How To: Best Headlight Restoration Method – Chemical Guys Car Care


Hey guys! Today I’m going to show you how to polish headlights. Earlier I polished the driver’s side headlight using V36 and an orange cutting pad without wet sanding it. It looked pretty great! But on this side I’m going to show you the best way to get the most clarity. So I’m going to wet sand it and then I’m going to polish it. But first I’m going to tape off the area I’m going to be working on just like I did the driver’s side. So again I left the hood up just so I don’t have to tape off the lip of the hood and it’s also going to make it a lot easier for me to get to the top of the headlight. Especially when I’m wet sanding and won’t get any of those marks on the hood. So I’m going to start by taking my sanding block and a sheet of 2500 grit sand paper. It’s got an adhesive back here, it makes it stick to this face of this pad. So this sanding block has a pretty dense foam handle. It makes it easy to grip and hang onto. The pad itself is made out of a thinner foam, more flexible which is going to be easier to flex over the headlight. And then the reason you’re starting off with a 2500 grit sand paper is so that you can get off most of that dead plastic and then I’m going to go ahead refine it with the 3500 sandpaper. So first I’m going to spray the surface of the headlight with plenty of water, then I’m going to spray this block. The water acts as a lubricate. It’s also cleaning away the dead plastic. So first I’m going to start by sanding in one direction. Already I’m pulling off a lot of this dead plastic. That’s what that milky dead brown liquid is. So as I can see, the surface is nice and smooth. I’ve taken off a lot of the dead plastic. I’m going to go ahead and sand it one more time just so I can get as much clarity from these headlights as I can. So the reason why I’m going to sand it again is because the more effort and the more plastic I can get off at the beginning, the better your results are going to be at the end. So now that I finished sanding with the 2500 grit, I’m going to switch over to the 3500. These sheets are reusable. They have more than 1 one time use. You can get yourself a second block and make one dedicated to a 2500 grit and the other to a 3500 grit. But in this case I’m going to take the sheet off and replace it with the 3500 grit. So same procedure as before, I’m going to go ahead wet the surface. I’m going to start by sanding off as much of the dead plastic as I can. It’s also going to refine the fine scratches that the 2500 made and it’s going to make it a lot clearer. So now it’s time to polish these headlights. I’m going to grab my drill here. A lot of people use a rotary or even a dual-action. I chose to go with a drill just because it’s a lot easier to hold and handle around these headlights. I have my backing plate with an orange cutting pad on it. Then I’m going to apply V34 which is a mild abrasive compound. So first I’m going to spread the compound over the headlight. One thing you need to be aware of, if you;re using a drill like this, it doesn’t have a speed setting. So it’s either all or nothing. If you are using a rotary or a dual-action, where you have different speeds, just be sure to keep it moving also. But this is an extra precaution just to keep moving just so you won’t burn the plastic. Even from just the first pass with the first compound. This headlight looks a lot better than the one-step polish headlight over there. Because anything you do in steps is going to have more clarity and result. So now it’s time to put on a white pad with our V36. So same process as before, I’m going to go ahead and work this compound in until it goes clear. It’s going to take off all the scratches that the 34 and sanding marks made. It’s going to give it nice clarity and let’s get to it! So this headlight looks amazing! Like brand new! Compared to the headlight over there where it had some clarity, anything you do in steps, is going to give you a better finish. With the wet sand you can see that this headlight has a lot more clarity. So the final step is to protect these headlights to keep them from oxidation or anything like that. I’m going to go ahead and put a sealant on it. So this is JetSeal, which is 12 months of protection. It’s going to lock in all the work I’ve done here. Give it a good gloss a lot of protection. You simply spread it over the surface. I’m going to let this sit for about 15 minutes. It will haze up and I will wipe it off. Wow this headlight looks amazing. Like brand new. I’m going to go ahead and jump on that other headlight, because although, the single stage polish did work, it took off a lot of dead plastic and gave it more clarity. It’s not 100% clear like this one will be. So I’m going to go ahead, wetsand it, polish it again to get those great results.

83 Comments

  1. Jerm May 10, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Great! Please continue to make more and more and more repetitive headlight restoration videos!

  2. Joe Visconti May 10, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    when headlights are really bad, i just take 1000 grit first sand it down athen i take 2500 grit sand it smooth then i take a foam buffer pad and buff it out with extra cut compound and apply thin coat of wax turns out great!!

  3. The Electrobuz May 10, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    The royalty free sounding music was pretty damn terrible.

  4. JimmBooost May 10, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    nice an beefy Kseries engine

  5. Chris Ornelas May 10, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    I see a K series

  6. Salomon Alvarez May 10, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    does this remove scratches from headlights

  7. Jay Rahman May 10, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Is that a kswaped EK/EJ?

  8. ThatGuyNamedScott. C May 10, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    The best way is to sand and lacer the headlight! No need to protect them then!

