How to Repair a Scratched Headlight or Tail Light Lens

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The Headlight Restorer and Defogger Pack

Scratch repair for plastic.
The Scratch Repair Kit. photo by Adam Wright, 2008

The CV Headlight Restorer and Defogger claims to be able to remove scratches and haziness from plastic lenses on headlights and taillights. We decided to put this product to the test and found that it worked. The kit helped to polish a scratched headlight lens as well as a Plexi rear window on a 1958 Porsche Speedster. While the finish was not perfect on the really bad spots, it was pretty amazing and worked well overall.

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The Subject: Removable Hardtop for a 1958 Porsche Speedster

Scratch repair on this plastic window.
Can we remove the scratches from this window?. photo by Adam Wright, 2008

After successfully cleaning a foggy headlight with this product, it was on to see if the headlight scratch remover could repair a 1958 Porsche Speedster with a removable hardtop. The rear window is Plexi (hard plastic) and was severely scratched up after 50 years of high-speed driving. The window had hazing, light scratches and few deep gouges -- the perfect test platform to evaluate the product.

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Scratch Repair Kit: What's in the Bag

The scratch repair kit comes with everything needed to perform all steps in the removal process. There is a stack of abrasive cloths, two different rubbing and polishing compounds, and a rubber glove to protect hands. All in all, it offers everything you need -- and enough of it -- to get the job done.

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Using the First Compund to Rough-Smooth the Scratched Surface

Remove the large scratches first.
Use CV1 to start the process of scratch repair. photo by Adam Wright, 2008

The first thing to do is fully clean your plastic part, whether it is a headlight or a Plexi window. Even a single grain of sand can not only make all of your efforts pointless but make the situation much, much worse. Once you have cleaned it up, take the first emery paper and use it to rub in the first compound, CV1 (they are clearly marked in the kit). You don't need to put tons of pressure on it; let the compound do the work slowly and you'll get a better result. Continue to rub with CV1 until you've rubbed away the large scratches. The compound will severely fog the surface, which is to be expected.

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Polish the Scratched Area

CV2 removes fine scratches and polishes the plastic.
Switch to the 2nd compound for fine scratch removal. photo by Adam Wright, 2008

Now you've got what looks like a really screwed up piece of plastic. It's fogged and covered in tiny scratches that you put there. No problem ... things have to get just a little bit worse before they get better.

Apply enough CV2 to cover the repair area lightly. Rub the surface the same way as before -- circular motion, not too hard. You'll start to see the scratches go away, so keep rubbing. At this point, you're actually polishing the plastic surface. If you think you're done, wipe the area with a clean cloth. If there are still small scratches, reapply the rubbing compound and rub some more.

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The Finished Product: A Clear Rear Window

Removing scratches is not too hard.
The finished window, almost scratch free. photo by Adam Wright, 2008

The headlight scratch remover was able to polish out almost all of the scratches on the surface of this rear window not to mention vehicle lights. It provided a good finish if you are looking for a significant improvement.