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Lighting System

Top Clear Coats for Headlights (2022): Complete Review and Buyer’s Guide

If your headlights are constantly exposed to the sun, harsh weather conditions, and nasty road debris, you’ll start noticing the tell-tale signs of oxidation and damage. You’re most likely reading this because your headlights look like a pair of jaundiced plastic parts full of UV damage and dirt.

But don’t worry, we’ve all been there. It’s time to take your sanding paper out to scrape off all the gunk and spray with your trusty clear coat and get your headlights looking like brand-new again!

However, you really need to first restore your headlights before you put on the coat. If you slap on the spray without scraping off the existing damage, the chemicals in the coat won’t adhere to the plastic and you’ll be left with botched headlights.

We’ve reviewed five of our top choices below to present you with the most durable and protective coats that will ensure your headlights are resistant to oxidation for years! Also learn how to get that glossy sheen today and enjoy safe driving whenever you hit the road!

Top 5 Clear Coats for Headlights: Comparison Chart

Pick Name Thumbnail Product Name Price
Best for VHT Headlights Dupli-Color BCL0125 Clear Exact Dupli-Color BCL0125 Clear Exact Check Price
Best UV Clear Coat SYLVANIA – Headlight Restoration UV Block Clear Coat SYLVANIA – Headlight Restoration UV Block Clear Coat Check Price
Best Plastic Clear Coat USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol Check Price
Best Spray Clear Coat Meguiar’s G17804 Keep Clear Headlight Coating Meguiar’s G17804 Keep Clear Headlight Coating Check Price
Great Value for the Money 3M Quick Headlight Clear Coat 3M Quick Headlight Clear Coat Check Price

Our Top 5 Best Clear Coats for Headlights – Reviews

01 Dupli-Color BCL0125 Clear Exact-Match Automotive Top Coat (Best for VHT Headlights)

Dupli-Color BCL0125 Clear Exact-Match Automotive Top Coat

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Dupli-Color is great at ensuring your headlights remain firmly protected against the outside world. If you’re in the habit of parking outside under the hot summer sun, the yellow oxidation is probably already making your headlights foggy and cloudy.

In combination with optimal sanding and this brilliant spray, you can bet that your headlights will look brand-new in no time and stay protected for years. You’ll also get a total clear sheen for a highly accessible price. We’d say the Dupli-Color turned out to be an absolute steal for us with its lasting results.

Our Experience with the Dupli-Color BCL0125

  • This coat had an adjustable nozzle, an impressive finish, and quick drying speed.
  • Dried super quick despite the several coats we sprayed on. It only takes 10 minutes between each coat, so we could finish the job very easily.
  • The clear coat left a pro-grade finish that looked shiny, glossy, and sleek. If you want your headlights to pierce through the darkness with their exceptional brightness, you’ll definitely need the Dupli-Color. It creates an impenetrable barrier against the external world and harmful UV rays to make sure your headlights remain safe and protected.
  • The 360 degree nozzle (moved up/down and left/right) facilitated easy movement and allowed us to adjust the spray however we wanted for a smooth and even coat.
  • It was just the right amount to perfectly coat our headlights. Usually, what happens with cans with a lot of spray is that you tend to run out of headlights to coat due to the excessive amount in the can, and this leads to a lot of it being wasted as their shelf life isn’t too long. If you don’t need to restore many vehicles at once and also want to avoid waste, this is the perfect coat for you.
  • What we especially love about this product is that it can be used for the rest of the vehicle along with the headlights. The spray is available in multitudes of colors so you can spray any part of your car. We also liked that there were coats available specifically for different brands of vehicles.
  • The orange peel was minimal. We liked that despite several coats, the texture remained smooth without any odd bumps scattered here and there.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Many complained that the nozzle clogged easily
  • Towards the end of the bottle, the spray starts to splatter within but that happens to any spray can
  • The can is a bit small for people with large hands

What Could be Improved

  • The quality of the nozzle could be improved. We found it alright but some may have received defective nozzles.
  • The amount of shine and gloss could be increased because many car owners don’t prefer a lighter shine.

Our Recommendations

  • If you feel that the nozzle doesn’t facilitate the amount of control you need, cover up the parts around the headlights so the spray doesn’t land on it.
  • Make sure to carry out the sanding process thoroughly to ensure a glossy finish.
  • Wear your protective gear when handling the chemicals in the spray. Better wear a respirator to avoid inhaling the fumes and rubber gloves to keep from touching the chemicals.

