Are your headlights starting to get a little cloudy? Are you noticing a yellowish hue that makes your car look old and rusty? It is most likely because of oxidation resulting from the degrading polycarbonate plastic of your headlights.
But don’t worry! You don’t need to switch out your vehicle to a newer model – at least not yet. Taking your car to the repair shop may cost you at least a hundred dollars for replacing each headlight. So why go that route when you can use a headlight restoration kit instead? Each kit costs less than 40 bucks, and once you figure out the technique you can restore your headlights to their former glory all by yourself. To make shopping easier for you, we chose the five best products to restore headlights.
Picking the Best Product to Restore Headlights:
|3M 39165||Meguiar's G2980||3M 39175||Mothers 07251||SYLVANIA|
|Capacity||7 oz.||12 oz.||7.2 oz.||13.6 oz.||4.8 oz|
|Lasts||6-7 months||1year||6-7 months||6 months||2-6 months|
|Included accessories||sanding discs, polishing pad, compound||applicator pad, Easy-buff wool pad, sanding discs, hand sanding pad||3M Trisect sanding discs, pads, tape||Backing Plate, PowerBall 4Lights Polishing Tool, Restoration Discs||Premium Sandpaper, 2 Applicator cloths 1 blue lint, Vinyl Glove|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
For this review, we will compare these five products based on three major criteria – the quality of restored headlights, ease of use, and value for money.
Criteria 1: Quality of Restored Headlights
To determine which product gives the best result, we compared the features, overall review score, and customer feedback for each of the five headlight restoration kits. While all products are highly rated by customers, Meguiar’s G2980 Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit stood out as the most popular one with an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Based on actual results, both Meguiar’s G2980 and 3M Heavy Duty received the most praise because their effects on restoring headlight luster last for at least one year. These two are closely followed by SYLVANIA, which produces long-lasting results without the need for a hand drill. The remaining two products gave mixed results between 3-6 months before reapplication is needed.
The 3M Heavy Duty uses a quick-dry coating that protects your headlights from UV rays. However, the Meguiar G2980 requires a lesser amount of coating to achieve the same result. So not only does Meguiar’s G2980 kit restore your headlights to their best quality, but it also uses less consumables so you can reapply them again in the future.
Best Quality: Meguiar’s G2980
Criteria 2: Ease of Use
Out of the four headlight restoration kits, only the SYLVANIA exclusively uses hand sanding technique. The 3M Heavy Duty kit provides both hand sanding and drill-activated options. The other three products require drill-activated techniques, which allow users to complete the process in under an hour. However, the drill is not included these kits, which means that the user has to provide their own. This is where other factors come into play, such as the drill’s speed setting and the user’s experience with it, which can affect the result of the headlight restoration process.
The instruction manual of the 3M Heavy Duty kit contains some incorrect steps, and some users had to call customer support for clarifications. The Mothers 07251 NuLens kit comes with an instruction sheet and a step-by-step video instruction, which makes it more popular to those who are not familiar with standard headlight restoration techniques. Despite the versatility of the 3M Heavy Duty, new users take a longer time to restore their headlights using that kit because of the unclear instructions.
Easiest to use: Mothers 07251 NuLens
Criteria 3: Value for Money
Based on their Amazon listings, we found that the 3M 39165 headlight restoration kit has the highest price tag at over $30, while the cheapest one is the SYLVANIA kit which costs less than $20.
If you’re looking for the best value for your money, Meguiar’s G2980 Heavy Duty kit is the one that you should consider. It is slightly cheaper than the 3M Heavy Duty kit, but the results are similar. Although the SYLVANIA is way cheaper, many users claimed that its effects on restoring headlights are not as good as the other products.
Best value for money: Meguiar’s G2980
It is important for you to grasp the most important features, advantages, and disadvantages of each headlight restoration kit. We prepared short summaries for each product that can help you choose which one best suits your specific needs and budget.
