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How to Polish Glass Headlight Lenses

Updated February 21, 2017

If the glass headlight lenses on your vehicle are cloudy and opaque, the visible brightness of your headlights is reduced. This can lead to dangerous driving conditions at night or in stormy weather. Over time, small scratches on the surface of the headlight lens reduce the clarity of the lens. By rinsing, sanding and polishing these scratches out, the headlight lens can be restored to its original translucence.

Clean the glass headlight lenses with a soap and water solution to remove any dirt covering. Dry the lenses with a terry cloth towel.

Spray the headlight lens with water continually as you gently sand the surface with 800 grit sandpaper. Sand the entire surface. Repeat this process using the 1000 grit sandpaper, then the 1400 grit sandpaper. Each pass with a finer sandpaper reduces the size of the scratches left by the previous sandpaper.

Attach the buffing wheel to the rotary tool from the buffing kit. Place a small amount of buffing compound on the buffing wheel. Buff the surface of the headlight lens.

Spread a small amount of restorative polish paste onto your terry cloth towel. Gently rub the entire surface of the headlight lens with the towel.

Things You'll Need

  • 800 grit sandpaper
  • 1000 grit sandpaper
  • 1400 grit sandpaper
  • Spray water bottle
  • Soap and water solution
  • Polish compound
  • Terry cloth towel
  • Buffing kit, including rotary tool
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About the Author

Matt Scheer began writing professionally in 2005. His work has appeared in "The Daily Texan" and "The New York Tribune." Scheer holds a B.A. in English and a B.A. in history, both from the University of Texas. He is also a certified Yoga teacher and Web designer.