How to Repair a Faded Headlight Lens

by Larry Parr

If your headlight lens is plastic, as the majority of them are today, then it is subject to scratching and a general dulling. Over time, plastic headlight lenses tend to turn cloudy and murky, reducing the amount of light that is thrown onto the road, potentially making your nighttime driving more difficult as well as more dangerous. Fortunately most plastic headlight lenses are easy to clean and restore to near-new condition with just a few minutes of effort. I have tried this myself and have found it to work almost like magic.

Remove the plastic headlight lens by removing the three or four Phillips screws that are holding the lens in place.

Use a terry cloth towel to wipe automatic transmission fluid on your plastic lens, on both the inside and outside. In some cases you may have to use a little elbow grease, but often the cloudiness will simply wipe away instantly. After a few minutes of rubbing the lenses should sparkle like new.

Rinse the lenses off under running water, rubbing a small amount of dish soap onto the lenses with your fingertips. Wash off the soap with running water and pat the lenses dry with a paper towel.

Spray on a coating of clear lacquer to keep the lens looking like new. Allow the lacquer to dry for 30 minutes and spray on one more coat. Allow the second coat to dry for 30 minutes.

Replace the lenses. Your headlight should be considerably brighter and remain that way for many months.


  • check Wear gloves when using automatic transmission fluid. Do not breath the fumes.

Items you will need

About the Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.

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