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.

100 Replies to “How to Restore Headlights PERMANENTLY”

  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. Ok Chris, you talked me into doing this to my motorhome, I will take my head lights off to do this method. I think a 12 pack should get me though the whole process. Wish me luck 😊 Thank you for the video, it was a lot of help👍🏻

  3. Hey there, Thanks for making the video. I did this three years ago in October of 2016 and it has lasted 3 years. Not exactly "permanent" but they did look good for a long while.

  4. The Rust-oleum wet/dry sanding blocks that Wal-Mart carries are wonderful for this. I bought 400/600 and 1000/1500 grit blocks. They make quick work of this.

  5. You know you can just buff it out with a buffer? Probably take me like 5 minutes.. I've noticed a lot of your strategies are doing it the hard way

  6. After my first coating, I witness some cracks on the coating so I tried coating it from first to third coating if I can cover it up, Beginner on spray painting here. Thanks in advance

  7. Great lesson here.
    Hay I listened and did my RAV last summer Sir , I had been cleaning them up every other year and they seem to be getting worse every year,
    After over a year and two falls season .Sir they stayed fix.cost half as my cheaper fixes.
    Sir I am pleased

  8. So I have some orange peel from the paint and I wanted to ask how do I clear it now because it’s a little noticeable and I’m scared that if I wet sand it with 3000 grit that it will leave a haze like it did before

  9. I'm sorry but this doesn't work someone did this for my Mercedes Benz and a year and a half later it got alot worse so it's not permanent

  10. HELP OMG MY ONE HEAD LIGHT IS WORSE THAN BEFORE .. I used the Brand Perfect Match Clear coat .. I was told it’s for Metal not Plastic ..! Now what ?? Help !! My one headlight is Totally white after I removed the clear coat with a wet sand again …

  11. Hey Chris what's your thoughts on doing the prep a few days before and cleaning the headlights followed by a light 2000 sand when I do paint…I just need to plan out the 24hrs dry…

  12. Thanks Chris Fix, you helped me make my 1994 Toyota Previa look a little bit more spiffy and nice. It's worn a little but now it turns heads not because it's a very unique looking car but also because it looks nice again.

  13. Hey Chris, after applying the first coat of the clear gloss UV resistant spray paint, the paint started cracking up on the headlights. It appears like a bunch of lines going in all different directions giving a cracked glass effect. What’s going on?

  14. One day a man came outside to see his dog is dead then he went into the house to get gasoline then he threw the gas into the dogs mouth then it ran ten times round the house then it fell dead what did it meed gas!

  15. I used this paint on a guitar: A light tack coat, wait a few, then it's okay to go slightly heavier. Wait 24 hours and hit it with buffing compound. In the case that it does a weird texture (your first coat was too heavy, it was too humid outside, you waited too long between coats, whatever), it responds well to sanding.

  16. Just a warning, the clear paint is indeed permanent. After a few years, I thought I'd do the headlights again since it is getting a bit cloudy. Big mistake, it is a nightmare to do remove that coat of paint and took me hours. I even tried lacquer thinner and alcohol. Guess what, I left the other side alone after I finished with the other one. No clear coat this time. I used Mothers mag and aluminum polish" and a DA polisher on my sons car and it took a few minutes for both–no clear coat this time even if I have to polish every 2 years. ..

  17. Messed up the clear coat the first time. I held the spray can too close and it dried with cracks in the coating. Started over after the 3rd coat sat for 20 minutes.

    Did the following and got perfect results;
    1) wet sand 600 grit, horizontally
    2) dry completely and check for equal haze
    3) wet sand 1000 grit, horizontally
    4) dry completely and check for equal haze
    5) wet sand 2000 grit, horizontally
    6) dry completely and check for equal haze
    7) wet sand 3000 grit, horizontally
    8) dry completely and check for equal haze
    9) clean with 99% ispropal alcohol, dry with paper towel
    10) garbage bag cover headlights
    11) shake can for 1 minute, stand back 1 foot, and spray your clear coats (15 minutes between coats, 3 coats)
    12) let cure for 24 hours
    13) wet sand 3000 grit, horizontally
    14) wax and buff

    Made my 10 year old headlights look brand new.

  18. I did what this video says, but my results is unfortunately nowhere close to this… it looks worse than it was before, is anyone able to help me out? 🙁

  19. Hey chris, love your videos, very informative, ive done alot of things to my 2003 mustang gt thanks to you. Anyhow, i was doing this headlight restoration, got to the clear coat and had a couple runs, how should i go about fixing them? Finish it all up, let it cure, then sand it down, and hit the spot with one coat of clear coat? Then finish the rest of your steps? I hope you see this, thanks alot chris for what you do.

  20. One headlight came out great on my 00 ek4. Sadly the passenger side has fogged after 3 coats. What shall I do to clear it like the driver side?

  21. Followed your instructions unfortunately the clear coat has crazed. I’ll have to wait till it’s dry and start the whole process again. Can only assume it was the isopropanol not flashed off fully.

  22. I think this would be a great money maker for anyone. Just put up a sign in a grocery parking lot and get alot of helpers. Im always seeing bad headlights but most people dont even notice them on their own cars.

  23. So I just attempted this and after I applied 3 coats of clear coat the finish is very cracked. A few others have had this happen and there wasn’t too much in terms of responses on what route I should take to fix this. Can it even be fixed? Or do I have remove the current coats and start over? Can someone explain what I should do? Thanks in advance!

  24. The light still looks hazy in the vid. I would use some Meguiar's Ultimate Compound or NuFinish to really buff out the headlights before the clear coat. I might just leave it like that…

  25. You know, I think it is a great video, and when these headlights fog up you can’t see hardly anything at night. It is very helpfull video, and these headlight have to be cleaned for safety reasons, like Chris said, I didn’t have spend a lot of money on a new head light!

  26. Hey @ChrisFix I followed the steps but got heavy with spray paint and now it appears like cracks or spider webs. Should I redo the 2k and one more spray?

  27. what can be alternative in UK? ) instead of Rust-Oleum 249117 Painter's Touch Multi Purpose Spray Paint, 12-Ounce, Clear

  28. Chris, when I did this my paint cracked. What I mean is that as it was drying I started seeing almost like spider web patterns. What did I do wrong?

  29. I did three coats just like you did and it didn't come out clear… Pretty much looks how I started. I know I did the sanding part right, I guess it's possible I didn't do it quite enough. Granted my headlights are smaller than the PT Cruiser's. Do you think I put it on too thick? It looks cracked (clearcoat not plastic) it was also pretty cold out if that makes a difference

  30. If the car is new and the lights are not hazy and i use this clear coat it will prevent haziness in the plastic in the first place, yes?

  31. Somewhat contradictory there, Chris: You say you don't have to use a wax or sealer and then immediately grabs a can of clear coat…different product same purpose and outcome – to seal and keep it from oxidizing!

  32. Hey Chris, great video. Inspired me to try your method on my '04 Saturn VUE. It looks better but I seem to have messed up with the clear coat (too thick). It's uneven. Can I just start over with 400 grit sandpaper then 600 grit etc?

  33. Hey chris. Huge fan. I'm down the rabbit hole just binging all your videos. Question. Would you recommend buffing the headlight after the 2000 grit sanding, wipe down with alcohol to remove the oils from the buff, then hit it with the clear coat? If not, why?

  34. After curing for 2 days, they look alright with the exception of the orange peel. I just wet sanded with 2000 grit and they look horrible now… What should I do now?

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