Polishing Headlights

Polishing and Restoring the headlight lens on my 2005 BMW X5

With age plastic headlights develop a nasty haze that eventually renders your headlights almost useless. My X5 was pretty much to that point when I bought it. I had never tried restoring headlights before as I prefer to just buy new lens pieces and swap them out.

Unfortunately the horribly overpriced headlights in my X5 are not designed to come apart once made. This meant that even if I had new lens pieces to swap out with it would be difficult to install them to say the least and I couldn’t find any to buy either. Also at $1450 a headlight I don’t see me replacing them anytime soon.

Mine at the adaptive xenon headlights that not only auto level but actually turn in the direction your turning when driving. Its wild watching them in action but not $1450 a headlight worth of wild if you ask me…

Well on to how my first attempt at polishing turned out.

Both headlights looked like this when I started :


This was after using the 3M polishing kit on it :


There are so many howto’s on the net for using the 3M kit I didn’t do one and it was storming that day too 🙂

I may do one in the future on here.

I do want to point out a few important steps though. First take your time. Start with the most aggressive sand paper in the kit and do most of the work with it. ALL roughness in the lens should be gone before moving up to the finer sand paper. The smoother grit paper is not going to be able to get bad nicks or scratches out like the course paper can. The course paper is not for polishing the headlights. Its for smoothing them out and removing damage from the lens. The finer grit paper will handle all polishing steps.

Also note the blue tape on the painted areas. The sand paper will rip your clear coat off the paint in a heart beat so use the tape or you WILL regret it.


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