Sep 04 2011

3M Headlight Restoration Kit Works Wonders

I recently picked up a headlight restoration kit by 3M at Wal-Mart for around $15. Amazon and a few other places sell it as well. I chose this kit on the advice of a colleague who had good success with it on her Volkswagen Passat. I figured for $15, it would be worth a shot to try and restore the headlights on my Ford F-150 that have been yellowing for many years.

The best part about the kit is that it provides everything you need except for a towel, some green automotive masking tape (also sold at Wal-Mart), and a good drill that can operate between 1200-1600 rpm. The kit also contains enough sandpaper and rubbing compound to do two sets of headlights.

Here are our tools:

Tools Needed

Here is what my headlights started off looking like after I gave them a quick wash.

Before Restoration (Passenger)Before Restoration (Driver)

Next I masked off the headlights with the automotive tape.

Masked Before Restoration (Passenger)Masked Before Restoration (Driver)

Starting with the 500 grit sandpaper discs, I sanded all the yellow off until I could see the clear plastic. Then I switched to the 800 grit discs to remove the scratches left by the previous sanding.

After 500 & 800 grit sanding (Passenger)After 500 & 800 grit sanding (Driver)

After that I attached the 3000 grit trizact disc, wet it down with a spray bottle, and wet sanded the lenses until they were nice and smooth. I did this until I could no longer see any scratches in the lens.

After 3000 grit final wet sanding (Passenger)After 3000 grit final wet sanding (Driver)

Finally, I attached the buffing pad, applied a bit of rubbing compound, and buffed the lenses until they were shiny and bright. Finally I wiped the lenses down with a towel to observe the final results.

After final buffing with rubbing compound (Passenger)After final buffing with rubbing compound (Driver)

I first thought was “Wow. That’s fantastic.” The lenses came out just as good as I hoped they would. Here’s a side by side comparison to see the full effect.

Before Restoration (Passenger)Before Restoration (Driver)After final buffing with rubbing compound (Passenger)After final buffing with rubbing compound (Driver)

After seeing the positive results, my wife now wants me to do her car tomorrow. I guess it’s a good thing the kits comes with extra sandpaper.

Permanent link to this article: http://ericsilva.org/2011/09/04/3m-headlight-restoration-kit-works-wonders/

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