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Restoring Headlights (MOT Failure)
Clio headlights often look cloudy and yellowed when the UV coating has broken down over the years of sun exposure etc. Most cars with plastic headlight lens suffer from this, and there are many restoration kits available should you not have the general materials to complete the job.

The favourite for me was the 3M kit. It's around £15-20 and comes with drill attachments, plenty of sanding discs of various grades, the compound with a foam attachment pad, and some decent masking tape.

Headlights are now a common MOT failure or advisory !


  • Standard Drill or Cordless with speed sensitive controls / trigger
  • Window Cleaner & Microfibre
  • 3M Headlight Restoration Kit or a similar kit
  • Masking Tape if not included with your kit
  • Dust Mask / Gloves - Especially if working in a confined space
  • Hose Pipe / Spray Bottle of Water


So, it's best to do this when the car needs a clean, as it will need washing afterwards anyway. The aim is to restore clarity back into the lens and improve headlight performance. Ultimately it will massively improve the appearance of your Clio.

  1. Give both headlights a quick clean with some window cleaner and a microfibre, or some soap and water to remove any road grime / contaminates etc.
  2. Use your masking tape to protect the edging of the bonnet, grill, wings and bumper. Popping the bonnet out the way is optional but does result in residue flying in the harder to clean areas. If you are using cheap masking tape then you need to ensure at least two layers are used, as you don't want to be sanding your paint off.. !
  3. Use your chosen drill, and attach the sanding mount ready for the most abrasive disc if the headlights are very bad. Get a feel of the drill and speed, practicing a smooth / medium rpm. Rpm too high will cause excessive heat and potentially cause permanent damage, too low will cause under-performance, unnecessarily wearing the discs out, and everything jumping around.
  4. Using a light to medium pressure, begin sanding to remove the yellowing and and main surface defects from the lens. A slow and steady back and forth action will be most effective. When the disc becomes clogged up and no longer sands effectively replace with another new one. Wiping the disc frequently will reduce clogging and extend life. DO NOT use excessive pressure on the headlight or hold the drill in one spot for too long whilst sanding.
  5. Wipe off the lens and ensure all yellowing and defects have been completely removed. The lens should now have a smooth and even white frosted surface. Repeat the process if any portions of clear / glossy / defects still exist.
  6. Next move up through the higher grade sanding discs, and again use a light to medium pressure to remove the abrasive disc sanding scratches, making several passes to ensure it is left smooth with no coarse scratching. Do not be tempted to rush through this stage, even though the yellowing has already disappeared. Unclog discs regularly to prolong life.
  7. Wipe off the lens and ensure all scratching has been removed leaving a very fine matt smooth finish. Move onto the final highest grade / foam disc depending which kit you have. Use water at this stage, and dampen the lens before sanding. Ensure the lens is regularly sprayed with a mist of water and does not run dry. You will notice this stage becoming messy from the water creating a residual or slurry build up, which indicates you are removing the final sanding scratches, this is good, so keep things clean and wiped off whilst you make the passes. Extra sanding at this stage will make the final finishing steps easier and deeply improve clarity.
  8. Clean off the lens and it should be somewhat clear with no scratching. Repeat any above steps if they are still evident with water and sanding.
  9. Attach the foam polishing compound pad onto your drill, and dispense a small blob of the polish onto the pad. Before using the drill, smear the polish with the pad all around the headlight lens to reduce splatter. Do not be tempted to use too much polish at a time as it will require excess clean up and splatter, however do not run the pad dry. Hold the pad flat and polish the lens until the cloudy haze disappears and clarity is significantly improved. If any additional clarity is needed or desired, simply apply another blob of polish and continue buffing.
  10. If any sanding, scratching or defects are still visible then repeat steps above 6 - 9.
  11. Remove all masking tape, and wipe lens area clean with a microfibre or terry cloth.
  12. Wash any residue / splatter off with your normal car wash, or preferably give the complete car a thorough wash to remove any sanding dust.
  13. Stand back and admire your like-new headlights! Cool Keep the lights fresh with regular waxing to ensure UV protection, or simply repeat this process when required.

Any questions or suggestions / editing welcome for this guide.

Thanks for reading, and good work !  Thumbs Up
Mine are looking better

[Image: 20180726-205658-01.jpg]

[Image: 20180726-211016-01.jpg]

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