  9. David Munoz May 10, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Lol 12 month protection? Yeah right

  10. E Grizzle May 10, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    can you use VSS instead of the v34 and v36 and get the same results?

  11. Myles May 11, 2016 at 12:19 am

    New headlights for a 96 Civic are like $60, not even worth the labor to restore these

  12. Mr.Highway03 May 11, 2016 at 1:39 am

    If you want permanent results just clear coat it when you're done

  13. Mohamed ThePedophile May 11, 2016 at 1:41 am

    You guys don't paint the light with UV protection clear coat, and then wax them with car wax?

    I do like your 2 buffing stages after the wet sanding.

  14. MrMrwilson11 May 11, 2016 at 2:32 am

    Ever wonder why the manufacturers havent come up with a lens that doesnt rot in the sun?

  15. CarAholic/MusicMan1995 May 11, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Great video! I need to restore the headlights on my Buick LeSabre.

  16. Kevin Vines May 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Do you find a 1000 grit 1st stage too abrasive? I use 1000, 2000, then 3000 trizact, followed by the 2 stage V34/36 as you did. I also use your jetseal. Turns out perfect every time and lasts!

  17. Dariune May 11, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    I always wondered what are those bumps on headlights?

  18. Ben Dalrymple May 12, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    This works well but what about the small pits? Just keep sanding? I did two sets yesterday and they looked great but the pits were still there. Suggestions?

  19. Squirrel Killa May 12, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Why don't you hit it with a coat of UV Clear Coat and then JetSeal?

  20. humberto martinez rivera May 18, 2016 at 12:57 am

    will have an e-mail to learn more about your products and have shipments to Mexico

  21. donkyuhbuhts540 May 18, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    that k swap

  22. Mr. K May 19, 2016 at 12:14 am

    dang, civic has a k swap. Barely even noticed lol.

  23. J. Gallo May 30, 2016 at 4:18 am

    Thanks for sharing this video

  24. Marc G June 5, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Great video, straight to the point, great result! I'm now looking to get my headlights done, this has made everything a lot less complicated now I know what I should be doing

  25. Diamond Dc5 June 7, 2016 at 4:08 am

    Damn k swapped ek, I smell a sleeper

  26. heyitschino June 8, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Dope vid, i see a K Swap with a Super Charger?

  27. EJ'S GARAGE June 10, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you for the great video! 🙂

  28. Kyle Smidt June 15, 2016 at 12:55 am

    can you over sand the headlight?

  29. FlyBoyBigBlue June 28, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    8:31 Funny, you must have used some on that white paint too… 😉

  30. Omarion Fo June 29, 2016 at 4:11 am

    what is the name if the product u used?

  31. bschak July 5, 2016 at 1:38 am

    Dead plastic? I never knew plastic was once alive.

  32. LiquidEntourage July 21, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    can i just use the v36 and get the same results? or do i have to use the v34 too?

  33. Kristopher Campbell September 8, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Anything last longer than the one year jet seal?

  34. Tj1056 September 18, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    nice I am about to do this just I only have a small orange pad and no other colors so I have to work with it I guess and used 36 and 38 to finish it.

  35. Spencer Stevens October 8, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    this video desperately needs to have incorporated the fast forward feature

  36. Eduardo Melena October 12, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Milky plastic 😂😂😂nigga thats dirt

  37. ErgoProxy October 21, 2016 at 1:26 am

    wouldnt it be recommened to use a none yellowing uv clear coat sealer as a final step?

  38. victor muller October 21, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    so do you have to apply jetseal once every year to keep the results?

  39. Nylx December 8, 2016 at 3:08 am

    Love that the civic has a K-series in it! @chemicalguys

  40. tony soprano December 28, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Good video

  41. actorzone January 3, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    just need to buy a big pair of sunglasses to stop UV radiation,

  42. prasun saha January 8, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    my headlights dont look so bad. but i have rock chips and scratches on it.. will this process repair it?

  43. Erik Lopez February 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    can i use a uv resistant clear coat instead of that protective wax?

  44. five2ne1 February 27, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Is there a way to fix rock/stone chips on plastic headlights? Would it require heavy cutting? I haven't been able to find any reliable sources to figure this out!

  45. Clax March 28, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Could also put a little solvent mixed with the water.

  46. Luis Guajardo April 25, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Chemical Guys, THE BEST!
    Thank you!!

  47. Edgar Tigranyan May 30, 2017 at 2:19 am

    did you put a butter wet wax for protection after polishing? and even if no, will wax work after polishing ?

  48. Aries Argo June 19, 2017 at 12:47 am

    are u indonesian?

  49. JAP Motorsport July 9, 2017 at 2:35 am

    Hello guys, what is the size of the backing plate and the orange cutting pads?

