Grinding headlights under the lenses with their own hands

Restoring headlight functionality: polishing the diffuser

grinding, headlights, lenses, their, hands

The translucent part of car headlights in the process of operation loses its properties. Plastic becomes cloudy due to the abrasive effects of sand and dirt, as well as under the influence of aggressive media. Glass headlamps over time covered by the smallest chips, which greatly reduces the transparency and functionality of lighting devices. Even the beginner car enthusiast will be able to polish both with his hands if he wishes.

Getting ready to work

If you dare to polish glass yourself, arm yourself with necessary materials and tools. You can buy them separately or, for simplicity, get a ready-made set which traditionally may include:

  • different grit sizes of sandpaper;
  • Duct tape or masking tape;
  • cloths and rags;
  • polishing paste (you can also use varnish);
  • activator;
  • vinyl gloves.

If manual polishing is not expected, you must “arm” the grinder, drill or angle grinder with adjustable speed (although the latter two tools should be used with care to avoid overheating the glass). You also need to take nozzles for circles, and the work will also need cold water (clean or soapy solution).

For grinding and polishing a special device is useful. a frame, which helps to hold the glass while working. It is not difficult to make it yourself. To do this, three planks are nailed to the board in the shape of the letter “U”. On the bottom of the improvised frame it is advisable to put a wet rag or cloth, so that the material does not overheat while working. The size of such a frame will directly depend on the size of the glass.

It is important that it fit completely into the frame and does not dangle, then it will be much easier to work with it.

Before you start it is necessary to wash carefully with warm neutral detergent solution, degrease headlights and wipe them dry with napkins or rags. If you intend to polish not only the outer, but also the inner surface of the glass, the lanterns must be removed. The final preparatory stage is to paste the paintwork around the intended work area with masking tape or scotch tape, having previously softened its adhesive surface with oil. These procedures are necessary in order not to damage the coating. In the same way you need to secure the metal parts of the headlight and the sealing rubbers.

If due to overheating of the headlamp requires polishing the inner surface, the light device is dismantled (before that a part of the bumper is removed). With the help of a hair dryer, the headlight polish. After that proceed to work with the inner surface of the headlight and the lens.

Pay special attention to the quality of the used polish, because glass is harder than polymers and not every compound will do for treatment. This material is difficult to remove mechanically, so it is better to use diamond paste for the finish. This compound has inclusions of diamond crumbs sized 2-3 microns. It can be applied by hand and with the help of a power tool.

Polishing headlights with toothpaste at home with your own hands

Polishing headlights with toothpaste gives a tangible effect when there are no chips and large scratches on them

This type of polishing gives tangible effect in the absence of chips and large scratches. At its core, toothpaste is a very fine abrasive that, thanks to additives, has additional properties (smell, whitening, and others). Using the abrasive properties of toothpaste, you can clean the glass and plastic headlight covers from turbidity, dust and dirt. For this, you need a tube of toothpaste, some soft towels or rags, water to wash away the resulting slurry.

Genius Technique of Polishing an Old Car Headlights

Clean the headlamp cover, apply the paste to the cloth and rub the surface hard with a circular motion. Wash the paste off. Wipe off. Apply polish and buff. If there are no deep scratches, the headlights will shine with a nice clean.

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Polishing headlamp glass under lenses by yourself. Step by step, point by point

You should start with the fact that polishing headlight glass for lenses is not a simple task for the average person. In such a situation, people prefer to trust the work to professionals in this field or to buy glass in a store, rather than try to do the work with their own hands.

To perform this operation takes a number of tools, a certain skill and experience. It is worth noting that ready-made polished glasses in the store can cost a pretty penny, which raises the question: do the work yourself or spend the money on the necessary part? If the scales are tilted towards doing it yourself, then this article is for you.

Your own polishing of headlight glasses for lenses. Step by step, point by point

Your own polishing headlamp glass under the lens. Step by step, point by point

To begin with the fact that the polishing of headlight glass for lenses is not a simple task for the average person. In such a situation, people prefer to trust the work to professionals in this field or buy glass in a store, rather than try to do the work with their own hands.

To perform this operation will come in handy a number of tools, a certain skill and experience. It is worth noting that in the store, ready-made polished glasses can cost a pretty penny, which raises the question: do the work yourself or spend money on the right part? If the scales are tilted toward doing it yourself, this article is for you.