Specifications

  • Fit Type: Universal/Car-Specific
  • Application: Aerosol Spray
  • Color: Clear
  • Paint type: Acrylic
  • Size: 8 oz

Pros

  • Aerosol spray application
  • Great adhesion
  • Moderately glossy finish
  • Long-lasting
  • Contains UV inhibitors
  • Great value for money
  • Quick drying
  • Easy to use
  • Sheer
  • Versatile
  • Weather & chemical resistant
  • Minimal orange peel

Cons

  • Some found the nozzle subpar
  • Spray tends to spatter

02 SYLVANIA – Headlight Restoration UV Block Clear Coat (Best UV Clear Coat)

SYLVANIA - Headlight Restoration UV Block Clear Coat

Why it Stands Out to Us

Since UV radiation and environmental elements cause the most damage to headlights, you’ll need a coat that can serve as a barrier between the plastic of your lights and the external world. With the advanced configuration of the chemicals in the Sylvania, you get a layer of protection that deters harmful UV radiation from piercing through the plastic and yellowing your precious headlights.

While no clear coat will permanently prevent yellowing, this one comes pretty close with its long-lasting sheen. You may have to go about the process every few years but the longevity of this coat will definitely save you money and hassle in the long run.

Our Experience with the Sylvania HRKUVB

  • Long-lasting, protective, resistant against UV rays and environmental elements, shiny, and easy to use.
  • It comes with two options – one with a full restoration kit and one with a simple UV block. Those who need all the components such as a surface activator and sanding paper can opt for the pricier kit whereas users who just need to block against UV damage can buy the UV block at a much lower price.
  • The enhanced UV protection formula keeps headlights from yellowing for a long time.
  • We liked the various components provided in the restoration kit. The surface preparation solution was great at removing oxidation and the sanding papers took off the debris like a champ.
  • Instead of spray application, this coat needs to be wiped on with a piece of cloth that’s actually beginner-friendly.
  • The kit comes with a lifetime warranty.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Requires extensive sanding that takes some time.

What Could be Improved

  • The coat is sometimes prone to streaks if you don’t work fast. If there was a slower setting time, we wouldn’t have seen an overlap in the lines when we went back in for a second pass.

Our Recommendations

  • You need to go about the sanding process the right way to ensure the coat adheres to the material of your headlights properly.
  • The lights may look foggy even after the sanding process is over. Fret not, just put on the coat and you’ll instantly see the difference.

Specifications

  • Fit Type: Universal
  • Application: Wipe
  • Color: Clear

Pros

  • Aerosol spray application
  • Great adhesion
  • Long-lasting
  • Contains UV inhibitors
  • Great value for money
  • Quick drying
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Weather-& chemical-resistant

Cons

  • Requires a lot of sanding

03 USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol-2 PACK (Best Plastic Clear Coat)

USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol-2 PACK

Our Experience with the Spray Max 8542051475

  • Easy to use, lasting results, resistant to UV ray damage, and versatile with great adhesion.
  • For a pro-level finish, the Spray Max will help you achieve that shiny “just took it out of the dealership” look. The brand boasts of a “high gloss” finish and it definitely pulls through in that regard.
  • We sprayed it on after sanding away all the debris and yellowness. The chemicals adhered to the plastic very well and gave an overall smooth finish.
  • Another feature we appreciated was that the bottle made little to no sound during activation.
  • We also liked that the brand offered four different package options. We bought 6 bottles for a highly discounted price.
  • Though a bit pricier than other coats, this spray provides a high-quality glossy finish that’s similar to the ones you’d get from an auto repair service. We definitely think we got a great bang for the buck and would recommend this spray to others who want a sleek clear coat.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Even though a tiny bit, the spray was still prone to producing orange peel.
  • Dripped a little due to the low viscosity levels.

What Could be Improved

  • Could be made slightly more viscous to prevent dripping
  • Once the seal’s popped, the entire can needs to be used. Otherwise, the remaining chemicals may harden inside and become unusable in just 48 hours. The shelf life could be increased for users who want to use it at a later date.

Our Recommendations

  • Shake the bottle a few times before you spray to avoid random spitting.
  • The distance between the headlights and the nozzle should be around 8 inches at the time of application.

