6 Best Headlight Restoration Kits for 2018
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Headlight restoration kits while a relatively new market concept is an affordable solution to cleaning, restoring, and preventing damage to your vehicle's headlights or taillights. Before these kits were available having your headlights cleaned and restored was either something done by a professional detailer or car dealership which is very costly. Because of this unwanted expense, for many vehicles owners it’s become a “maintenance” overlooked or avoided.
If not a headlight cleaning, car owners often feel like they are stuck purchasing entirely new headlights – costing even more, or worse, purchasing only one and then being stuck with one clean and one terribly dirty or barely visible headlight. Since this is not a desirable situation, we’ve broken down the most practical, effective, and affordable headlight cleaning kits for you to make the most of your money and time.
Should I use a Headlight Restoration Kit?
If your vehicles headlights are suffering from seriously foggy lenses, have yellowing, UV damage, or don’t have the necessary headlight output (shine and clarity) at night to drive safely then investing in a headlight restoration kit could be a worthy choice. Some people’s cars have also developed small scratches and micro-holes in their headlight lenses over time from hitting rocks and other debris on the road – which also decreases headlight performance and negatively impacts the cosmetic appearance of your headlights.
If you’re willing to put in the necessary labor – or have a friend to help you – and do the necessary research if you are not familiar with the process of cleaning, restoring, and preserving your headlight lenses then you could benefit greatly from any of these headlight restoration kits. They are made in different ways, serving different purposes, focus, and come in a large enough variety that you should be able to find the best fit for you.
Headlight Restoration Kits: The Basics (How they work)
Restoration kits, depending on how they are made usually focus on either cleaning, restoring, and preserving your headlight lenses by hand, or using a power drill for “buffing” and the polishing process.
Typically, headlight restoration kits are designed for ease of use, each made with their own proprietary cleaning and polishing chemicals, and utilize different tools and supplies for a multi-step process. In rare cases, a headlight restoration kit may have you use a “wet-sanding” process which can also be found below and quite useful in some instances.
With either two to three steps, you should expect to set aside the necessary time, energy, and effort for thoroughly cleaning your headlights with the included cleaning agent, scraping away dirt, UV light damage, and discoloring with multiple stages of sandpaper, and then cleaning off the debris and polishing your headlight lenses with a preservative, UV protective agent and wax that will leave your headlight looking as near to new as possible.
Finding the Best Headlight Restoration Kit: What to Look for
Depending on your preferred method of sanding and polishing, in most cases, people opt for the headlight restoration kit that is as simple, convenient, and effective. The best kit for you is likely going to consist of much-needed various ‘grit’ sandpaper, a protective glove, and extra paper towels and of course the cleaning and polishing sprays or agents.
It’s ideal to select not only the most practical headlight restoration kit possible, but also one that has a strong reputation as a company and manufacturer of headlight restoration kits. Flexibility and compatibility are also great features to look out for, so if you’re looking for a headlight and lens restoration kit that will be friendly-to-use on your own vehicles, marine vehicles, or other vehicle turning lens plastic parts then make sure you go with one that was built exactly for that, and has positive feedback – as highlighted below – for being trusted and effective for doing so.
Kit that not only includes all the parts but also has a credible and worthwhile warranty will help you maximize your investment and the end results. Also, customer service plays a large role so don’t be afraid to skip over newer brands without a solid reputation, minimal feedback, or ones that you cannot find the customer service information for contact. Most importantly, invest in a headlight restoration kit that will do what it’s designed to do, and one that ideally includes a little extra supply in case it’s your first time or you make a mistake.
The Turtle Wax T-240KT Headlight Restorer Kit is our choice for the best headlight restoration kit as it’s an all-around excellent product to go with if you’re suffering from headlight discoloration, UV damage, and are looking for a fast, simple to use the system with a solid reputation.
This headlight restoration kit has very consistent and positive feedback from customers because it’s effective for not only removing damage, blurriness, and discoloration but also appears to be the top-rated product for effectively improving your overall ‘light output’. While plenty of other competing headlight restoration products promise to do this, and few may, it’s not something that seems to be an especially significant focus with the others. T-240KT is most effective on headlight lenses that have minor to moderate UV damage, discoloration, and dirt buildup or micro scratches and holes. While it’s still possible to remove deeper discoloration or micro-damage, it will require more time – and this kit prides itself on – verifiably – being able to be successfully used in 10 minutes or less for most vehicle owners. If additional buffing and polishing are necessary then likewise will be the physical labor involved with such a project, and you may or may not elect to purchase and use a power drill and buffing discs if this is the case for you.
