Getting a clear view of the road ahead is necessary to both driving comfort and safety. So it only makes sense to take that extra step and restore your headlights. When it comes time to overhaul that part of your car, you want to use the best headlight restoration kits you can find. It should come with everything you need. If the kit includes all the necessary hardware and parts, the headlight restorer will be way easier to use. Whether you’re focused on a lens clarifying compound or something to give you UV protection, it’s all about finding the right fit. To help you along, we’ve listed the best headlight restoration kits on the market. We’ve offered up some tips and tricks on making your vehicle look brand new so your headlight restoration job really stands out.
The Best Headlight Restoration Kits
The number one choice by newbies and auto enthusiasts from around the globe, 3M throws everything you need in one convenient package. This unit includes an easy three-step process, which is properly outlined in the instructions within the packaging. You get 3M abrasive technology with a polishing compound to restore headlights to their original state.
You get sanding discs (which are great, but sandpaper is not. Find out more about that in the guide below) as well as a pad to apply the polishing compound with. You can save a great deal by purchasing in bulk up to four units, shaving about 10% off of your final price. For more information on how long headlight restoration kits should last and how often you’re able to go between uses, see the buying guide below.
- Voted top headlight restoration kit by users
- Usable on other plastic surfaces of your car
- Works for the headlights and tail lights up to 2X
- Brand 3M
- Model 39008
- Weight 7.8 ounces
Turtle Wax is surprisingly versatile with most of their products. Used on building exteriors and the fiberglass chassis of just about any vehicle, this headlight restorer kit comes in at a fairly inexpensive price and works absolute wonders. You get three restoration pads with different grits, allowing you to add precision to your restoration game, as well as spray lubricant (4oz container, though larger ones are available for additional purchase) and lens sealing wipes.
Your restoration pads come in three stages. This kit promises to clarify your lenses, and protect them for longer. If you’re in the market for the ultimate maintenance for your headlights, you’ve just come across the holy grail. These came close to our number one spot with excellent all-weather protection.
- Lasts longer throughout the year
- Comes with sealing wipes for extra protection
- Inexpensive to get started
- Brand Turtle Wax
- Model T-240KT
- Weight 12 ounces
This three-step kit provides some of the best UV protection against yellowing and general discoloring on your lenses. Perhaps the greatest feature, besides the excellent shine and clarity it gives you, is the lifetime warranty — if you own the car, your warranty is still valid no matter when. You’ll get better light output from your headlights, which is optimal for safety reasons.
Get rid of the haze with this simple kit. You can add additional UV blocking protection via an altered kit, but the standard comes with more than enough to protect your headlights and lenses from immense sun damage. If you live in dry, hot climates such as Western America, you may benefit from this kit even more than our top pick.
- Superior UV protection
- Restores your lights to a clear, visible output
- Three-step set that makes it easy; five minutes, tops.
- Brand Sylvania
- Model HRK.BX
- Weight 0.96 ounces
Attractively priced and homegrown in the United States, this killer kit comes with everything you need to transform your dull lights. Your friends will be asking where you went for replacement, and you’ll just laugh. This kit is designated to last for 2-3 years after application and guarantees that your headlights will pass inspection, even in states with a rigorous inspection program.
This kit is super simple to apply, and will only take about 5-7 minutes of your time for a dramatically improved effect. This product’s residue lasts through tough winters, car washes, and anything else that’s thrown at your headlights.
- Lasts for 2-3 years
- Guaranteed to ensure your headlights pass inspection
- Made in the USA
- Brand Wipe New
- Model HDL6PCMTRRT
- Weight 3.2 ounces
Yellowing is the biggest problem our headlights face, and this kit ensures you’ll see nothing but clarity when you stare straight into the headlights. Hairline scratches that oxidize and add insult to injury are gone in seconds after application. You also get an all-inclusive PowerPlastic 4Lights polish that adds momentum to your headlight restoration — it makes an enormous impact.
You also get a three-inch backing plate, restoration discs, and 8oz of polish (and you won’t believe how inexpensive this kit is for all that you get). Designed to last for years, made to work in just seconds of application. This is also available in a six pack if you have multiple cars, you’re the guy that your buddies always go to, or you just want to bulk up and save some cash.
- Added PowerBall 4Lights tool for maximum crystal clarity
- Designed to last for years after one application
- Works in seconds after application
- Brand Mothers
- Model 07251
- Weight 1.04 pounds
You’re not the average chap, so you don’t have the average problems. Meguiar’s G1900K kit comes in six different solutions, to give you exactly what you need no matter what your circumstance is. These turn your headlights to a “like-new” state, while also buffing our scratches and other imperfections that may have occurred as a result of damage to your headlights.
You get a 4oz bottle of Plast-X Clear cleaner plus polish, giving you crystal clarity in 10-15 seconds after application. Plug in your drill to use the buffing pad to restore these headlights in 1-2 minutes, removing all visible damages, divots, and scratches. Our favorite part about this kit is the versatility—use it on tail lights, boat windows, even the helmet visor of your motorcycle—it’s all ready to go and improve your headlight output in no time.