Specifications

  • Exterior Finish: High-Gloss
  • Fit Type: Universal
  • Application: Aerosol Spray

Pros

  • Aerosol spray application
  • Great adhesion
  • Glossy finish
  • Long lasting
  • Contains UV inhibitors
  • Great value for money
  • Quick drying
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Weather-& chemical-resistant

Cons

  • Not so viscous
  • Prone to orange peeling

04  Meguiar’s G17804 Keep Clear Headlight Coating (Best Spray Clear Coat)

Meguiar's G17804 Keep Clear Headlight Coating

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you want that complete clarity on your headlights that won’t be too heavy for your pocket, the Meguiar G17804 is the way to go. The clearness level makes it look like your headlights just got replaced by new ones. Moreover, the enhanced protection helps prevent harmful UV rays from oxidizing your lights while protecting against harsh weather.

In our case, the finish lasted a year before yellowing finally started showing up. But there’s enough spray in the can to coat several vehicles. The aerosol application is also very quick and easy. Though there’s no kit in the package, you’ll still want to get your hands on this accessory due to its high level of efficiency and longevity.

Our Experience with the Meguiar G17804

  • Durable, clear, effective, easy to use, and great value for money.
  • Meguiar G17804 was brilliant at protecting our headlights for a long time. Not only did it create a barrier against UV rays, but it also ensured that our headlights stayed safe from debris, harsh weather conditions, and other road chemicals.
  • The bottle had enough chemicals to survive 5-7 full coats of our headlights; i.e., it was enough to cover 14 headlights and some more.
  • As an aerosol spray, it was quite easy to simply spray on the coat from a distance. It didn’t take us long to finish the entire restoration process.
  • The spray dried quite quickly between the coats.
  • The coat was extremely clear and made our headlights look brand new. What’s more, it remained that way for many months before we had to go in for a scraping. The clear coat ensured a long-lasting finish that was highly convenient for us as we didn’t have to repeatedly fix the headlights every few months.
  • If you already have the sanding components at home and are simply looking for a coat, this is the perfect spray for you as it doesn’t come with a restoration kit.

What We Didn’t Like

  • No restoration kit, which means you’ve to purchase the other components for scraping externally.
  • The spray tends to fly around in a heap of vapor all around.

What Could be Improved

  • While the instructions state that the Meguiar G17804 is supposed to dry within 3 to 5 minutes, in reality it takes around 8-10 minutes even when there’s no excess humidity or cold.

Our Recommendations

  • Make sure to wear a respirator when you’re using the spray to avoid inhaling the chemicals.

Specifications

  • Color: Clear
  • Fit Type: Universal
  • Application: Aerosol Spray

Pros

  • Aerosol spray application
  • Lasting result
  • Contains UV inhibitors
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Not a kit
  • Aerosol flies everywhere

05 3M Quick Headlight Clear Coat (Great Value for the Money)

3M Quick Headlight Clear Coat

Why it Stands Out to Us

If your headlights are currently in that period between “kind-of-foggy” and “time-to-throw-these-out,” give the 3M a try. The sandpaper provided isn’t for heavy duty restoration, but it’s perfect to scrape off light oxidation and debris.

If your headlights are not looking their best, you should immediately go for the 3M Quick Headlight Clear Coat as it will provide you with phenomenal results at the lowest price possible. The price is extremely affordable, which is a wonder in itself as the result lasts up to 2 whole years. We got a lot of value out of this and that’s why you’ll find us singing the 3M’s praise for years to come.

Our Experience with the 3M 39173

  • Long lasting, easy to use, UV ray inhibiting, sheer, and great value for money.
  • Tthe coat came in the form of wipes. We simply wore our rubber gloves and got to work! All the headlights needed was a bit of scraping, and then we wiped it off with our coat.
  • It merely took around 10 minutes for the coat to dry.
  • We used one wipe for two headlights. The pack itself came with two, so we could simply save the other one for a second use later on. This helped us maximize the value of the product.
  • Due to the UV inhibitors in the chemical composition, we felt the difference in sun damage before and after the coat. When previously the lenses were highly prone to yellowing, after the coat, it took more than a year for the damage to be substantial.
  • For the price we paid, we felt like we were getting way more than we bargained for. The restoration kit contained sanding discs, two wipes, and masking tape.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The 3000 grit sanding disk was not sufficient for scraping off a highly oxidized headlight. It was mostly for light use with very little yellowing.

