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How To Clean Foggy Headlights

Old 08-20-2010, 12:11 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Greenport, NY
Posts: 418
Default How To Clean Foggy Headlights

Okay first things first, I'm going to leave all the text up top and the pictures at the bottom. Secondly, this is a fairly simple project. I saw a video on YouTube Video about how to wet-sand headlights and that's about all the experience I have.

What Do You Need?
Okay, so you need about ~$25.00 for the supplies, granted you have some clothes etc...
You need the following:
600, 1000, 2000 grit sand paper (I used one of each for each headlight, you can get away with one sheet) (~$5 each from Auto Zone)
Windex (I used Invisible Glass from Auto Zone)
Some masking tape
Meguiars PlastX (~$6 from WalMart)
150 grit sanding sponge (~$3 from Lowes)
Buffer if you have one, I used a microfiber rag
Some rags and stuffs

Here we go:
Step One:

You're going to want to tape off everything surrounding your headlight assembly. In the majority of cases, one could essentially pop the hood and leave it up during this remainder of this procedure to conserve tape rations. I figured I'd go big instead of going home, since I was already there, so I decided to tape away everything. I popped the hood for the passenger side though.

Step Two:

First part of wet-sanding, get the object you're going to be sanding wet. Duh? Anyways, I sprayed quite a bit of glass cleaner on the headlight. I had it to the point where it was dripping off but you just need to give it a good once over. The fluid part of the sanding is to help lubricate the sanding surface. Who'da thunk?

Step Three: (Repeat here)

Start small and gradually get bigger. As most of you may know, the lower the grit of the sand paper, the "rougher" it will be. Start with the 600 grit, wrap it around the foam block and keep it tight. You may notice, if you used the same supplies I've mentioned, the sand paper is too narrow meaning that some of that harsh 150 grit foam sanding block will be exposed so BE CAREFUL. When sanding you should go in long back and forth motions, go across the headlight, taking the longest path possible.

Step Four:

You should sand for as long as the fog/yellow/green/whatever you have, is disappeared. This took me about a solid 5 minutes to remove. Keep in mind, if needed, add more windex or whatever you're using. You should increase the amount of time you use the 1000 and 2000 grit sand paper for it will make the last part of this endeavor easier on your arm if you don't have a buffer.

Step Five:

Once you're done sanding with the 600 grit, you should apply more windex, wipe the headlight dry, doesn't have to be perfect, and then wet again and apply the 100 grit sand paper and the start again. Once you're done with the 1000 grit sand paper, you should apply more windex, wipe the headlight dry. Once you have completed each level of sanding and your headlight has been through the final wash and rinse cycle, you should wipe clean and move on to step Six.

Step Six:

Now for the fun part. Get out your CLEAN microfiber cloth or your buffer and apply a decent coat of Meguiars PlastX to the entire headlight. Now you should begin to buff your headlight with a buffer if you have one. Buffer until the head light is sparky and shiny and pretty. You may need to apply 2 or 3 coats of PlastX to the headlight if needed. If you don't have a buffer, hold your microfiber cloth in a landscape position. Fold in half, top to bottom. Next fold in half, left to right. Next fold it again in half, left to right. Next fold in half, top to bottom. Now you have a pretty decent handle to grip on and a pretty soft yet sturdy buffing surface for your microfiber cloth. If what you end up with doesn't look right, just fold it however you want to and start buffing. I found out that working on a smaller area (sections if you will) worked out best. Small orbital (circuital) motions work best.

Final Step: *YAY *

Once you are satisfied with your results, you're going to want to remove all the tape, give a final spray of whatever the hell you've been using this whole time and then give a final wipe with a clean rag. Now that you're done you can go "OMG THAT WAS TOTALLY EASIER THAN I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE. PHEW!"

What follows are a ton of pictures I took during the process of doing my dads/sisters 2001 Ford Taurus and the last few of them were my headlights, but not in such detail because I preformed the project on my car first and didn't really take the time to document it in great detail.



Last edited by Brontobyte; 08-20-2010 at 12:24 PM.
Old 08-20-2010, 12:11 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Greenport, NY
Posts: 418

Old 08-23-2010, 08:23 PM
99MustangGT's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Posts: 616

Nice write-up! I seem to be scared away at the thought of putting sandpaper to anything bodywise, but it seems to work really well.
Old 08-23-2010, 08:33 PM
Deathdiesel's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Texas, Gatesville
Posts: 2,500

More than 80% of your photos dont work for me../cry. Seems good, although couldnt you just scuff them up and spray with clearcoat?
Old 08-23-2010, 10:12 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Greenport, NY
Posts: 418

@99MustangGT - Thanks, the headlights are made out of plastic so they're fine for sanding, as long as you follow through with the whole procedure.

@Deathdiesel - Yeah they don't work for me either. I put them on, do you recommend a better hosting website?
Old 04-25-2011, 06:43 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 3

Awesome write up. A lot better then the one I used last time. Thanks.
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