Best Clear Coat for Headlights

The Best Clear Coat for Headlights in 2021 – Reviews & Buying Guide 

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Wet-sanding and buffing is a great method of getting rid of oxidation and hazy appearance on your headlights, but to get a lasting reversal of the oxidation, you need to use the best clear coat for headlights. Clear coating is quite easy and affordable once you master the basics and it will help sharpen the beams of your headlights for years. It allows you to restore the look on your headlights just as they were when new and the protection, they give from UV light prevents oxidation for long.

The best clear coat for car headlights has to offer both scratch and UV protection and also offers the transparency and gloss you need on your headlights. You also have to consider the safety and ease of application as well as the adhesive qualities of the clear coat you plan on using. All these features are included as basics in the top-rated clear coats in the market. This guide has all the details you need to select and apply the best clear coats for headlights.

 

Best Clear Coat for Headlights: Editor’s Top Picks

 

Top 10 Best Clear Coat for Headlights Reviews:

1. SHERWIN WILLIAMS Finish 1 Automotive Refinish Ultimate Overall Clearcoat (FC720)

SHERWIN WILLIAMS Finish 1 Automotive Refinish...

 

Product Specifications

  • Material: Urethane
  • Air Drying: 8 hours
  • Mixing Ration: 4:1

If you are looking for a clear coat that will give your headlights an excellent gloss and blend in with any basecoat and blend in with the rest of your finishes on the body of your car, then this is the clear coat to go for. It is a 1K Urethane-based clear coat which combines perfectly with the quick hardener included in the kit to give a layer of protection that will last.

The clear coat is easy to mix and use and dries within 8 hours at room temperature allowing you to buff and use your headlights within a short while of application. It produces the best gloss in both force-drying and air-drying environments so you can apply it at home without losing its benefits. It has similar adhesive advantages as the final finish used on new cars making it the best headlight restoration clear coat to reverse years of oxidation.

Highlighted Features

  1. It offers a strong glossy finish which leaves headlights bright even without buffing.
  2. It can still be used on your regular basecoat colors so you can use it to shine any other parts on your car.
  3. You only need two layers to get the perfect coating that will last for years allowing you to do all headlights with a single purchase.
  4. It offers UV protection as well as corrosion and scratch resistance which allows your panels to stay glossy for years.
  5. It is also perfect for buffing on any surfaces blending in with any basecoat including cured enamels.

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2. KBS Coatings 8504 Diamond Finish Clear Coat – 1 Gallon

KBS Coatings 8504 DiamondFinish Clear Coat - 1...

 

Product Specifications

  • Material: Urethane
  • Air Drying: 24 hours
  • Forced drying/Baking: 30 minutes

KBS coating has been around for a long time and this clear coat is ranked as a top-value purchase by many DIYers and professionals alike. It is a flexible yet very tough clear coat that offers protection for your headlights and can also be applied to other car parts either directly on metal or on top of other paints. It is the best clear coat for headlights restoration with a 2K gloss without having to invest in a hardener. It is a quick-drying gloss coat that can be used on most vehicle parts including tires and engine parts due to its high heat tolerance.

It is a treated non-yellowing clear coat that offers UV protection for headlights while also keeping them glossy for a long time. The greatest advantage of this clear coat is its corrosion resistance to the battery and hydrochloric acid, solvents, methanol, fertilizers, brake fluids, and other common liquids that mess up your headlights. You can remove stubborn stains with ease without affecting the gloss of your clear coat.

Highlighted Features

  1. The clear coat is water-cured already so it dries on its at 56 to 86 temperatures without force-drying.
  2. There is no need to buy a hardener, just stir and start spraying. It dries quickly, so you need a thinner when rolling or brushing but it still works.
  3. It can be applied directly on metals or other paints with a little cleaning, so you will always have use for any extra coat you have after applying on your headlines.
  4. It is both UV and corrosion-resistant delivering long-term protection for headlights for years.
  5. This coating is over 60% solid which means that its layer offers long-term protection from scratches and knocks on your headlights while keeping them clear and bright.

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3. USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol (4 PACK)

USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol (4...