Polishing headlamp glass for lenses requires the following steps. First, you need to prepare the workplace. You need to take a board and four slats. 3 of them need to be nailed to the board so that the construction resembles the letter “U”. The fourth needs to be fixed a little further away from all the others, so that there was an opportunity to drain the water.

Then there may be a legitimate question: “What size should be the design in the form of a P?”. Answer: “It depends on the glass to be polished.”. On the one hand the construction should not be too small so that the glass will be able to fit, and on the other hand, not too big, so that the glass does not feel too loose.

Another tip is to put a damp cloth on the bottom of this design, and then put the glass. What comes in handy when doing the job? You will need the following tools to polish the glass:

  • Drill with the ability to adjust the speed;
  • Wet cloth;
  • A lap attachment;;
  • emery paper
  • Cold water to cool the glass as needed.

Headlight polishing technology. Instructions for polishing headlamps. Headlight polishing with your own hands

Headlamp polishing is used in cases of clouding, yellowing, or to correct defects and scratches resulting from minor accidents and incidents.

buy a headlamp polishing kit. There are both DIY and professional headlight polishing kits

Important! Only headlamps with plastic hood can be polished.

Before polishing, the headlights must be thoroughly washed and dried. In cases of severe deep scratches, the headlight(s) must be removed from the car. In other cases, it is sufficient to cover the surfaces of the car adjacent to the headlight (edges of the bumper, fenders, grille) with paper or painter’s tape. It is necessary to take into account that the laminating needs to be done in several layers, so as not to damage the surface in the process of working with the polishing machine.

Headlight polishing at home with your own hands. Step-by-step procedure in pictures

Headlight polishing only affects modern cars, as new technologies and requirements for manufactured cars, forced automobile manufacturers to resort to the use of plastic glass on the headlamps instead of glass as it was before. There are both technical advantages and disadvantages caused by the time of use.

The external layer of such glass scratches, grows dull, is covered with a layer of road dirt, under the influence of periodic heating from the lamps, and road conditions contribute. constant attacks of small gravel do not remain unaffected on the surface of headlamps.

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The capacity of such glass is noticeably reduced, and the appearance leaves much to be desired.

But do not get upset and run to the store for new headlights. Polycarbonate glasses in headlamps can be easily restored to their former appearance, and are not inferior to the new ones after the polishing process.

Technology restore transparency of headlamps includes a wet grinding abrasive wheels graded from P600 to P3000, to achieve an even and smooth surface, if there are scratches, and actually polishing, in order to achieve full transparency of the optics. And when the surface is covered and more protective varnish, as is done at the factory, then they will be as new, the procedure will not have to repeat in a year again.

Tools and materials for polishing

So, to polish the headlight with your own hands we will need:

  • Sandpaper for washing with gradation P600-1200, 1500, 2000 and P2500, it is better if it will be SIA or 3M paper. you will not find the best abrasive and paper with better durability.
  • Polish. Here you have to go for a high abrasive, and maximum quality. polishing plastic is not as easy as it seems. Therefore, it would be more respectable to give the choice of polish 3M first number. Article 09374. it has the largest abrasive in its range, and actually polishes, not grease. And here on “finish” it is possible to take and polishing paste 09376, for creation of gloss, and a polisher with a wavy surface.
  • Well and naturally polishing machine, with foam wheel, t.к. You can’t do the polishing process by hand.
  • And as the small consumables, such as lint-free cloths, towel and degreaser.

Before you start polishing, be sure to wash the headlight well and wipe dry. So, you can accurately assess the degree of damage and determine the initial gradation of the emery wheel. When it is not only muddy but also has deep scratches, you will have to start sanding with a coarser grit to remove the damaged plastic layer down to 0.1 mm.

In those cases where the headlight is not dismantled, and polishing will be done on the car. qualitatively cover all parts of the body adjacent to it with masking tape, so as not to damage during the abrasive treatment.

First you need to wash the glass. wash off with sandpaper the upper layer with embedded dirt, small chips and scratches. You need a coarser paper, 600 gradation. It is necessary to wash with water, only an external plane of a glass, constantly wetting sandpaper in fresh water.

