Do car headlight restoration kits actually work? Here’s what consumer reports found

As our new cars begin to age, one of the first signs is the front fascia, and what feature stands out more than car headlights? Whether you want to spruce up the look of your daily driver a bit or squeeze a few extra bucks out of a car you’re selling, chances are you’ve been looking for do-it-yourself headlight restoration kits.

Those headlight restoration kits that promise your headlights to look like new may sound too good to be true, but do they actually work? Should you spend your money and an afternoon getting your headlights looking like new again, or is it better to pay a professional to do the job? Here’s what Consumer Reports has learned about headlight restoration kits and whether they actually work!

What causes foggy car headlights?

According consumer reports, headlights lose their shine and begin to become hazy due to the environment in which they are driven and parked, not necessarily solely due to age itself. In very sunny climates, the polycarbonate coating of the headlights begins to wear. This gives your headlights a cloudy appearance and makes your headlights less efficient over time.

Land Rover Series One Car Headlights | Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Do headlight restoration kits work?

According to Consumer Reports, headlight restoration kits absolutely work to give you better visibility for a safer driving car without an unnecessary full headlight replacement. Luckily, these headlight repair kits only average around $10-20 per kit; it’s much cheaper than having a body shop do it for you.

However, these kits are not a permanent solution. Once the original hard coating is gone, the cloudy headlights are bound to return faster than before. Consumer Reports noted the return of cloudiness to the headlights about a year after a restoration kit was applied.

How do headlight restoration kits work?

Fortunately, no quality headlight restoration kit promises to look perfect after a simple application. They take time and a little work to use these kits as directed. Genuine headlight restoration kits require the user to sand down the headlight coating that has since become hazy due to sun exposure, before reapplying a new coating to the freshly sanded headlights.

When a headlight restoration kit is used correctly, the user simply removes a layer of protective coating and then reapplies a new coating. This gives you headlights that are just as bright as new lights from the parts store, but with money saved in the process.

Although headlight restoration kits aren’t a very long-term solution, they are significantly cheaper than replacing your entire car’s headlights and give you much better visibility while driving. If your headlights look cloudy and you want to upgrade them without investing a lot of money, these kits may be ideal for you.

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