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The Best Headlight Restoration Kits of 2024

Fix the discolored and hazy headlights on your vehicle with one of our favorite headlight restoration kits.

headlight being restored on carWe tested a variety of headlight restoration kits to find the best ones; (photo/Derek Mau)
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Over time, a car’s headlights go from crystal clear to cloudy due to age and prolonged exposure to the sun’s damaging UV rays. Notably, this degradation decreases the headlight output and affects a driver’s visibility at night

As headlights age, the yellow and fogginess will affect how much light is projected onto the road. The result can degrade visibility for drivers. This degradation happens when the polycarbonate coating on a headlight lens deteriorates, which happens over the part’s lifespan but is particularly noticeable in regions where cars get a lot of sun.

The good news? Solutions are available to correct the problem yourself. You can either replace your headlight housings — which is costly — or restore them using a headlight restoration kit. These kits generally cost from $10 to $25.

Essentially, the included tools help you remove the lens coating that’s damaged and apply a protective layer. Some headlight restoration kits require a bit of elbow grease. Others include attachments for an electric drill to make the job less arduous.

Numerous options are available for headlight restoration, so it’s a wee bit confusing to pick the right kit. Rest assured, we purchased and tested the best ones available today and wrote up our impressions. Below are our recommendations for the best headlight restoration kits, so you can bring clarity to your dull and hazy headlight lenses.

To learn more about headlight restoration kits and a more in-depth analysis of how they can vary, check out our comprehensive buyers guideFAQ, and comparison chart below.

The Best Headlight Restoration Kits of 2024

Best Overall Headlight Restoration Kit

Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit


  • Chemicals Surface activator, clarifying compound, UV block clear coat
  • Sanding tools Waterproof sandpaper; P400, P1000, P2000 grit
  • Additional kit contents Vinyl glove, paper applicator, polishing towels
  • Hand drill required No
  • UV block Yes
  • Manufacturer’s warranty Limited to vehicle lifetime
Product Badge The Best Headlight Restoration Kits of 2024


  • Clarity is outstanding
  • No tools required
  • Warranty good for the life of the car


  • Manual process of sanding is time consuming
  • Kit contains materials to restore two headlights, only
Best Budget Headlight Restoration Kit

3M Ultra Headlight Restoration Kit


  • Chemicals 3M Quick Headlight Clear Coat
  • Sanding tools Discs; (2) 3M Gold P200 grit, (4) 3M White P500 grit, (4) 3M White P800 Grit, (1) 3M Trizact refining disc 3000 grit
  • Additional kit contents (1) Nitrile glove, 3.25 in. disc pad holder drill attachment, 3M automotive performance masking tape
  • Hand drill required Yes
  • UV block Yes
  • Manufacturer’s warranty None
The Best Headlight Restoration Kits of 2024


  • Kit comes with everything you need to restore headlights except a cordless drill
  • Clarity restored to like-new condition
  • Excellent quality kit materials
  • The headlight clear coat contains a UV blocker


  • Heavily oxidized headlights require lots of sanding steps before applying the clear coat
Best Ceramic Choice Headlight Restoration Kit

Cerakote Headlight Restoration Kit


  • Chemicals (8) Oxidation removing wipes, (2) ceramic coating wipes
  • Sanding tools Discs; (2) P500 grit, (2) P800 grit
  • Additional kit contents Sanding Pommel
  • Hand drill required No
  • UV block Yes
  • Manufacturer’s warranty Limited to the original purchaser
The Best Headlight Restoration Kits of 2024


  • No tools required
  • Restores close to original clarity
  • UV coating is tough and will last many years
  • Limited lifetime warranty to the original purchaser


  • Recommend using a cordless drill and disc sander attachment for heavily oxidized headlights
  • Chemicals are harmful to the skin, so wear gloves to protect your hands
Best of the Rest

Meguiar’s Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit


  • Chemicals Meguiar’s Two Step cleaning solution, Meguiar’s Headlight Coating
  • Sanding tools (2) Abrasive disc pads
  • Additional kit contents None
  • Hand drill required Yes
  • UV block No
  • Manufacturer’s warranty Free from defects in materials
The Best Headlight Restoration Kits of 2024


  • Headlight coating is outstanding at restoring clarity
  • Lots of product for repeated cleanings and touch-ups
  • Headlight coating will work on other unprotected plastics


  • Requires touch-ups about once a year, depending upon environmental conditions
  • You’ll have to find a way to apply the cleaning solution after the abrasive pads wear out

Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit


  • Chemicals Mothers PowerPlastic 4Lights plastic polish
  • Sanding tools (5) restoration sanding discs
  • Additional kit contents PowerBall 4Lights polishing tool, 3-inch backing plate drill attachment
  • Hand drill required Yes
  • UV block Yes
  • Manufacturer’s warranty None
The Best Headlight Restoration Kits of 2024


