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I recently bought a 175k mile 2009 RAV4 and the headlights were really bad:

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I sanded them with 2500 and then 3000 grit wet/dry sandpaper, and then polished them with a dual action polisher and Meguiars Plastix, I then spray painted them with a clear coat to protect them. After you sand and polish these lights, the look really good, but now all the UV protectant is gone, so you need something. There are several wipe on products that give some level of UV protection, but none of them last as long as a clear coat and I've seen friends use them only to have their headlights look worse than they did at the start just a year or so later. It is not worth cleaning these headlight up unless you are going to protect them. Here they are after the clear coat:

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It looks pretty good after clear coat, but you can see plenty of orange peel in the clear coat and, as a result of the orange peel, the light projection pattern was kind of diffuse so I sanded down the clear coat, being careful not to sand through it to the plastic, and this time polished using Meguiars Ultimate Polish. Now they were looking really nice:

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But even then I was not done. I was about to treat my wife's Nissan Leaf with CQuartz ceramic coating, so I decided to treat my freshly restored headlights with the ceramic coating and the result was amazing:

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They now look feel like glass and, with both clear coat paint and a top layer of ceramic coating, I expect they will keep the 'brand new' look for as long as I own the car.

This was the first time I had ever color sanded anything or used a dual action polisher (borrowed from a friend) and I found it all fairly easy.

The light intensity and pattern thrown from the headlights now is super sharp. I'll look into upgrading to LED bulbs shortly.
 

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FWIW, I did the CQuartz ceramic coating full coverage coat on my Nissan Leaf. Paint, headlights, windows, mirrors, etc. The result was shocking. Here it is after driving in the rain. This is the ceramic coating only, no wax or any other products. This was a good strong rain storm...look at the micro beads:

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