On top of a very affordable price combined with a solid reputation, this is one of the few headlight restoration kits that rely on a “wet sanding” system to clean, restore, and preserve the integrity of your headlight lenses. It comes with 2400-grit and 8000-grit sandpaper included, and the multi-step process is simple to follow and use. If a headlight restoration kit can combine a solid reputation, quality product, affordable yet justified price, and not sacrifice quality or overall results then we’re confident in rating this as the top pick, easy to use and best headlight restoration kit on the market. To top it off, various customers both new and experienced have reported that the included special (extra) cleaning system and step is so effective that for many with discoloration and other UV damage in their headlights didn’t even need to use sandpaper for buffing – although it's a helpful step to complete in support of the polishing process.
Best of all, the Turtle Wax T-240KT Headlight Restorer Kit comes with enough cleaning agent and supplies that it won’t be a hassle to re-apply the cleaning chemical or UV and dirt sealant as needed in the future. It should be understood that no same customer will have the same experience, as people naturally have vehicles in different conditions, and of course weather environments which mean the entire process and preventative sealant and polish at the end will vary in results depending on properly using the system, how hard and effectively you clean your lenses as well as the types of conditions you keep your vehicle headlights and vehicle in moving forward.
The Meguiar's G2000 Perfect Clarity Headlight Restoration Kit is rated as the best quality for the price paid as it incorporates a simple to use 2-step process is reasonable and has substantial cleaning and restorative properties. Customers favor using this product because it’s designed with a simple to use ‘buffing sponge’, includes a quality-made wax sealant, and the kit altogether is great for both beginners and those experienced with headlight restoration kits.
Meguiar has a solid reputation for providing quality, headlight and automotive detailing and restoration products. And while this headlight restoration kit is perfect for up to moderate dirt, grime, and UV damage or discoloration buildup, the fact that it is also effective to use – without a power drill – for removing watermarks or swirls in the lenses says a lot too. However, for those that have severe UV damage or scratches that are too many layers down on your acrylic plastic lenses Meguiars also makes a great buffing disc set for using a power drill called the Meguiar's G3500 DA Power System Tool. Though, many customers have reported – using only the included buffing sponge – being able to effectively get out and polish most minor micro-cracks, holes, or scratches with a bit of ‘elbow grease’.
The Meguiar's G2000 Perfect Clarity Headlight Restoration Kit is of great product quality because it includes more than enough cleaning fluids so that applying multiple layers isn’t a hassle. The fact that the cleaners are meant to sit on the lenses briefly to ‘absorb’ dirt, grime and discoloration give you a good idea of how powerful and effective the cleaners are – while still being safe to use or breathe in during use. The system overall is again not difficult to use, and while some may experience some concern during the wet or “dripping” process it’s easy to read through the instructions, other users feedback, and watch videos online which clearly illustrate how to do it properly, that it’s safe, and that once you reach the final step how effective the product is at leaving you with a crystal-like clarity and shine.
You really get a lot out of this headlight restoration kit for what you pay for, and plenty of customers openly admit they come back for purchasing more than one for their other vehicles as well. This is pretty much a full kit, and the only thing you’ll need to – or should – purchase separately if you don’t already have it is some heavy-duty, reliable, and well reputed automotive tape like the 3M 03433 36 mm x 32 m Automotive Performance Masking Tape which is also very affordable.
The SYLVANIA is an easy to use headlight restoration kit that’s excellent for removing dirt, grime, and discoloring. Regardless of if your headlights have gone untouched for a year, five years, ten, or even twenty this easy to use headlight restoration kit will leave you satisfied, and effectively does what it’s designed to do. It not only brings back cosmetic appearance and clarity through restoration, but is also extremely beginner or “newbie” friendly for those cleaning and restoring their headlights for the first time. And if you’re a vehicle owner that has some unwanted damage, smearing, or blurriness on your lenses from trying an at-home remedy for cleaning and restoring headlights, or a product that didn’t work, don’t be embarrassed and find comfort in knowing that you’re not the first and multiple other customers that have used this headlight restoration kit have equally found success.
Given the included protective glove, tape to protect your car, and UV sealer along with the cleaning agents this is a great kit not only for someone that’s a beginner, but also for learning and experiencing firsthand how you really do get as clean, restored, or ‘like new’ appearance from your headlight as the work you put into it. It also includes a lint-free UV applicator cloth, and regular applicator cloth so it’s easy and ready to use right out of the box. Customers have reported being able to complete this process between 30 minutes to an hour maximum for those doing it for the first time. Although, you’ll learn and observe that through the finished product whether or not it’s necessary to do more sanding or ‘buffing’, and have the choice of either doing it again with more buffing, or wait until it gets discolored and dirty again – using the same cleaning supplies and polish included with this kit.
