The BEST Guide to Restore Headlights PERMANENTLY!

headlight, restore, diy, garage, home, copart, build, fix, clear, sand, buff, new, repair, collision, paint, accident

On this episode of paint society, we’re gon na remove 15 years of oxidation in just minutes, using your basic hand, tools, let’s power up and get this started as we learn tricks of the trade on how to remove all the oxidation from your headlights and then seal. It in with a uv protection, clear coat out of a can: can these headlights possibly clear up before our eyes and be restored to oem quality, let’s find out right now, what’s going on everyone and welcome back to another episode of paint society, the channel where the Learning doesn’t stop when the article ends coming to you from the home garage. I always feel a special connection to my diy guys sitting in the garage wanting some projects that they can do with just basic tools. Well, we have the project for you today, so the project today is to clear up these foggy old headlights in our own home garage, using a variety of basic tools that you can get online or at your local store. So eagle abrasives has a job pack and it comes in three grits, and this is the k grit.

Now we learned about the k grit that it can do all the work that the p grit can do in half the time, and i like it because it comes with its own hand, pad and three grits that will work to clear up the headlights, nice and Easy before we go ahead and clear coat, so your next question is brian. Why can’t i just go ahead and buff the lights, while you can do that, the problem is buffing is not protecting.

All it’s really doing is making it look good. It’S kind of like a band-aid right, so what we’re doing in this episode on this project is we’re sanding off all that oxidation getting rid of all of it, then we’re putting a clear coat on now the same type of clear coat that will come out of A paint gun, but in a can, and what that’s going to do it’s going to ensure that the lights are uv project protected, so they don’t fade for a good amount of time, and then we have our clear coat from eastwood now i know you guys love These clear coats because they’re two part they’re 2k. This is not the common aerosol clear coat.

Okay, it actually has two parts where it releases the catalyst into the actual spray paint and from there it’s a ticking time bomb of around one to two days before it starts to kick now. The good thing about this is: it has a uv resistance that you would not get from a regular rattle can and we don’t need an air compressor to spray it. So next up, i want to talk about safety first before we move any further. You want to make sure you’re wearing your gloves, and i really mean this also your respirator, okay, it’s very important that you’re not breathing in any of the harmful isocyanates that are in this. Can this is a 2 k products, so it does have those isocyanates in them and they are very, very harmful uh when you breathe in so make sure you guys are taking care of yourself and make sure you’re wearing a paint suit as well.

So we have a variety of cleaners right here and we’ll talk about how we’re going to use them. Now you don’t need all three, but i do like to use a degreaser to start off the job just to make sure all contaminants are off, so it doesn’t clog up. My sandpaper then, along the way in between sanding, we can use some glass cleaner. This will help pull off all that content, all those contaminants from the surface, so you have a nice clean job in the end and to pull them off we’ll use a microfiber towel guys. You know i like microfiber, because it does not get soggy and it kind of pulls the contaminants off a lot better and last but not least, we have our tape.

Now you don’t need both sizes, but if you do it’s going to help you out, we have three quarters and we have inch and a half if you’re gon na get one. I suggest three quarters because it’s easier to get in between the headlight and the panel. Okay, now i have this on a tape thing that just makes things a lot easier, but you don’t need it, but if you’re a painter, you know how good these units are, and last but not least, we have the plastic for covering the car. Now you can simply go ahead to walmart or home depot and just get the pack of the drop cloth plastic. That will work fine.

But if you do plan on doing um, painting in your garage or painting in general, this automotive plastic actually has a side. That’S treated you can see, it says, paint this side or this side up. That means that this side, the plastic, is treated to actually hold the over spray, so overspray will stick to it right rather than flaking on. If you have time in between a job. So a good tip, i know that’s a big question amongst a lot of my viewers.

So let’s go ahead and let’s get started on the car. So let’s go ahead and first talk about the reason why it’s oxidizing and what we can expect as a result of clearing these up. Now, if we take a look at the headlight right here, we can see that the clear layer of uv protection from the factory is very thin and it doesn’t last very long and it’s been peeling and peeling. It’S very important that we remove all the uv protection that the factory has put on and we take it down to bare plastic and to do that, we really need to hit it hard. Now, if you take a look in this area, we can see minor, minor minor cracks now.

Some of these cracks will not go away they’re within the plastic, but it will look a lot better now. The first thing we need to do is tape it up. Once again. What i like about the tape thing is: it sticks to the car now i’ll go around with my inch and a half just to make sure that i don’t go ahead and sand onto the bumper. Now we’re not taking the headlights out because we want to do the easiest job possible.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to learn how to take out a bumper. We don’t want to break anything, and if we have a decent enough gap around here, then it’s not going to be a problem to run some tape. Now we’ll go ahead and use our super clean, foaming, degreaser, and this is going to help remove any of the contaminants, so our sandpaper doesn’t clog we’ll let it sit for a few moments. So, just for a few moments you can see all of that yellow coming off already the headlight is already looking ten times better. Do i even need to continue doing this project?

