hazy headlights, yellowed headlights, cleaning, restoration, safety, appearance

3M Headlight Restoration Kit Proves Quick & Effective

Hazed, cloudy or yellowed headlight lenses not only dull the appearance of a vehicle, they also reduce safety by compromising the performance of the headlights. At night, headlights with hazed lenses will not shine as brightly or as far down the road.

I tried a 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System on a particularly clouded and yellowed headlight on a ten-year-old car. The results were excellent, with a huge improvement in clarity. Plus, the whole process took less than an hour.

hazy headlights, yellowed headlights, cleaning, restoration, safety, appearanceWhy restore your headlights?

  • Improved appearance: The whole car looks brighter without those tired, yellowed headlight lenses.

  • Safer night driving: The headlights perform noticeably better at night after restoration.

  • 3M’s easy, DIY solution: The step-by-step directions included with the product describe exactly what to do. The process is simple.

hazy headlights, yellowed headlights, cleaning, restoration, safety, appearance

Comparison to generic kit

I tried a cheap, generic headlight restoration kit on this vehicle about four years ago, and the results were not nearly as dramatic as what I saw with the 3M kit.

  • Even though the generic kit was about half the price of the 3M kit, the 3M kit is clearly the better value. It’s easier to use and results in clearer, glossier lenses.

  • The generic kit was a 2-step process with a sanding disc and a polishing disc. The 3M kit is much more thorough, with three sanding discs and a polishing disc.

  • The 3M kit uses hook-and-loop fastener to attach the disc to the disc pad holder. The generic kit used messy adhesive.

  • The directions with the generic kit were not very helpful.

  • Upon finishing with the generic kit, the discs were used up. With the 3M kit, I restored both headlights and still had supplies left over.

hazy headlights, yellowed headlights, cleaning, restoration, safety, appearance

Tips for Best Results

I didn’t follow all the directions to the T, but I should have. Still, I had just one issue with the finished product, and that was our fault.

  • Read through the instructions before you start. It just makes the whole process quicker and easier.

  • Use the recommended second layer of tape. I sanded through one layer and into the car’s paint finish in one small spot. That was our only mistake with the process.

  • Flatter surfaces are much easier than heavily contoured ones. Our lenses have some bumps and ridges that are hard to see in the photos but were trickier than the flat parts to sand and polish.

  • Don’t hesitate to switch out for a new disk if the one you’re using gets worn or clogged. The kit comes with plenty.

If you notice your headlights looking yellowed or hazed, try the 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System. It’s a simple solution with brilliant results. Visit your local NAPA Auto Parts store , or order online for delivery or in-store pickup.

hazy headlights, yellowed headlights, cleaning, restoration, safety, appearance

about author

Nick Palermo

Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.

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1 Comment

  • Bruce Lawrence Bergman

    May 25, 2014 at 3:47 AM

    Reply

    Critically important IMHO, have a professional grade 5# Fire Extinguisher like the BK 819-4999 in the trunk – Or two of the 2-1/2# size Kidde Pro-210 model up front, and get them professionally serviced every few years. And have your local Fire Department teach you how to use an extinguisher safely, they give training sessions.

    If you know how to put a small car fire out safely before it can get going, you can fix the car and be on your way quickly – If you have to wait 15 or 30 minutes for the Fire Department to arrive, it’s all over by then. Either a huge repair job, or buy a new car and replace all the contents.

    Get a moderate-size toolbox and let it fill up naturally, save the Parts box for Parts. At a minimum, a set of Socket and Open End wrenches, screwdriver assortment. special pliers for hose clamps, and the little dog-bone ratchet for your battery terminal bolts. One of the long lever Belt Tensioner Release Tools so you can change a serpentine fan belt. A simple test lamp and Digital Voltmeter so you can see if it’s a bad light bulb or the circuit. A Torque Wrench and the right socket for the lug nuts.

    Little tubes of Nickel Anti-Seize (BK 765-1828), Sensor Safe Silicone Sealant (BK 765-1461 or eq.), and Sil-Glyde Grease (BK 765-1351) for door and trunk latches. And a small can of WD-40 to dry out a drenched ignition system or engine sensors.

    Lightbulb kit for your car to go with the fuse kit – have a full set of Headlights, Tail lights, Turn signals, Backup, Side markers, Dome, Courtesy, License plate. And if the lights have special Torx screws, get the matching screwdriver. And the little Torx socket wrench for adjusting the headlight aim.

    Every car has a few oddball tools and parts that there’s no real substitute for, and will take a few days to order. Ask your Mechanic and your NAPA Counter Man to point them out when you come across them, so you can get spares. Some cars take special motor oil, transmission fluid, coolant or brake fluid – carry a quart or two. Or it’s a special fan-belt that only fits your car.

    Get a repair manual for the car – the Factory Service Manual is always best (though they can be very expensive) but the Haynes or Chilton for your car works fine. It’s a little paperback book that can literally save your whole day.

    And don’t worry if you aren’t an ace mechanic and can’t fix it yourself, put together a basic kit for your car anyway. If you have the parts, you can always find a mechanic.

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