low lint paper towel so the lint doesn’t get on the cleaned lens and we will clean the headlight lens off the alcohol removes any oils from your hands that may have gotten onto the lens and it also makes the lens dry quickly because alcohol evaporates quickly so as the alcohol drys cut your garbage bag open take the garbage bag cover the front of the car The whole point of doing this is because when you spray the clear coat you don’t want the paint to over-spray onto your hood or any of your paint or plastic that you have with the garbage bag all laid out we will get our tape and tape up the garbage bag so it is nice and tight So the bag is all taped down, now we’re gonna cut out the headlight. You see the headlights right here? Lift the plastic, get a hole on it. And just cut around the edge of the headlight. Good. Now you can see we have this tape around here which gives us a good gap, so you don’t have to cut exactly on the headlight. In fact, you don’t wanna cut exactly on the head light. You wanna cut it over, you have some room to put some more tape. Like that! And will stick down. So now, we’re gonna tape the rest of the headlight off, and we can begin our spray. We’re gonna do one more warp down with the alcohol, just to make sure that there’s no dirt, there’s no oils form your fingers on here. None of that. And we’ll let that dry. With the headlight nice and dry, we’re gonna start our clear coat application. Make sure you follow the instructions on your clear coat. So we’re gonna give you guys the side views so you could see how I clear coat the headlight. This is the final step, so make sure you don’t mess it up here. You don’t want thick coats, thick coats are gonna run. Make sure you do light coats, even sprays, don’t worry about it if it doesn’t look good. We’ll do multiple layers. It’ll clear itself right up. And it’ll make itself look good, Trust me. That’s all you wanna do. Now, we’re gonna let it sit for five minutes. And then we’ll add another coat. This is after our first coat. And I just wanna give you an idea of what it’s gonna look like. It’s not gonna look perfect. You could see there’s little, let’s called orange peel. It’s just form spray paint going there. We’re gonna get more layer on it. It’s gonna look a lot better. But don’t put this thick, cause it’s gonna run, and won’t look good. But eventually it’s gonna look really clear and really nice. After about five minutes later, we’re ready for our second coat. Good. We’ll let that sit for another five minutes, and we’ll do one more coat. Make sure when you’re spraying, you’re also getting the top edge of the light, and corners of the light, depending how your light is shaped. You wanna make sure that you touch all the spots on the light. Just a few minutes later, we’re gonna put on our final coat on. Perfect, that’s it with the spray paint. So now, we’re gonna wait a whole day, the paint drys in 24 hours to full clarity. And then we’ll see what it looks like. Fast forward to the next day, and this looks awesome. We can take off our over spray garbage bag cover. This is headlight looks amazing, you could see the optical clarity look great. Look almost new. Now only does it look good, but it’s gonna protect the headlights as well with the UV clear coat. It’s gonna bounce out all the harmful UV rays out, and will prevent any future yellowing or hazing or oxidation. This is permanently gonna stay like this. Now, at this stage, we have two options. You can leave as is, or you can do a wet sand. And the wet sand is just gonna take away any orange peel, which is typical spray paint. Just get your 2,000 or 3,000 grade sand paper, and you’re gonna wet sand it, just like we did before. Make sure you have a lot of water, you wet sand it. And your final step, whether you wet sand it as 3,000 grade, or just leave it as is, you wanna add some Carnuba car wax. Just get your microfiber towel. Add wax, just like you’re waxing your paint job. Cause now this is clear coated. And once that wax start to haze up, you can buff it right out. And that’s the finish, it looks amazing. Now let’s take the blue tape off. And that’s how you make your headlights permanently clear. This came out amazing, it’ll come out just as good for you. And only cost $10 a headlight. You don’t ever have to take the headlight off the car if you don’t want to. Hopefully this video is helpful. If it was, remember to give it a thumbs up. Also you’re not subscribed, consider subscribing. Up on the screen there will be a couple of how to videos. To get to those videos, you can click on the screen, or find a like on the description below. Also in the description below, there will be links to ChrisFix Facebook and Twitter pages. Check it out.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. After 3 coats of clear gloss… There is some haziness from paint I believe. What shall I do to get absolutely clear glass now?

  2. If it was "permanent", the UV coating your headlights came with wouldn't have gone foggy and yellow in the first place. Nothing is permanent. This method shown in the video, will get foggy eventually. Maybe not in a year, but down the line.