 

Product Specifications

  • Material: Urethane
  • Air Drying: 8 hours (30 minutes to touch)
  • Mixing Ratio: Not Needed

Spray Max is a top brand where paints are concerned because of the high adhesive and gloss qualities their products bring. This four-pack aerosol spray is a 2K clear coat that gives your headlights a glassy look with each layer of spray and even leaves you with an extra coat for the rest of your lights and hood. Its results can be seen within minutes of spraying. The strong adhesive properties of the spray also give your headlights a solid layer of shine which is why it is one of the best clear coat spray paints for headlights with easy application and lasting results.

The cans have a high-quality release nozzle that imitates your paint gun. This is a self-leveling clear coat too so you won’t have to level after spraying. These cans can keep your coat usable within three to seven days of activating so you can keep and reuse it without wastage. You can also lay it on any basecoat or directly on metal so it will help you gloss your rims, hood or roof when you are done with headlights and keep shining for months.

Highlighted Features

  1. The nozzles are customized to concentrate the coat in the substrate area of the spray for effective coating with no need for leveling.
  2. The activator and the coat mix effectively after activating removing the need for physical handling of the coat.
  3. The 2K coat dries faster with longer-lasting effects thanks to its superior gloss and adhesive properties.
  4. The coat dries quickly under regular temperatures reducing the need for waiting of force drying after spraying.
  5. It is compatible with any basecoat so you can use it on any part of the car.

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4. Speedokote Clear Coat 2K Acrylic Urethane

Speedokote Clear Coat 2K Acrylic Urethane,...

 

Product Specifications

  • Material: Urethane (2k)
  • Mixing Ratio: 4:1
  • Air Drying: 8 hours

Getting the best UV clear coat for headlights on a budget won’t get as easy as Speedokote which is why this 2K clear coat is so popular. It is a high-gloss acrylic finish meaning it will leave your beams shining like new for a couple more years after coating. This clear coat is also easy to mix and use since the package comes with everything you need to get going.  It also has high adhesive qualities that allow you to sand and buff it while always getting the galls-like finish on whatever material you use it on.

The most impressive feature of this clear coat is its versatility that allows you to use it over any basecoat including oil-based paints as long as you allow them to dry effectively and clean the surface before application. Being a high-gloss 2K coat also means that you get the perfect finish with two layers of application which means less work and quicker results.

Highlighted Features

  1. When mixed in the recommended ratio, this clear coat gives great results both when sprayed and when sanded and buffed.
  2. It has UV protection which prevents oxidation and yellowing on your headlights throughout its time after drying.
  3. It air-dries quickly making it suitable for DIY headlight clear coating as well as other finishing applications at home.
  4. Its high gloss levels give materials a shiny glass finish and last for long.
  5. It can be used directly on metal or other paintings which allows you to use it for other finishing purposes on electronics and home appliances including scratch protection for your car.

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5. USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol (2 PACK)

USC Spray Max 2k High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol (2...

 

Product Specifications

  • Material: Urethane
  • Air Drying: 8 hours (30 minutes to touch)
  • Mixing Ratio: Not Needed

Back to Spray Max aerosol cans which have been described as a total game-changer when it comes to bringing out the gloss in auto-parts. This two-pack kit is great for smaller projects such as shining the hood or rims only or if you are trying to restore a bumped or scratched section on your car or reviving oxidized and hazy headlights. The one thing this package covers completely is headlights.

You only need to wet-sand them properly before activating and hit them with a few heavy layers of this spray and you will have your restored bright headlights in no time. Just like the four-pack, these cans can only last 48 to 72 hours after activation, so buying this package will save you from losses if you only have a small surface to clear-coat. The hardener offers a weatherproof layer of protection making this the best headlight clear coat for quick gloss restoration.

Highlighted Features

  1. The spray cans include a hardener which makes it easier and quicker to apply.
  2. The hardener offers a longer-lasting layer of protection that bare base coats won’t provide.
  3. The 2K clear finish gives headlights a brighter gloss after restoration which helps improve your beam quality
  4. It is precisely suitable for small and medium-sized projects without any wastage.
  5. Spray-Max customized nozzles on these cans imitate the technology used in paint-guns hence which delivers a clean professional finish with each spray.

