Any vehicle manufactured before the early 1990s used glass for the headlight lenses. After that, automakers switched to using polycarbonate plastic for headlights instead. Although this new design has some advantages, the polycarbonate tends to yellow as it ages resulting in foggy or hazy headlights that can make it difficult to see when driving at night. Luckily, a quality headlight restoration kit can help solve the problem.
Why You Should Use a Headlight Restoration Kit
Improved Safety — Headlights are essential to your safety on the road. If you can’t see the road in front of you, you can’t drive safely. Furthermore, if other drivers can’t see you, then they are in danger as well. Hazy, foggy, or scratched headlights can make driving at night more difficult and dangerous. With clean headlights and an upgraded LED headlight bulb, you can drive confidently at night.
Resale Value — If you’ve thought about selling or trading in your car in the future, then you know it must be in optimal shape to get top dollar. Showing up with dirty, yellowing headlights isn’t going to help you seal the deal. Your best bet is to maintain them, just like you do every other part of your vehicle.
Save Some Money — If you need to replace your car’s headlights in the future, you may end up having to shell out some serious dough. A high-quality restoration kit, by comparison, is pocket change. As with any aspect of your automobile, doing preventative work is far better than paying for costly repairs or replacements.
10 Best Headlight Restoration Kits
We’ve found the ten top headlight restoration kits on the market. Easy to use, these kits will get your headlights back in like-new condition in no time. Invest in one of these headlight restoration kits, and you can’t go wrong.
This popular Turtle Wax restoration kit is inexpensive and easy to use. It’s ideal for light or moderate headlight restoration projects; don’t expect this to cut through the haze if you’ve never cleaned your headlights before. This kit is perfect for maintenance and, for the cost, it just makes sense.
This kit comes with 2-ounces of Turtle Wax’s Lens Repair & Renew Clarifying Compound which is specially formulated to remove scratches, swirl marks, and severe oxidation. It also comes with one precision polishing pad and four ceramic acrylic wipes, as well as a pair of protective plastic gloves.
You can apply the compound manually, use the polisher pad and some clean water to polish the damaged headlight surface. Once you are happy with the results, simply wipe the surface clean. Once dry, use the ceramic acrylic wipe to apply a protective coating. This coating cures in 24 hours provided some additional protection between polishing.
This easy-to-use kit from 3M is affordable and includes everything you need. No additional tools are required or, if you have a standard power drill, on hand it comes with a compatible backing plate to make the project even easier.
The full kit includes masking tape, plastic gloves, 3M Trizact sanding discs, wax protectant, and a headlight clear coat. 3M’s kit is effective at removing yellowing and build-up without damaging your headlights. If you want a professional-grade finish that’s easy enough to use for your very first time, this is a good all-around kit.
If you enjoy doing things the old-fashioned way with a bit of elbow grease, the Sylvania headlight restoration kit comes with everything you need. This kit is ideal for folks who enjoy tackling a project by hand.
Inside the box, you get sandpaper, gloves, microfiber cloths, polishing compound, cleaning liquid, masking tape, and protective clear coating compound as well. Simply follow the three steps and you’ll restore your headlights to a clear finish with lasting UV protection.
One of the top brands in automotive care and maintenance, you can expect top results from Meguir’s 1-step headlight restoration kit. Specifically formulated to return your cloudy, scratched, oxidized, and yellowed headlights to “like-new” clarity, Meguir’s PlastX formula can be used on other uncoated clear plastic surfaces as well.
The kit comes with an Easy Buff wool pad that attaches to a standard corded drill. You also get a 4-ounce bottle of PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner and Polish, and a Stubborn Defect Removal Pack, with two pads for sanding and finishing. Purchase a can of Meguir’s Headlight Coating (sold separately) to finish up the job.
This cost-effective kit from Mothers provides a complete headlight restoration solution. And it is strong enough to tackle light, medium, or heavy-duty oxidation on your headlights.
The kit comes with a buffing pad and a backing plate with Velcro that attaches to your corded or cordless drill. You also get a solid 8 ounces of Mothers PowerPlastic 4Lights polish and polishing restoration discs.
The PowerPlastic polish also leaves behind a tough protective, oxidation-inhibiting polymer layer to guard against future degradation from the elements. You can still add an additional sealant or UV-protection layer to the headlights, but at least this Mother’s polish gets you started with a protective layer.
The best part about this kit from 3M is that you don’t need to sand your headlights by hand. Instead, get out your power drill and let this headlight restoration system do the work.
The kit comes with a 3M disc pad holder that is compatible with standard household drills. You also get six P500 Grit 3″ Gold Sanding Discs, four P800 Grit 3″ White Finishing Discs, and one Trizact P3000 Grit 3″ Gray Refining Disc to remove yellowing and buildup. Add a dime-sized dollop of the included 3M rubbing compound, and you’re good to shine.
