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How to remove scratches from plastic car interior (2022 guide)

How to remove scratches from plastic car interior

Have you ever felt disgusted to see scratches and marks on the plastic interior of your car and wondered? How to remove scratches from  plastic car interior? In this article, we’ll explain how to remove these scratches effectively.

You can easily scratch your car’s interior trim while loading children, groceries, luggage, or as a result of accidents. Fortunately, you can remove these scratches from your car, and they don’t have to remain there.

Why is it important to remove scratches from plastic car interiors?

How to remove scratches from plastic car interior

In the United States, the average driver spends 18 days in his car each year. That proves the importance of removing scratches from a car’s interior. The following are why you should remove scratches from your plastic car interior.

Lower the resale value of the car:

The interior of the average family car has over 25,000 plastic parts. Scratches on any of these parts can lower their resale value and look. This makes the car interiors an important part of keeping your vehicle’s resale value high and your car looking great.

Ruin the look of the car:

When someone sits in our car, the first thing they notice is the interior. Imagine for a moment what impression they will get when they see a scratched interior. Leaving scratches across the interior is much like not resurfacing or oiling a high-quality cutting board. However, it will not affect the quality of the surface, and over time it may deteriorate.

Types of plastic scratches on the car interior

How to remove scratches from plastic car interior

Different types of plastic scratches can occur on the car’s interior. They can be caused by keys, coins, or other sharp objects coming into contact with the plastic surface. The scratches can be superficial and only affect the surface layer of the plastic, or they can go deeper and damage the material underneath.

Scuff marks

The scuff marks are caused by objects rubbing against your car’s plastic surfaces, which in turn transfers the dirt and/or color of the object. In cars, scuff marks are commonly found on the doorframe, the panel between the door and the seat, and the interior of the doors. The most common cause is people dragging their feet when getting into or out of their cars.

The majority of scuffs are minor, causing no damage to the plastic.

Deep Scratches

Scratches, however, cause the plastic panels to rip or tear, causing them to be deeper than scuffs. The damage is often caused by objects with sharp edges rubbing against the plastic surfaces of a car’s interior.

Abrasiveness caused by wear and tear

Wear and tear on your car’s panels can cause pieces of plastic to fall off. With worn-out plastic panels, old cars are prone to abrasion. Damage from abrasion is more difficult to fix. The moment you notice your plastic panels are deteriorating, try to preserve the broken-off pieces as replacing them will be difficult.

Interior Cracks

Interiors with high stress may crack and become weak depending on the density and quality of the plastic. Direct sunlight can also cause cracks. Since some cracks are hard to see, you should periodically inspect your car’s interior plastic surfaces to look for cracks. 

How to remove scratches from plastic car interior

car interior cleaning

In general, removing scratches from the plastic car interior will depend on how deep the scratch is. If the scratch has gone all the way through and into the interior, it is better to consult a professional. Before we remove scratches, let’s discuss what tools you need.

Tool/Materials required

  • A heat gun: For heating plastic, remolding it, and preventing cracks.
  • Sandpaper: Superfine grit is best
  • Interior grain pad: Used to replicate the original plastic texture
  • Car interior cleaner: For removing dust and dirt from your car’s interior.
  • Hand gloves: Protect your hands from harsh chemicals.
  • Microfiber cloth: For cleaning the surfaces.

Step 1: Clean the affected area with the cleaner:

Use the interior plastic cleaner to remove the scratch and its surrounding area. It is possible to achieve a smooth finish by removing all dirt and debris, not allowing the dirt to melt into the plastic, and modifying the color. Before moving on to the next step, ensure the area is dry and clean.

Step 2: Use a Heat Gun

How to remove scratches from plastic car interior

For repairing scratches on car interior plastics, a heat gun, fine sandpaper, and cleaner are required.

To repair plastic surfaces, you first have to clean them as in our previous step. Apply the interior car cleaner to a microfiber towel to remove all dirt and dust, then wipe off excess cleaning solution and dirt with another microfiber towel. 

After cleaning and drying the plastic surface, turn on the heat gun at a recommended temperature and apply heat to the scratched area. As you move the heat gun over that area, make sure that you expose it to uniform heat. You should also avoid heating the plastic for too long, as it can melt or become permanently damaged. If you notice that the surface is becoming deformed, stop immediately.

Pro-Tip:

For an even, smooth surface, use fine sandpaper after the surface has cooled and hardened. Make sure the surface is clean once again after that.

Step 3: Use a grain pad and press lightly

Apply a grain pad to the plastic with very light pressure to give it a textured and smooth appearance to prevent scratches from looking harsh. It is possible to buy them from an auto body shop or online if you need grain pads. The grain pad should match your vehicle’s plastic trim.

Step 4: Allow the area to cool and dry

Your plastic should now have a similar texture to the unaffected area. To ensure the textures match properly when learning how to remove scratches from a plastic car interior, the material must be properly sanded.

Step 5: Clean the interior one last time.

The final step on how to remove scratches from plastic car interiors is to clean as you did in the first step,

Materials/tools to prevent when cleaning car plastic interior

How to remove scratches from plastic car interior

  • Typical household cleaners are not meant for use on cars and will discolor dashboard materials. This type of product can cause discoloration and cracks, leading to more harm than good in the long run.
  • Using a blowtorch: You need to warm the dash before remolding it, but the heat produced by the blowtorch can burn the dash.
  • Using rough sandpaper: If you use coarse grit sandpaper, it will further tarnish your dash, so go slowly and smoothly.
  • Using low-temperature finishing materials: If your finishing material doesn’t withstand high temperatures, it could melt into the dash, resulting in a whole new DIY project.
  • Avoid Spray Paint: Unlike brushes and bottles, spray paint goes everywhere, so avoid using it at all costs.

Preventing Additional Scratches

You should make sure that sharp objects are not left in your car after you repair the scratches on the interior. Keep your kids from having anything that could damage the plastic in the car – you can also tell them to be careful next time. Before you start driving, take off metal-containing clothes like leather jackets.

How to restore interior plastic trim

If your car’s interior plastic trim is starting to look faded, or if you’ve discolored it with a heat gun, a plastic restorer pad or spray will restore its color and shine.

Apply the restorer pad in gentle circular motions instead of vigorously scrubbing. It’s a good idea to keep the pad in your glovebox so you can use it whenever you need to remove a stain from your car’s interior.

Best Polishes for interior plastic

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There are some polishes you should use when cleaning the plastic in the interior of your car;

1: CAR GUYS Plastic Restorer:

There are many car care brands in America, but Car Guys is one of the most popular. One of Car Guys’ most beloved products is the plastic restorer. One of its best features is that it is easy to clean on the interior and exterior surfaces—it lasts several months. We recommend you to use this product.

2: Carfidant Trim & Plastic Restorer

The Carfidant trim and plastic remover is also good for restoring interior plastics. You can apply it easily and wipe it clean. This product provides both protection from dirt and debris, as well as from UV rays. It is safe to use and can be applied to any surface.

3: Adam’s Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant

Using Adam’s total interior cleaner & protectant will make cleaning your car quick and easy. The advanced ceramic coating is infused with SiO2 to clean, condition, and protect. Provides UV protection, odor neutralization, and anti-static dust protection.

4: Shine Armor

Shine armor ceramic coating is an advanced 3 in 1 formula. It cleans dirt, grime, and grease. You can apply it to any surface, whether leather, vinyl, or plastic.

How to remove scratches from plastic car interior (2022 guide)
How to remove scratches from plastic car interior (2022 guide)

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