As this is a very common complaint I thought I'd have a go at trying to restore a pair of headlights on a Laguna 1 phase 2.These are the plastic lense light that discolour over time which not only make the car look untidy,but can also seriously reduce light output from the lights and also affect the beam pattern for the MOT.The lights on the car we had were pretty bad,I'm sure they could be prevented from getting this bad,but it made an interesting starting point.
In this photo I had already 'restored' one and the difference between the two is evident.....
I know the offside lense isn't perfect,but it is in a much better shape than the nearside one,time taken doing this job is definately rewarded and I only spent half an hour on each lense,the more patience you have the better the results will be.
First you need to gather a few things together.
800 grit wet and dry paper
1200 grit wet and dry paper
A container of soapy water
Some cleaning rags
Some rubbing compound.....I used G10 which is a proffessional paint restorer(God knows why I've got it...
) but I guess T-Cut would be the most readily available compound although it is much finer than G10.
A roll of masking tape.
First off,mask off the area around the headlight to protect it,then use the 800 paper on the headlight making sure that you use plenty of soapy water on it.Use a circular action and just take your time,keeping the paper wet at all times.(I'm only cleaning the main beam part of the lense for a demo).
Once you are happy that the area is smooth (or you loose interest like I did
),wipe the are clean and stand back and admire your result......
....and another go.....
Yay!.Bl00dy fantastic.......erm....no..at this stage don't panic.I know what your all thinking....yeah,Lag is a tw4t and we've just runined our headlights......but trust me.....honest!.
Then it's time for the 1200 grit paper(making sure that plenty of soapy water is used again),now this might not 'feel' like your doing anything,but it does begin to actually polish rather than scratch the lense.Once your done(again,time is the only constraint,the more time you spend the better the result),it will look like this (or better if you have more patience than me
Now it's time for the rubbing compound.This is where your process will probably differ from mine as T-Cut is much finer than G10 so you may have to work the 1200 grit paper for longer to achieve the same result.Brasso will give a similar result as T-Cut too,they are all slightly course although not quite in the same league as G10.To be honest,if I wanted to get a perfect result I should have used T-cut to finish after G10,but as long as the headlights look OK and the car passes the MOT then that was good enough,it is possible to achieve an 'as new' look,it will just take much longer.......
After finishing off the whole headlight we now have a Laguna 1 phase 2 which looks much happier and will pass the MOT with flying colours.....well,on the headlights anyway.
As I have said,the amount of time that is spent will decide how good the results are.If you wanted to just get the car through the MOT then the centre section is where the work needs to be done in front of the dipped beam bulb,if you wanted to restore the headlights to as they were from new then a couple of hours per light and some finer end polish would bring better results.You'll notice that the lower edge of the light is worst effected part so this needs the most work.You may also find that after a while the problem may come back,but at least you'll be able to sort it out and in a much shorter time than you had spent on them before hand,I'm sure a coat of polish over the lights now and again would help the lights stay clear for much longer.