How to Professional headlight restoration. - Exterior Forum

Forum Post / Reply
You must log in before you can post or reply to messages.
How to Professional headlight restoration.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 9:24 PM
So I do this to make extra cash on the side and found it does last wayy longer and looks better than those kits you can buy...not to mention its a bit cheaper....i know some of you in the auto body industry may know about this already but since I can't personally help everyone myself I figured I could at least share my skill.
All you need is
-Dirty crusty headlight (or if u wanna shine up dull tail lights or remove spray on tail light tint)
-600 and 1000 grit wet sand paper (some say u need higher grit but those are my personal preference)
-1 can of Rustoleum crystal clear enamel clear coat (also personal preference)
-spray bottle with water
-micro fiber towel (or clean cotton rag)
-Standard rubbing alcohol or wax and grease remover

I usually start by looking to see if I can remove the head light because it makes it so much easier when sanding, if you can't remove the headlight be prepared to tape and mask off area around headlight.
I'll just explain how to if you can't remove headlight

Step 1.
Tape off around headlight so you dont get into your paint with the sand paper.

Step 2.
Throughly wet down headlight and begin sanding with 600grit. I usually go in a downward angle pattern N.W to S.E. If your headlight is very bad u will notice the water will turn light milky yellow. Be sure while your sanding to keep the area very wet and rinse off often, sand the whole headlight in this direction for 3-5 min then rinse off. After that go in the opposite direction N.E to S.W and repeat above directions. Once you have completed this step you will notice the water will be a milky white.

Step 3.
Begin sanding with 1000grit sand paper and repeat directions above except go in a left to right pattern for 3-5 min, then rinse and go in a up and down pattern for the same amount of time. The purpose of the 1000 grit is to remove the larger sand scratches from the 600 grit and will leave a smoother surface and the different directions is to make sure you get every inch of the head light.

Step 4.
Thoroughly rinse the headlight and remove the tape around the light then dry off light and let air dry. Once dry you will notice healight is extremely hazed (no worries it will clear up). After this use 1 of your towel or rag and thoroughly wipe down with standard rubbing alchohol or wax and grease remover.

Step 5.
Retape around light and mask off at least 12in around the headlight with paper to prevent overspray.

Step 6.
Shake up your can of clear coat very well. Then begin spraying 1 light even coat over headlight. Once you have you have done this you will notice a instant clearing of the headlight (my favorite part). Wait 7-10min before applying 2nd medium coat (you can leave it at that if you choose) But I prefer to go with 1 final 3rd coat for added protection.

Step 7.
Allow 30min to hr minimum to dry before driving.

Step 8.
Carefully untape your headlight or installing headlight


Depending on how good you are with a spray can really depends on how well they turn out in the end. But either way you will now have a nicely clear and shiny headlight.

I really hope this helps some of you d.i.yers and thanks for looking

Next time I do a set of headlights I will be sure to take pictures to add along with this how to.

Feel free to add anything I may have forgotten



2012-10-23 Update:
OK so I've finally found a good clear coat. You can buy it at Advanced Auto, Duplicolor Acrylic Laquer. It works great.




Edited 1 time(s). Last edited Tuesday, October 23, 2012 6:46 PM



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 10:08 PM
Nice write up, I'm sure some will attempt this on their own. If you have pics of before/after you hould share so others can see the difference




Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 10:30 PM
Here's a before and after of my dads 04 grand prix gtp







Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 11:13 PM
I would also like to add that my dad has tried those store bought kits many times and it kind of cleared them for a few weeks but they always go back to the before picture...i will say the rubbing compound that comes with those kits works great for removing pine sap or glue from recently removed pin stripes.lol



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Thursday, August 30, 2012 9:54 AM
it will always return to looking like the before pics unless you clear them of protect them somehow. Bare acrylic plastic doesnt like UV light. Its the old coating that youre sanding off to begin with, the UV inhibitors have expired.
Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Thursday, August 30, 2012 1:38 PM
Still works better and lasts longer than the kits. The wax u rub on after u sand the lense wears off weeks after..i done my sunfire headlights about a year and a half ago and they still look just as good as the day I sprayed them.



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Thursday, August 30, 2012 5:16 PM
So i need to edit this thread a bit but i cant figure out how to edit......do u have to be a premium member to edit or delete?