To top it off, we rated this as the easiest to use headlight restoration kit because it doesn’t need a power drill and buffing discs, and because SYLVANIA has been making exterior automobile cleaning products and kits so long enough to provide you with the best results. It’s also an easy to use headlight restoration kit if you’ve got blurry or fogged headlight lenses from other elements of the road like sap or rock-salt which can scratch the lenses. With an easy to read and understand guide, along with a lifetime warranty, we stand by this product for being the easiest to use headlight restoration kit and believe you will too.
You’re probably thinking, why does it matter what ingredients my headlight restoration kit use? Look at it this way, various products come from various manufacturers, relying on different types of cleaning chemicals and technology, system products, and tools all in efforts to design the most desirable, effective, and affordable headlight restoration kit.
However, something that might be overlooked is not only the reputation of the headlight restoration kit maker you’re considering but also their total background experience and history with this type of technology. After all, this is going to dictate the type of methods, quality, and affordability is associated with each type of headlight restoration kit. Philips in particular happens to not only be a long-standing, trusted manufacturer for advanced electronics merchandise, but also popular for it’s LED headlight bulbs and conversion kits. This means you can find comfort in knowing that this product is used by the same company that is trusted and used to make a lot of bulbs used in major car manufacturers and headlight lenses.
Before diving more into the ingredients used and the effects of this system it’s important to keep in mind that when it comes to quality of a headlight restoration and cleaning products that ultimately no amount of chemical strength or sandpaper can outweigh certain severity or degrees of damage – nor the energy or efforts required to restore it to its previous condition. With the Philips Headlight Restoration Kit customers get to enjoy a 1-year guarantee on their cleaning and restoration products, and customers also enjoy an up to two-year promise for the polishing’s lifespan and UV protective properties. Just remember, it’s critical to read the instructions so you don’t put too little or too much applicant or pressure.
As this headlight restoration kit includes two cleaners, one specially designed for “prepping” the buffing and polishing these steps are considerably more effective in comparison to competing products and makes the Philips Headlight Restoration kit the most effective and trusted for getting out hard to remove dirt, UV damage, and discoloration like yellowing or “browning”.
The Philips Headlight Restoration is also trusted because it’s designed to truly restore the original UV (ultraviolet) sealant, as well as maximize applying new UV sealer at the end of the proccess. This kit is also made for convenience, and includes all the necessary 600-grint, 1500-grit, and 2000-grit sandpaper to maximize the total buffing and sanding process, making it reliable and effective for sanding down micro-holes and scratches caused by rocks or debris on the road.
If you’re looking for the most efficient, simple to use headlight restoration kit on a budget then the Mothers 08808 PowerPlastic Kit is a great product you can count on. It uses specialized oxidation inhibiting polymers which adds a special touch of care and extra tough removal power which means stubborn UV damage and the blurriness you experience now with your headlights are sure to be a thing of the past.
While affordable, the Mothers headlight polishing agent is great for restoring and maintaining long-term clarity. It’s even been used successfully on hard plastics like a T.V. bezel, prescription glasses, and wedding rings. While these are not necessarily what the polish was designed for, the fact that it’s trusted to do so says a lot about the effective, yet not overly abrasive technology maximizes the cleaning and restoration power of this product. Most customers have reported an at least 50-80% overall improvement in their headlights clarity and functionality – which is equally important as it provides light output and increases safety while driving at night to see vehicles in the distance and other hazards. And while this headlight restoration kit doesn’t include sandpaper or cloths and tape, it does include a whopping 8oz bottle of cleaning and polishing agent which means you can be generous with the applications, while still maximizing your money spent, making it a practical solution for those on a budget if you have a few basic supplies lying around.
Some customers have applied the cleaning and polishing agent monthly, while others yearly or less.
It’s important you use durable, reliable sandpaper and protective tape to get the most out of this process and work “freely” without worrying about spilling or getting any of the cleaning agents on your cars paint and other parts.
If you have especially tough UV damage, fogging, or discoloring on your lenses it may be necessary to rely on a more durable, heavy-duty solution such as the Mothers PowerBall Polishing Tool to accompany this cleaner which will not only get hard to remove dirt, scum, and scratches but also deep “micro-holes” caused by rocks or other abrasive chemicals that your headlight lenses have been exposed to over time.
Best of all, anyone that chooses to do so will also be able to also use this tool can polish deeply into their headlines both bringing it more shine, clarity, and an overall cosmetically appealing appearance. We trust this route and product, as do our customers that have tried out various competing products and headlight restoration solutions. It both takes the added labor as well as time – and of course money – out of the equation and process. If you don’t know how or are not familiar with using a power drill and the polishing discs you can always ask a neighbor for help, or teach yourself through the various DIY videos and instructional guides online. For those on a budget, looking to spend as little as possible while still maximizing results the 3M 03003 Imperial Wetordry 3-2/3" x 9" 2000 Grit Automotive Sandpaper, depending on your needs.
