How To: Wetsand Headlights....with pics!

Keven

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2008
Location
Tampa FL
TDI
2000 Jetta TDI
I just started a "restoration" of my 2000 Jetta I bought 2 weeks ago. The headlights were looking pretty bad so I thought I would freshen them up and document it incase others were interested as well. Its pretty simple to do, took me about 2 hours, and has great results. Heres what I used, but you can use any combination of compound/polish and wax you would like. This is what I always use/had on hand and it did the trick well:

Bucket
Dishsoap
Plenty of micro fiber towels
1500 grit sandpaper
1000 grit sandpaper
Novus stage 3 heavy scratch remover
Mothers Powerpolish
Zymol cleaner wax
3m masking tape



Before:

Notice the heavy buildup of something peeling/growing/who knows in the bottom left corner here....it almost look like a clear coat was peeling or something.


Tape off around the headlights to protect the paint. I used a 1" strip around the headlights and then a 2" strip over that to protect a little farther. You can remove your bumper but I didnt want to go through the extra work and then deal with realigning everything. I also popped the hood so I didnt have to mask the hood/have better access to the top of the light.After that start with 1000 grit sandpaper, soapy water and start scrubbing! Make sure you get uniform coverage and keep the sand paper wet/clean to prevent heavy scratches. After working both headlights switch to 1500 grit and go at it again. I would do one headlight, clean it with the hose and then go to the next one. After the first headlight dried you could see spots you missed or parts that were still yellow and then you could go over that spot again.

Left sanded with 1000(still wet so in reality it wasnt that clear), right untouched:

Left with 1000, right with 1500 (both wet)
 
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Keven

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2008
Location
Tampa FL
TDI
2000 Jetta TDI
Then whip out a microfiber and a heavy polish/compound. Apply multiple times and at this point the light really starts looking good and becoming clear.
This is with the Novus heavy scratch remover:

Then apply the finer polish to remove the light scratches and add wax!




Pretty simple deal, but as you can see pretty good results

Before:

After:
 

Farfromovin

Torque Addict
Joined
Apr 9, 2005
Location
Ventura, CA
TDI
03 Golf 2dr- PD150 6m
This is a necessity on our older cars. I cringe when I see dulled lights. It really helps the light come through. It did on my cars at least. Good results OP!
 

aja8888

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Location
Texas..RETIRED 12/31/17
TDI
Out of TDI's
I just did it on my Golf. The original owner had sprayed the headlights with clear acrylic paint. Now that they are clean & shiney (and clear) I ordered Lumin-x 20 mm lens covers for them.

Tony
 

onehotspud

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI
I put the luminx on my lights also after I polished them up. But now the laminx is getting scratched up. :) Very fine, light scratches.
 

keggo

Veteran Member
Joined
May 12, 2007
Location
SF Bay Area
TDI
2015 Golf TDI
Buy Xpel headlight protection film. Made by 3M. I had it on my 4Runner after I did the HID projector retrofit and they worked great! I actually need to order a pair for my Jetta's lights...

http://www.xpel.com

UV and scratch resistant...
 
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Keven

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2008
Location
Tampa FL
TDI
2000 Jetta TDI
Hmmmm didnt see the DIY on vortex, but it is definitly not neccesary for start with 600 grit on headlights....thats just creating more work for you. 1000 was almost overkill for me.

Thanks for the props! Ill update this in a few months
 

SuperChicken

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2006
Location
Vernon, BC
TDI
1999.5 Jetta TDI
Nice writeup, I've done this to a few cars and I maintain mine with a cleaner wax / polish semi-annually. About time to do it again!
 
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