Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Clearing up a hazy headlight

For a while now, the passenger-side headlight on our van has been covered with a hazy film. We had tried scrubbing it with various cleaners we had around the house, but could never get it to clear up. Susan picked up a cleaning kit, and last weekend I finally had a chance to give it a try.

This is what our headlight looked like before I started:

Our headlight was covered by a hazy film

The kit is the 3M Lens Renewal System. Our kit came with masking tape (to protect the areas around the headlight), a disk attachment, two different grits of sandpaper, a gray buffing disk, an orange buffing sponge, and lens polish compound.

3M 39014 Lens Renewal System

After masking off the painted areas around the headlight, I used the 500 grit sanding disks to sand the surface of the headlight lens. At this point, the lens has a uniformly white surface, and any major scratches should be buffed out:

First sanding

Next, I used the 800 grit sanding disks to refine the surface, and remove finer scratches:

After second sanding

Then I used the gray P3000 buffing disk and water to do a wet buff. At this point, the lens is starting to look clear again, but is still a tiny bit opaque:

After wet buffing

Finally, I used the orange buffing sponge with a little of the lens polishing compound to finish things off. The final result looks pretty good!

After treatment the headlight is much better!

I only head to clean up one of our headlights, but the kit came with enough supplies to work on (at a guess) four lights, if needed.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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