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Looking for best headlight restoration kit? If you have owned a vehicle for a while you know that that when you first bring your car home the headlights are crystal clear. After some time, the headlights become cloudy, while your lights will still work there is a little bit of diminishment from when they were clear. And even if you have plenty of light those cloudy headlights still make your car look old.
You can clean and wax your car, use wheel and tire cleaner and get most of your ride looking amazing, but if the headlights look old, the whole car will look old.
So, what are your options? You could buy a new car, but that is a bit ridiculous. Another option is that you simply buy new headlights. Again, this is a bit of an expensive option to do every few years. Luckily, a number of top automotive companies have started putting out kits that aim to help get your headlights back to their former shine.
Garage Chief have highlighted six of the best headlight cleaner products on the market. But if that isn’t enough for our readers, we have also included a buyer’s guide to not only let you know what to look for in the best headlight restoration kit, but also how to use it.
Best Headlight Restoration Kit – Our Top Picks Compared
|editors-choice||Best Product||Best Value|
|item-title||3M Headlight Restoration Kit Lens Restore System||Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer Kit||SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit||Meguiar's Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit||Wipe New Headlight Cleaner & Restore Kit||Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit|
|• Improves the appearance of a car|
• Restores cloudy and dull lenses
• System is intended to restore two headlight lenses
|• Can be used on all lenses, plexiglass and plastic surfaces|
• Restores dull, yellowed headlights
• 3 multi-stage wet restoration pads
|• Fully removes haze and corrosion from headlight lenses|
• Lifetime warranty--performance is guaranteed for as long as you own your car
• 3 easy steps that provide long lasting UV protection
|• Restores clarity to severely neglected, oxidized, yellowed, and scratched headlights.|
• Quickly and safely cleans and restores brilliant clarity to clear plastics and provides UV protection
|• Headlights guaranteed to pass inspection|
• Easy to apply, lasts through hundreds of car washes
• Apply once and lasts for years
|• Quickly and safely restore, maintain and protect|
• Easily cleans away yellowing and stains,
• PowerPlastic 4Lights polish
|editors-choice||Best Product||Best Value|
Best Headlight Cleaner (And Lens Cleaner) – Reviews
While actually going through the process of restoring your headlights is not all that complicated, picking the best headlight restoration kit can be. There are plenty out on the market and some are better than others. We have highlighted six that we feel stand out from the crowd. For each of these we will point out not only price but also their type and then provide a write up for them.
To make things even easier we have even highlighted the products that we felt were best overall and the one that we feel offers the best value. These are easy to find with their tags following the product name.
3M Headlight Restoration Kit Lens Restore System (39008)
Price: Approx. $15
Type: Sand and Polish with Compound
The top option that we found was the 3M Headlight Restoration Kit Lens Restore System. One of the things that the company points out is that this set up is not only for headlights, it can be used for tail lights, fog lights and directional lights on your car, pretty much any light on the outside of your car can be cleaned up with the 3M system.
The kit itself may not look like much at first, but inside you’ll find a number of sanding discs as well as a polishing pad that already has compound on it. This means that you won’t have to worry about bottles leaking or if you applied enough compound onto the cloth or even if your cloth is lint free.
3M’s three step process is designed to be completed in about one hour and bring your hazy cloudy lights to a like new condition. This set up comes with an adapter to use with a household power drill to make keep you from sweating all day while you are sanding down your hazy headlights.
SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit
Price: Approx. $19
Type: Sand and Polish with Compound
One of the things that we liked about the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit was that it comes with a set of gloves. While it is a little touch, it makes you believe that they actually thought about the person using the kit, not just getting the headlight clean.
In addition to the gloves the kit comes with 2 bottles, a wipe pouch, applicator cloths and sand paper. This is a kit that truly has everything that you need in the box so that you can open it and start work without tracking down additional pieces.
Also, the steps are easily labeled on the components so that you barely even have to look at the instructions to know what you are doing. This mix of keeping it simple to use and providing everything that you need is great as it makes the process more open to everyone.
The kit even carries a lifetime warranty, claiming that the performance will last as long as you own the car. While the bottles might look like they are enough for a few cars you will quickly find out that it is truly designed to restore a single pair of headlights.
Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer Kit (T-240KT)
Price: Approx. $8
Type: Sand and Polish with Compound
The Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer Kit is another complete kit that brings you all that you need to complete your mission of restoring the headlights on a single car. The kit sports a lubricant, clarifying compound, lens wipe and 3 sanding pads, these ranging in grit size from 2400 to 8000. They use the standard 3 step process to remove haze and yellowing from exposure to UV light.
Turtle Wax claims that with this system you can complete each headlight in as little as 5 minutes. We think that must be based on only having to use the lens wipes on your headlights. It would be a safe assumption to guess your process might take a bit longer.
One thing that you may notice with this set is that the pads are a bit smaller than with other options out there. This is no doubt to help keep their price point low, but if you have larger hands or are working with a very large headlight you might find this rather annoying. Even with this the offering from Turtle Wax is a great low cost option that has everything that you need right in the box.
Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit (G3000)
Price: Approx. $70
Type: Sand and Polish with Compound
If you have an older car and think that you might need a little bit more power behind your headlight restoration then you will want to consider Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit. This kit comes with Meguiar’s easy buff sanding pad with finishing discs for the sanding part of the job.
You’ll also find their easy buff wool pad as well as the company’s Past-X compound, headlight protectant and a microfiber towel. You will need to have a household drill to work with the wool pad for buffing.
The company points out that headlights isn’t the only thing that this kit will work with. They mention that you can also use this set up to clean boat windows and any sort of uncoated clear plastic that might have a hazy, cloudy, yellowed appearance.
You’ll also note that once you purchase the kit with all the pads that you need they have options to purchase separately some of the compounds that they include so that you can work on your second car for a smaller investment.
One downside to this package is that only two sandpapers are used, the first being 1000 grit and the second being 3000 grit. Some prefer a few more steps to end up with a smoother surface at the end of the process.
Wipe New Headlight Cleaner & Restore Kit (HDL6PCMTRRT)
Price: Approx. $10
Type: Headlight Wipes
Some people might be a bit nervous about the thought of sanding down some of their headlight in order to improve performance. They might worry that if you sand a little too much then you might not be able to pass inspections and that won’t end up saving you any money.
If this is the case you might want to look at the Wipe New Headlight Cleaner & Restore Kit. While the other kits on this list have several bottles and sanding pads and such, this is just a set of wipes.
You simply open out a wipe and then wipe down you cloudy headlight. You can be done with a headlight in seconds. This made in the USA product promises that you won’t have to worry about passing inspections but will improve your headlights.
It is made to last through hundreds of washes, but you have the option of buying a single pack of these wipes or a 6 pack of them. 1 pack of wipes will take care of one car. It not only comes with the wipes but also a polishing pad, set of gloves and a microfiber drying towel.
Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit (07251)
Price: Approx. $20
Type: Sand and Polish with Compound
Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit is another set up to work through the three step process of sanding the haze off, polishing with a compound and then applying a new layer of protection. This is another kit that is meant to be used with a household drill to provide the muscle, making sure that life is easier for you.
This one has both an adapter for the polishing device and the sanding pads. One of the nicest features of this particular set is that you get enough to do multiple cars worth of headlights. The bottle is large enough that you will need to find a place to store it.
The company will point out to you that this set up is not only for use with headlights, but can also be used for motorcycle windscreens, helmet face shields as well marine windows. This one comes with sandpapers in 800, 1500 and 3000 grit.
Best Headlight Cleaner Kit – A Buyer’s Guide
What is Headlight Restoration?
Headlight restoration is a rather easy idea to grasp at first. It is the process of getting older cloudy headlights to return to their former glory. But the real trick is how does one go about this? First, we need to look at just what causes this cloudiness to afflict your headlights.
The cause of the issue can be tracked back to the ultraviolet light from the sun. This type of light affects the plastic of headlights which causes them to go cloudy after some amount of time.
There are a number of environmental features that help this process along. This process can be helped or hurt by a car’s make and model. Based on how the company laid out the headlights means that they will end up getting hit with more or less of the sunlight.
Now you could store your car under cover in order to keep it from too much exposure to sunlight, but that isn’t going to solve the problem unless you are ready to only drive in the dark. This isn’t really much of a realistic solution, so you are going to need to track down the best headlight lens restorer.
Types and Differences
There are a range of different kits on the market that all claim that they are going to clean and clear your headlights. We’ll go through some of the different types that you might come across and go over the differences about them.
The first type is the wipe on wipe off variety. These generally just come in with a bottle of product. They will tell you to wipe the product onto the lens of the headlight. Some will say just rub it in and others will want you to let it sit for a time and then rinse it off or wipe it off. These tend to not work as well as other types, if you have minimal clouding these might be a good option, but you probably shouldn’t expect them to remove years and years of buildup.
Keep in mind, You should go from the roughest grit to the finest.
The next kind of kit will have a similar bottle of product, but will also contain some pads and a separate bottle. This type will have you try the wipe off method first, if you are happy with the results you can stop. However, the pads are in fact a kind of sand paper. If the wipe off didn’t do enough of a job for you then the kit will have you sand down the cloudiness. You should go from the roughest grit (usually the lowest number) to the finest (normally the highest number). Just remember that you are removing material from the headlight, so there is a limit to how many times you can do this.
The final type of kit that we’ll discuss today is the extra kit. These often will feature everything in the above kit, but they add some kind of tool to the mix to help you along. Many times, this will be an attachment to a power drill that is designed to make the sanding and polishing of your headlights go quicker. You should still practice caution though, very old headlights might be brittle and not stand up to that kind of abuse.
Many times, you’ll find a separate bottle included in kits. These contain a UV blocking sealant. A product of this time was likely added to your headlights at the factory but will end up breaking down over time. If your headlights are newer you may be able to merely apply this to keep them from clouding up.
