Comprehensive Step-by-step guide to headlight restoration

Headlight Restoration

Headlight Restoration

When it comes to driving safely, having clear visibility of the road is crucial. However, as time goes by, headlights become yellow and foggy due to oxidation caused the road debris, the suns UV rays, weather, and everyday driving conditions, thus reducing the light output and compromising your safety on the road. But don’t worry! Here at Rev 1 Auto Detailing we have put together this step-by-step guide for you to restore your headlights and get your safety and road visibility back.

The headlight restoration process not only improves your safety on the road, but it also dramatically improves the way your car looks. The satisfaction you will feel when you achieve crystal clear headlights that illuminate the road ahead, will be worth the work you put into this project.

There are many different conditions your headlights can be and to be frank, there is some headlights that cannot be restored. They can be improved but only to an extent. We will show you how to select the proper restoration methods and all the products you are going to need; we got your back!

It doesn’t matter if you are a well experience car enthusiast or someone with very minimal do it yourself experience, with our tips and tricks in this guide you too can achieve professional high-quality results just like us.

So, without further ado let’s jump into this guide and get your headlight looking as good as the day you bought your car or even better!

Materials Needed

All the products linked above for headlight restoration are Amazon affiliate products and Rev 1 Auto receive a small commission if you purchase using my links.

Preparing your headlights to be restored

You will want to start by washing the headlights and surrounding area with soap and water, dry the area with a soft microfiber towel as you would normally when washing your car. This step will remove any dirt and grime on and around the headlights. You want the area free of debris or any contamination.

Mask the paint around the headlight to avoid accidental scratches or damage to you paint while sanding and polishing.

The Wet Sanding Process

Headlight Restoration Sanding

Get your spray bottle full of water, you will want to keep the headlight wet as you sand off the oxidation and old clear coat off. Begin this process by wet sanding with 800 grit sandpaper, this will remove the debris and clear coat you want to take off in order to get crystal clear results.

Apply firm pressure and keep the area wet as you sand. You will see yellowish and white gunk coming off the headlight, repeat this process until you don’t see that anymore.

You will want to clean the area and inspect to make sure it all looks the same after removing the clear coat. The way you can tell if not all the old clear coat is off is by looking for gray areas on the headlight, this is clear coat that still needs to be removed. If you don’t get it all off your headlights will have a shadow on the lens when you turn your lights on.

After you have completely removed all the oxidation and old clear coat, it is time to remove all the scratches caused by the 800-grit sandpaper. You will work your way up from 1500 grit sandpaper to 2000 grit to 3000 grit. This will make the scratches smaller, and smaller until you can’t see them anymore.

Wet sanding is the most crucial part of this process. Fail at sanding correctly and your results will not be what you want it to be. This is why it is important to sand thoroughly with every grit until the headlights feel very soft to the touch and you can no longer see scratches on the lens.

The Polishing Process

Apply rubbing compound on your polishing pad and rub it on your headlight before turning your machine on. Turn your polisher on and polish at medium speed to remove all the fine scratches from the 3000 grit sandpaper. Repeat this process until the headlights do not look foggy anymore.

Clean your pad or use a new one to apply your polishing compound. Apply the polishing compound on your pad and rub it on the headlight the same way you did with the rubbing compound. This process will really bring out the shine of your headlights lens and give it that like new appearance.

Sealing and Protecting your Headlights

Without protection, your headlights will return to yellow and start oxidizing very quickly due to not having a clear coat anymore and being fully exposed to the elements.

This is where the ceramic coating comes in, here at Rev 1 Auto Detailing we use the 5+ year X-treme Nano Coat Ceramic Coating from Dura-Coating. This coating will give your headlight protection and maintain your crystal-clear finish for years to come.

Apply 5-10 drops of ceramic coating onto the ceramic coating applicator pad and apply on your headlights in a left to right motion, working your way down, and making sure you do not miss any spots.

Allow the ceramic to dry and buff with a microfiber towel.

After your initial coat cures, you can apply another ceramic coat for additional protection, but it is not necessary as the first one will stand the test of time for several years.

Tips to keep your headlights looking amazing:

Regularly clean your headlights with a ceramic coat cleaning spray to prevent the build up of dirt, grim and bugs on your lens.

Use and UV protectant spray to help fight off the sun rays.

DO NOT use harsh chemical to clean your lens. This will degrade your ceramic coating and cause your clear coat to fail, resulting in your headlights oxidizing again.


Now that you are done, you have a set of crystal-clear headlights that will last for years! You can take pride in knowing that you completed this on your own and that you did the job the right way.

However if you’re not up to the task or don’t have or want to buy the supplies you can always book your appointment with us at Headlight Restoration: Restore Your Visibility and Safety – (

Thank you for taking the time of going through this guide and we hope you stay safe on the road with your crystal clear

Any Questions? Call us, Text us, or Fill out the Form Below, and We'll Contact You.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
What service(s) Interest you?
How would you like us to contact you?
Scroll to Top