This product works on both lightly oxidized to heavily yellowed or scratched headlights. Note that if you want to seal your headlights after cleaning them, you will need to buy a separate sealer to add a protective topcoat.
This headlight restoration kit comes with two microfiber cloths, a pre-soaked Wipe New towel, instructions, rubber gloves, and a sanding block with two different grits on either side. While it doesn’t have the same polishing power as some of the other kits, it should work well on mild to medium fogged headlights
Wipe New claims this kit can clean your headlights in seconds. The application is as easy as wiping off your headlights with the included Wipe New towel. Because the towel contains some strong chemical compounds, it’s good to wear the gloves they’ve included.
If you have additional scratches or blemishes on your headlights, you can use the sanding pad to buff them out. Though this kit isn’t the best for heavy-duty jobs, it’s perfect for small or medium-sized headlight restoration projects.
This Rain-X headlight restoration kit can remove yellowness and haziness from your headlights. It will require a little elbow grease, but in the end, you should be happy with the result.
In the kit, you get Rain-X Headlight Restorer cream, a spray lubricant, a spray sealant, three restoration pads, and a micro-fiber towel. This is a complete kit as it has the products that are required for each step of your restoration from lubricating the surface to sanding, polishing, and sealing it.
No power tools are required for this complete headlight restoration kit. Designed to restore and protect your headlights in three easy steps, CERAKOTE says this kit will restore your headlights to a long-lasting, like-new condition.
The set includes four pairs of plastic gloves, eight Oxidation Remover wipes, one ergonomic surface prep pad, four surface prep discs, two pre-moistened Ceramic Headlight Restoration Wipes designed to restore the ceramic coating on your headlights.
10. Chemical Guys Headlight Restore & Protect Bundle
If you want a no-frills headlight restoration kit from a top brand that will deliver excellent results, this Chemical Guys bundle will fit the bill. Chemical Guys’ top-rated Headlight restorer removes headlight haze while sealing and protecting, all in one easy polish.
You also get two microfiber plush dura foam pads for the application of the polish. If you already have a decked-out car care kit, bugger, and polishers, this bundle might be all you need to get your headlights shining bright again.
Don’t Wait: Get Clearer Headlights With These Top Kits
Every automobile owner should care about having clear headlights. With yellow, scratched, dull, and old headlights, your nighttime visibility is diminished, and driving can become unsafe. With a simple headlight restoration kit, you can make your headlights shine like new again.
Finding the best headlight restoration kit is the hard part—cleaning your headlights should be a breeze. Luckily, with the options above, you should be able to find the product that works best for you. Before you head out, make sure you also use the best windshield cleaner for even better visibility. Then, it’s time to get back on the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is in a headlight restoration kit?
A complete kit includes a polishing pad, sandpaper, polishing agent, lens sealing wipes, and a protectant. Some kits also include protective gear, like plastic gloves.
Can you clean your headlights without a headlight restoriation kit?
Though you may have heard of people using a variety of other options to clean their hazy headlights (including sandpaper, vinegar, polish, and insect repellent), we recommend buying a dedicated headlight restoration kit. There are many affordable options, and these kits will ensure you get the best results without damaging your headlights any further.
Why are my headlights discolored?
As the plastic casing on your headlights ages, it is inevitable that they will start to yellow due to oxidation and exposure to UV rays. Thankfully, a headlight restoration kit actually reapplies a UV-protective coating to slow down the oxidation process in the future.
Headlights can also become discolored due to exposure to various chemicals that your car may encounter at home and on the road.
Can your car fail state inspection because of the headlights?
Yes, but it isn’t common. Make keeping your headlights in good working condition part of your regular maintenance routine, and you should have to worry about failing an inspection.
How often do I need to use a headlight restoration kit?
The honest answer is – it all depends on your vehicle. If you frequently drive on heavily salted roads or your vehicle sits outside in the elements, you’ll probably find yourself doing it more often. If you aren’t subjecting your vehicle to anything beyond mild conditions, you may get away with using a headlight restoration kit once a year (or less) for maintenance.
How do I use a headlight restoration kit?
Follow the instruction on whatever kit you purchase. And for other tips and tricks, check out our complete guide on how to clean your headlights.
Brian Jones spent over 30-years at various dealerships as an ASE Certified Master Tech. These days he works with those dealerships to create quality automotive content while spending more time with his family near Dallas, TX. In his spare time, you'll still find him playing with tools, cars, and many other "manly" gadgets. Brian's passions include traveling, pickup trucks, and anything related to motorsports.