Best Headlight Restoration Kits Reviews (2020)
Introduction To Best Plastic Headlight Restoration Kits
Prior to the early ’90s, automotive manufacturers were using glass on every vehicle headlight. However, after realizing just how expensive they are to manufacture and fix, they replaced the glass with polycarbonate plastic.
There are a few reasons as to why manufacturers leaned towards the use of plastic instead of glass. Those include much better durability, a drastically lower manufacturing cost, and an easier overall fixing process. However, despite all those benefits, there is a BIG problem that all automobiles are faced with at one point or another.
Oxidation of the polycarbonate headlight surface
This is nothing more than the aging process of the surface plastic, which causes fogging and yellowing. If your vehicle’s factory clear coat is worn down completely, you might also be faced with the cloudiness of the headlights. While you can go to a professional so that they will fix it for you, you can also do it by yourself.
The fixing process is actually quite easy, and VERY cost effective – much more than buying a new set of headlights. Headlight restoration is performed by the use of wet sanding, fine polishing, buffing, and application of a fresh, clear coat. If it sounds like a lot to you, don’t worry, as the process is easier than it sounds. Also, when you buy a headlight restore kit, all the instructions are included in the package, which means that all you have to do is follow them step by step.
How To Perform Foggy Headlight Restoration (Simplified Process)
- Wash the headlights by hand with car soap and water and dry them, making sure that the product is no longer there.
- Wet sand it, starting from the sandpaper with the lowest grit, and gradually going higher.
- Use a polishing compound to polish out the fine scratches made by the sandpaper with the highest grit.
- Use a soft buffing pad to give it a final touch.
- Clean and apply a new layer of sealant.
- Leave it to dry, and you’re done.
Here’s a list of the best headlight restoration kits that tackle foggy, cloudy, yellowing, or murky headlights. To use these products, you don’t need to be an expert, as they can be used by anyone, with nearly any skill level.
Here are 5 best car headlight restoration kits to buy
- Restores clarity to severely neglected, oxidized, yellowed, and scratched headlights, Includes Easy Buff wool pad that attaches to a standard corded drill for a faster cut, truer clarity, and more control.
- The components of this kit are good for two headlight assemblies. Once installed properly the performance of the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit is guaranteed for as long as you own your car.
- Designed to quickly and safely restore, maintain and protect all types of smooth, shiny plastic and acrylic headlights to crystal clarity, It easily cleans away yellowing and stains, and even buffs out unsightly hairline scratches, smudges, and flaws in a single step
- For use on headlights, taillights, fog, and directional lights, Kit contains sanding discs and polishing pad with compound, Saves 100s versus purchasing a new headlight, Improves the appearance of a car - with "like new" headlights, Restores cloudy and dull lenses
- Kit includes: 3 restoration pads of various grits from 2400 to 8000 grit, Spray Lubricant (4 oz.), Lens Clarifying Compound (4 oz.) and Lens Sealing Wipe (4"x4"), Can be used on all lenses, plexiglass and plastic surfaces
5. Turtle Wax T-240KT Headlight Lens Restorer Kit
This particular kit is one of the most popular and inexpensive ones you can find on the market at the moment. Turtle Wax Headlight lens Restorer Kit is made for light to medium duty restoration jobs. Being less than 10 dollars, you aren’t getting much in terms of size and quantity – however, when used properly, this kit works quite well.
It includes 3 restoration pads with various grits, ranging from 2400 to 8000, as well as a spray lubricant that allows you to apply it as you are “wet sanding” your headlight lenses. Furthermore, there’s also a lens clarifying compound, which buffs outs fine marks left by the 8000 grit sandpaper. The last thing included is the lens sealing wipe, which applies a thin layer of protection that will help in keeping your headlights look brand new for quite a bit.
The only concern we have with this kit is the effectiveness on heavily oxidized headlights. For the price though, it’s to be expected. If you want to get the best price, you should check the link below – by doing it, you will also find out what more than 1,500 people who purchased this product thought of it.
4. 3M Car Headlight Restoration Kit
Moving down to the fourth position on our list of the most recommended headlight restoration kits, we have the 3m Lens Restoration Kit. First of all, unlike the kit mentioned above, which requires you to sand by hand, this one doesn’t. Instead, it uses a more efficient and much more effective method of sand downing the headlights – a power drill. The kit also includes a buffing pad, as well as two packs of a polishing compound. This means that not only can you wet sand your headlights, but also polish them.
