A majority of modern cars are manufactured with headlamp assemblies made of plastic. The outer surface of the headlamp is molded of a material known as polycarbonate plastic. This plastic is lighter than glass and far more resistant to stone chips and cracks. However, after a few years of exposure to sunlight and atmospheric chemicals, polycarbonate has a tendency to get hazy and yellow. Fortunately, there's a simple and inexpensive solution. Unlike glass, the polycarbonate plastic can be polished back to a surface as smooth as new, in a procedure that won't take more than a half hour.
Meguiar's Heavy-Duty Headlight Restoration Kit uses a two-step procedure on headlights, taillights, and other hard plastics to restore its shine in no time. To demonstrate, we used a Honda Civic outfitted with a set of JDM headlights that suffered from a serious case of degradation, yellowing, oxidation, and scratches.
- 1,000-Unigrit sanding disc
- 3,000-Unigrit sanding disc
- Unigrit hand pad
- Easy-buff pad
- 4-ounce PlastX
- 4-ounce Headlight Protectant
- Supreme Shine Microfiber Towel
1. Mask around the headlights with some blue, low-tack painter's masking tape to protect your car's finish from rough abrasives.
2. Thoroughly clean any debris from the headlight lens with a commercial plastic lens cleaner or soap and water and wipe dry using a clean rag or shop towel.
3. Meguiar's Unigrit sanding discs are included in 1,000 and 3,000 grits. Dampen the 1,000-grit sandpaper with water or detailer spray and sand in a single, uniform direction. Use the sanding discs on the areas with the most oxidation.
4. Follow up the procedure with the 3,000-grit sandpaper, also dampened, to remove any deep scratches on the headlight surface. The included Unigrit hand pad makes it easy to hold onto the sanding papers. Be sure to keep the surface wet at all times to prevent heat burns on the plastic.
5. Next, use Meguiar's PlastX-a clear plastic cleaner that contains fine diminishing abrasives that break down as you polish. Use the soft textured pad to buff the headlight without scratching. PlastX will safely remove fine scratches, cloudiness, oxidation, and yellowing from uncoated plastic surfaces.
6. After polishing the headlight, use the included microfiber towel to wipe off any remaining residue from the headlight. The next step and perhaps the most important is applying Meguiar's headlight protectant to block out UV rays and keep the restored headlights from yellowing.