Aug 14, 2023

Best Headlight Restoration Kits for 2023

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Revive your vehicle's dull and yellowed headlights with a headlight restoration kit. We've rounded up some of the best to help get your vehicle looking as good as new.

Over time, plastic headlight covers tend to get foggy, yellowed, or scratched, significantly reducing their effectiveness and visual appeal. Thankfully, you don't have to settle for dimmed visibility and disappointing aesthetics. With the help of dedicated headlight restoration kits, you can get your lights to look almost as clear as the day you bought the car—if you don't mind putting in the time and elbow grease. Today's kits offer more than just a temporary shine; they promise to rejuvenate your headlights to near-original condition. Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner aiming to bring back your car's sparkle, there's a kit tailored for you. Dive in as we highlight the top headlight restoration kits of 2023.

Before you get started on your search, you'll want to take a few things into consideration. Here's what you should be looking for:

Type of Kit: Some kits are all-in-one solutions, while others might require additional tools or products. For instance, some might include multiple abrasive solutions you need to use in conjunction with drill-attached applicators, while less intense kits might only include a hand applicator and wipe. Longevity: Check for kits that not only clean but also offer UV protection to extend the clarity of your restoration. This is usually found in the form of a wipe or solution you apply with an applicator. Every kit will vary slightly in effectiveness and length of protection, and where and how you store your vehicle will also be a factor. And that's to say nothing of your geographical location and its climate.Skill Level: Ensure the kit aligns with your DIY comfort level. Some might require more expertise than others. Make sure to read the instructions before purchasing the kit so you're not left with more work than you're expecting. Safety: Always prioritize your safety. Use protective eyewear and gloves, and ensure you're working in a well-ventilated area. If you're using a drill for mechanical cleaning, make sure nothing sensitive could get coated by stray bits of chemicals that could potentially get flung off the applicator. Compatibility: Generally speaking, most headlight restoration kits will work with any vehicle with plastic headlights. However, read all instructions to make sure you're properly applying and finishing the process as suggested by the manufacturer.

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This Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit from Cerakote includes everything you need to polish and protect your headlights. The first step is to use Cerakote's proprietary Oxidation Remover Wipes to prep the surface for the second step, which is to wet-sand the surface of the headlight with the included surface prep pad and discs to remove deep oxidation and light scratches. Once the surface is prepped, wipe on Cerakote's ceramic coating wipes to restore and protect the plastic from future oxidation.

This kit doesn't include bottles of solution or require the use of power tools, so it might not get your lenses quite as clear as others. But it's a great no-tool solution.

This two-step Headlight Restoration Kit from Meguiar's is a popular choice and with good reason: It's an affordable option from a renowned car care company, and it gets the job done without tools. It includes a cleaning solution for clearing up the headlight lenses and a coating solution for adding additional protection. Two applicator pads are also included.

In the event your headlights need a more powerful cleaning, Meguiar's also offers a Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit that includes the company's PlastX Polish, Headlight Coating Solution, and more aggressive cleaning pads, including a sanding pad and wool pad that attach to a drill.

Mothers knows a thing or two about keeping cars looking their best, and this multistep NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit is no exception. This kit does require the use of a drill (that's not included), but it comes with everything else you need to return the shine to your car's headlights.

The liquid included is Mothers' Powerplastic 4Lights Polish, which works alongside the Powerball 4Lights Polishing Tool and restoration discs to cut through the sun-damaged plastic and remove the yellowing.

Sylvania is the only company on this list that not only makes headlights but also sells a Headlight Restoration Kit. This three-step kit includes everything you need to bring back clarity to sun-damaged headlights.

Sylvania includes a surface activator designed to prep the surface for sanding and polishing with the included Clarifying Compound. Once properly polished, there's a UV Block Clear Coat designed to prevent future UV damage. There aren't any fancy applicators in this kit, but there's sandpaper of various grits, as well as polish cloths and gloves for carefully applying the clear coat and clarifying compound.

If you already have applicator pads and tools, Chemical Guys' one-step Headlight Restore and Protect solution is a quick, cost-effective solution to rid your headlights of yellowing and imperfections.

In addition to polishing the headlight using the micro-abrasive cream formula, this solution also includes a full-synthetic wax sealant that helps block UV rays from yellowing the plastic in the future. While a drill-powered tool will certainly speed up the process and results, there's nothing stopping you from going at your yellowing headlights with this, a microfiber towel or sponge, and a healthy bit of elbow grease to get results.

The primary culprit is UV radiation from the sun, which damages the plastic. Other factors include road debris, chemicals, and contaminants that headlights are exposed to regularly.

With proper application and depending on the quality of the kit, restored headlights can maintain their clarity for anywhere from six months to a few years. Some high-quality kits also include UV protection, which can extend the longevity of the restoration.

Most headlight restoration kits are designed to be universal and can be used on a wide range of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and motorcycles. However, always check the product specifications to ensure compatibility.

Many headlight restoration kits, including all the ones on this list, are user-friendly and designed for DIY use, complete with step-by-step instructions. If you're comfortable following directions and taking your time, you can achieve quality results at home. However, if you're unsure, it may be worth seeking professional assistance, if for nothing else than peace of mind.

Road & Track and its sibling publications at Hearst Autos represent three of the most influential automotive publications in the world. We rely on decades of experience in the automotive and gear spaces to help readers make informed purchasing choices, bringing reviews and evaluations of automotive gear and accessories such as Mechanics Tool Kits, Sim Racing Cockpits, and Apple CarPlay Head Units to our readers.

With the legacies of Autoweek, Car and Driver, and Road & Track behind us, the Hearst Autos Gear Team is more concerned with the trust our readers have in us than our bottom line. We won't tell you to buy something if we wouldn't buy it ourselves or recommend it to our friends, and we'll never claim to have used or tested something if we haven't. Read more about our testing process here.

Gannon Burgett loves cameras, cars, and coffee: a perfect combination for his Hearst Autos work. His byline has appeared in USA Today, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Digital Trends, the Detroit Free Press, and more.

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headlight restoration kitsType of Kit:Longevity:Skill Level:Safety:Compatibility:Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit from CerakoteHeadlight Restoration Kit from Meguiar'sNuLens Headlight Renewal KitHeadlight Restoration KitChemical Guys' one-step Headlight Restore and Protect