Yes, of course, because i need to make sure that i am clear, coating and getting all the oxidation completely off. So let’s go ahead and move on, so we have our kit here now, let’s talk about where we start now, there’s a total of four sheets. These cut in half, we break them in half. We can stick them right onto our hand pad now. This is k-600.

This is equivalent to p320. I told you guys how important the first step is. We need to remove all this oxidation because the higher grits are just refining it. They will not remove it. We need to refine this scratch in coming steps that way the clear can fall into tinier, scratches and not coarse ones.

That way it’s nice and clear. So, there’s not much to it other than just a little bit of labor and you’ll be able to see that our yellow is coming right off now, don’t be scared! It’S gon na get worse. It’S gon na look a lot worse before it looks better now in between coats to see. What’S going on, we’ll use some of that spray away glass cleaner.

Now we can see here a line of the old uv. That’S still there, the whole top has lost it, but we need to make sure this line is removed. Okay, so to remove this line. This whole area right here still has the uv protection, because the top of the headlight is where the sun really focuses on and breaks it down. If we do not remove all this clear coat in this area, you will see this line when you go to spray.

It so you need to take the time now, and you really need to remove everything that you see, because it will still be there later on almost gone. You can see how it’s still shiny right in this area. Don’T stop sanding you’re. Almost there we’ll go ahead and clean off once more and we want to make sure we’re using the glass cleaner because it’s less abrasive in between coats, okay, okay, so we got all of that outer factory uv uh coating off now you might ask why can’t i Just use a mac, lacquer, thinner or a middle spirits. Well, what that’s going to do is it’s going to eat out the plastic?

We don’t want to do that. Take your time and two sheets of that k600 will take it off, and i’ve got to say it’s already, leaving it in a better state than a peak grit. Would i already can see it’s got a shine to it a little bit, which is a great great sign that these are going to clear up really nice. So once your k-600 is done, we’ll go ahead and jump to the k800. Now this is equivalent to a p 500, so two easy steps and we’re ready to clear – and this is just refining at this point – there should not be any more oxidation on the headlight.

If you still see some, you need to go ahead and clear it up. In the k 600 grit, not the k800, once that k800 is all sanded, then we’ll go ahead and wipe them clean. Now, just for reference, i used two sheets of my k, 600 and one sheet of my k800, primarily because the k-600 is doing most of the work and uh eating up all that oxidation k-800 is just refining it now from here. This one is good i’ll, go ahead and pull off my tape. I don’t want any contaminants in front of tape.

Dust getting onto the head like one might go spray it and i’ll go ahead to the other side and get that one done. Real quick, so so we’re gon na go ahead and jump back to this side. Now we’re gon na go ahead and tape up the headlight. Now i’m using an inch and a half because i feel like the gaps, are a little bit bigger and easier to use inch and a half on this particular vehicle. But remember all cars are a little bit different.

Now i’ll put all the product links in the description, so you can pick up the tape just like this or the plastic or any products that you see today get the job done. A pocket screwdriver really helps to get that tape into all those crevices. Now that we’ve bordered out our headlights, let’s get our plastic and pull it over the car verify that paint. This side is facing upwards. That way, the over spray sticks to it then go ahead and take your tape and overlap plastic to the original tape that you had and once it’s all masked up.

It should look something like this now, since the hood really overlaps the headlight we needed to prop it up, so i used a stick to prop it up in the meantime, so it doesn’t shut while we’re spraying. Now it might not be the prettiest tape job, but it makes sure that no overspray will get onto the car or get into the engine bay. Now to ensure that your plastic is not going to go anywhere, go ahead and tape it up. Here’S how we tape it up in the back just take a whole plastic together and put a piece of tape around it, so we are ready for our clear coat. Let me show you how this can works.

It’S not like any other aerosol. Remember. It’S got the kylis built into it, so this is the same type of paint that comes out of a spray gun put into an aerosol. Take the cap off. Remove the red cap from the top cap, then we’re going to go ahead and fix it to the stem.

Now you have to give it a good amount of pressure, you’re going to hear a pop. Once you hear that pop we’ve now broken the bladder inside of the can and now what’s happening, is we can release that catalyst into the rest of the clear coat by shaking it, we’ll shake it up for two to three minutes and it’s good to go now. It’S good to go but before that remember our paint suit and our respirator are very important. Now, once more right before we go to spray our clear coat, we’ll go ahead and we’ll get a final cleaning. Now i’m using a different microfiber, not the same that we used in the beginning, we’re now ready to clear now you might ask: why are we skipping the adhesion promoter?