  • Plastic polish restores clarity and blocks UV rays
  • Lots of product for repeated cleanings and touch-ups


  • Requires frequent touch-ups, depending upon environmental conditions

Rain-X Headlight Restoration Kit


  • Chemicals Rain-X Premium Headlight Buffing Polish, Rain-X Premium Headlight Sealant Protectant Wipe
  • Sanding tools (2) 1500 grade sanding discs (brown), (1) 3200 grade sanding disc (grey), (1) 4000 grade sanding disc (blue)
  • Additional kit contents Nitrile gloves, drill attachment, headlight polishing pad
  • Hand drill required Yes
  • UV block No
  • Manufacturer’s warranty None
The Best Headlight Restoration Kits of 2024


  • Faster than hand scrubbing
  • Inexpensive


  • Wet sanding can get messy
  • Headlight polish packaged in a packet
using headlight restoration kit
Headlight restoration kits each include a variety of tools; (photo/Autowise)

Headlight Restoration Kits Comparison Chart

Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Hand Drill Required, UV Block, Manufacturer’s Warranty.

Headlight Restoration KitPriceHand Drill RequiredUV blockManufacturer’s warranty
SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit$25NoYesLimited to vehicle lifetime
3M Ultra Headlight Restoration Kit $19YesYesNone
Cerakote Ceramic Headlight Restoration$18NoYesLimited to the original purchaser
Meguiar’s Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit
$22YesNoFree from defects in materials
Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit
Rain-X Headlight Restoration Kit
dirty headlight
We restored foggy headlights on a 2006 Range Rover; (photo/Derek Mau)

How We Tested Headlight Restoration Kits

Our esteemed GearJunkie tester and Buyers Guide author, Derek Mau, led the curation and field testing for this guide. A regular work day for Mau involves testing almost anything with four tires and a steering wheel. He obsessively researches and shops for the best deal. Of course, he shares his findings through detailed and informative writing and reviews of all things automotive for GearJunkie.

This busy guy knows something about detailing, specifically the chemicals used to make a car look pretty and how to use them to their fullest potential.

In this buyer’s guide, we chose headlight restoration kits that require varying degrees of effort. We tested each kit on older cars, trucks, and SUVs with heavily oxidized headlight lenses. We’ve used a couple of kits in the past and have general knowledge of how long the coating will last. Others, where noted, were our first experience using them.

Our choices were based on the final results, as well as the number of steps and effort required to achieve the best clarity. We also considered the price and the frequency of touchups that are needed after the initial restoration. 

man cleaning headlights using headlights restoration kit
You’ll need around an hour or two to restore your headlights; (photo/Autowise)

Buyers Guide: How to Choose the Best Headlight Restoration Kit

Every automobile owner should care about having clear headlights. With yellow, scratched, dull, or old headlights, a driver’s nighttime visibility is diminished. Driving can become unsafe for yourself and others on the road. With a headlight restoration kit, you can make your headlights shine like new again.

Finding the best headlight restoration might be exhausting, but cleaning your headlights should be straightforward. Fortunately, we tested several kits so you can cut to the chase and pick the best product for your needs.

With a little bit of effort, one of our suggested kits will get your headlights back in like-new condition lickity-split. Invest in one of these headlight restoration kits, and you can’t go wrong.

With so many kits available, how do you pick the right headlight restoration kit for you? When choosing the right headlight restoration kit, consider a few key factors that we’ve outlined below.

taped off headlight being sanded
Sanding is a common step in headlight restoration; (photo/Derek Mau)

Effectiveness of a Headlight Restoration Kit

Look for kits that have proven effective in restoring clarity to headlights. Check professional and customer reviews and ratings to gauge the kit’s performance. You want to select a kit that can handle the level of oxidation and haziness you’re trying to resolve.

Ease of Use

Opt for a headlight restoration kit that is easy to use and comes with clear instructions.

Kits with simple steps and minimal tools tend to be more user-friendly. If manually sanding and polishing isn’t your cup of tea, look for kits that are set up for use with a hand drill.

dirty headlight
Headlights can become dirty and worn over time; (photo/Derek Mau)

Included Materials

Ensure the headlight restoration kit includes all necessary materials, such as sandpaper, polishing compound, and sealant.

Some kits may also include drill attachments, masking tape, and protective gloves for convenience. The 3M Ultra Headlight Restoration Kit is one example that includes everything you need except for a powered drill. You’ll also need a block of time.


Consider how long the results are expected to last. Some kits offer a sealant that provides long-lasting protection against future oxidation, while others may require more frequent maintenance.