  50. Mindful Music July 12, 2017 at 4:22 am

    Seeing before & after results of amazing clarity in the finished product is so satisfying to watch.

  51. HarveyWysong July 19, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Thanks very much. I learned why my previous efforts were unsatisfactory.

  52. The0nionKnight September 26, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    I need to do this on my car

  53. T Sal October 16, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Do you have a link to the pads you use??

  54. uhZeny October 22, 2017 at 6:55 am

    I wetsanded my headlights and then sprayed a clearcoat on them, the clearcoat looks like shit. What do I do? Do i rewet sand and recoat or should I use a low grit to get rid of the new shitty clearcoat and then recoat again? I really need some help hear ASAP.

  55. Al Wils November 7, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Didn’t know plastic was a living organism.

  56. Luminositymusic January 20, 2018 at 4:47 am

    This is a great demo-
    – thx for the efforts. –

  57. JAP Motorsport February 6, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Hello guys, can I use same process and products to restore rear taillights?

  58. Alan Xu April 17, 2018 at 4:12 am

    what are those rotatory yellow pad thing called? and how much for those compounds ?

  59. Elgin Edmonds April 29, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    I purchased everything in this video, it turned out ok but nothing like this.

  60. ellitestar May 8, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    what size pads did you use and where can I acquire the backing plate & drill attachments for the drill..
    thanks..

  61. Moreno12 May 11, 2018 at 5:03 am

    That drill is spinning way too fast. Try a lower setting if you have one or just squeeze it half way… drills allow for slower rpms if you squeeze gently.. also, a 1,000 grit would help even more to begin with

  62. KING MIKE May 22, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Great video..

  63. Static101 June 14, 2018 at 5:34 am

    @chemical guys I have a car with only 30,000 miles the headlights aren't fogged but they are pitted from highway driving, also one has what looks to be a hazy looking burnish ring about 5" diameter that has formed on what looks like on the inside on one headlight lens you can only see when its on, so i'd probably have to take apart the headlight assembly to correct it, would i need to put UV protectant on the inside after too?

  64. broderp June 19, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Everyone has an opinion, but no one has done any real testing. Clear coat paint is said to crack or go bad and a bad idea as clear is for metal painted surfaces and not clear plastic. Others say the only way to fix is to sand with multiple grits of sand paper. Yet others claim simple solutions from bug spray to tooth paste to baking soda and WD-40. Someone should get like 20 headlights (all aged the same with the same hazing) and restore each in a particular way and then allow them to sit in the sunlight for 6 months to see which method A.) Did the best job restoring B.) held up the best. THEN I will believe a particular method works.

  65. FreePalestine June 26, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    awsome vid man … God bless and keep up the great work!!!

  66. brian de la cruz July 7, 2018 at 4:28 am

    how much should i charge to do this for people. Any recommendations???

  67. brian de la cruz July 10, 2018 at 6:09 am

    Does this work for taillights too?

  68. Bonheur Géraud September 8, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Hello, thank you for the video. Where can i buy the sanding block and the sheet of sans paper for this sanding block?
    Thank you.

  69. Michael Huppman September 9, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    I followed this method and it worked as expected and looked fantastic. After applying the sealant, and buffed, one of the lights (passenger – 2nd light I did) now has a couple of hazy spots in the corners. Should I re-do the process on that lamp, or just do the compounding / polishing / sealing steps? Thanks!

  70. Tanae Official October 15, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    what size backing plate and what size pad are you using bro?

  71. Akash Ranjan October 17, 2018 at 6:36 am

    what is the size of the pads

  72. Nick Kelly November 29, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Do you have links to the backing plate, drill attachment, pads, and all the compounds used?

  73. T Bird Motors December 8, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Do you wash out your pads with just water and how often?

  74. Dan Tanna February 5, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    love the citrus car wash

  75. Peter Acosta February 21, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Can one sheet of sandpaper do both headlights? Or do I use one sheet per headlight

  76. sgtdaye July 24, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Got all the way to 8 mins before noticing the K. Very nice work!

  77. Forest August 6, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    Hey Guys do you know how long last the UV protection of the new Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer?

  78. Matt August 21, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Damm I was sleeping on the NA K swap and Tein coilovers

  79. Tristen Fletcher August 25, 2019 at 3:19 am

    How much would u charge to do a set

  80. realbeckfan August 27, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Nice ride
    Better then my M5 any day

  81. novemberecho71 August 27, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Hello
    Nice job and nice products
    Any idea how long its lasts before redoing it again?
    Kind regards

  82. balm Tiger September 26, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    I liked this video very much!!
    How do you wash the aplicator pad after using Jetseal?

  83. Josue Pena September 30, 2019 at 6:03 am

    @chemicalguys
    I dry sanded my headlights. Bad idea, I know. They look hazy. You think I can still save my headlights clearity following your process?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *