How to Repair Headlights

Repairing headlights can be expensive especially if you buy replacement kits. Fortunately, you can do the job yourself at less cost.

Required Tools and Materials

Clean towel
Masking or painting tape
Bucket of water mixed with soap
Car wax
Lens cleaner (plastic)
Hand pad
Shop towels
Polish (plastic polish recommended)
Wet/dry finishing paper (grit: 600, 1200, 200 and 2500)

Note: the finishing paper needed will depend on the degree of oxidation

Step 1

First you need to figure out if the damage is outside or in the lens. If moisture is present, the damage is in the lens. In this case you’ll have to drain the lens first.

Step 2

If the damage is in the outer part, clean it using the degreaser (make sure it’s been watered down). Continue repairing headlights by applying the plastic polish or car polish.

Follow the instructions on its proper application. Never put the cleaning solution in sunlight. Make sure none of it gets on plastic / rubber components.

Step 3

When you’re done, apply some car wax.

Cleaning and Fixing Headlights: Method II

You’ll need the same supplies as the ones listed above. To start, put tape around the damaged headlight. Painting or masking tape will be fine.

Step 1

Dip the sandpaper in the bucket of water and soap. Dip a towel or rag in the water. Clean the headlights with the towel. If it’s still foggy, proceed to the following steps for repairing headlights.

Step 2

Put your finger in the plastic polish. Apply uniformly the polish on the entire headlight. The headlight should still be wet. Take the hand pad and the sandpaper (choose one of the types listed in the required tools).

Fold the sandpaper into 3 sections. Begin sanding. Dip the sandpaper and pad in the soapy water some more if needed. Avoid making contact with the other car components.

Step 3

If necessary, move on to the finer grit sandpaper. This will be needed if scratches are left by the rougher sandpaper. When you are finished sanding, wipe it off with the towel.

Step 4

If in the process of repairing headlights residues are left, wash it with soap and water. Put some wax (quarter size is fine) in the towel. Allow it to soak the towel for a few seconds. Wipe this on the lens. When applying, go from left to right and then down.


For discoloration problems, apply a bit of naphthalene and use 2500 sandpaper. The rule is that the more discoloration there is, the rougher sandpaper will be needed. To get the best results, you should fix the headlights under shade. When working on the headlights, lift the hood to have easier access.

If there is moisture dripping, the headlight is cracked. Drain the moisture out and clean the insides. When the lens is clean, close the crack with a silicone sealant. Always wear goggles and gloves when cleaning the headlights.
The methods described above for repairing headlights should work on cars, trucks and other vehicles. When you’re done, the headlights should look as good as new.

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