In preparation for the family odyssey to San Diego in the Odyssey (see what I did there?), I wanted to restore the headlights since they had gotten pretty cloudy. Here's the before shot:

I picked up this 3M Headlight Restoration Kit from Wal•Mart. It's about $20, and one kit will do two headlights. You'll need a drill, and the kit contains varying grits of sandpaper, a buffing pad and polishing compound. You'll also need a spray bottle of water.

You start you off with P500 sandpaper, then follow with P800, then a wetted foam disk that gets you down to P3000. These remove the hazy layer of plastic from the lens. The thing to remember is that it will make your lenses look worse before it makes them better. This is the lens after the first application of the P500 sandpaper:


After going through the two grits of sandpaper, then the sanding pad that requires the water spray bottle, you finish up with the buffer pad and the polishing compound. The results are really pretty stunning.

The whole job takes about an hour, longer if your retired neighbor insists on talking to you and you can't hear him over the noise of the drill. I would also recommend that you be sure to mask off the area around the lens. When I did this to my VW a couple of years ago, I figured I didn't need to bother and I scratched up the paint.


No, I don't work for 3M or Wal•Mart.