Fixing a Scratched Headlight or Taillight

A car's headlight.

Mohamed Elkhamisy/EyeEm/Getty Images

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. 

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The Headlight Restorer and Defogger Pack

Scratch repair for plastic.

Adam Wright

The kit helped 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 worked well overall.

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 to get the job done.

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The Subject: Removable Hardtop for a 1958 Porsche Speedster

Scratch repair on this plastic window.

Adam Wright

After successfully cleaning a foggy headlight with this product, it was on to see if the headlight scratch remover could repair the aforementioned Porsche 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. It was the perfect test platform to evaluate the product.​

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Rough-Smooth the Scratched Surface

Remove the large scratches first.

Adam Wright

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 it makes 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.

Adam Wright

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

The finished product.

Adam Wright

The headlight scratch remover was able to polish out almost all of the scratches on the surface of this rear window. It provided a good finish, a significant improvement from what it looked like before.