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Thursday, August 30, 2012 8:41 PM
Will a mod just delete this for me. I need to make some changes but I will just redo the whole thing



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Friday, August 31, 2012 7:02 AM
. . . subscribing to the thread to see the updates - (unless you post a new thread!)



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Friday, August 31, 2012 10:33 PM
Post your update and PM me, I will replace your original post with the new one.




"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about
the former." - Albert Einstein

Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Sunday, September 02, 2012 11:12 PM
Ok so here recently the rustoleum clear let me down...so im doing some product testing for a good clear coat...so if you have any ideas of doing this all I can say is just look for a acrylic lacquer spray can...but I would advise not to use the rustoleum...i apologize for going back on my word and will update when I find something that gives a quality result everytime.




Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Thursday, September 06, 2012 1:11 PM
IMO you dont need clear.

Just use PlastX to finish it off. That's I have done and it never gave me problems.



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 9:35 PM
So! Major update...iv found a reliable clear coat that is easy to find and has consistant results.....iv also taken this operation on the rd and started a small and VERY successful business.....heres the link to my page for those of you who wanna see before and after pics

https://www.facebook.com/DanielsHeadlightRepair



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 9:39 PM
Daniel Cooper wrote:

So! Major update...iv found a reliable clear coat that is easy to find and has consistant results ( Duplicolor Acrylic Lacquer...i find mine at most parts stores).....iv also taken this operation on the rd and started a small and VERY successful business.....heres the link to my page for those of you who wanna see before and after pics

https://www.facebook.com/DanielsHeadlightRepair




Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Thursday, April 04, 2013 8:18 PM
Those before and after's look amazing - good work.

Thanks for the update.





Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:43 PM
Thanks, Just figured pictures are proof for a lot of people.



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Friday, April 12, 2013 8:44 AM
I've always done it the same way with the exception of using a high speed buffer and Plastx or a similar plastic polish, I've even used RV Polish or Car Polish in the past and they always come out crystal clear after the 1000grit.





Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Friday, April 12, 2013 10:57 AM
Wouldn't it make sense to buff the clear coat after a day or 2 as well? Just gotta make sure you lay it down thick enough.



"In Oldskool we trust"
Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Friday, April 12, 2013 7:47 PM
newt wrote:

I've always done it the same way with the exception of using a high speed buffer and Plastx or a similar plastic polish, I've even used RV Polish or Car Polish in the past and they always come out crystal clear after the 1000grit.


You can do it that way and have the same exact outcome but clear coat lasts longer

Y3llowCav wrote:

Wouldn't it make sense to buff the clear coat after a day or 2 as well? Just gotta make sure you lay it down thick enough.


you could if you wanted but I really don't see the point, unless you want a perfectly flat surface...but you can have the same effect if you can lay the clear down good....my main objective when I do headlights is to take them from dull and crusty to like new shine....



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Friday, May 24, 2013 7:38 PM
Nice write up. So need to use this write up soon on a couple set of head lights.



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Friday, May 24, 2013 7:45 PM
Thanks, I tried to be very descriptive so if you follow it you will get results like mine




Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Sunday, May 26, 2013 5:37 PM
I will try this on my brand new headlights for extra protection for sure , thanx for the info Mr.Cooper!


BLACKMANTIS
Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014 12:46 PM
Thank you so much for the write up! My Headlights were so hazed that i had non existent low beams at night. After doing all of this very carefully and taking my time with the Acrylic clear coat, my headlights look brand new right now and I have functioning lowbeams at night. Lets hope it stays like this, but if it doesnt, I dont mind putting in this headlight restoration procedure to my maintenance list.



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Sunday, April 06, 2014 12:26 PM
Glad I read this post. I need to do this to my GTI and my dad's cavy. The store bought stuff just didnt cut it at all.



Re: How to Professional headlight restoration.
Friday, April 11, 2014 7:40 PM
if you go for the store bought kits use the 3m kit, it contains the required adrasives and comes with a 3000 grit trizact pad. But doesnt not come with a clear coat, it is imperitive that you re-protect the plastic again from UV. Automotive grade clear coat if a good option. the plast X thing workds but you have to repolish monthly in omst cases.
Forum Post / Reply
You must log in before you can post or reply to messages.

 

Start New Topic Advanced Search