Well, i don’t like using the adhesion promoter on headlights because it really etches into the plastic and i’ve used it before, and it’s been bad news, it’ll etch and almost melt the plastic, and you need to sand it all the way, starting back with the k600. Once again and we’re not getting ourselves into that, we have a k, 800 grit scratch on here and that’s more than enough for our clear coat. Stick. All we’ll do is run a tack rag over the surface and then we’re ready to spray. Our first coat will be very, very light now.

You’Ll notice that it looks foggy. Don’T worry that will clear up that is just a characteristic of using an aerosol can so don’t go crazy. Allow it to clear up in just a few moments. Now we just sprayed our passenger side and in real time, if we jump back to our driver’s side, we can see it’s already starting to look really clear. Let’S leave it for about a good five to six minutes, so it’s been five to six minutes now.

What’S happening on that first coat now that first coat is tacking up and it’s becoming glue, so the second coat we can go a little bit wetter, but not too wet. Okay. Now that looks pretty foggy. Let’S hit time lapse and let’s watch it clear up, so the headlight once it’s cleared, has dried additional two hours and we’re ready to remove the tape. There’S no reason to take off the tape right away, we’ll go ahead and do that now and there we have it a beautiful headlight, that’s been restored in our home garage using a rattle can and now i know your next question is: can we buff it if We need to well the good thing is i left a little area here, just a touch orange peely.

That way, i can demonstrate the buffing process using the k, 1200 grit and polish, but first, let’s allow this to dry a good 12 hours before we sand and buff it. So we allow the headlights to dry overnight, approximately 12 plus hours and they’re ready to get sanded and buffed. So do you really need to sand and buff your headlights? Well, let’s first clear up something: sanding and wet sanding are the same thing. The only difference is, you would use water as a lubricant.

Now this is a very good sandpaper, so it doesn’t need water, it will cut by itself and i prefer dry sanding, because you can see what you’re doing now in the case of these headlights, really they look fine, but for the article we’ll go ahead and sand A small area just to show you guys how you can buff your headlight in case yours came out a little bit orange really.

So this is the k1200 now the k1200 is still a touch aggressive, so we’re not going to really rub it in hard we’re going to allow the sandpaper to do the work for us in this area right here we have a little bit of orange peel, which Will be more evident once we sand it once i pan over this area, you can see that the texture is a little bit orange pilly. It’S really not that bad. What our focus is we want to remove that orange peel, so we’ll keep on doing this until it is smooth and consistent like the rest of the headlight. Now we don’t need to do this to the whole headlight if we want to, we can, but only to the areas that need it.

We can see that the clear coat does powder up nicely and a good indication that this clear coat really builds up mills and gives you a good uv resistance, we’ll go ahead and wipe it down, and just like that, we’re ready to go ahead and buff. It’s really that easy, so i have this polex polish two in one from eagle, abrasives and the reason why i like it is because it’s a polishing compound it does the job of two in one bottle. So here’s when doing the job by hand just kind of stops, we don’t have enough friction within our hand to create that shine and bring back that shine because our hand just cannot spin fast enough. So when we go to buff it with the towel, it’s still going to be dull. As you can see, it’s still dull here, you will need the added assistance of a buffer.

I have a mini buffer that i love from milwaukee and we have a medium coarse, buffing pad on there to go ahead and bring that shine up. This pad with the actual movement and friction created by this buffer will create heat, to bring back up that shine. uh just a few moments later, the shine is completely restored, so the only downside to have a beautifully restored headlight is you get to see what’s settled in your headlights for 10 to 15 years? In this case, we have a little spider and some other insects, but usually you can take some air from the back through one of the holes, whether it’s the high beam or the low beam, and you can move it around. Actually, it will go somewhere else.

As you don’t see it, that’s a little bit less desirable, not in the front of the headlight, and there you have it. Our project is complete. Now, if you’re wondering how long the work time was it’s approximately about two hours now, let’s talk about how long these headlights are last, if you’ve done the work well, they should last a lifetime. If you have not done, if you refine them too much or didn’t get enough of debris off in a lower grit, you might not get as long because that paint does not adhere properly to the actual headlight. This coating on this headlight is a hundred times better than the coating it came with from the factory.

So i hope that you learned something and i would love to see your projects guys if you want to support the channel and go ahead and pick yourself up paint society’s shirt. Rumor has it when you wear this shirt. That’S been touched by yours truly when it’s packed the powers translate from my hands to yours through the paint gun. Until then, this is brian from paint society reminding you don’t overthink it. It’S just pain.

Let’S check out some before and afters do.

ceramicwizards is my life, my passion, and my therapy. Painting, drawing, and creating is what I live for. Sharing my work and creative journey with the world. Let’s inspire each other!

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