Hey guy! Looking for a way to make your old jalopy look 10yrs younger? Restore your headlights fool. If eyes are the windows to a person’s should, then your car’s headlights are the…door to its heart. Or something. I don’t know.
What I do know is that Mothers hooked us up with their NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit so we could test it out. I’ve always been pretty skeptical of these kinds of kits ever since they first started appearing a few years ago. But we here at FactoryTwoFour are men of science, so we rounded up an old Honda with beat-up lenses and got to testing.
Our mule is a 2004 CR-V with fairly, but not extremely, faded and scratched lenses. Mothers’ kit is pretty straight forward. You tape off the area to protect the bodywork paint, then attach the spongy buffing dome to a cordless drill. Dribble on a nickel-sized dot of the restoration compound and get buffing. Even if you take it easy with the RPMs, there will be fine compound splatter sent all over. All. Over. Don’t have a nicely washed vintage car parked next to the vehicle you’re working on. Ask me how I now.
I didn’t think the damage or yellowing to the Honda’s headlights were all that bad, so I was surprised when the buffing wheel and compound didn’t make that much of a difference. It looked ever-so-slightly shiny-er, but still very faded. Luckily, the Mothers kit included additional options for “highly-damaged” lights. If our Honda’s lights count as highly damaged, woe be unto you if your headlights are so far gone they look like yellow fog lamps.
For severely scratched lenses, Mothers provides three graduating sanding discs – 800, 1500, and 3000 grit. The process is much the same as the buffing ball, save for now you are wet sanding so now you need to keep a solid film of water on the lens as you sand away all the pits and scratches.
Going from disc to disc, the Honda’s headlights got worse (because now I’m scratching away whole layers of plastic) to just generally hazy all over with the 3000 grit. Now its back to the soft buffing ball to finish off. Did it work?
You know, it actually did. I had my doubts, but after the full restoration process, the lenses were left pretty near perfect and smooth. I definitely and completely recommend picking up the Mothers headlight restoration kit if your headlights are looking a bit yesteryear. All in, both lamps took me about 2 hours, but that included camera set up and testing on different portions of the lens. If you dive right in, you should have new headlights in about an hour. Then your car will look brand new again, and valets will stop pretending their lot is “full.”