is there an easy, cheap way to take that yellow faded look that happens to headlight covers and make then look newer without buying new covers?
If you’re referring to acrylic light covers and frames (rather than glass), yes, removing the dullness and yellowing can be a straight-forward DIY project. Before you get started, be absolutely certain to mask off around the area to be treated or you risk damage to the paintwork. Double masking is better.
STEP 1: Start with 400 grit carborundum sandpaper (black gray) and wet sand the covers until smooth and clear when wet.
STEP 2: Follow-up with 600-800 grit wet sand paper or rubbing compound applied with terrycloth applicator.
STEP 3: Then apply a fine finishing polish with terrycloth applicator and work that diligently over the piece to remove the scratches that sanding/compounding introduced. I’ve been told that Brasso works good as a finish polish, but I always use a car polish (Sonus SFX-3, Menzerna Final Polish II, or Griot’s Garage Fine Hand Polish).
STEP 4: When the results are to your liking, finish by applying a protective coating. I use Zaino acrylic sealant applied with foam wax applicator pad and buffed after curing, but there are also specialty plastic protective products on the market.
Expect to spend 45 minutes per side. Give it a try, but take your time, because like anything you wet sand, the project won’t look completely right until you’ve done all of the steps and you’re finished. Good luck.
They sell lens polishing kits at auto parts stores. However, this is only a temporary fix. You will either need to repeat the process or replace the lenses.
I’ve restored them beautifully more than once with just regular polishing compound and a drill mounted buffing pad. It works better if you keep the polishing compound wet.