Due to the nature of sanding, this kit will work well on light, medium, and heavy-duty oxidation. The only downside we found with this kit, is that there’s no sealant included, which means that getting it separately is a MUST.
Overall, we are pleased with this unit, and so are over 3,100 customers who bought it. Click on the Amazon link below to see its current price, as well as what others have said about it so far.
3. Mothers NuLens Car Headlight Restoration Kit
This kit is a cost-effective way of tackling light to heavy duty oxidation found on automotive headlights. Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit is more extensive than the previously mentioned two. For starters, it comes with a buffing pad that works phenomenally well when it comes to polishing.
You also receive a backing plate with velcro that you can attach directly to either a cordless or corded drill.
By using the PowerPlastic polishing compound, you’ll be able to give your headlights a new shine they deserve. To finish it off, there’s a sealant included, so that you can protect your headlights from the oxidation happening in the near future.
At less than $20, this kit is definitely worth the money. If you follow the instruction carefully, you can expect great results!
2. Sylvania Car Headlight Restoration kit
TIn the second place, we have the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit, which takes an analog approach to sanding down your headlights – however, this time with all the compounds and sealants required. This kit includes almost anything that you could possibly need for the restoration of your headlights – proper sandpaper, microfiber cloths, gloves, initial cleaning liquid, polishing compound, protective clear coat compound, and masking tape.
With this kit, you’ll most likely be able to tackle light to medium oxidation levels. The price is quite reasonable, and, when done in sequence, you should get a pretty good result. Take a look below for the best price!
1. Meguiars G3000 Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit
Now, moving down to the #1 best headlight restoration kit to buy is Meguiar’s G3000 Heavy Duty Restoration Kit. This s product is the real deal when it comes down getting the process done in a “1,2,3” type of way. For starters, it includes the sanding disks, which can be applied using a special applicator pad OR, a drill pad. After all the initial sanding is done, you can use “PlastX” to carefully polish your finely sanded headlights until you see complete clarity.
Once it’s done, you can apply a clear coat to protect your hard work, and you’re done. This is basically the same process with any of the kits we’ve mentioned so far, but with Meguiar’s, you’ll be able to tackle even the HEAVY oxidation with ease.
This comes as a complete kit, so doing just your own vehicle headlights should suffice. To see the current best price and how others have rated it, click below.
In conclusion, headlight restoration kits are a HUGE money saver. When done right, it results in headlights that look “brand new,” literally. With that being said, it’s also important to remember that the heat produced from your halogen headlight bulbs can sometimes accelerate the oxidation process and the deterioration of the headlight clear coat.
While the Xenon and HID bulbs operate at high temperatures, LED light bulbs operate at very low temperatures. If you want to have the best protection from deteriorating headlights, you should consider switching to LED powered headlight bulbs.
Extra: video on how to restore headlights
Best headlight restoration kit – buying guide and faq
While nothing is eternal, including cars, there are things that you can do to make them last you at least a little bit longer. One of these things is the correct maintenance of smaller features, such as headlights – especially since they have a great impact on the overall performance of your vehicle. Here is why headlight restoration is one of the essential maintenance processes and how you should care for your headlights.
➡️ What is a headlight restoration kit?
A headlight restoration kit is nothing more than everything you need to bring your headlight to their former glory without the need for a professional to do it for you. While there are some DIY ways in which you can do it, they will not be as effective as a restoration kit. Also, they tend to consume quite a lot of time.
One kit can last you for even up to three times and can give your headlines a better shine then they had when leaving the dealership.
➡️ What makes headlights discolored?
The hard truth is that your headlights are going to yellow at some point due to oxidation caused by the UV rays. When using a restoration kit, you're not only cleaning them, but you are also applying a new coat of UV protection, which will slow down the damage process caused by harmful UV rays in the future.
However, you need to keep in mind that oxidation and UV rays are not the only things that can cause discoloration of your headlights (or other severe damages). Some areas use rock salt on the roads to reduce the number of accidents caused by skids during the winter months. If you live in the area that also does it, you need to be aware that the salt used can be eating away at your headlights casings, creating scratches, as well as deep crevices that can also discolor. If the damage is too severe, you might even find yourself having to change your headlights completely.
