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Old 12-11-2017, 07:51 AM   #1
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Restoring faded / UV damaged plastic headlights a short guide.

A little guide to help anyone wanting to restore their faded / UV damaged plastic headlights.

Mk3 Vauxhall Astra

Passenger side headlight

Close-up of the cloudy plastic

Taped off the paintwork to protect it when sanding and machining.
Couldn't find any masking tape so used duct tape instead, as it's very sticky I stuck it to my jumper first before sticking it on the paintwork as it would be easier to remove later.

Used 3m Aluminium Oxide Coated wet and dry for the sanding.
This is very fine, you could use 2000, 2500 or 3000 grit wet and dry but it would probably take abit more machining to remove any sanding marks.

Wet and dry soaked in a bucket of soapy water.

Started sanding in circular motions

Finished sanding in straight lines across the headlight.

Buffing the headlight I used a medium spot pad and Menzerna Intensive Polish but you could use any cutting polish really, 3m, Meguiars, Scholl, Sonus even t-cut will work.
Even heard toothpaste works but I give trying that a miss.

A few drops of polish on the pad and start buffing the headlight, I used the slowest speed on the Milwakee which is about 900rpm as to not generate to much heat.
Three or four passes were enough to refine the finish to a standard I was happy with.

The finished restore headlight.

I was in no hurry and stopping to take photo's probably ate up abit of time but say about 30 minutes to do one headlight.

A few other headlights I have restored.

Honda CRV headlights

The owner of this Merc SLK was going to buy new headlights until I restored them for her.

Mk5 Golf, you can see at the top of the headlights that are covered by the bonnet are perfect and the rest of the headlight is faded from sunlight UV damage.

To protect the headlights I apply Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax 845. The Astra lights have been done over a year and no signs of them fading again.

Hope this is some help to anyone wanting to restore their own headlights or taillights.

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Old 12-11-2017, 10:10 AM   #2
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Nice work
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Old 12-11-2017, 01:04 PM   #3
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Lovely job mate...well done
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Old 29-11-2017, 09:33 AM   #4
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Great guide, thanks! Going to try this soon.
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Old 29-11-2017, 12:37 PM   #5
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did you use any UV protection after restoring?
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Old 29-11-2017, 05:56 PM   #6
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Nice work,however I've never sanded in a circular motion.
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Old 01-12-2017, 06:31 PM   #7
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Brilliant guide, on my list of things to do.

You say about the toothpaste, my farther in-law told me he was going to try this and I left him to it as he had his mind made up. Next time I was round there he showed me the results and to my dis-belief the headlights were looking much better, not to detailing world level but very presentable for the average Joe.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:37 PM   #8
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Good job!!

My heart was in my mouth when I started on mine, but it turned out I was worrying about nothing - well, apart for the £1000 replacement cost of a new unit if it all went pear shaped.
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:13 PM   #9
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A great guide! Easy to follow, and to the point.

Thanks for sharing
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Old 02-12-2017, 08:00 AM   #10
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So what grit paper did you use? Or is the Au oxide just 1 type?

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fading, guide, headlight, headlights, restore

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