How to Eliminate Scratches on Plastic Headlight Lenses

Written by steve bradley
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How to Eliminate Scratches on Plastic Headlight Lenses
Scratched or cloudy headlights can distort the light coming from the headlight bulb. (Design Pics/Valueline/Getty Images)

Headlights do more than simply allow you to see at night. They also allow for safe driving during foggy, rainy and snowy conditions. They let oncoming traffic see you coming. They are one of the most important safety features on an automobile. The headlight lens that protects and enhances the light coming from the bulb is made of plastic, allowing it to take a fairly high level of abuse. Road grime, dirt, sand and small rocks all take a toll on the lens. Eventually, a lens might become scratched and chipped. Repairing the lens is not difficult.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Clean rags
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Denatured alcohol
  • High grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Car wax

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  1. 1

    Clean the headlight lens with a basic dish soap. Soak a clean sponge in a bucket of water,and squirt some dish soap directly onto the sponge. Scrub the headlight, to eliminate surface grime. If there are any large pieces of tar on the lens, use a small plastic putty knife to scrape them away.

  2. 2

    Dip the corner of a clean rag in some denatured alcohol. Rub it onto the lens, using small, circular motions. This will decrease any cloudiness on the lens.

  3. 3

    Sand the headlight lens with high-grit wet sandpaper. Begin by dunking a piece of 800-grit paper in a bucket of clean water, and sand the lens, slowly. Keep the paper wet while working. After a minute, switch to 1000-grit sandpaper, and finish with a 1500-grit piece. This will eliminate any scratches or small chips on the plastic lens.

  4. 4

    Protect the lens with a coat of high-quality car wax. Put some wax on a clean rag, and rub it into the lens. Wait about two minutes, and buff with another rag.

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