Removing Scratches From Plastic Dashboard – If you use your car regularly, the interior plastic surfaces will become scratched over time. This is especially true if you use the car for family duties. Dropping the kids off at school, picking up groceries, carrying the pets, transporting home supplies, etc.
Scratches and stains can make your car’s interior look old and worn. No one wants to spend time in a tired-looking cabin, so these stains can also negatively impact your car’s resale value. Fortunately, there are ways in which these scratches and marks on your car’s interior plastic trim can be removed. Let’s discuss some of them.
Removing Scratches From Plastic Dashboard
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Interior Trim Scratches
The plastic upholstery of your car can become scratched in many ways and by various means. However, these scratches are generally of the following types. For even more details on car scratches, check out our complete guide to the types of car scratches.
Abrasion marks occur when an object, e.g. a shoe or boot, rubs against the plastic surfaces in your car and the dirt and/or color of the object is transferred to the plastic panel. Scuffs and scuffs can often be seen on car door sills, the plastic panels between the seat and the door, and the interior panels of car doors. They are often caused when people drag their feet when getting in or out of their car.
Scratches, on the other hand, fray or tear plastic panel surfaces, so they are deeper than scuffs. They are often caused by objects with sharp edges, e.g. pocket knives or screwdrivers accidentally rub against a car’s plastic surfaces.
Sometimes, daily wear and tear can also cause pieces of plastic to flake off the panels in your car. Chipping is common in old cars with worn plastic panels. As expected, chips are the most difficult to repair. When you notice that your plastic panels are starting to flake, do your best to keep the separated pieces as it will be difficult to find similar pieces of plastic to replace the broken pieces.
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Depending on the density and quality, plastic in the car interior can become brittle and crack in places where a lot of stress is exerted. Cracks can also develop in areas that are constantly exposed to direct sunlight. Some cracks are difficult to see, so you should carefully inspect the plastic surfaces on the inside of your car occasionally to check for cracks.
When using a heat gun to repair scratches on plastics in the car interior, you will need the heat gun itself, plus some fine sandpaper and a car interior cleaner.
You start by cleaning the plastic surface to prepare it for repair. Spray some of your car interior cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and rub it into the surface in circular motions to remove all dirt and grime. Then use another microfiber cloth to wipe away the dirt and excess cleaning solution.
When the plastic surface is clean and dry, turn on the heat gun to the recommended heat setting and apply the heat to the scratched area of the plastic panel. Continue moving the heat gun up and down in that area at a constant speed to ensure even heat exposure. Also be careful not to heat the surface of the plastic for too long, as it can melt or become permanently damaged. Stop when you see the surface starting to lose its texture.
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Once the surface has cooled and hardened, use fine sandpaper to sand away any imperfections to ensure a smooth, even finish. Then clean the surface again.
Plastic scratch polishing kits can be used to remove minor scratches. Most plastic scratch polishing kits include a plastic cleaner, a polishing compound, microfiber cloths, and buffing/polishing pads. Some of these kits may also include a rubbing agent.
When using these kits, start by smoothing out the scratched area with fine sandpaper. Gently sand the scratches until you no longer feel them. Then spray the plastic surface with a plastic cleaner and use a microfiber cloth to wipe away the dirt and residue. Then use the buffing/polishing pads to liberally apply polish to the sanded area. Make back and forth movements and make sure the paint gets into the scratches. After polishing the scratched areas, apply another coat of polish to the scratched area with light pressure. Then let the nail polish dry. Once it has dried, use a new microfiber cloth to buff away the excess nail polish.
With the kits that include an abrasive, you don’t need to do any sanding because the abrasive can smooth out the plastic surface of your car just as well as sandpaper. Therefore, with such kits, you start by applying the rubbing compound to the scratched surface using a microfiber cloth and wiping off the excess with a second towel. For a better result, you can apply another abrasive to the surface. Then, continue applying polish to the scratched surface and then buff away the excess polish with another microfiber cloth.
Ways To Remove Scratches From Plastic
This method is ideal if you are dealing with deep scratches or gouges that need to be filled and repainted.
For deep scratches, it is easier to work on the scratches if the plastic panel is removed from the car; this gives you better access to the different sides and surfaces of the panel. However, if you cannot remove the scratched panel, use automotive masking tape to cover and protect the materials surrounding the plastic panel. wood finish, leather or vinyl.
First, use a razor to cut off any pieces of plastic sticking out of the scratched area. Then sand away the scratches with sandpaper. After sanding the surface thoroughly, clean the surface. Spray your car interior cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and rub it into the surface of the plastic panel to remove dirt from sanding and any dirt and grime on the surface. Then wipe away the dirt and grime with a new microfiber cloth.
The next step is to create a grit pad that you can use for the filler. Spray a small area of the panel with surface sealant and protectant (to prevent the adhesive from setting). Then use a hot glue gun to apply glue to a separate piece of plastic that is just slightly larger than the scratched area. Then press the adhesive side of the piece of plastic onto the part of the panel that you sprayed with the sealant. The glue dries and you can peel off the piece of plastic without much effort. If you do it right, the texture of the glued side of the piece of plastic will match the factory grain pattern of the panel.
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Then apply a layer of body filler to the scratched surface and use a razor to spread it evenly over the scratched area. While the putty is drying, use the glued piece of plastic to print the putty area with the factory grain pattern. Once the putty has dried completely, spray the entire plastic panel with paint identical to that of the panel and allow it to dry.
After removing the scratches with one of the above methods, you should restore the factory appearance or shine to the plastic surface. A product that can effectively help you with this is Plastic Restore™ from Torque Detail. With its advanced nanotechnology, this product improves and enriches plastic by changing its molecular structure. It works on polypropylene and rubber plastics, as well as rubber and vinyl surfaces.
When applying Plastic Restore™, first ensure that the plastic surface is clean. Wipe it quickly with a microfiber cloth. Then spray Plastic Restore™ liberally onto the surface of the plastic and let it sit for a few minutes while the product penetrates the plastic. For better results, apply a second coat of Plastic Restore™. Then use a clean microfiber cloth to wipe off the excess liquid from the plastic surface.
There is no denying that sometimes a car can develop scratches on the interior plastic surface that are beyond repair, e.g. when something very heavy is pushed against the plastic or falls on the plastic. In such situations, try to see if you can get a replacement panel that matches the color of the scratched panel on sites like eBay or RockAuto. It may seem like a gamble, but you may be pleasantly surprised by the options you can get from there.
How Do I Remove Just The Clear Plastic Instrument Cluster Panel
An inexpensive DIY hack you can use to remove scratches from plastic is to use a mild abrasive such as toothpaste or baking soda. You first clean the scratched plastic surface
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