How to Remove Yellow Discoloration from Clear Plastic Headlights

hazyheadlights

Gordon asked: How can I remove the yellow from plastic car headlight covers? I have older plastic lens covers on my car’s headlamps, and they have yellowed. Is there any way to take the yellow away?

Plastic covers can yellow from exposure to the sun and heat. Restoring these back to their original clear state can be accomplished. Here are the products and procedures to make it happen.

You Will Need:

  • Meguiars #10 Plastic Polish
  • Meguiars #17 Plastic Cleaner
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Foam applicator pad or foam sponge

Steps to Remove the Yellow Discoloration:

  1. Begin by cleaning the plastic well by applying a small amount of the plastic cleaner on a foam pad.
  2. Use circular motions all around the surface of the plastic.
  3. Continue scrubbing in circular motions until dirt and grime is removed.
  4. Wipe away any excess cleaner with the microfiber cloth.
  5. Once all the dirt is removed, the surface can be polished for extra cleaning.
  6. Apply the plastic polish, again using a foam pad.
  7. Use a circular motion over the entire surface of the plastic.
  8. Remove the excess polish and buff with the microfiber cloth.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If the above method does not remove the yellowing, there is a method that uses hydrogen peroxide that has been successful on various types of ABS plastic. Depending on the plastic, you may not be able to remove the yellow, as the sun can cause certain chemicals used in these materials to turn yellow – which would mean the yellow is not just on the surface.
  • More information about reversing yellowed plastic can be found in our guide How to Whiten Yellowed Plastic.
  • Always test a small area first to ensure there are no adverse effects to the headlights.

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