If you have, can borrow, or are willing to invest in a (multi-use) power drill (ideally 1,200 – 1,600 RPM power) and looking to truly clean, buff, restore, and polish your headlights with maximum then the 3M 39008 Headlight Lens Restoration System is for you.
Given it’s long-standing trusted reputation for making office supplies, adhesives, and now automobile adhesive tape and headlight restoration products the 3M headlight restoration kit is a top-performing product. You can expect to achieve crystal clear appearance and light output as long as you stick to the directions, follow the step-by-step guide, and ensure you both take your time and apply enough pressure as needed throughout the process.
The various strength sanding-grit trizact discs included use a trusted and proven system that has customers hailing this as the most effective, power-drill friendly headlight restoration product to date. The buffing discs are also designed to have an “extra” thickness to them for taking your time, possibly making mistakes, using too much, and ensuring you have enough left over for the opposite headlight lens. It also includes an excellent polishing product that is one of the key secrets to maximizing results. There is enough polish included for multiple applications, making this both the best headlight restoration kit for using a power drill and polishing discs.
Car owners and customers that have complained of even 13 year or older headlight dirt buildup, UV damage, grime, and micro scratches and cracks have stated using this kit is extremely effective as long as you put in the necessary labor, time, and energy. While the process could take you anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, or more, it all comes down to your experience with using a power drill, polishing discs, and of course the current condition of your headlight lenses.
The 3M 39008 System is made to be effective whether you keep your headlights on, or decide to take them off for cleaning. It’s also competitively selected as the best by us because it’s compatible and very effective on SUV’s, as well as import vehicles such as BMW’s or Audi’s that have unusually shaped or ‘protruding’ headlight lenses. Just remember, it’s a multi-step process, using various levels of sanding paper-grit, so too much or too little pressure can extend the process or even (unfortunately) make it necessary to repeat.
Regardless of the amount of time it may take you with your headlight lenses you will undoubtedly save hundreds of dollars if not more as opposed to having it professionally done or purchasing and replacing your headlights all together.
The 3M 39008 Headlight Lens Restoration System has also received feedback from customers as being especially useful for buffing (sanding) down scratches, blemishes, and micro-holes left by hail and other debris on the road. Depending on what necessary supplies you might already have, if you’d like to pay for the convenience of having waterproof, automobile masking tape for using this system you can also try out the 3M 39014 Lens Renewal Kit, or the 3M 39045 Lens Renewal Kit with Protectant which includes effective and protective sealant, helpful masking tape, and any other supplies you’ll need to get started.
To top it all off, this ‘power drill-friendly’ headlight restoration kit also includes extra sanding discs, and is a trusted, effective kit that may also be used on motorcycle windshields, marine vehicles, trailers, or other craft with hard plastic exterior parts.
What is the Most Practical Headlight Restoration Kit for You?
Depending on what type of vehicle, headlights, condition, and your overall willingness to dedicate labor, energy, or exert extra spending or resources such as a power-drill we’ve included various, top-rated headlight restoration kits to take out the hassle of choosing the best, most effective, affordable, and convenient choices available on the market.
While each of these headlight restoration kits have been presented to you along with their different specialties or advantages and disadvantages many have cross-user or be effective for similar projects and demands. For example, the SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit, Philips Headlight Restoration Kit, and the Turtle Wax T-240KT Headlight Lens Restorer Kit are all excellent choices for an ‘everything included’ headlight restoration kit –without the necessity of having or using a power-drill for buffing. If it's your first time restoring your headlights and you want to use the most trusted, effective ingredients and have any other supplies you may need to get started, then the Philips Headlight Restoration Kit is an excellent choice, has great feedback, and is both easy to learn and practical.
For an affordable, simple, all-around headlight restoration cleaner and polish that is sure to get even the toughest of UV damage, dirt, and even light to moderate scratches or micro-holes out of your headlights the trusted Mothers brand, Mothers 08808 PowerPlastic 4Lights restoration cleaner is the perfect choice.
Lastly, if you have, are willing, and able to use a power-drill and have moderate to severe UV damage, scratches, or micro-holes in your vehicles lenses then the 3M 39008 Headlight Lens Restoration System is irrefutably the best, most effective cleaner if you do not have or are not able to exert the extra energy and labor using sandpaper by hand for buffing out UV damage and scratches. If however, you still wish for another effective cleaning, restoration and polishing solution then the Turtle Wax T-240KT Headlight Lens Restorer Kit is ideal.
Hopefully, you now feel less intimidated, and more educated by the headlight restoration process and have a better understanding of exactly what these kits and cleaners are designed for and how they’re used. Remember, given the amount of free information on the internet there’s no reason not to consider investing time studying, researching, and watching Do-It-Yourself tutorials and videos online for maximizing your ability and success with whichever headlight restoration kit you decide to go with.
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