- Versatile to use on multiple objects/items
- Lasts for 2-3 years after application
- Comes with drill-operated buffing pad for maximum restoration
- Brand Meguiar's
- Model FBA_G1900K
- Weight 8.3 ounces
Three easy stages, maximum power, and a finish that everyone can agree on. CLT removes damages incurred by UV damage, as well as minor scrapes and hairline scratches. You don’t need and tools, you just open up the kit and get to work. You get visibly clearer headlights two-to-three minutes after a touch of elbow grease is applied.
Last for eighteen months on average, giving you ultimate protection against UV rays, chemicals, exhaust, and airborne chemicals (insecticides, etc.)—just clean, dry, and apply the coating and you’re all done. You’ll be able to stretch this kit to handle your headlights, taillights and go around for a second time when the eighteen months are over.
- Three-step system only takes 2-3 minutes
- Additional protection against UV rays
- In total, kit is good for 3 years for headlights + tail lights
- Brand Clear Lights Tech
- Model RH1
- Weight 0.8 ounces
Looking for the best kit can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s important to take your time in the process. The goal is to get your car looking good as new, so it isn’t as easy as just picking out a new masking tape to use. The best approach is to take it step by step. You need to take your time and get a clear picture of the individual features of the headlight restoration set.
It should have everything you need and include features heavy duty enough to limit the need for elbow grease. You’ll probably need some tools on hand including power tools such as a power drill, turtle wax, and sandpaper. Some kits come with these parts as well, however.
You’re probably doing this to avoid getting brand new headlights, so make sure that individual parts like the lens clarifying and UV ray protection are all high-quality. The idea is to get your headlights looking brand new and the first step headlight restoration requires is a bit of research.
What is a Headlight Restoration Kit?
The best headlight restoration kits are a set of brand new products meant to make your headlights look brand new. It comes in varying different price points, with the product included ranging in ease of use and the amount of elbow grease it takes. It offers a clear polish that makes your lenses look great. The lens clarifying compound, coupled with the effects of sandpaper and turtle wax, let you wipe away flaws and restore the appearance.
The step by step process is fairly intuitive; and, once it’s in place, the clarifying compound can completely overhaul the look of your vehicle. Many present as one solution, a product that offers lens sealing, wet sand, and something to deflect UV rays. These can be used on plastic headlights as well as any inch backing plate you have.
What Makes Headlights Discolored?
Headlights go yellow from ultraviolet radiation. It damages everything from the headlight lenses to the inch backing plate. Continual exposure to the elements leads to the yellowing of headlights resulting from oxidation. Some use rust oleum to slow the process, but deterioration is inevitable. At a point, wet sand and sandpaper won’t be enough to get rid of the damage and get the results you need.
The biggest reason people opt for a headlight restoration system is the polishing results. These products are meant to reverse the damage through a proven process. They wipe new and old debris away and go over it with a clear coat. The first step in the process involves grit sandpaper or wet sand on a pad polishing the surface. The next step in headlight restoration is to provide a clear coat. You can finish it off with rusty oleum or another form of UV protection.
Can Your Car Fail Inspection for Cloudy Lights?
A car can fail an inspection for cloudy lights (though it may not be an issue at every mechanic shop). That said, properly functioning headlights are a legal necessity for road safety. Opt for something proven like a 3M headlight when you swap out your bulbs. Especially with older vehicles, stick to high-quality restoration kits like the mothers nulens headlight renewal kit. It’s meant to breathe some life into your lights, and it shows when used on older models.
Clear headlight lenses are essential to keeping your visibility on the road. If your lenses are too damaged, then pedestrians, fellow drivers, and wild critters can’t clearly see you. Through yellowing, fading, scratching (and all the other causes of wear and tear), the lumens you produce diminish. Instead of running the risk (whether at a check stop or garage for inspection), use a headlight lens restorer kit ahead of time.
You Need Advanced UV Protection if You Live in the Desert
If you live somewhere with a hot and dry climate, then ultraviolet radiation is naturally more intense. Both by reflecting off high-albedo surfaces and hitting straight from the sun, deserts have no shortage of UV. This causes the material on your headlight lenses to wear down much more rapidly. You’ll notice them yellowing quickly and being more brittle and vulnerable to scratches. By using the best headlight restoration kit (one that has proven results), you can circumvent that issue.
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How do You Clean Your Headlight Lens?
If you like to take a DIY approach, there’s good news. It’s especially useful if you’ve used a wax headlight lens restorer in the past and still have some of the supplies. All you have to do is gather together some simple supplies that you’ll have lying around the house and get to work. You’ll need:
- Sandpaper (whether it’s a sanding pad or by the sheet). The risk is doing it incorrectly and causing more harm than good. It can get rid of a bunch of the damaged lenses, but it comes with the risk of permanently harming the headlight lenses. Be sure to check out the grit on the paper to make sure you don’t do any damage.
