Polishing car lamps step by step

How to polish plastic car headlights yourself?

Plastic car headlights can tarnish, scratch and yellow over time. Learn how to renew your car headlights at a low cost to keep you safe on the road.   

Why is it important to clean car headlights?  

Car headlights provide visibility at night or during poor weather conditions. They are largely responsible for the safety of the driver and passengers while driving. The less light comes through the headlight shades, the less effectively they will illuminate the road in front of a moving car. Depending on how tarnished the headlight lenses are, this can also impede the visibility of oncoming vehicles and other road users.  

The condition of your car’s headlights must be impeccable – damaged lamps can be grounds for a police inspection and even a fine!  

Polishing car lamps step by step  

  1. Wash the lamps with a car cleaner and polish with a microfiber cloth 
  2. Inspect the headlights carefully to assess what condition they are in  
  3. If the condition of the headlights is bad – you will need sandpaper for cleaning (you can find it in special headlight polishing kits)  
  4. If the condition of the headlights is good – polishing with a cloth and cleaner should be enough  

Tip: Remember not to use dishwashing liquid or acidic cleaners, as they can damage your car’s headlights and any other part they come into contact with.  

How to polish plastic car headlights?

headlight reconditioning kit

To polish plastic car headlights, there are headlight restoration kits designed just for this purpose. It is, of course, possible to create a homemade headlight cleaning kit using sheets of sandpaper. As with a store-bought headlight cleaning kit, it is a good idea to disassemble the headlight if possible. If not, carefully mask the surrounding bodywork and contact parts in the car.  

  • Using sandpaper on the headlight, either mounted on a device (such as a drill) or by hand, can be risky, as it is all too easy to cause irreparable damage if you do not properly protect the area around the headlight beforehand.  
  • If your headlight is badly damaged – choose sandpaper of a lower gradation (e.g. 600) and spray the headlights with water from time to time.   
  • It’s best to start with as little pressure as possible, and then increase it until you’re sure of the pressure.   
  • When you see that the reflector becomes clear after being covered with a sheet of water, move to higher gradations of sandpaper.  
  • Varying the gradations of the paper, sand in a different direction, alternating vertically and horizontally. This will erase deeper scratches and give you a smooth surface in the end. 

Tip: If you don’t have a polisher, you can buy a special screwdriver cap. You can often find it in headlight restoration kits.  

What to protect the lamps after polishing?  

After polishing your car headlights with sandpaper and then polishing paste, you should protect them with a specialized regeneration fluid. Such fluids are available in headlight regeneration kits in the form of a liquid contained in a tube or bottle. Often a special cup is included that heats the fluid, so that the substance is distributed on the lamp in the form of steam. The task of the restoration fluid is to rebuild and protect the outer layer of polycarbonate and give the car headlights excellent clarity.   

What is needed to clean the headlights in a car?  

When dealing with a yellowed headlight, there are no shortcuts. To get rid of the dull layer, you need to mechanically polish it. This is the only way to get a lasting effect that won’t need touching up after a few weeks.  

What things are needed to polish car headlights:  

  • Car cleaning product  
  • Polishing paste  
  • Velcro disk for attaching the polishing elements  
  • Masking tape (to protect the car)  
  • Sandpaper of different gradations (depending on your needs in the range of 600-3000)  
  • Headlight regeneration fluid  

You will find all the necessary components for car headlight restoration in HS brand headlight restoration kits.   

HS brand headlight reconditioning kit  

HS brand headlight polishing kit is used to quickly and conveniently restore headlights with the best possible end result. It restores car headlights to their original appearance without removing the lamps. When you buy the HS brand headlight restoration kit, you get a complete set of cleaning accessories, which you can mount on a drill or grinder, for example.   

The product is made in EU – high quality compared to headlight restoration kits of other brands, which are usually made in China.  


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