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6. Meguiar’s G2980 Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit

Meguiar's G2980 Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration...

 

Product Specifications

  • Material: Urethane
  • Air Drying: 24 hours
  • Mixing Ratio: Not Needed

If you are struggling with hazy and yellowing headlights this clear coat will help you reverse those effects of oxidation for at least a year. This is a heavy-duty clear coat meant to keep your headlights glossy and bright and the package comes with everything you need to renew your headlights. With sanding discs, buffing wool, and plastic cleaner included alongside the clear coat and the hardener, this is the best headlight restoration clear coat you will get for the money.

The package is designed for use by both DIYers and professionals that need to renew their headlights so your finish will look professional if you do it at home as long as you follow the instructions. All you have to do is give your headlights a good rub with the sanding discs and clean remnants of your previous coat and then buff your headlights back to their original performance with a brighter gloss. The clear coat also provides UV protection as well as an anti-scratch layer for your headlights ensuring that your lights don’t become hazy again for a long time.

Highlighted Features

  1. The package includes extras needed for sanding and cleaning plastic as well as buffing using a standard drill. It eliminates the cost of having to buy the extras.
  2. The brand offers UV protection which helps prevent oxidation of headlights for over a year.
  3. It is a self-leveling coat that can be applied by hand or spray gun with little to no extra work needed to get a great finish.
  4. It dries slowly but evenly under regular temperatures giving a strong and even layer of protection for the restored lens.
  5. Leftover paint can be safely stored for up to 3 years so you can restore multiple headlights over time with a single purchase.

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7. Automotive High Gloss Clear Coat 2K MCC HS Clear 5500 2:1 Gallon Clear Coat Medium Kit

Automotive High Gloss Clear Coat 2K MCC HS Clear...

 

Product Specifications

  • Material: Urethane (2k)
  • Mixing Ratio: 4:1
  • Air Drying: 8 hours

The gloss of a 2K clear coat combined with UV protection is what you need when you want a lasting restoration for oxidized or neglected headlights. This clear coat has the same gloss level as what you find in your new cars with all the qualities you could look for in a premium quality clear coat. It is a universal 2K finish that you can use to gloss other parts of your car even over oil-based base coats which means any remaining coat from renewing your headlights won’t go to waste.

This clear coat doesn’t require a lot of work to bring the gloss to headlights, just activation and then application. It also dries quickly so you can get your two layers done within 30 minutes and give it 8 hours to air dry or bake for 20 minutes if you are doing it in a spray booth. It is also easy to buff and it can also be sprayed with no need for leveling because it self-levels after activation.

Highlighted Features

  1. It is a high gloss clear coat that gives perfect results with just two layers of application which makes it economical.
  2. It can be applied onto any basecoat allowing you to use it on other parts of your vehicle to match your headlights.
  3. It is easy to apply and buff after activation even when working from home.
  4. It dries quickly and uniformly both when baked or air-dried making it great for both professional and DIY finishing.
  5. It is UV protected so the renewal effect on your headlights will last longer than regular plain clear coats.

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8. Chemical Guys GAP11516 Headlight Restore and Protect, 16 fl. oz, 1 Pack

Chemical Guys GAP11516 Headlight Restore and...

 

Product Specifications

  • Material: Regular Plastic Cleaner
  • Mixing Ratio: Not Applicable
  • Air Drying: Immediate

Sometimes; you just don’t have the money or time to buy expensive clear coats and wait for them to dry after hours of scrubbing, spraying, and buffing while all masked up. If you are looking to restore your hazy headlights cheaply and with little effort, a bottle of restorer will serve you just fine. You just need 30 minutes of sanding and then applying your restorer to bring out the best of your headlights without having to break the bank or wait for hours of drying before repainting.

This restorer bottle is also UV protected so you can be sure that your beams will blast clear again for months after using it. There is no risk of spoilage with the restorer, so you can expect years of service with a single purchase since you only need a few drops of this plastic rejuvenator to get each headlight or backlight done. You don’t need a mask when applying this restorer so you will be comfortable working with it at home safely.

