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How to Quickly Fix Sun Damaged / Faded Car Headlights

Updated on July 26, 2012

How to Polish Headlights & Taillights

Over time, headlights and taillights can become very dull and faded from exposure to the sun and the elements. The plastic becomes less translucent, thereby reducing the ability of light to pass through.

Fortunately, this problem is only on the surface of the plastic and can be polished away, revealing clear, bright lights.

1) MASKING TAPE (Optional)

Mask around the perimeter of the headlights/or taillights, on the body of the car, with painter's masking tape.


Spray the plastic with water and use a # 1500 grit sandpaper to buff the aged layer of plastic off of the lense. Add water as needed and then move up to # 2000 sandpaper and repeat. Rinse off the lights and dry them with a towel.


Use a plastic polish after wet sanding. Use a small clean cloth and thoroughly rub the polish into the plastic. Allow to dry and then wipe off.

I have used rubbing compound followed by swirl mark remover with success as well.

If the results are not good enough, you can repeat the process. Do not use too low a # sandpaper, or you will scratch the lenses.

Now enjoy the money you didn't spend on one of those lame headlight restoration infomercials on TV.


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