Went to clear coat my headlights after I sanded and removed all the yellow oxidation.

Final sanding before applying clear coat was with 3000 grit.

The temperature inside the garage was ~59F.

Used Krylon clear non-yellowing krylon

Directions say to spray with temperatures anywhere from 50-90F enter image description here

I first applied light coats then little heavier coats after. Both came out dull/milky but some of it went away.

Figured I'd give it 24 hrs to cure and maybe clear up but today it looked dull with minimal milkiness.

Tried light wet sanding and buffing but it still has a dull appearance that's more noticeable in person than pictures for some reasonenter image description here

I don't think their was much humidity in the air as the temperature wasn't that high.

Any tips for avoiding this?

  • Just curious, I've never seen anything about clear coating headlights after a refurbish. Given the issue of getting it the way you like it, what are the advantages to clear coating it?
    – cdunn
    Nov 10, 2016 at 18:03
  • Protects it from yellowing again because it will happen again in a couple months. But you need to use a non-yellowing clear coat like I did
    – ohmmy
    Nov 10, 2016 at 18:05
  • How did you clean the lense before putting the clear coat on? Also, clear coat needs to be UV Resistant ... maybe that's what the "non-yellowing" really means, but I'd ensure it has this on the can before I bought it. It's the UV rays and oxygen which yellows the clear coat and the lense. Nov 10, 2016 at 20:53
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 I wiped it down with a degreaser. With clear do you spray light coats or thick?
    – ohmmy
    Nov 10, 2016 at 22:09
  • 1
    I would go light to thick as you said you did. I don't know really what issue you're having, but you were on the lower end of the heat scale. I think you would have had better results nearer to 90°F than at 59°F. Also, when you are spraying, you should only let it dry about 5-10 minutes until it becomes tacky, the spray the next coat. It will help the layers adhere to each other. You really didn't say how long you let it dry between. Nov 10, 2016 at 22:29

2 Answers 2


All you need to do is polish it. All rattle can clear coat looks like this. I did the whole rear end of a car after repairing some rust. I did black with clear over it. The clear just didn't have a mirror finish. It was smooth, but had a slight orange peel. I just polished it and poof, it was perfect.

You need to remove the headlight assembly (not hard), and use an orbital buffer with a terry cloth cover and some cheap polishing compound. It will clean up perfectly to a mirror finish. Next, wax it. Since its painted now, you have to treat it like any painted part of the car.

Also, did you know they sell clear spray paint with UV protection as well?


Its sort of expensive, but it gets the job done.

  • Thanks I did try polishing it though. Mine doesn't have orange peel but more a cloudy look to it
    – ohmmy
    Nov 11, 2016 at 13:35
  • Oh heck, I just noticed you said it was about 60 degrees. Thats just too cold. It has dried wrongly. Ignore that the can says it will work at that temp. Ya, it works, but it will be cloudy looking. On a white car, its fine, but not clear. You need to do it at about 80 degrees. The hotter the better. If you can't find enough heat, try using a hairdryer and heating up the headlight until its pretty hot, then let it cool a bit and spray it. I bet it will work out fine! You'll need to sand that paint off first though. Don't use acetone or lacquer thinner. You'll melt your plastic headlights!
    – CarComp
    Nov 11, 2016 at 13:57
  • I was wondering if it was temp related but the can says to spray between 50-90 so thought I was good
    – ohmmy
    Nov 11, 2016 at 13:59
  • Ya its just a paint thing. Hotter is usually better with most paints. They flow better, dry better, handle better, less orange peel because they dry better. I'm not a professional, but its something I've observed using a lot of different types of paints. Edit: If you have a normal 'personal heater', that might work quite well to keep the temperature up throughout the trying time. It can get too hot, so try to make sure that its just "warm so it feels nice", not "hot so it burns you". That's what goes through my head when i set up painted things to dry.
    – CarComp
    Nov 11, 2016 at 14:00

Just clear coated my car's headlights after sanding them to clarity. I used wet sanding, cleaned it with rubbing alcohol, dry then sprayed, but cloudy is an understatement. Hoping this clears up by the am, but their was some humidity in the air and I am bummed now, thinking I will have to sand off that spray job. That's what happens when you rush through a job.

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