Articles / Best Plastic Restoration Kits
As the average age of vehicles on the road continues to rise, the issue of foggy and dim headlights becomes more and more common. Pair this with the fact that most newer cars have plastic headlights instead of the glass lights of older vehicles, and the need for headlight restoration is prevalent. While these plastic headlights are a great improvement both for cost purposes and safety in an accident, it does mean that they will wear out faster and become yellowed, scratched, and foggy. Luckily, our tests show that with many at-home restoration kits, even the worst condition headlights can be improved greatly.
There are many headlight refinishing kits on the market today, which allows you to refresh your headlights at home. How most kits vary is by the way they sand off the top layer. Some use an assortment of cleaning solutions, some use various grit sizes of sandpaper, and some use synthetic substances to mollify the layer so you can clean it off. Many use a combination of techniques. As with many items that have various brands on the market, there are some front light reclamation products that are simpler to use than others. In case you're overwhelmed by all the options available, you've come to the right place. We have investigated many of the products presently being sold, and have presented a detailed comparison of the top 7 below.
All the biggest names in vehicle care, such as Meguiar’s, 3M, Turtle Brand, etc, offer their own headlight rebuilding framework. Picking the right one for yourself can be as basic as brand dedication. For instance, if you love Rust-Oleum products, they make a headlight reclamation wipe that will look incredible on your shelf between their other items you have. However, if you prefer to weigh your options a bit more, this guide will expedite the process for you.
Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit
With Sylvania being one of the most well-known brands for automotive light bulbs, etc, it stands to reason they would have a very solid headlight restoration kit. This kit provided the best outcome of all the options in my opinion, but be prepared to put in some time and elbow grease. There is a 3 step process with this product, which begins with the “surface activator” which preps the plastic to make it easier to sand. Then comes the sanding and polishing, followed by the last step which is the application of the “UV Block Clear Coat”. All supplies needed for the project are included aside from a cloth and water. Sylvania also includes a lifetime warranty on their product.
Best Chemical Performance
Rustoleum Wipe New Headlight Restore
The Rustoleum Wipe New kit is a very affordable option that includes a sanding block and a pre-soaked microfiber towel with a nano-polymer solution that removes oxidation from the surface of the headlight. The sanding block has different grit levels on the sides for a 2-step sanding process, which makes the product name a bit deceiving since it does take some sanding and not just a simple wipe to get the desired results. It is recommended to complete the wipe portion outdoors or with a mask to avoid inhaling fumes from the chemicals used. Rustoleum includes a lifetime guarantee that headlights will pass inspection after this product is used, and also says it will withstand 100 car washes.
Meguiar’s 2-Step Headlight Restoration Kit
The Meguiar’s 2-Step Headlight Restoration Kit is moderately priced and very simple to use. The first step includes a rather abrasive pad that is used in conjunction with a cream that does a great job of getting rid of the worn surface of the headlights. This procedure is followed by the Headlight Coating, which is a spray that is wiped on with a cloth (cloth not provided). This kit is relatively fool-proof and provided good results, however the kit says it keeps headlights clear for one year, so it will likely need to be re-done in the future.
Best Drill-Polishing Kit
Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit
The Mothers NuLens kit is a fabulous option if you want the scrubbing power without the elbow grease. This is only great news, however, if you own a drill. The kit includes a drill attachment with a washable, reusable foam pad, along with restoration discs and a bottle of protective polish that deters oxidation. Since this one requires the use of a drill for buffing, it would be wise to use painter’s tape around the lights to protect the surrounding paint. Overall, it is a bit higher in price than other kits and the outcome seems to be relatively similar, but this can be a great time saver and can be reused.
Best Reusable Kit
3M Restore and Protect Headlight Restoration Kit
This affordable option uses the common method of an abrasive sanding block followed by a clear coat. The kit is very inclusive, given that it has not only the sanding block, sanding pads, and clear coat, but also masking tape and gloves. The masking tape is a great addition that protects the surrounding paint from any scratching during the process. You will likely want to have a soft cloth on hand for the process as well. Be ready to put in a bit of elbow grease, but the results seem to be well worth it. This kit can also be used again at a later time if needed.
Best Maintenance Cleaner
Turtle Wax 2 in 1 Headlight Cleaner and Sealant
This product is not a kit meant to fully refinish your headlights, but rather perform maintenance for upkeeping the condition. If your headlights are newer or still in decent condition, this is a great product to maintain their luster quickly and easily. It is simply a solution in a bottle that cleans and seals the lens to prevent further deterioration, and therefore is not a one-time use, rather can be kept and used periodically. If your headlights are more clouded or damaged, this is likely not the best product to use, as a polishing kit would be better suited.
Best All-Inclusive Kit
Rain-X Headlight Restoration Kit
This is a good product for the price, and the kit includes pretty much everything you need for the project. It includes the polishing pads and microfiber cloth, along with a lubricant, restorer, and sealant. It is a hand-polishing process, so as with most kits that don’t require a drill, it can take some time, but provides good results. Some of the higher priced hand polishing kits provided slightly better results it seems, but this was still a competitive outcome and very affordable.
Most of these kits are very solid, made by well-known brands that provide good quality products. The best overall option in my opinion is the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit since it seemed to have the best outcome and should have longevity. The least useful seems to be the Turtle Wax 2-in-1 Cleaner and Sealant, but as mentioned prior, this is mostly for minor issues and maintenance. Hopefully this guide will help you in making the best choice for yourself!