Although there is an option of dry polishing, the surface is only wiped with a damp cloth after each stage, but it is still better if you do it wet. It is also necessary to watch for the absence of sand under the sandpaper. there is a possibility to scratch the glass even more.

The surface should turn out uniformly matte, without stains or other dullness that is on the outside.

This is followed by more finishing with 1200-1500 gradation. It is necessary to “knock down the risk” from the previous, coarser, number of sandpaper.

This step should be performed until micro-scratches from the previous number are completely removed. To determine the degree of blurring of each successive number, you can perform the movement in different directions.

So, it will allow you to see in a good light, whether microscratches from the previous number are overlapped.

Number 2000 is almost a surface finish, i.e.к. it is a little heavy for the polish and can not cope with polishing its traces, but to make the “risk” much less, it is able as good as nowhere else. At the finishing stage, when finishing the surface with P2500 paper, it is worth giving more patience and making more effort. This is the last number, after polishing it should not leave any traces of previous numbers, and the surface will be almost glossy, and through the glass, though cloudy from washing, you can see the headlight reflector more clearly.

Remember to carefully clean (with a microfiber or rinse with water) the surface of a car headlight from the remaining abrasive material and erased plastic particles before each change to a finer grit level.

After all these water procedures, follows the process of polishing. When you are done with polishing (washing), you should clean the surface with a jet of water. Do not use a rag, because you will scratch the surface with the remaining abrasive. For self-polishing it is necessary to put a small amount of polish on a glass of headlight, but not on a circle, rub it on the area, and polish with the machine until the surface becomes ideally clear. For polishing it is better to take not one but several different grit pastes at a time.

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the polishing paste should not be too much, and the circle moistened only slightly, it will prevent the rapid drying out, weathered polish and good contact with the surface of the headlight.

Start the polishing procedure with a coarse paste and a roughening wheel. The speed of the machine to keep no more than 1500-1800 rpm.

But at this stage, there are also a couple of points:

  • It is better if the headlight is removed and someone holds it firmly in their hands.
  • Do not keep the machine in one place for a long time. overheating the glass can cause it to crack, or darken on the inner layers, the so-called “overshadowing”. That’s why it is better to press the wheel not too hard and drive it in a chosen small range (about one-third of the glass area), in different directions.

Then, after removing the abrasive remnants of paste, continue, but using a medium grit along with the same, less hard wheel. And the speed should be kept at 2000-2500.

Finish, the process of polishing headlights, can be fine and finishing pastes combined with a soft wheel, traditionally removing the residue from the previous, and its amount is very small.

That is basically all, but to consolidate the effect, you can do another “finishing touch”. to apply a protective coating, similar to the factory. a special varnish. But the room in which you process the headlamp, as well as the air in it must be clean, otherwise the dust will settle on the surface and the work will be in vain.

Such polish is applied not longer than 5-10 minutes with a lint-free cloth, moving from top to bottom from the top corner of the headlamp, so that the surface is treated with the overlap of the already traversed part.

Polishing headlamps on the inside

The reverse side of the headlight glass is not amenable to mechanical and chemical effects, only heated and covered with dust. So this kind of polishing is not made. only cosmetic. Therefore, in the case where the car’s optics faded not only outside but also inside, it is necessary to resort to additional procedures. Clean it first, and then treat it with polishing fluid.

You can clean and polish the inside of the headlight in two ways (without disassembly) using one of the products for cosmetic restoration of transparency.

First method

First, dismantle the headlight and remove all the bulbs. Then pour the polishing liquid and seal the holes with painter’s tape. And rub the headlight assembly for a few minutes. As a result you will see how the color of the product will change, which will indicate that the cleaning process is going well. Repeat this step several times until the cleansing effect is visible: the color of the fluid does not change, the headlamp becomes clearer. The final step is to rinse with water and dry with warm air.

The second way

Do not use if the entire inner surface is cloudy, but only a spot. Two magnets, a soft cloth, and polishing fluid will help remove it. Wet one piece and wrap the magnet in it. To put it in, tie a thread. Wrap the second magnet as well, so as not to spoil the previously done polishing work on the outside. By moving the spot, you can get rid of the clouding.

After such a long time of work, you can be proud of yourself and the achieved result. After all, as you can see, properly perform polishing with your own hands is not so simple. But your car will not only become more attractive, but also enjoy better lighting.

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