Headlight Polishing DIY
This DIY will walk you through the steps of restoring your Mercedes-Benz headlights lenses. Headlight lenses turn yellow and discolor after prolonged exposure to UV rays. The use of this kit will remove the damaged top layer and polish the lens back to a like new appearance. You may even notice improved light output from clear headlight lenses.
Figure 1B: Headlight Lens After
Figure 2: Headlight Lens Before
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Estimate time for repair: 2 hours
Tools required: Power drill, 3M headlight restoration kit, microfiber towels, hose/water access
Step 1: Wash your vehicle and headlight lenses
The first step in the process is to make sure your vehicle is washed and that the headlight lenses are free from any dirt, grime, or debris. This will allow you to obtain a better finish.
Step 2: Mask off any area surrounding the headlight including the front fenders and front bumper
This is a vital step to ensure you do not damage the paint on your vehicle. Using painters tape, mask off the entire area surrounding your headlights. Alternatively, you could remove the headlights if you have access and the necessary tools. On the vehicle this is being performed on, the front bumper must be removed for headlight removal so it was not done.
Step 3: Using your power drill with the tan colored sanding disc, sand off the top layer of the headlight lenses
The 3M headlight restoration kit includes a series of sanding discs. These discs attach to your power drill via a velcro attachment. TOP TIP: make sure you use a corded drill or have backup batteries for your cordless drill – you’ll need them!
Our cordless drill was set on the lower speed setting for this procedure. The sanding discs work much better on a slower drill speed and reduces heat buildup and clogged discs.
Slowly start sanding away the top layer of the headlight. Don’t worry if you notice the headlight looking very cloudy, this means that sanding disc is doing its job. Once done, the headlight lens will look completely cloudy and have an even appearance.
Step 4: Sand the headlight lenses with the white colored disc
In this step, the headlights must be sanded with the white colored sanding discs. These sanding discs have a finer grit and will remove any of the very large scratches. Again, the drill should be at a lower speed to allow the sanding disc to work properly.
After you are finished with this step, the headlights will still look cloudy. They should have a slightly less cloudy appearance.
Step 5: Wet sand the headlight lenses with the grey colored disc
Clean the headlight lenses. Using a hose or spray bottle, wet the headlights. Don’t get the sanding disc too wet. The grey colored sanding disc is designed to be used with water, so make sure the disc doesn’t dry out. The grey sanding disc is an even finer grit to get the headlight lenses looking much clearer.
Step 6: Attach foam polishing pad to drill attachment and polish with rubbing compound
Attach foam pad to drill attachment. Apply a little of the polishing compound. Using the drill slowly polish the headlights. Make sure you have enough compound as you do not want the pad to dry out. In this step make sure you take your time, as the more you polish the nicer the finish of the headlight lenses will be.
After you are finished polishing use a microfiber towel to remove the excess compound. Buff to a like new appearance.