The switch away from sealed-beam headlights helped us all. Seriously. There’s nothing crappier than having to search around all weekend for a bulb that’s EXACTLY the right shape and size for your 280Z. (Yes, I’ve been there.) But that’s the upshot. The downside: Over time the plastic covers over modern headlights starts to develop a fuzzy film from scratches and weather wear. And this dims your lights. Plus it looks totally crappy.
So why not take some time this weekend and polish ’em up? A number of companies sell tools to help you do the job, and they’re all pretty effective — assuming you get started early enough. (Hint: If your headlight covers are yellowed, you’re probably screwed. That’s a chemical change that you can’t polish away.)
Most kits include some kind of polish plus a polishing wheel for you to chuck up in your cordless drill. At the high end of consumer products you’ll find Meguiar’s kit, checking in at $25, for which you receive a tube of their PlastX product, a buff pad, and a microfiber towel. Reviews of the kit online seem mixed, but I suspect that those results might be skewed a bit by sour grapes over waiting too long to start the process.
On the cheap-ass tool end you’ll find a $10 kit from Harbor Freight, pictured above, including a tiny tube of polishing solution, three foam pads, and a 2-3/4″ backing pad with a 1/4″ shank for drill attachment.
Of course, if you’re planning on going into the headlight cover restoration business, Meguiar’s offers a “pro” kit with two pneumatic buffers, a ton of buffing pads, and their commercial-level solution for a whopping $500.
Regardless of which solution you choose, though, we recommend trying a little of it on the corner of your lamp cover by hand first to assure you’re not going to make a bad situation worse. If all goes well, switch to power and take it a little at a time.
And if you don’t get decent results with polish, you can always opt for replacement. Some covers are pretty reasonably priced, starting around $50 each. Others can run upwards of $200. Doh!