Tech Tip - Headlight Restoration Sanding Grits

With headlight restoration equipment on sale this month, I thought it would be a good idea to dive into a question we get a lot regarding headlight restoration – and that’s the use of the different sanding grits to remove the cloudiness from headlights. The questions we get typically revolve around when to use each specific grit and reasons why the cloudiness isn’t being removed.

First I want to mention that our Delta Kits headlight restoration systems include the following sanding disks: 180, 320, 500, 800, 1200, 1500, 3000 (polishing disc). Depending on the restoration needs of the headlight, you’ll want to start with either the 180 or the 320 grit.

I always start out with the 320, but if it’s not cutting through the cloudiness fast enough, I drop to a 180 followed by the 320, 500, etc. for about two minutes per disk.  In my opinion, you will get way better results if you use a few more grits and keep them as close together as possible.

Usually the only time I use the 180 is if the OEM coating is very hard and not coming off with 320. I think you'll know when you get headlights with a really hard coating, but you can check our Windshield Repair Forum where people list cars they have found to be "harder than normal" to get an idea of some of the cars that technicians have had problems with. 

Typically your last step, polishing with the 3000 polishing disc, is what takes away that last bit of cloudiness. It's extremely important to be patient with this step and even use an extra disc if you are not getting the desired results, although I don't typically find that necessary. 

I like to go one step further and polish the headlights with Delta Kits Premium Polishing Compound and a rotary polisher, such as the Makita model that we use in our shop, right before I apply Infinity 4.1. Many people don't find this additional step necessary, but it does take your end results to the next level. This is very important when only restoring a headlight on one side to match the look of a new one on the other side.

Remember: Every step of the sanding process is important for the best possible results, so it’s important not to skip steps or to rush steps until you are getting the desired results. Once you are achieving great results consistently you can start experimenting, but I follow the exact same procedure every time with the exception of sometimes starting with the 180 for really tough coatings.

Take a look at our step-by-step video tutorials for headlight restoration to get a visual of the process.

As always, please contact us if you have any comments or questions.

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