Looking for the best headlight restoration kit? We’ve researched dozens of products and scoped out the specs to help you find the top performing headlight restoration kits and get your car headlights looking clear and fresh as new. We found that the best headlight restoration kits on the market take an hour or less, require no special tools or skills, include instructions that anyone can follow and can restore at least 90 percent of the headlights’ transparency. These headlight refreshing kits feature a pre-sanding treatment and also a UV-blocking clear coat.
That said, the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit is our best headlight restoration kit, thanks to its proprietary corrosion softener that only takes 30 seconds to work and helps achieve brand-new looking headlights. We also like the extra protection of the included UV-blocking film. The Sylvania kit also comes with a lifetime performance guarantee.
- 1 Top 7 Best Headlight Resporation Kit Compared
- 1.1 #1 Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit – Top Pick
- 1.2 #2 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System – Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer – Best Budget
- 1.4 #4 3M Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit – Best for Turn Signals
- 1.5 #5 Meguiars G2980 Headlight Restoration Kit – Best Value
- 1.6 #6 Mothers’ NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit – Simple 3-step Process
- 1.7 #7 Visbella DIY Headlight Restoration Kit – Less Than 1-Hour
- 1.8 How We Decided
Top 7 Best Headlight Resporation Kit Compared
#1 Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: This kit, from OEM headlight supplier Sylvania, offers a lifetime guarantee and includes a UV blocking protective film that helps keep your headlights’ plastic from corroding. This kit is great if you’re looking for long-lasting headlight protection or simply want the best, most showroom-quality appearance for your car’s headlights.
This headlight restoration kit from Sylvania, one of the biggest OEM headlight suppliers, is a top performer, able to restore near total showroom clarity to headlights that are yellowed, faded or oxidized.
Great for car hobbyists, those looking to sell a higher-value used car and anyone serious about keeping their car or truck headlights shining the brightest, this high quality headlight restoration kit takes very little time and, unlike other kits on the market, includes a durable UV-blocking film that you apply to the headlights once you’ve polished them. Proven to restore more of the headlights original clarity than other kits, the Sylvania headlight restoration kit puts this OEM headlight maker’s expertise to good use for the hobbyist and car care enthusiast. The best shop cloths will help with the restoration.
#2 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: This headlight restoration kit distinguishes itself by offering specially designed plastic sanding discs for use with a handheld electric drill. This makes the process faster than competitors where it’s done by hand. Great for DIY car care experts and novices alike, as long as you have a cordless electric drill laying around.
With the included polishing compound this 3M Kit achieves impressive results, restoring headlights to near showroom quality in under an hour.
The 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System benefits from 3M’s proprietary plastic abrasives, which use a combination of textures to ensure smooth, scratch-free headlight refreshing.
It works nearly as well as the industry-standard Sylvania kit but can be applied more quickly and with only 4 steps involved. How? By skipping Sylvania’s “plastic softener” step, and instead utilizing your electric drill with the included attachments to power sand the headlight lenses. This could save some time if you have a garage with decent tools. Worth noting is that 3M’s unique abrasives promise to polish headlight lenses without scuffs or scratching. When using this kit, crank up the tunes with the best car subwoofer.
#3 Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer – Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: This quick and inexpensive process removes yellow headlight film in as little as five minutes per light. Plus the whole kit is the price of an expensive cup of coffee.
This Turtle Wax Headlight lens restoration kit is notable since it’s probably the fastest acting DIY kit, promising results in as little as five minutes. That said, it delivers a very thorough freshening, comparable to the leading Sylvania and 3M products, though it doesn’t include the former’s extra step of applying a protective film to prevent future corrosion.
The affordable Turtle Wax headlight restoring kit is great for quickly refreshing the looks of an older car and might be an especially good value if you’re selling a used car or even taking it to Carmax, since clear headlights make a big “first impression” impact on potential buyers. Another must have accessory for the car is the best jump starter.
#4 3M Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit – Best for Turn SignalsWHY WE LIKE IT: A deluxe kit that includes masking tape, sanding discs and heavy duty headlight restorer for the cloudiest, most yellowed of plastic lenses. This kit is ideal for those who are looking to restore headlights that are very clouded and oxidized.
This kit is similar to the 3M standard headlight restoration kit, but is a little more comprehensive and thus a little more expensive as well. If your headlights are super milky or yellowy looking, it might be worthwhile to look into the 3M heavy duty headlight restorer. This kit also includes 3M automotive masking tape so you don’t scuff your paint while sanding the headlights.
Some models seem especially susceptible to headlight oxidation and might benefit most from this kit. If you have a late 1990s- early 2000s Porsche, for example, those infamous “fried egg” headlights from that era can really benefit from a thorough, heavy duty restoration kit like this well-equipped one from 3M. You’ll be bragging on your best CB radio about your headlights.
#5 Meguiars G2980 Headlight Restoration Kit – Best ValueWHY WE LIKE IT: This comprehensive kit from Mequiars lets you quickly polish up yellowy headlights and gives you 12-months of protection against UV corrosion. This is for car enthusiasts and casual DIY-ers alike, with plenty of perfectionist-friendly features like the unique wool buffing pad.
