Cloudy plastic headlight lenses reduce light output and look ugly, but cleaning them up is easy to do – here’s our guide to the best headlight restoration kit.
Over time, plastic headlight lenses turn yellow and cloudy. This is caused by the original factory UV protection wearing off, allowing UV light to cause oxidation. Not only do cloudy headlight lenses ruin the appearance of your car, but they also reduce light output. Choosing the right kit is tricky, though, as there are so many available. Some are designed to be used by hand, and some make life easier with drill attachments. It’s also essential that you seal your headlights afterwards to prevent them from turning cloudy again. Here’s our pick of the best headlight restoration kits. For more detailing tips, be sure to check out our guide on what is car detailing.
Best Headlight Restoration Kit In 2023
Meguiar’s Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit
RRP: $21.24/£32.49, buy now.
This offering from Meguiar’s foregoes the need for a drill, relying on elbow grease to get results, and it does. The first stage involves using the cleaning solution with one of the supplied cleaning pads to remove the layer of oxidation. Once that’s done, you spray on the supplied headlight coating, and that’s it. Your headlights will now be protected and remain clear for up to one year. The only negative is that if you want to use your drill to make life easier, there’s no backing plate supplied. That’s a minor point though, as it’s extremely effective applied by hand. This is an excellent kit that works very well and is very easy to recommend.
Turtle Wax Headlight Cleaner And Sealant
RRP: $19.44/£6.50, buy now.
If you want something cheap, cheerful and easy to use, then look no further. The only all-in-one on our list, Turtle Wax’s offering is perfect if want something that works with minimum fuss. There’s no kit here, just a bright green bottle, so you have to use your own cloths. You simply pour some of the solution onto a cloth or applicator pad, then rub it over the headlight. It removes yellow surface oxidation, leaving behind a protective layer to prevent future yellowing. Simply buff the headlight lens, and it’s job done. Of course, it does require a bit of effort to get results. And it’s not as effective as the more aggressive kits. However, it’s superb value for money and so simple to use that you can’t go wrong.
Armor All Headlight Restoration Wipes
RRP: $11.98/£11.99, buy now.
Where most restoration kits involve sanding off the layer of oxidation, the Armor All wipes take a different approach. The wipes are impregnated with a strong chemical that strips the yellow layer off. You just need to rub them across the surface of your headlights, and the oxidation will come off. Then you use the sealant wipe to apply a layer of long-lasting UV protection to keep your headlights clear. The Armor All wipes work well, though they aren’t as effective as full-on polishing kits. However, for the money, minimum effort and sheer simplicity, they are really good.
Autoglym Headlight Restoration Complete Kit
RRP: £34.49 (not available in the US), buy now.
There’s a good reason this is called a complete kit, and Autoglym wasn’t messing around with this one. With eight components in total, this is a very comprehensive kit that’s been designed to get results. Designed to work with any electric drill, the Autoglym kit quickly gets your headlights looking like new. It comes with a headlight restoration compound, a drill backing plate and four different grades of sanding discs and pads. These allow you to progressively refine the finish to get the best possible results. The only downside is there’s no sealant included, meaning you have to apply your own UV protection. But apart from that, it’s a very impressive headlight restoration kit.
Quixx Headlight Restoration Kit
RRP: £15.02 (not available in the US), buy now.
This German kit is another one designed for hand application, and it comes with all the gear. You get plastic polish, three different sandpaper grades, a sanding block and polishing cloths. Elbow grease is required, but you get an excellent finish thanks to the progressively finer grades of sandpaper. The sanding block makes life easier, and the polishing compound prepares the headlights for sealing. Usefully, you also get a tube of that, ensuring all your hard work does not go to waste. This kit is definitely a little more involved, but the results are well worth the effort.
Holts Headlight Restoration Kit
RRP: £22.99 (not available in the US), buy now.
The Holts kit is the most comprehensive drill-based one on our list. You get an electric drill backing plate, four grades of sandpaper, headlight polish and a polishing pad. The drill attachment means you don’t need a lot of effort, and the various polishing components really get results. You just have to keep the headlight surface wet while using the sanding discs to avoid burning it. Once you’re happy with the finish, the included sealant will ensure your perfectly polished headlights are protected. This kit performs really well and is well worth a look.
Now you know the best products on the market, be sure to check out our step by step guide on how to clean car headlights.