Restoring Faded Headlights

After a few years of owning your car you may have noticed that the plastic headlight covers have become faded this can let down the appearance of your car, a simple car valet or a more extensive car detailing service will not be able to correct this.

Leaving the headlight cover not treated will just make the situation worse. This will seriously affect the operation of the light. This can be easily repaired without having to replace the light. Significantly increasing the appearance of your car. Especially if you are interested in a car detailing service.

The Cause

car detailing SussexLike the paintwork of a car, the headlight cover can be damaged by many factors, including acid rain, harmful UV rays, bonded contaminants, tree sap, bugs, and poor car washing techniques. Please see my Car Washing Guide.

How to Restore

First give the car a thorough wash. Whilst claying the car clay the headlight plastic surround. This will remove any bonded contaminants. A good quality plastic polish should then be used, this can either be applied by hand or with a machine polisher. The surrounding paintwork should be protected from the plastic polish to prevent damage.

If the headlight is to heavily faded you may need to use wet and dry sandpaper, making sure that the paper is kept wet. Use different grades until you have achieved the desired effect. It is best to use a machine polisher with the plastic polish afterwards to remove any marks caused by the sandpaper.


car detailing sussexOnce completed the headlight cover should now be crystal clear, improving the appearance of your car and the effectiveness of the headlight. The cover should now be protected with either a sealant or wax to prevent the headlight cover from fading again.



If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.


  1. Hi Richard

    Another great tutorial in car body maintenance techniques. I never realised there was so much to learn on the subject but I am sure you have got more to come!


    • Hi Bill

      I’ve got a few ideas for some future posts its finding the time, plus i don’t want to do to many and then run out of ideas! Will try and do one every other week. I’m mainly spending my time on SEO

  2. Was just having a look around your blog. You clearly take pride in your work. I can really see the difference in the photos.

  3. I’ve never thought about the state of the headlight covers. Will have to check mine out and try it.

    • Its not a huge job if you have some DIY experience, there are also kits out there you can buy which have everything included. Always cheaper though to buy what you need separately

  4. Thanks for very informative tips… my friend is actually asking me bout that problem on his car’s headlights.

  5. Restoration would be one of the hardest part of maintaining an old vehicle. Well, I’m just thankful to the clay that make the whole process quite easy.

  6. thanks for the tips my headlights now look great

  7. Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your post. I like to write a little comment
    to support you.

Speak Your Mind


× 7 = 28

Current ye@r *