The Meguiars headlight restoration kit is great for recent as well as classic cars, letting you quickly achieve like-new results even if your plastic headlight covers are heavily corroded and yellowed with oxidation.
This Meguiars headlight restoring kit promises up to 12-months of corrosion free headlights thanks to its proprietary spray coating. While maybe not as durable as Sylvania’s UV-film, it’s much easier to put on. This kit also comes with a unique wool buffing pad so you can save time on the polishing process, provided you have an electric drill handy.
The Meguiars kit isn’t challenging to DIY, but it does include things more experienced and perfectionistic DIY car care enthusiasts may appreciate, like the handy wool buffing pad and the spray coating that goes on clear and protects headlights from UV. This one is slightly more time consuming compared to kits from Turtle Wax and 3M. Good headlights are as important to travel as the best rooftop cargo carrier.
#6 Mothers’ NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit – Simple 3-step ProcessWHY WE LIKE IT: This kit does a great job of restoring headlight shine with a streamlined, 3-step process. This is great for those who like to keep their car maintenance simple and quick but still get the job done.
The Mothers NuLens headlight restoration kit distinguishes itself with the “power ball” polishing tool, an included soft plastic ball that attaches to your electric drill and works to apply the polishing compound quicker and more evenly than doing so by hand. With only three steps to worry about, this headlight restoration kit is one of the simplest and easiest to use on the market.
With the fewest steps of the headlight restoration kits we’ve seen, the NuLens still manages to get cloudy, oxidized headlights looking nearly brand new. Also, check out 8 of the best radar detectors to help while on the road.
#7 Visbella DIY Headlight Restoration Kit – Less Than 1-HourWHY WE LIKE IT: This DIY Headlight Restoration Kit takes only three steps, plus it includes a handy rotary sponge disc that makes the process easier. This kit is good for the tech-savvy but in a hurry, as it requires fewer steps though you do need to have power tools for the best results.
This simple, three-step DIY kit from Visbella takes less than an hour to perform, though you do have to wait 10-15 minutes between steps for the polish to cure. Still, it’s one of the easier and simpler headlight restoration kits on the market, and it does come with a rotary sponge and rotary sanding discs to make the job go by quicker.
If you have tools laying around and need to polish up some headlights in a hurry, this innovative kit is a suitable choice. It does include a protective spray-on aftercoating, and though there isn’t, as with Sylvania or Meguiars, a listing of how long it should last, we’ve found that this product typically wards off headlight fogging for around a year. As always, YMMV.
How We Decided
In researching the best do-it-yourself headlight restoration kits out there, we looked for fast, convenient options that were able to restore faded headlights to an OEM new car look in two hours of work or less and could restore at least 90 percent of your headlight lens clarity.
We made sure the top picks included basically everything you need to polish your headlights at home, so we limited the search to kits that came with a cleaning/ polishing compound, abrasives with at least two levels of grit, and some kind of clear coat or protective film to help ward off oxidation in the future.
We also looked for kits that required few if any extra tools. Most of these top headlight restoration kits are all-inclusive, while a few recommend the use of a handheld electric drill. We looked for ease-of-use as well, limiting our search to those kits that included step-by step instructions and involve six steps or fewer. We wanted to make sure it didn’t’ take an experienced hand to apply any products or perform the polishing. Some do require masking off the metal around the headlights and using an electric drill attachment to sand the headlights, while others let you sand and polish by hand, thus making it easier to spare the paint job, but adding some time to the job overall.
- Why a headlight restoration kit anyway?
These kits can brighten up the look of your car and take years off its perceived age. Plus, they help restore the output of your headlights, an important safety consideration. When headlight plastics are yellowed and fogged due to oxidation, they can reduce the brightness of your headlights by as much as 80 percent, making it less safe to drive at night.
A quality headlight restoring kit is also a great DIY way to increase your car’s resale value. Whether you’re looking to get top dollar for a classic car or trading in your used beater, restoring the clarity of the headlights helps make a better first impression on buyers and appraisers.
- Why add a clear coat or film after polishing the headlight lens?
Even though the job basically looks done once the headlights are polished and sanded, the plastic still needs to be protected from UV light so it doesn’t just get cloudy again. UV rays cause the plastics in most cars’ headlight covers to oxidize, turning the clear polymers cloudy and yellow. It’s more or less similar to what goes on when you cook egg whites, just with plastic instead of protein. Different kits on the market differ in their solutions to this. Some such as the Sylvania kit, our best headlight restoration kit top pick, include a durable clear film that’s guaranteed to ward off corrosion for the lifetime of the car (or the headlight assembly.) Others typically offer a spray coating that lasts around a year, depending on whether you keep it garaged and what the climate is like. Environmental factors mostly determine how long these headlight restorations stay looking new. Intense sunlight will corrode the plastics faster, for instance, while salty air, road salt in winter or desert sandstorms wear away clear UV coatings faster.
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