Headlamp restoration

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I aim to misbehave
Sep 19, 2006
I got one of these $22 kits from 3M. Basically 500, 800 and 3000 grit pads and a couple of packets of "magic juice" is all it is. This is a single :banana: job, patience & a steady hand are the only requirements.

Headlamps (4).JPG

Here's a recent shot of my truck before I did this. They were not terrible, but they still had that fogged over look at the center of the lamps that was not appealing. Mine had not yellowed yet, so I don't think I had to spend as much time sanding as others may have to do.


Once you remove the bezel, you can skip the masking tape step because you won't be in danger of scratching paint. [pic below is after completing both lamps]

Headlamps (3).JPG

I took my time using a power drill and made slow passes up / down / around in concentric circles with a low RPM (100-150 is my guesstimate). I wiped down the surface with a damp shop towel between full passes to check my progress - looking for areas that were still shiny on the surface. As long as the finish looks consistent and you don't bear down too hard, you can get through the 500 grit stage in about 5 minutes. I spent a little bit more time with the 800 grit, probably 8-10 minutes to get an even finish.

Then with the 3000 grit you need a spray bottle of water to wet sand it. I spent about 5-7 minutes on this stage. I wiped it down with the shop towel again to check for a consistent haze - as with all the sanding stages you are not polishing to a clear final stage, but an even frosted look.

Once the sanding is done and you have wiped it down with the detail cloth provided, you lightly apply the magic juice which is in the form of a folded up wet wipe. The instructions tell you to leave it folded and to just drag the edge of it across the headlamp surface lightly in overlapping passes. Start at the top, make horizontal passes and work your way down. I only had to do this once and was able to save the wipe in its foil packet for my second headlamp. At the end of completing both headlamps, I had only used about half my sanding pads (500/800) and one of the magic juice packets - so I can do this again in a few years as necessary. However, they only give you one 3000 grit pad, so I may need to find another one of those when the time comes.

Headlamps (2).JPG

Headlamps (1).JPG
Need to do this for mine one of these days. Mine are pretty fogged over after 13 years / 200,000 miles. One of them is still the factory original headlight.
Wow, looks great, the lights on our truck need to be done sooner than later, reading this write-up might just motivate me to grab a kit!
Great write-up as always @BMThiker, thanks!

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