Sometimes, the warranty gives an indication of the product’s longevity, especially if the instructions don’t mention how often touch-ups should occur. For example, Meguiar’s Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit has a warranty limited to product defects. It yields excellent results but requires periodic touch-ups to maintain lens clarity.

cleaned and restored headlight
We were pleased with the results of the Meguiar’s Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit on the 2006 Range Rover; (photo/Derek Mau)

Brand Reputation

Choose a kit from a reputable brand known for producing quality automotive care products. Brands with a history of customer satisfaction and positive reviews are generally more reliable. Mothers, Meguiar’s, and 3M all produce outstanding products that are well-regarded by professional detailers. 

Considering these factors, you can select a headlight restoration kit that meets your needs and restores your headlights to like-new condition.

wipe used in headlight restoration
Follow the instructions that are included in your headlight restoration kit; (photo/Derek Mau)

UV Blocker

It’s no coincidence that our top choices happen to include a UV blocker mixed in the polishing compound or sealant. To this point, the headlight restoration kits from 3M, Cerakote, Mothers, and SYLVANIA all contain a UV blocker of some type. Undeniably, UV-blocking agents in automotive care products offer several advantages.

Protection Against UV Damage

UV rays from the sun can cause fading, discoloration, and deterioration of automotive surfaces such as paint, plastics, and rubber. UV blocking agents help protect these surfaces from UV-induced damage, prolonging their lifespan and maintaining their appearance.

cloudy headlight
We restored the heavily weathered headlights on a 2006 Subaru Outback with the NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit from Mothers; (photo/Derek Mau)

Preservation of Interior

UV rays can also damage the interior of a vehicle, causing fading and cracking of dashboard materials, leather seats, and other surfaces. UV blocking agents in products like interior cleaners and protectants help prevent this damage, keeping the interior looking newer for longer.

Maintained Value

UV blocking agents can help maintain a vehicle’s resale value by protecting its exterior and interior from UV damage.

When it comes time to sell or trade in the car, a well-maintained vehicle with minimal sun damage typically commands a higher resale value. Prospective buyers or dealers are often willing to pay more for a car that has a documented history of regular maintenance and minimal cosmetic faults, as it implies that the vehicle has been cared for and is less likely to have hidden issues.

taped off headlight being buffed down
We were pleased with the restored headlights on the 2006 Subaru Outback; (photo/Derek Mau)

Enhanced Aesthetics

Regular washing, waxing, and detailing keep the car’s exterior looking clean and well-maintained. UV blocking agents in automotive care products can help preserve the original color and finish, ensuring that your vehicle looks its best between cleanings. Subsequently, they can prevent paint damage, rust, and corrosion, which can detract from the car’s appearance and decrease its value.

Reduced Maintenance

UV blocking agents protect against UV damage and can reduce the need for frequent detailing or repairs, saving you time and money in the long run.

Common to the SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration and Cerakote Ceramic Headlight Restoration kits is a UV blocker. Both will maintain lens clarity after restoration without a need for future cleanings. They also offer a warranty that lasts for the life of the car.

Overall, a UV-blocking agent not only ensures a vehicle’s safety and appearance but also helps preserve its value over time. It’s wise to look for headlight restoration and automotive care products that have a UV-blocking agent, for both present enjoyment and future resale or trade-in.

Also, check out our top recommendations for the best car detailing kit to make your ride truly shine. 

various headlight restoration kits
We tested the Cerakote Ceramic, Meguiars Two Step, 3M Ultra Headlight Restoration, Mothers NuLens, and Rain-X Headlight Restoration kits; (photo/Derek Mau)

Why You Should Restore Your Car’s Headlights

Aside from taking care of those unsightly headlight lenses, there are several practical reasons for cleaning up the years of oxidation buildup.

Whether you take on the job yourself or hire a professional, consider the following reasons why it’s a good idea to restore the original clarity to those hazy headlights.

Improved Safety and Visibility

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.

restored headlights
Weathered headlights were restored to almost-new condition on the 2012 Mazda3; (photo/Derek Mau)

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, such as the SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit, sells for $25, which is pocket change by comparison. As with any aspect of your automobile, doing preventative work is far better than paying for costly repairs or replacements.

Resale Value

If you’ve considered selling or trading in your car in the future, 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.

Restoring your headlight lenses can improve the overall appearance, making it look well-maintained. The Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit has a plastic polish that does an excellent job of removing layers of oxidation and restoring lens clarity to seemingly new condition. And it has enough materials to do touchups or more than one set of lenses.

dirty headlight lens
The 2012 Mazda 3 headlights were cloudy after 5 years of exposure before the restoration; (photo/Derek Mau)

Environmental Impact

By restoring your headlights to like-new condition instead of replacing them, you reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.

