This particular 2006 Toyota Frontier had the 'black out' treatment applied on the headlight lenses, and then removed. Whomever removed the ' black out' treatment used acetone or lacquer thinner, which chemically reacted with the factory clear coat and the plastic lens material. What it left was a very hard and murky surface to deal with. I spent 1.5 hours on this vehicle start to finish, all with no power tools.
After taping the lenses off double and triple wide tape strips, I started with 150 grit dry sandpaper to remove all the old clear coat down to bare plastic. LOTS of elbow grease and time. It took me a full hour for both lenses in this first step. The next step was sanding with 220 and 320 grits to remove all the 150 grit sanding marks.
Note that the remaining 'black out' is still in the sharp creases of the lens. For a show car job, you can use a Dremel tool to get into these tight areas. For this particular Frontier, this was not necessary.
The next steps were wet sanding with 400 - 1000 - 2000 - 3000 grit papers before the final clean/degrease and the application of the clear coat.
Looks pretty darn good even with the telltale signs of the 'black out' remaining in the creases.
This is improperly applied clear coat using a cheap coarse foam brush instead of our high density foam brushes. The pics below follow our process to correct the problem.
The sanding has begun with 400 wet, highlighting the streaks. I'll be wet sanding until the high points of the streaks are leveled out then using 1000, 2000 and then 3000 grits.
The new clear coat has been applied using our high density foam
brush using horizontal strokes for the initial application, and then light top
to bottom strokes to finish it off. They look a thousand per cent better !
Here are pics of circular marks from using a buffer without enough liquid compound material. You CANNOT remove the factory clear coat using buffing compound, PERIOD. It MUST be removed using sanding papers cuz it's TOUGH STUFF !
I went through the usual sanding process to remove the buffing burns and factory clear coat, before re-clear coating. There is nothing you can do to 'fill' any gouges or repair any discolorization. Just smooth the edges and prepare the surface as usual.