Restore plastic parts

Write ups and tutorials for maintenance and modifications.

Restore plastic parts

Postby Hotrodhendrix » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:19 pm

This is simple, cheap and well worth it on any plastic part. To repair plastic first you must judge the shape the specific part is in. Most of our cars are over 20 years old and will have a decent amount of scratches/swirls.

* You can pick up wetsanding paper at any auto parts store or walmart. (higher you go the finer the paper is) Make sure to soak the paper for 15min prior to using it. Don't press hard and try to keep pressure even in a small circular motion as if your buffing. Give the part a few passes before rinse and then blot dry with micro fiber towel. Make sure all areas have been sanded and should look dull. Continue with next paper.

Start off wet sanding with 800 grit.
Once you give a few good pass on the part move up to 1000 grit paper.
Once you give a few good pass on the part move up to 1200 grit paper.
Once you give a few good pass on the part move up to 1500 grit paper.
Once you give a few good pass on the part move up to 2000 grit paper.

*You can skip up to a higher paper sooner but this will require more time when sanding to make sure you get all the scratches left from the previous paper. Make sure to do the whole unit including any black trim around it. Pay extra attention and time to areas with stains, deep scratches etc.

* Now you will move on to the polishing process. I do this by hand but if you have a buffer they can be used. Thus far I have tried a few different plastic polish compounds and 3m seems to give the best results per time spent.


* Follow the directions on the bottle. Just like with the sand paper small circular motion with medium pressure with a micro fiber towel. Once the area you are working on has been worked use another clean micro fiber towel to polish it off using the same motion with light pressure. Repeat this at least 3 times and more if needed to get deep gloss. You will notice the part become more and more shiny smooth on each run.

* When your done make sure to coat the part with some good carnauba wax so that it stays protected and shines for years to come!

Rear center tail restored and compared to scrubbed clean tail lights. Center section had a few really bad stains, scratches and the black was in horrible shape.
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JDM clear corner and headlight trim piece restored
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Before and after headlight surrounds
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Last edited by Hotrodhendrix on Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Restore plastic parts

Postby klue » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:12 pm

or you could just skip all those steps and use plastic polsih :doh:
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Re: Restore plastic parts

Postby Hotrodhendrix » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:30 pm

klue wrote:or you could just skip all those steps and use plastic polsih :doh:

Oops I added the wrong pic above. You do use plastic polish thus the point of the thread. Plastic polish alone will not get scratches or most imperfections out but wetsanding will.

3m does have a "plastic cleaner" which you can use before the plastic polish. I have tried this but I wanted the pieces to be "restored" not just shined up. :D
Last edited by Hotrodhendrix on Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Restore plastic parts

Postby celicat93 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:35 pm

Wow, very cool! I need to do that to my faux CF hood lip!
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Re: Restore plastic parts

Postby DudeMan » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:07 pm

I wonder if it would work on cell phone or iPod screens..
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