What is Included?
As we mentioned above there are a range of kits on the market and each will come with their own range of products. Most all will include some formulation of headlight cleaner product. You will find though, that different kits from different companies will vary even if they are the same type.
For instance, if you purchase a kit with sanding pads one company might provide 3 sanding pads for that step while another might give you 5. In this case more pads will end up meaning a smoother overall headlight lens when you are done working.
Also, you will want to think about how many cars you are working on and how often you might want to do this process. There are some companies that will offer multi-packs of their product or perhaps a larger size of their compound that can work on a number of vehicles. Then again, you might like to purchase a single larger kit with the included drill insert and then buy a number of bottles of headlight restoration compound and UV protector to work on multiple cars.
How Do You Clean Your Headlights Lens?
Once you have chosen your product you will need to assemble the tools that you require. Don’t worry for most of these there aren’t a whole lot of tools required. The one thing that you will need is time. Of course, if you select a kit that comes with a tool it will tell you what it needs to work with it.
For the most part they will all work with a basic power drill, either corded or cordless. It is good to have some lint free cloths on hand. Since this process may involve sanding some people like to use a sanding block (these are good ones) and a dust mask. Finally, you will want to make sure you have some tape and possibly some newspaper.
The first thing to do, no matter what kind of kit you are using, is to tape around the edges of your headlights. This will provide a border around your light and keep you from scratching the nearby paint on your car.
Some people will want to tape some newspaper or other similarly weighted paper around the edge of your lights to provide a higher level of protection.
Now that you have your area masked off, you can take a crack at clearing up your headlights. The first step is normally to apply the compound product. You will need to follow the exact instructions that came with your product, but in general you will end up putting some compound on a cloth and then start rubbing it into the headlight. If this is all your kit has or if you are happy with the results you can stop.
If you are continuing on you’ll need to move to the pads. This is where you are sanding away the top layer of the headlight lens. You will want to remember to keep from messing up the paint around the light (the reason for the masking earlier). Also, remember that this step will produce some dust. Some people prefer to wear a mask during this step.
This sanding step is where some kits employ an extra tool. Normally this is just a head for your power drill that speeds up the sanding. You will want to take care while sanding with a power tool that you don’t remove more than you truly need to.
Once you have worked through all the steps of sand paper or pads (smaller numbers first as they are the rougher grits) it is time to reapply some protection. Normally this will be in a bottle. You’ll pour it onto a clean towel and wipe it onto the freshly sanded headlight. You will want to make sure that before you apply this coat all the dust from the sanding has been removed.
Some people will used compressed air while others go for a wet rag wipe down. If you go the wet route be sure that you know if your protection coat can be applied to a wet surface or if it needs a dry one.
This is only a rough overview of the steps. Your particular kit should come with more detailed instructions that will let you know how to use each component along with any special instructions for your safety.
How Much Does it Cost to Get Your Headlights Restored?
When you have decided that your headlights need work there are a number of different ways to go. The first is to track down an auto shop that will do it for you. Of course, this isn’t easy or cheap.
Not all the mechanics out there are willing to do this operation and some will simply want to sell you new headlights. Even if you find someone they are going to charge you a good chunk of money to do a job that isn’t really that complicated.
If you look at doing it yourself the first question will probably be price. There are a range of prices just like there are a range of kits on the market. The lower end of the spectrum can find kits that run about $7. These might be mostly a headlight compound, but it might be all that you need. On the high end you can end up spending $100 or more to get a complete kit that walks you through every possible step.
After you’ve considered your price range you will need to look at where to buy the best headlight cleaner. Sometimes you can find one or two in the big box stores or automotive stores, but usually you’ll only find a very limited selection.
If you’ve looked into the process and found what looks to be just the right set you don’t want to go to the store to find out that it isn’t an option for you. Thankfully there are online sites like Amazon that offer you a much wider selection and will ship the product right to your door.
Headlights are a safety feature and should be treated with some respect. This isn’t a difficult or dangerous process if you use the products made to do the job you are doing. There are plenty of rumors out there that you can simply pour some common household product on cloudy lights and they will clean right up.
Most of these either won’t work or end up melting some part of the headlight system. It is much better to pay the money for a kit that has specifically been made for this purpose and then follow the instructions then try to save a mere couple bucks and melt your headlights.
Finding The Best Headlight Restoration Kit – Wrapping Up
With that you should have all the knowledge you need to pick out the best headlight restoration kit on the market today. We have shown you six of the top contenders. While you will have to consider which is the best headlight lens restorer for you, based on your budget, needs and expectations, all things being equal we felt that the 3M Headlight Restoration Kit is the true stand out offering of those on the market today.
We’ve discussed what headlight restoration actually was, touched some of the pointers to look for in different kits, and we also gave you some instructions on how to go about the process. This is just an overview and whichever kit you end up selecting will have more detailed instructions on those specific items.
Finally, it is you turn. Do you have any experience with the products that we have recommended above? If so please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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