VW Vortex - Volkswagen Forum banner

1 - 20 of 386 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,178 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
POLISHING PLASTIC HEADLIGHTS / TAILIGHTS
The original inspiration for this DIY comes from the metal polishing DIY, see http://forums.vwvortex.com/zer...age=1 for details. There's also this one, http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2246097, but it could use some step-by-steps with pictures. I was sick and tired of my yellow, scratched, banged up headlights. Unfortunately, I was so pleased with the results that I didn't wait for my camera to come back and did the other side. Here are the results.

Keep in mind that my 2000 VR6 has 135k miles of highway driving. Yes, these are the original headlights. The DIY shots were actually taken of my g/f's Civic, so I hope I don't get flamed too badly for it. The procedure is actually easier on a VW because the headlights are a flat surface. Here is a before / after shot of the Civic headlights.

Parts
Since I didn't have any automatic tools, I simply used a lot of elbow grease. Air tools and the like may make the job easier, but I do know it works this way for sure. Net cost: Approx $25.00.
1) Clean Terry Cloths (about 3)
2) Painter's Tape
3) Cloth Applicator (like you'd use to wax)
4) 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper
5) 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper
6) 3M Rubbing Compound
7) Plastic Polish (I used Meguiar's PlastX)
Tools
1) Some kind of squirt bottle, filled with water and dishwashing soap (do NOT use car soap, it has waxes and such)
Please be careful. Do this procedure at your own risk, I can't be held responsible if I have made a mistake in the steps.
Examining your parts
i. Before you start, make sure you have the above listed parts.

Wetsanding from 600 to 2000
1. Start by covering the edges of the flashlight with painter's tape. This protects your finish in case you are a little too agressive with the sanding process.

2. Douse the headlight with soapy water. It is always better to use too much then too little. Once the headlight is wet, start sanding the headlight using your 600 grit sandpaper, continuously adding soapy water to keep the surface wet. You want to sand in long, left to right strokes using moderate to light pressure. The point is to uniformly roughen the surface.

3. When you are done with the 600 grit, the surface should feel slightly rough, but you should not be able to see any surface blemishes. The headlight will look VERY hazy.

4. Switch over to the 2000 grit sandpaper. Repeat step 2 with the 2000 grit. When you are done, the headlight will still look hazy, but it will be a little bit clearer. However, the surface should be totally smooth and free of any imperfections. Repeat steps 2-4 if there are still some surface imperfections.

5. Dry off the headlight with a terry cloth. Here comes the magic. Using the 3M rubbing compound, apply a quarter-sized bit to a new terry cloth. Work the compound into the headlight surface using hard pressure in circular strokes. Frequently turn the cloth and continue rubbing until dry. This requires a LOT of elbow grease; you will want to work the headlight until your arm feels like it's going to fall off and then some. It doesn't hurt to go over the headlight 2-3 times.

6. Then, apply the plastic polish. Using an applicator pad, work the polish into the surface using firm pressure and circular strokes. Once you have covered the surface, wipe clean any residual with a new cloth.

7. Your headlight lens should be MUCH better then it was. I still had some slight scratches in the surface from the 600 grit wetsanding process, so I did the whole thing over again and there was nothing left.
That's it! Let me know if you have any questions!
Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,936 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (FaelinGL)

pretty cool http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28,954 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (elements757)

great DIY. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28,954 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (idwurks)

Quote, originally posted by idwurks »
Def. need to add this to the DIY.
http://****************.com/smile/star.gif

added http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,936 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (bhb399mm)

Quote, originally posted by bhb399mm »

added http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif

the link is messed up
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,411 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (bhb399mm)

Quote, originally posted by bhb399mm »
great DIY. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif

x2
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
9,856 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (elements757)

good job, that looks awsome
Elvir
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28,954 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (elements757)

Quote, originally posted by elements757 »
the link is messed up

really?
....checking.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28,954 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (elements757)

Quote, originally posted by elements757 »
the link is messed up

fixed ... -2 user points from myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,984 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (bhb399mm)

Quote, originally posted by bhb399mm »

fixed ... -2 user points from myself.

nice DIY. i would hate doing that though, hopefully i will nver need it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,966 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (mujjuman)

nice. been meaning to freshin up my lights. good write up. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,076 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (Sic Gti)

http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
nice man. i need to do this to my escort beater.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,798 Posts
Re: DIY: Polishing PLASTIC...like headlights and tailights! (bluebora20v)

good job. very nice write-up and good pics. i'm doing it on thursday. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
1 cookie for you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,507 Posts
you, my friend, are awesome. thanks for a perfect diy. i'm doing this once indiana finally warms up enough to go outside for more than 5 minutes.
for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,036 Posts
it did this. works really well. except i started with 400 grit --> 600 --> 800 --> 1500 --> and ended with 2000
i used my porter cable random orbital polisher to polish in the rubbing compound and the plastic polish and it came out as good as new.
 
1 - 20 of 386 Posts
Top