How to repair plastic dashboard scratches
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Plastic dashboards are easy to produce and often just as easy to scratch. Since a trip to the auto bodyworks garage is quite expensive when compared to the price of a dashboard repair kit, it's much more economical to do the job at home.
The hard, moulded plastic that's used to make vehicle dashboards is heated to achieve its shape, so the application of more heat is sometimes all that's needed to repair one. Any dashboard repair kit that you purchase will have its own set of instructions, so for best results it's best to follow those instructions.
- Plastic dashboards are easy to produce and often just as easy to scratch.
- Any dashboard repair kit that you purchase will have its own set of instructions, so for best results it's best to follow those instructions.
Clean the area where the damage has occurred. Soapy water will do the job, but you'll see better results if you use a plastic cleaner. Wipe the area down with a lint-free cloth to dry the area and remove any particles that may still be clinging to the scratches.
Heat the damaged area with a hair dryer or heat gun. Keep a close eye on the plastic as it's being heated because if it starts to melt you've created a much more serious cosmetic problem. Heat up only a small section at a time to avoid further damaging your dashboard.
Rub out the scratches with your fingertips. The plastic should be pliable enough to allow you to smooth out the scratches. Continue heating and rubbing until you've removed the entire scratch.
Clean the scratched area following the instructions in the previous section. The edges of the scratches should be cleaned up as well. Remove the jagged edges of the scratch using a utility knife or sandpaper. Surround the damaged area with masking tape so that you confine your repairs to the damaged area and don't damage any outlying sections of the dashboard.
- Heat the damaged area with a hair dryer or heat gun.
- Surround the damaged area with masking tape so that you confine your repairs to the damaged area and don't damage any outlying sections of the dashboard.
Prepare the epoxy or other filler material as per the kit's instructions. Apply the filler to the damaged area with the kit's application tool (often a spatula). Wipe away the excess filler immediately so that it doesn't adhere to the undamaged plastic. Allow the filler to harden.
Sand the surface of the repaired scratch with a fine sandpaper until the edges are completely smooth. Paint over the repaired scratch with a matching dashboard paint to hide the repair work.
- If you're using a liquid epoxy to repair the scratch, mix the paint into the epoxy while it's in its liquid state. This will give it a uniform colour all the way through so that you don't have to worry about reapplying the paint if it becomes scratched later.
Joanne Robitaille's first journalistic experience was in 1994, when she did school reports for a local newspaper, "Shoreline." Her articles now appear on various websites. Robitaille has a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Windsor.