3M 39165 Headlight Restoration Kit
The 3M 39165 Headlight Restoration Kit is one of the most reliable headlight restoration kits on the market. This product contains multiple 500-grit, 800-grit, and 3000-grit sanding discs to remove any discoloration and dirt on your headlights. Other materials included in this kit are packets of wax coating and polishing compound, a roll of masking tape, and non-abrasive applicator pads. >>> Check price on Amazon
- Enough materials for 3-4 pairs of headlights
- Comes with protective masking tape and more sanding discs than most kits
- Protective UV coating is included
- High price point
- Consumable materials come in packets, which are difficult to keep for future use
Meguiar’s G2980 Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit
Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit utilizes a drill-powered polishing technique to restore the clarity and prevent re-oxidation of your headlights for up to one year. Check our guide on how to prevent headlights from oxidation This kit contains a 4oz. bottle of plastic polishing compound that removes oxidation, scratches, and yellow stains. It also contains a 4oz. anti-UV protective coating that comes with an applicator pad for easier use. Hand sanding produces better results thanks to the 1000-grit and 3000-grit sanding discs included in this kit. >>> Check price on Amazon
- Enough consumables for 2-3 pairs of headlights
- Polishing compound and protectant come in bottles for easier use and better storage
- Results last for more than one year
- Includes 1000-grit and 3000-grit sanding discs
- Sanding pad is very easy to grip
- You need to prepare a microfiber cloth to use this kit more effectively
- Smearing may occur if too much headlight coating is applied
3M-39175 with Quick Clear Coat
The 3M 39175 Headlight Lens Restoration Kit is one of the best at restoring the quality of not just headlights but also taillights, fog lights, and directional lights. This product comes with 3M Trizact sanding discs that effectively remove dirt and haze on your vehicle lights without damaging the surface. You can choose either the hand sanding option if you prefer not to use tools, or the drill-activated kit that requires a hand drill but is not included. This kit includes a roll of masking tape to protect your headlights while you apply the polishing compound. >>> Check price on Amazon
- Hand sanding and drill-activated options are available
- 3M Trizact sanding discs prevent scratches on your headlights
- Restoration process takes only four steps
- Masking tape is included
- Results last for up to one year
- Instructions can be confusing
- Very time consuming compared to the others
Mothers 07251 NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit
The Mothers 07251 NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit is an all-in-one kit that removes any dirt and stains on acrylic or plastic headlights. The PowerBall 4Lights polishing compound not only cleans your headlights, but it also applies a protective coating that prevents further discoloration and damage for several months. This kit also includes a foam ball polishing tool for easy application of the PowerBall 4Lights compound. >>> Check price on Amazon. Find a list of best clear coats for headlights here
- Requires no hand sanding or hand buffing
- The 8oz. bottle of polishing compound is enough for 3-4 sets of headlights
- 800-grit, 1500-grit, and 3000-grit sanding discs are included
- Reusable and washable polishing tool
- Does not come with a protective seal to prevent oxidation
- The drill bit and buffing pad may break down easily
SYLVANIA – Headlight Restoration Kit
The SYLVANIA is one of the cheapest headlight restoration kits out there. The surface activator helps you easily remove any corrosion that formed around your headlights. Then you can apply the wet sanding technique using 400-grit, 1000-grit, and 2000-grit sanding discs to restore the clarity of the lenses. Any damage caused by UV rays can be easily remedied when you apply the SYLVANIA UV Block clear coating. >>> Check price on Amazon
- Lowe price
- Does not require a drill
- Includes 400-grit, 1000-grit, and 2000-grit sanding discs
- The surface activator and UV Block coating are very effective
- Process may take more than 30 minutes per headlight
In our opinion, Meguiar’s G2980 (find it’s pricing on Amazon) is the best product to restore your headlights.
It was a close fight between the 3M Heavy Duty kit and Meguiar’s G2980, but in the end, the latter emerged as slightly better in terms of quality and value for money.
Now you have a better idea on which product is the best at restoring your car’s headlights. It’s worth the time and effort to learn how to use these restoration kits because learning how to take care of your car can save you a lot of money in the long run.