If you are doing any kind of garden work close to your car, such as spraying your plants with insecticides or other chemicals, you need to be aware that, as a result, your headlights can become damaged or discolored. This is why you should put a car cover or a tarp down over the car, every time you are doing it. The same goes for when you are mowing the lawn, as you probably don't want any debris getting attached to your car, and creating damage.
➡️ Can Your car fail inspection for cloudy headlights?
While it is not happening often, it is possible. There are two cases in which you can fail inspection because of your headlights. The first one is when the damage is so severe, that the light no longer shines in white, but instead in yellow or another color. The other case is when the light is so dim, that it's impossible to check it on the station's headlight aimer. However, keep in mind that the latter is not really a fail, but rather an inability to verify the passing headlight aim.
The majority of garages and inspectors these days will let you take your vehicle when they see that it meets the standard safety requirements. Keep in mind that using clear headlights does not only increase your safety but also of those who are on the road with you. When the output of your headlight is not high enough, it makes you less visible to other drivers, people walking on the sidewalk, or wildlife.
What's more, if your headlights are quite yellowed, hazier, or the plastic is fogged, you can be faced with a rejection sticker. You can avoid it by simply cleaning the headlights before going for an inspection.
➡️ How often should I use headlight restoration kits?
The truth is that everything depends on your vehicle and circumstances. Gravel pathways, failing to cover your car when spraying pesticides or mowing the lawn and living near heavily salted roads - all of this can affect how often you should be using a headlight restore kit. However, the rule of a thumb is that you should be using a headlight restoration kit once a year, during the mild season of use.
If you live somewhere that has long winters, then you should wait with using it until spring. If you live somewhere humid, use it during a dry day. Using the kit once a year should be enough to bring your headlights to their former glory, and leave them shining brightly for the next year or so. Even if you don't have any problems with your headlights when the one-year mark is approaching, you should still use it as a preventative method.
The headlight restorer costs around $30 to $50, which is not much if you compare it to what you would have to pay to a mechanic for replacing the whole headlight or fixing the damages.
Benefits of using a headlight restoration kit
As it was already mentioned, your headlight’s primary body is made out of plastic, which has the tendency of absorbing things from the environment it is in. While it is a central polycarbonate material, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still plastic, and it faces the same problems as every other item made out of it.
Despite it, using a headlight restoration kit can bring you a lot of benefits, which include…
- improved safety – remember that while on the road, you are responsible not only for your personal safety but also of the others, such as pedestrians and other drivers. Your headlights are the perfect representation. If you cannot see what is going on in front of you, how will you be able to stay and keep others safe? This is especially crucial for those who drive during the night, as working headlights are a must. If you see that something’s not right, don’t ignore it.
- higher resale value – many people buy cars in order to sell them later in the future for a better price, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you decide to do it, you need to keep one headlight restoration kit in your car. You never know when a customer will ask to see the car, and dirty, yellow headlights full of spots don’t really scream ‘buy me!’
- saved money – getting your car fixed, even if it’s something as small as headlights, can be quite expensive. This is why a headlight restore kits are a great choice – instead of paying $500 or more for the repairs at the mechanic, you can buy one of the many available on the market for less than a hundred. Not mentioning the fact that one headlight restoration kit will not last you not only for one time but even up to three.
- saved time – when going to a professional, you need to be aware that they have many clients, and might not be able to take care of your headlights right away, which means you’ll have to wait. If you have time, it might not seem like a problem, but if you don’t, it can mess up your schedule for the day. With headlights restoration kits, you are the one that decides when you do it. There is also the fact that depending on the model of your car, replacing the headlights can take even a few hours – with headlight restoration kits, it usually takes about an hour or even less.
Everything will get damaged at one point or another – including your car’s headlights. One of the most common reasons behind damaged headlights is the oxidation of its polycarbonate surface, which causes them to yellow or get foggy. Of course, you can take your car to a professional and have them fix it for you. However, there are also other ways – one of them being a headlight restorer. By using one of the headlights restore kits, you will be saving not only money, but also time, as everything you could possibly need to bring your headlight to their former glory is included in the package.
Keep in mind that having clean headlights is essential not only because of the aesthetic and the fact that dirty headlights don’t look good. It’s crucial because it improves not only your safety, but also of others on the road (other drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, or even the wildlife). After all, how can you be safe on the road, if you cannot see what is going on around you? You simply can’t.
So what are you waiting for? A renewal kit for your headlights will not buy itself.