  3. Anyone know why when I applied the clear coat I got a wrinkle/cracks in the clear coat. Any advice on how to fix that and why it happens

  4. Do you need a 600 grit to wet sand it first or can I use the 2000 grit right away. my headlight is a little bit oxidized since i did that toothpaste thing

  5. Hi Chris so I just did a headlight restoration from 600 to 2,000 grit wet sandpaper but the headlight is really hazy from the scratches so now I'm afraid I scratched up the headlight to much. Should I just do your next step with the clear gloss paint and hope it works??

  6. I drive home from work everynight at 2am on back country roads with no street lights through deer country. My car sits outside 24/7/365 – the headlights have taken a real beatin'. I just couldn't see anymore, so I replaced all my bulbs and the fog lights were outshining the headlights!!! Since the fogs are not housed under the large lens, that told me to do this fix – AMAZING results – I can see again!!! Thank you so much Chris – this saved me a lot of money and probably saved me from an accident, too.

  7. Hi Chris, you seem to have quite a few videos on cleaning headlights but this is the latest one and it also says "permanently". Am I safe to assume this is the best way to go about cleaning and restoring headlights? Thanks!

  8. Jesus guys, was your first car a BMW? Why rag on the ride? Everyone has a first, and it's NEVER your last or best.

  9. Do you still recommend this method with all you've learned over the years? Like maybe using a ceramic coating?
    Thank you

  10. in 2017 after i saw this video, i do the same thing, clean, + clear gloss, now in oct 2019, the UV coat begin not working, pop up some bubble

  11. Did not work for me. The clear coat peeled due to the temperature of the HID headlights. Looks 10 times worse than before doing anything at all. Should I have used a 2K clear coat?

  12. This is a pretty good video. However, 2 comments.
    1. Go to the auto parts store and get some polishing compound. Polish in the same way as sanding, its really just a microfine sanding step.
    2. Get Maguire's or some other (3M) Clear Coat spray meant for headlamps. That way it won't start cracking and bubbling in 2-3 years.

  13. Did it yesterday and looks good so far. I'll get a better look when I'm in the sun after work.

    One was clearer than the other and the clearest one had some of that orange peel or whatever going on so I'm thinking of sanding again but won't I have to clear coat again too?

  14. man I don't know shit about cars but this comment section has taught me that 1) this is a good tutorial and works and 2) people fucking hate PT Cruisers.

  15. My car doesn’t need to be restore… wait i don’t even have a car but yeah… I’m here just cause one day it can happen to me

  16. I watched less careful and faster surgeries than this. Seriously who has this much time and material to do this shit?

  17. Hey Chris I want to clean my headlights like this but I eventually want to apply a spray tint over it, should I only wet sand, and tint spray, can the tint be used instead of the clear coat? Or could I spray over the clear coat?

  18. Hey Chris. Great video! Here's a tip from high-end restaurants: The ultimate lint-free disposable wipe is… COFFEE FILTER. Enjoy.

  19. I recommend that you do not remove the headlights from the vehicle for the wet sand…. headlights are a funny shape and you will find it is easier to sand them when they are physically bolted to the vehicle rather than sat on a work bench.

  20. Hey Chris ! I must say I was lucky to find your channel in my recommendations.
    Your doing a great job. Thanks for sharing all the details.
    Would love to know a fix for the inside of the lights ? If it's dirty / if the reflectors are blacked out a bit?

  21. Hi Chris great video.
    I tried something like this BEFORE seeing your video and i guess i didnt do the process correctly maybe i put too much clear on too quickly and too mamy coats at too close to the lights now i have drips. Ughh
    So what do you recommend for me to remove the clear with and to start all over using your procedure???
    Should i use razor blades to remove the drips or paint thinner or stripper or courser sandpaper or what would you suggest to remove all the clear coat and drips so i can start over ???

    Many thanks again Chris for your help and your videos.
    God Bless

  22. Thanks brotha…. I used soap water to act as more of a lubricant. Both are great. If anyone cares….. this process is almost identical for tinting your tails using VHT Nightshades or mixing up your own paint n spraying. Don't it numerous times and 8yrs later; still looks like a beaut.

  23. If you have fairly new lights (like a couple of years old) & they are not hazy, can you just clean them off & clear coat them w/o using the sand paper? Would this keep them from getting hazy in the first place?

  24. How about the inside of the headlight? that is where most headlights cloud-up, anyone can clean the outside of the headlight.

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