Highlighted Features

  1. It doesn’t require masking when applying to make it safe to use at home
  2. The can has a shelf life of up to 10 years so you can reuse the restorer whenever the haze or yellowing returns.
  3. There are no special application tools needed, just a piece of cloth or buffing wool.
  4. It also has UV protection for headlights and backlights which provides longer-lasting protection just like hardened plastic coats.
  5. Sanding is not necessary for the restorer to work.

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9. CERAKOTE Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit

CERAKOTE Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit –...

 

Product Specifications

  • Material: Ceramic
  • Mixing Ratio: Not Required
  • Air Drying Time: 24 Hours

Using your clear coat for a few months only to have to scrub it off and redo the same thing again can be boring which is why you need permanent restoration for your headlights. Ceramic headlight coating lasts longer than the best clear coat spray for headlights since it works as a total renewal of your headlights. This kit joins the list of the best clear coats for headlights because of the ease of application and the durability it brings. You don’t need tools to apply this ceramic clear coat either; just use the oxidation remover to clean your headlights, sand to remove stuck coats and scratches, and then put layers of the coat on your headlights by hand.

The package comes with a lifetime warranty for the lifetime of your car after using the clear coat because it is the closest you will come to a permanent coat for hazy oxidated headlights. The kit includes the oxidation cleaner, sanding pad, and sanding grits as well. There is no mixing or leveling needed for a professional finish either so it is a quick job with lasting impacts which makes it the best headlight restoration clear coat kit for home use.

Highlighted Features

  1. The Coat is UV protection which prevents reoxidation of your headlights while the coat lasts.
  2. The kit comes with oxidation cleaner and sanding pads and grits hence no need for tools to get the coat done.
  3. The ceramic coating offers both scratch and weatherproof protection for headlights which lasts longer than plastic coating.
  4. The kit has enough coat for both your headlights making it an economical lifetime investment.
  5. The coat dries perfectly without baking hence safe to apply and dry at home which is easier and cheaper.

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10. 4EverBrite Headlight UV Clear Coat

4EverBrite Headlight UV Clear Coat

 

Product Specifications

  • Material: Urethane
  • Air Drying Time: 8 hours (1 hour to touch)
  • Mixing ratio: Not Needed

The manufacturer recommends this clear coat for car-washers and other commercial clear coat users but it is still a great purchase for home use for any car owner. A single 16oz bottle can restore 32 sets of headlights so you can expect to get many uses out of this one. All you need to do is wet-sand your headlights using regular 500 to 600 grit and then upgrade to a 2500 grit if the oxidation is severe.

After rinsing with your plastic cleaner, just apply two layers of this clear coat waiting a few minutes between recoating and you will have glossy headlights for another 12 to 24 months.  It is also UV protected so you don’t have to worry about yellowing after a few months. The clear coat is easy to use and capable of reversing years of oxidation.

Highlighted Features

  1. It is 16oz of clear coat in a single bottle which can be used to restore headlights for years.
  2. There are no special tools needed to apply this clear coat. Just sanding and applying with a piece of cloth.
  3. The coat dries quickly enough to touch, you can lay your second layer of coat within an hour of applying the first one.
  4. The UV protection provides protection against yellowing for a long time especially when you park under direct sunlight.
  5. There is no need for mixing with this clear coat which saves you the cost of a hardener.

Buy on Amazon

 

 

Things to Consider When Buying Clear Coat for Headlights

 

When you use the best clear coat on your headlights, the results will be immediate and lasting and it all comes down to choosing your product right.

Here are some of the factors you should consider before buying a clear coat for headlights:

  • Durability

It can be boring to have to wash away your clear coat and lay another one every year which is why it is smarter to go for one that will last. Urethane and ceramic clear coats have the highest ratings of durability. You should look at the warranty specification by the manufacturer when choosing the best clear coat for headlights that won’t have to be washed away for restoration after a few months. The longest-lasting clear coats will have a higher adhesion rating and will have a warranty of 24 months to a lifetime. Durable clear coats cost more than regular restoration coats but they save you money and time in the long run.

