So Do Those Headlight Restoration Kits Actually Work?

If, like me, you’re a regular watcher of basic cable programming (yay for House marathons on a dreary Sunday!), you’ve probably seen the ads for those kits that promise to restore car headlights that have fogged over or dulled from oxidation. They promise to clear up that haze quickly and cheaply, but do they work?

Luckily, we know the testers at Consumer Reports, who decided to try out a handful of these kits to see if they could make good on their promises.

CR tested out the following four kits, all retailing for less than $25:
3M Headlight Lens Restoration System 29008 ($15)
Fast Brite Auto Headlight Restorer Kit ($17)
Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit ($21)
Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer ($9)

The good news is that even the worst-performing of the bunch was able to drastically improve light output.

However, while the ads for the kits make it seem like a simple wipe-and-you’re-done process, CR discovered that most of the products required several steps, and you could spend upwards of an hour just to restore two headlight lenses. The 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System actually requires the use of an electric drill and sanding discs, which means you could risk scratching the paint on your car if you’re not careful.

The whole CR report on headlight restoration kits can be read here.