2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Headlight Restoration
by Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor on April 19, 2016
I finally had a little time to continue cleaning up the damage from a desert sandstorm. This time around it's the headlights.
Quite a while back, the good folks at Turtle Wax stopped by our offices to give us an update on their latest products and left some samples, too. Included in the samples were several boxes of their Headlight Lens Restorer, which includes a rubbing compound, a spray lubricant and four abrasive pads with finer and finer grits.
I was pretty confident that it would make the cloudy lens clear again because I've used it once before on Riswick's Z3.
The first step was to apply some of the rubbing compound, which I suspect would take care of really minor hazing. It had very little impact so I went to the next step. I sprayed down the number one pad and the lens with the lubricant and firmly rubbed back and forth for a few minutes. Then more spray and the number two pad rubbing up and down. I repeated the process until I got to the fourth and finest grit pad.
I wiped the lens off and it was more clouded over than when I started, but it was uniformly cloudy. The last step was a return to the rubbing compound and this took the most effort. Eventually, it wiped clear and there was much rejoicing.
In the main image you can see the difference where I ran some painter's tape right down the middle. The results are significant, no?
The only issue I had was the lack of a sealing protective wax to finish it off. I'll stop by an auto parts store to take care of that today. Looking at Turtle Wax's website, it appears as though their updated Headlight Lens Restorer now includes a sealing wipe. The old box we have states "Clarity in 5 Minutes!," but it took me about 15 minutes for each headlight and about 10 minutes for each marker light below.
Let's call it an even hour including cleanup. Since those headlights cost $954 each, it was time well spent.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 8,600 miles