What Could be Improved

  • We felt that if the sanding disk could do some heavier duty scraping, this product would definitely be a gamechanger. Since many individuals only apply a clear coat when their headlights are at the end of their life, it would make more sense for the sandpaper to be more effective.

Our Recommendations

  • Wear rubber gloves while handling the coat to avoid the chemicals making contact with your skin.

Specifications

  • Color: Clear
  • Fit Type: Universal
  • Application: Wipe

Pros

  • Great for light restoration
  • Long lasting
  • Contains UV inhibitors
  • Great value for money
  • Quick drying
  • Easy to use
  • Sheer
  • Nice packaging
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Sanding disk unsuitable for heavy-duty use

Why Apply Clear Coat to Headlights

Your vehicle’s headlights are one of the most crucial features that ensure your safety. They illuminate the road so you don’t end up having to squint your eyes in dark streets and fall into an accident. As such, it is paramount to take care of your headlights so they don’t become foggy or cloudy. The constant exposure to UV rays, scratches, and changing weather conditions are just some of the things they tolerate. Having to always bear the brunt of external conditions can quickly deteriorate the quality of your lights and reduce their overall performance.

This is why most people sand their headlights to get rid of debris. However, the headlights are unprotected and prone to further damage right after sanding. This is why you need to apply a clear coat to protect them from UV rays and surface damage. The barrier will ensure your headlights are resistant to oxidation and provide top-notch performance for years to come.

Best Clear Coat for Headlight Restoration – Buying Guide

Top Clear Coat for Headlights - Buying Guide

Ease of Use

An easy-to-use nozzle will ensure you will conveniently spray your headlights. Also, look out for a piece of cloth or a towel that comes with the product so you can apply the coat evenly on your headlights.

Durability

It is best to check how long your coat is expected to last at the time of purchase. The chemicals in the coat determine its longevity – while some last for a mere few months, others can for years.

UV Protection

Since the primary cause of the yellowing on your headlights is the oxidation due to UV exposure, you have to ensure that your preferred coat specifically protects against harmful UV rays.

Kit

Some coats come with restoration kits with a plethora of components such as masking tape, sanding discs, and wax protectants. Get a kit with all the parts you need if you don’t have them lying around at home.

Other Things to Remember

Store properly

Sometimes, the containers, cans or bottles are not the most durable and can be prone to leaks. Make sure that you store them in a cupboard away from the reach of children and other chemicals.

Protect against hazardous chemicals

Make sure to take proper precautions while handling clear coats, such as wearing protective gear, masks, and goggles. Prolonged exposure to the chemicals in the coat may lead to harmful side effects.

Use as needed

Use only the prescribed amount of coat suggested by the user manual. Overusing a clear coat can have side effects on your headlights.

Consider everything carefully before buying the clear coat as you do before buying other car accessories like the oil, boost controller, car speakers, exhaust, cold air intake, and the like.

FAQs

Q. 1: How can I use a clear coat for my headlights?

Ans. Make sure to use sandpaper to get rid of all the cloudiness on your headlights. After that, you can go ahead and spray your coat. You should also consult your user manual to know whether you can spray the coat from up close or from a distance. Some coats have to be sprayed from afar so as to avoid an uneven layer.

Q. 2: How do I store my clear coat?

Ans. Since the can or bottle can sometimes leak, it would be best to store your product wrapped up in a plaster bag. You should also ensure that there are no sharp objects that can potentially cut through the container and allow the contents to leak.

Q. 3: How can I prevent the plastic headlights from becoming yellow?

Ans. One of the best ways to prevent the yellowing or oxidation of your headlights is to park your car in the shade. If you park your car under the intense heat of the sun, your headlights will be more prone to turning yellow due to UV exposure.

You can also keep your headlights in good condition by regularly cleaning them with clean water and car shampoo. This will ensure all the dirt and road chemicals are washed away and your headlights stay looking clear.

About the author

Nick Steiner

Nick has been a car nut for his whole life as far as he can remember. His father was a car dealer who used to change and repair his cars himself. As a result, Nick had the opportunity to get around all sorts of cars and learned to get his hands dirty repairing vehicles from an early age.

Nick is a great fan of Japanese quality and German preciosity. His deep passion lies in older models that he believes have a flair that takes him back to his childhood. He also loves their durability and reliability when compared to the modern models.

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