Do Car Headlight Restoration Kits Actually Work? Here’s What Consumer Reports Found

As our brand new cars start to age, one of the first signs is the front fascia, and what feature sticks out more than car headlights? Whether you want to make your daily driver look a little better, or get a few extra dollars out of a car you are selling, chances are you looked into DIY headlight restoration kits.

These headlight restoration kits that pledge a like-new appearance for your headlights can seem too good to be true, but do they actually work? Should you spend your money and an afternoon making your headlights look new again, or are you better off paying a professional to do the job? Here is what Consumer Reports learned about headlight restoration kits and if they actually work!

What causes foggy car headlights?

According to Consumer Reports, headlights lose their luster and start to turn foggy due to the environment they are driven and parked in, not necessarily just from age itself. In climates that get a lot of sunshine, the polycarbonate coating on headlights starts to wear off. This gives your headlights a cloudy appearance and makes your headlights perform worse as time goes on.

An employee cleans the headlights of Land Rover Series One
Car headlights of Land Rover Series One | Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Do headlight restoration kits work?

Per 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 getting a body shop to do it for you.

However, these kits are not a permanent solution. Once the original tough coating is gone, the cloudy headlights are bound to return faster than before. Consumer Reports noted the cloudiness returning to headlights around a year after a restoration kit application.

How do headlight restoration kits work?

Luckily, no quality headlight restoration kit pledges to have a perfect appearance after a simple application. They take time and a little bit of work to use these kits as directed. True headlight restoration kits require the user to sand off the coating on the headlights that has since gone foggy due to sun exposure, before reapplying a new coating over the freshly sanded headlights.

When a headlight restoration kit is used properly, the user is simply stripping away a layer of protective coating and then reapplying a fresh coating. Doing this gives you headlights that are just as clear as brand new lights from the parts store, but with some cash saved in the process.

While headlight restoration kits may not be an extremely long-term solution, it is definitely cheaper than replacing the entire headlight assemblies on your car, and give you much better visibility while driving. If your headlights are looking cloudy and you would like to make them look better without much money invested, these kits may be ideal for you.

RELATED: Driving With Cloudy Headlights Is More Dangerous Than You Think