family auto mechanics - helping you find the problem

family auto mechanics - helping you find the problem

How To Shine Up Your Headlights Yourself

by Herman Mills

With time, your car headlights become dulled and foggy looking. You may notice that you cannot see as well when you drive at night. You can either purchase a new headlight or you can try to repair the old one. Repairing a frosty looking headlight is not very difficult, but it does take a little time. Here are some instructions that you can use to make your headlights crystal clear.

Materials You Will Need:

  • Mild soap
  • Non-abrasive cloth
  • Painter's tape
  • Rubber spatula
  • Course grit sandpaper
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Large sponge
  • Bucket of water
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • Dish detergent
  • Headlight polish
  • Headlight sealer
  • Rubbing alcohol

Getting Ready

First, a good cleaning of the headlights need to be done. Use mild soap and water to thoroughly clean your headlights. Rub off any caked on mud or insects with a non-abrasive piece of cloth. After you have cleansed the headlights, you will want to place painter's tape around them so that the body of your car will not be accidentally scratched during the process.

Carefully place tape right on the painted area of your car, around the headlight, and tuck the edge of the tape under the end of the painted area. Use a rubber spatula to poke the tape underneath, away from the headlights. Use a razor blade to cut off any extra tape, if needed.

The Sanding Process

Dry Sanding

You will be sanding the surface of your headlight with sandpaper. This will remove any oxidation that has accumulated over the years, making your headlight clear again.

Wrap a piece of course grit sandpaper around a large sponge. This helps in keeping the force of the sandpaper constant when doing the process. Lightly rub the sandpaper back and forth against the headlight. After ten seconds, switch the direction in which you are rubbing and do another ten seconds.

You will be alternating the direction over and over during this process. Never rub the sandpaper in a circular motion as this will be noticeable when you are done. Continue the process until the entire headlight looks uniform with an opaque look.

Polish the headlight with a microfiber cloth and look for any areas you may have missed. Repeat the process in these spots, if applicable.

Wet Sanding

Put the medium and fine grit sandpaper in a bucket of water with a little bit of dish detergent. After saturated, place the medium sandpaper around the sponge. Fill a spray bottle with some of the soap water. Spray the headlight with the soap mixture and then rub the sandpaper on the headlight in the same fashion as you did with the course sandpaper.

After ten seconds, spray the headlight with the soap water again and change directions to rub. You will need to keep spraying the headlight every ten seconds to keep it wet when sanding. Continue this process until the entire headlight has been sanded. Continue the exact same process with the fine grit sandpaper.


Place some polish on your headlight and rub with a microfiber cloth. You will need to do the same method as with the sandpaper, with the polish and cloth. Rub in one direction and then another, placing polish on the lens over and over. You will need to continue this process for quite some time so that the headlight polish gets embedded in all of the scratches that were placed in it with the sandpaper. 

When the headlight is smooth, rinse the polish off completely and allow to dry. Use some rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth and rub into the headlight to get it to shine. Seal with a headlight sealer when completed. Contact a company with experience and window and car repair for more help.


About Me

family auto mechanics - helping you find the problem

As the son and grandson of mechanics, I spent much of my child hood under the hood of many cars. I have listened and learned about so many different problems and how to repair them effectively. I created this blog to cover as many car problems as possible without overwhelming readers. You will find tips for troubleshooting, advice for when to take it to a professional and suggestions for when to stop driving the car or truck immediately to prevent further and more costly damage. We hope that you find all of this information helpful and useful, allowing you to have a great running car.