As cars get older, the headlights can turn yellow or cloudy from dirt and oxidation. This is both aesthetically unappealing and can be dangerous, as it restricts visibility when driving at night. What many people do not know is that this is fixable, and won't always require replacement parts.

It may seem logical to take the lens covers off and clean it independently, but this generally means having to take the entire headlight assembly apart. This can be a real hassle, especially when the bumper needs to be removed to do so. However, most auto parts stores carry lens restoration kits that can be used with a power drill. The kits come with everything you will need to get your headlights clear and like new.

The first step is to clean the headlights with soap and water to remove any unnecessary debris. Then, you should tape off the area around the lens so as not to damage the body while sanding the lens covers.

The next step is to sand down the lenses, one by one. It is important to keep the sander moving slow and steady so your work is even. Keeping it in one place for too long can heat the plastic lens and ruin it. You should also be sure to apply a moderate amount of pressure throughout the process, as too much can cause deep scratches in the surface and too little pressure will not get the job done.

When this step is done, wipe the lens. It should appear uniformly frosted, and if you notice any clear or glossy areas, you should go back over them before proceeding to the next step.

Then, you will sand with a finer grain to remove any noticeable scratches. Once that is done, an even finer grain will be used. It is important that the final round of sanding is done with water. The sandpaper and the lens should both be wet for this part. When this is done correctly, the lens should appear clear and free of scratches.

Now it's time to polish the lens surface, with a buffer and compound that come in a standard lens restoration kit. Once it has been polished, wipe it down with a clean detail cloth and remove the tape. Your lenses should look good as new.