- Vinegar is another household item that you’re bound to have kicking around. It is a relatively inert chemical that also works for its antimicrobial properties. By using this in conjunction with a proper pad, you can get the lenses looking better than before. Stick to circular motions for best results.
- Polish, whether it’s turtle wax or an off-brand model, is there to eliminate the appearance of larger issues. It improves the clarity of the lens and helps restore the look of the headlights. This is a key step since it can drastically increase the number of lumens getting through the lens.
- Finally, many DIY lens repairmen look to the impact of insect repellent. Now, keep in mind that you’ll want some kind of paint protection (like rust oleum) to prevent chemical damage. However, so long as you take proper steps, if you spray it on and wipe it away, the chemical in the spray is really effective. As a backup (though one which can be harder on paint), toothpaste can also work. Be sure you’re using a proper pad to get the polishing results you want.
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How Often Should I Use a Headlight Restoration Kit?
Finding the right maintenance schedule can be sort of tricky. It varies based on how much you drive and how the environment impacts your vehicle. From cold weather and salt on the road to heavy uv damage, there are all sorts of criteria. Chances are, if you notice a visual damage to the lenses, it’s time. Be sure to pick a dry day to do the upkeep. If you don’t really see any clear damage, then once a year should be enough.
It’s also better to wait until the warm seasons if you plan to take on the work yourself. Choose a day with the lowest possible humidity (and no precipitation). Warmer days lend themselves to making headlight restoration easier and make sure it lasts longer, so it is definitely worth the wait.
Benefits of Using a Headlight Restoration Kit
Most of your headlight’s structure is made out of a polymer material which tends to take on damage from the environment. Even though it’s reinforced by other carbon-heavy materials, the polymer will eventually wear down. A good headlight restoration kit will preserve the wellbeing of your lights and offer a whole host of benefits that come along with it.
Better Road Safety
Headlights are essential to keeping you visible on the road. It might seem small, but a minor yellowing in the headlight lens can drastically impact how far ahead you can see. Restoring your headlights not only makes driving more pleasant, it keeps you and fellows drivers safe.
Improves Car Value
If you’re planning on reselling your car (or even if you aren’t) it never hurts to keep it in tip top condition. When it comes time to sell, then you’ll want every little bit to be working as well as possible. The good news is that a headlight restoration kit is easy to use, works effectively, and is a low investment for a lot of value
Helps Your Finances
All parts of your vehicle are subject to wear and tear, and getting replacement parts can be really expensive. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on headlights in the future, you can easily take the preventative route and save big.
Best Headlight Restoration Kits FAQ:
Q: What is the best way to clean cloudy headlights?
The best approach is to use a proven headlight lens restoration system. Coming in all different forms, you should choose something that offers heavy-duty refurbishing power. Many opt for grit sandpaper coupled with wet sand (so you can choose depending on the conditions). From sanding to polishing, the right kit can wipe new life into your headlights.
Q: How long do headlight restoration kits last?
It depends on a lot of factors like what the kit includes and how damaged your headlights are. If you’re going to be using power tools and grit sandpaper, you are likely to get a bit more use from the system. While the polishing materials won’t run out quickly, the polish itself might. To get your headlight lenses up to par in a way that lasts. Seek out products that get results quickly. Try to go with high-end lights (like the 3M headlight) to limit the risk of wear and tear in the future.
Q: What household items can I use to restore headlights?
There are a few things you can do from around the house. First, you can seek out whatever power tools you have and find the products you can use as grit sandpaper. If you have any sanding discs, take them out as well. The first step is sanding, so use what you have. If you’ve got some turtle wax, headlight lens polishing is a pretty good use for it. You can use a whole bunch of options from around the house and garage to get your headlight lenses back to par.
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Your headlights are bound to run into some other issues like fading, scratches, and debris. This is especially true if you live in an area that’s prone to extreme weather. Anything from flying rocks to road salt can add a lot of strain to your vehicle. A simple application of rust oleum can help you mitigate this risk. Using rust oleum in conjunction with a headlight lens restorer kit can keep your car working (and looking) as good as possible.
Other than the impacts of the weather, your paint can get damaged by a whole host of chemicals in the air. These could be pollutants, insecticides, or herbicides. These can lead to discoloration and premature wear on your headlight system. That’s why things like turtle wax headlight lens polishing are so important. It keeps your paint (and your lenses functioning well for longer).
So, which headlight restorer is best? For the best headlight restoration kit, pound for pound, you should opt for the 3M Brand 39008 Headlight Restoration Kit, a comprehensive, high-quality, and effective product all around. For something a little more wallet-friendly, go with the Turtle Wax T-240KT Headlight Restorer Kit.
- How to Clean Headlights – WikiHow