 

  • Scratch and Corrosion Protection

Most plastic clear coats are resistant to corrosion by natural acids, brake fluid, and other chemicals but you have to check specifications. Corrosion resistance allows your clear coat to last through storms and not peel off when they come in contact with petroleum products or other leaking chemicals which are the main cause of peeling. To be sure that your clear coat will provide scratch protection, you have to check whether it dries into a solid glassy layer over your headlights that imitates its original coating in a way. The coating has to be able to provide a protective shield for your lenses to keep them renewed for the entire time that it lasts on your car.

 

  • UV protection

Not all clear coats are UV protective. Major brands such as Spray Max and rust oleum clearcoats for headlights come with both UV protection and corrosion resistance. The protection allows the restoration of your headlights and backlights to last for longer and prevent oxidation and yellowing for as long as it lasts. You should note that when you park your car under the sun and rain, the clear coat’s protective effects will wear off faster and you may notice re-oxidation within months or a year of using your clear coat. If UV protection is not mentioned by the manufacturer, then the clear coat is just a restorer and won’t prevent yellowing for long.

 

  • Gloss level

Gloss levels for clear coats vary depending on the manufacturer and the product being delivered. 2K clear coats have higher gloss levels than 1K clear coats although similar effects may be achieved with 1K clear coats if buffed right in a paint booth. Gloss ratings determine how glassy your clear coat will look on your headlights and also how long the renewal will last. If you can, always go for the clear coat with the highest gloss level.

 

  • Ease Of Application

Clear coats save you the cost of having to replace your lenses and headlights as a whole and having to pay someone to do it for you may beat the sense out of it because it is also expensive. Applying a clear coat on your headlights is a simple process that you can do yourself in most cases. Some products require complicated mixing procedures, tools, and painting environments which may be costly on their own. If you don’t have the luxury of a professional painter and a spray booth near you, just buy a clear coat that can be applied easily at home.

 

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions about Clear Coat for Headlights

 

  1. Can headlights be restored permanently with clear coats?

If you use a good clear coat properly and maintain your car by avoiding corrosive chemicals and parking in harsh weather, the restoration can last the lifetime of your car. The clear coat has to have top-quality adhesion and gloss properties and also offer UV protection to prevent yellowing after a short while. In most cases, the effects of a clear coat will fade away after 6 months to 5 to 6 years depending on quality because they only offer a protective layer that is not permanent. Restorers that only clear oxidation without providing a hard layer of protection has the shortest protection time.

 

  1. How many layers of clear coat are enough?

This depends on the manufacturer’s directions but in most cases, two layers will work perfectly. You have to sand your headlights thoroughly with a rough grit and then fine grit to remove layers of the previous coat and scratches before applying the clear coat for the best results. You should also wait for the first layer to dry evenly to touch before putting the second one.

 

  1. How can you prevent headlights from yellowing?

The recommended lifetime for your headlight lenses is 5 to 6 years so you can expect them to become hazy and yellow after this long. However, oxidation can be avoided if you avoid parking your car under direct sunlight and wash it regularly to wash away the impact of UV rays on your lenses.

 

  1. Is wet-sanding mandatory before applying a clear coat?

Not necessarily! It depends on the level of oxidation and scratching you have to deal with on your headlights. If you have severe oxidation, you will have to wet sand with a 400 grit, then a 600 grit before moving to a 2,000 grit, and finally, a 3,000 grit before your headlights will be fine to touch and clear enough to be coated.

You have to start with a plastic cleaner to remove remnants of your previous coat before sanding for the best results. If the oxidation levels are not severe, you can do the 2,000 and then the 3,000 grit and then apply your clear coat. If there isn’t much oxidation and hazing to deal with, water and plastic cleaner may be enough to clean and then coat.

 

Final Note

Yellowed and hazy lights look bad for your car and also affect your visibility when driving at night. While replacing headlights is the best solution, it is an expensive procedure that may not be necessary if you can get the best clear coat for headlights to bring back the shine without hurting your pockets. This guide has the details and options you can use to narrow down your search for a headlight restoration clear coat and give your headlights the renewed look they had when they were new without having to pay a professional to work your lights for you.

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