Headlight housings are typically made of polycarbonate materials that can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills. After disposal, there’s also the danger of those microplastics getting into our food and water ecosystems. Subsequently, you reduce the demand for new headlights and the associated manufacturing processes, which are resource-intensive and a source of greenhouse emissions.

The disposal of toxic chemicals associated with the manufacture of new headlights also adds to the environmental impact. For all intents and purposes, choosing to restore headlights instead of replacing them contributes to a more sustainable approach to vehicle maintenance and helps reduce one’s ecological footprint.

cleaned headlight lens
The final results were good from the Cerakote Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit on the 2008 Honda Pilot; (photo/Derek Mau)


Refer to the comparison chart to compare the prices of different kits for your budget and vehicle. Consider the value each kit offers in terms of effectiveness, ease of use, materials provided, and longevity.

One of the best values we found was the Rain-X Headlight Restoration Kit. It has all the necessary materials to restore a set of headlight lenses and did an admirable job restoring clarity for the low cost of $20.

headlight restoration kit
The Meguiar’s Two-Step Headlight Restoration Kit is a solid choice; (photo/Derek Mau)


What is a headlight restoration kit?

Commercial headlight restoration kits are intended for car owners who want to restore the lenses’ original clarity.

These headlight renewal kits improve visibility while driving and enhance a vehicle’s tired appearance. They are typically sold in auto parts stores and in the automotive section of big box department stores. You can also buy them online.

items from headlight restoration kit
Items from the SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit; (photo/Derek Mau)

Commercial headlight restoration kits are intended for car owners who want to restore the lenses’ original clarity.

What is in a headlight restoration kit?

A headlight renewal kit will remove years of oxidation, yellowing, and haziness on the lens, which is caused by years of exposure to the elements, road hazards, and the sun’s damaging UV rays.

A complete headlight restoration kit includes a polishing pad, sandpaper, polishing agent or oxidation remover, and a sealant. Some kits also include a drill attachment accessory for the sanding or polishing discs, masking tape, and plastic gloves. 

Can you clean your headlights without a headlight restoration kit?

Though you may have heard of people using various other options to clean their hazy headlights (including sandpaper, toothpaste, vinegar, polish, and insect repellent), we recommend buying a dedicated headlight restoration kit.

There are many affordable options. These kits will ensure you get the best results without further damaging your headlights.

included supplies in a Rain-X Headlight Restoration Kit
We tested the Rain-X Headlight Restoration Kit; (photo/Derek Mau)
Why are my headlights discolored?

As the polycarbonate lens on your headlights ages, it is inevitable that they will start to yellow due to oxidation and exposure to UV rays.

Thankfully, some headlight restoration products include UV blocking agents to help protect these surfaces from UV-induced damage. Those agents prolong the lifespan of headlights and maintain their appearance.

Headlights can also become discolored, faded, and deteriorated from exposure to various chemicals that your car may encounter at home and on the road.

Do headlight restoration kits really work?

Absolutely! Headlight restoration kits from major brands (including Meguiar’s, Mothers, Sylvania, Cerakote, and 3M) will remove layers of oxidation and restore lens clarity. Light output at night is tremendously improved, along with elevating the look of your vehicle.

taped off headlights
We tested the Rain-X Headlight Restoration Kit on a 2004 GMC Sierra; (photo/Derek Mau)
Can your car fail state inspection because of the headlights?

Yes, but it isn’t common. Ensure your headlights and turn signals are in good working condition as part of your regular maintenance routine, and you should not 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 and its environment.

If you frequently drive on heavily salted roads or your car sits outside in the elements, you’ll probably find yourself doing it more often. Parking outside and daily exposure to the sun’s damaging UV rays will increase the rate of oxidation and yellowing of the lenses.

The honest answer is it all depends on your vehicle and its environment.

If you frequently drive on heavily salted roads or your car sits outside in the elements, you’ll probably find yourself doing it more often. Parking outside and daily exposure to the sun’s damaging UV rays will increase the rate of oxidation and yellowing of the lenses.

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 instructions for whatever kit you purchase. Three basic steps for restoring headlight clarity include the following:

  1. Removing oxidation from the lens using chemicals or physical sanding
  2. Polishing the lens. That includes using a polishing compound specifically formulated for polycarbonate headlight lens or a final sanding step using P3000 grit sandpaper
  3. Apply a UV coating and sealant to protect the lens
2008 Honda Ridgeline with restored headlights
The SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit removed years of oxidation and lens clarity was restored to like-new condition on the 2008 Honda Ridgeline; (photo/Derek Mau)

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