page title icon How To Remove Scratches From Headlights

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We will show you how to remove scratches from headlights in this step-by-step guide.

Have you been noticing scratches in your vehicle’s headlight recently? Have the scratches affected the headlight’s brightness? If yes, you need to get rid of the scratches immediately to drive safely.

Scratched headlights start to get cloudy, yellowed, or pale, giving out only 20% of the light that a new headlight gives.

The automobile industry switched from glass headlight covers to plastic covers a while back(popularly called polycarbonate lenses). This plastic cover gets easily scratched and affects the light’s quality. This article will help you if you do not know how to remove scratches from headlights on your car.


How To Remove Deep Scratches From Headlights


There are a lot of reasons why headlights lose their complete transparency. The sun’s rays can dull their brightness. Debris from the road can also affect your headlight covers if they are plastic. The debris flies all over the car and can cause damage to the headlights. It can cause the headlights to scratch and can result in less efficient vision. It also affects the appearance of the vehicle.

Steps To Remove Scratches From Headlights

Restoration of the lenses is easy. Most of the cars have sealed headlight units, and thus changing the lens cannot be an option. Some do change their lenses but have to replace the whole unit. If you have an expensive car, then this could cost you a lot of money. Therefore, restoration of the lenses is advised by many. If there is no way out, then you should probably change them.


How To Remove Deep Scratches From Headlights


Below, we present our guide on how to remove these scratches quickly and easily. Read on to know more.

What Do You Need?

You can find most of these things in your garage. If you don’t have a particular thing needed, it will be easily available at any automobile shop. The things you need are:

  • Polishing towels
  • Bucket of soapy water
  • Latex gloves
  • Masking tape [width- 1 to 1.5 inch]
  • Plastic polish
  • Sandpaper in 600, 1200, and 2000 grit [wet and dry]
  • Sanding block [1″ by 2″]
  • Velcro backing plate [2.5″]
  • 3″ Polish pad in foam or wool [Velcro backing]

Steps To Clean Your Headlight

If your glass headlight has superficial oxidation, you can remove it with a good plastic polish. However, do not use the one for domestic glass cleaning as it has ammonia and can discolor the glass. If you want to test whether the scratches go or not, rub toothpaste on the area. If the lens’s appearance improves, then you should buy plastic polish.


How To Remove Deep Scratches From Headlights


Most of the time, the damage does not go with a hand polishing the lens. So the most effective way is to sand polish the lens. You have to sand the headlight with different grades of sandpaper, followed by glazing with plastic polish. 

Step 1: Wash the lenses. 

Before you start the restoration process, you must wash your lenses properly. Soapy water is the best way to clean your lenses. Take a dirty cloth and rinse your lenses till they are spotless. Make sure to remove all dirt from them. Clean around the lens too. After this dry, it well and stick masking tape around it to protect the paint.

Step 2: Sanding the lenses

Start with wet sanding the headlight. If there are scratches or the visibility is low, then you should use 600-grit sandpaper at first, followed by 1200 and then 2000 grit. You will need a lot of water as the sandpaper needs to be lubricated well. You have to sand it only in straight lines and not circles. Make sure you use sandpaper only with the sanding block and not with your hand.


How To Remove Deep Scratches From Headlights


Coarse sandpaper will remove scratches from headlights. Finer sandpapers will remove scratches from headlights left behind by the coarse sandpaper. The water that you use while sanding the headlights will turn milky when you wash it, taking away the cloudiness or the paleness of the lens washing. The more you sand, the clearer the water gets. You may have to stop in between and check the lens.

Sanding will help exfoliate the headlight’s scratched layer. It is an easy and cheap way to restore your lenses of the headlight. You may have to stop in between and dry the lenses to see how well they have been polished. You can continue sanding afterward till the lenses feel smooth when you touch them.

Step 3: Polishing for the final touches

Polishing can help to give your headlight cover a long life and protect it from further damage. It also seals the restoration done, and therefore it takes longer for the covers to wear away again. For polishing, you can use Chemical Guys Repair and Polish.

Chemical Guys Repair and Polish
8,521 Reviews
Chemical Guys Repair and Polish
Headlight repair and protectant.


How To Remove Deep Scratches From Headlights


If you wish to do it your way, you can use a 3″ wool or foam polishing pad to polish the plastic headlight. One must be aware of the fact that the drill they use does not gain much speed. When the wools rotate with a lot of speed, they start getting heated up.

This rotation can be harmful and can lead to further damage to the headlight. Apply the polish on the pads and begin polishing. After some time of polishing, you will see the polish starts to disappear. Apply more polish or as needed, and start polishing again. After some time, the headlight will start getting clearer. When the lenses get clear, stop polishing.

You can complete this by polishing this by hand using polish and a microfiber towel. You can also apply auto wax to the lens to protect it from various elements. Polishing it will bless it with a long life.


How To Remove Deep Scratches From Headlights


Mothers 07251 NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit is a great product that you can use for this work. It will make your vehicle’s headlight as good as new. 

Mothers 07251 NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit
9,938 Reviews
Mothers 07251 NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit
Quickly restores the headlight and adds a protective layer as well


Headlights are a significant part of the vehicle and need to be taken care of. Scratches can lower down their life and can cause trouble to the driver while driving. Restoration of the headlights can be done easily and can provide long life to the headlights. If you follow our tutorial, you will have headlights that are as good as the new ones by the end.

I hope this step-by-step guide was helpful to you. Do not forget to share your feedback, comments, and suggestions after you try this tutorial.