Headlight before

A few weeks ago I started to notice that the left headlight on my 2002 Audi A6 was getting kind of messed up. By that I mean it was getting yellow and not nearly as jewel-like as the right one.

They’re of different vintages which is why I’m not surprised that it’s affecting one but not the other. The right one was replaced in 2004 or 2005 after I was in an accident caused by an uninsured driver (that was quite the headache!)

At first glance it looked and felt like it was inside the headlight, but as I started looking at it closer it seemed that the plastic itself was getting pitted on the outside. I decided to go to an auto parts store to see if I could get something to fix it. I came home with Rain-X’s kit.

The kit consists of three different sanding pads of increasing fine grit, sanding lubricant, sealant and the big bottle of headlight restorer. The headlight restorer seems like some variety of very fine cut rubbing compound — it has little white flecks of grit in it.

I followed the instructions and after a lot of elbow grease (using the #1 pad for around 15 minutes) the yellow was gone, but the pitting remained.

What I noticed is that the headlight itself seems to have two distinct layers of plastic, an outer harder plastic and an inner slightly softer plastic. It seemed that the abrasives in the kit weren’t up to the task of getting through the harder plastic. The problem is that while each layer seems clear, the area where the top layer was partially worn through looks like crap.

The kit might work for some folks, but the end result is only a bit better than the start. No yellowing, but still not what I would call awesome. I might give Meguiar’s kit a try to see if it works any better.

The end result

Update: Check out the 3M Headlight Restoration Kit for the winner product!

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