How To Remove Scratches From Car Interior Plastic & Vinyl?

Plastic inside of your car gets scratched up with regular wear and tear.

As it is easy to get scratched, it is easy to restore as well. But you need to follow some strict rules for attaining the perfect result.

To give the affected plastic a nice and scratch-free look again, we have researched and analyzed the results of different methods and found two that work best.

This article consists of two different methods of removing scratches from car interior plastic and some pro tips to prevent any future damage to the interior beauty.

Why Scratches Appear on Car Interior?

No matter how carefully you touch the interior plastics and other parts of your car, the interior plastic or vinyl would inevitably catch up scratches.

This is because of the hard minerals flying around in the air. When you drive the vehicle and the windows are open, those tiny particles come and rub against the surface with the air leaving the plastic scratched.

Apart from that, plastic scratches up quickly by regular usage as well. Your nails, keys, coins, and many other things can scratch up the plastic.

How to Remove Scratches From Car Interior Plastic?

You can use different plastic restoration techniques to eliminate scratches from the interior. But we recommend using either of the two methods we have discussed here. These methods are safe and easy to use-

Removing Scratches With Heat Gun

This is a popular and easy method that every car owner can attempt without any expert supervision. Requires less effort, less time, and less money but the result comes out great.

Estimated Cost: 15 USD

Estimated Time: 15 Minutes

Supplies Needed: Grain Pad, Microfiber Cloth, Plastic Cleaner, Masking Tape

Tools Needed: Heat Gun

1. Clean the Surface

Before you start removing scratches, get rid of any loose dust with a vacuum cleaner. Then, clean the surface with a car interior plastic cleaner and a microfiber towel. As we are going to apply heat on the plastic, any dust remaining on the surface will stick to the plastic permanently.

car interior plastic cleaning

So, make sure to super clean it to have a perfectly finished and scratch-free plastic surface.

We have seen some people recommending isopropyl alcohol to get rid of dust from the surface. But we do not recommend using this on any plastic surface. While rubbing alcohol is good for cleaning any metal or glass surface, it can change the color of the plastic.

2. Mark the Area

After cleaning, cover the area surrounding the scratched surface. It will keep the heat away from the surrounding surface.

You can use masking tape to mark the area but we don't recommend that. Instead, fix cloth or paper towel with adhesive tape in the corners. Low-quality masking tape can melt with heat making your task more difficult.

However, you can skip this step if no buttons or electric components are surrounding the scratched area.

3. Apply Moderate Heat

Set the heat at low heat mode and start applying on the surface from 4 to 6 inches distance. If you see the surface getting warm and scratches start melting away, you should keep heating the surface back and forth motion.

Use the heat evenly throughout the surface and go in circular motion sometimes.

Plastic can get some moment to become soften. Don't be impatient.

If you start applying high heat on the plastic, it may burn or warp making your car interior uglier than ever. That's why we recommend a slow and steady mode to acquire a good result.

You can use a hairdryer instead of a heat gun as well. But a heat gun is recommended.

4. Use Grain Pads

As the surface becomes soften and the scratches go away, start pressing the grain pad against the soft surface to achieve the texture on the plastic.

Don't spend time searching the grain pad. Taking time in the process will harden the surface making it hard for you to achieve that same texture.

So, keep the grain pad close to the area you are working so that you can start using that when the plastic is soft.

5. Let it Cool Down

The final step is to let the surface cool down and prevent any dust from getting stuck on the surface. The plastic interior should cool down within minutes. If the environment is warm, you can turn on the air conditioner of your car to let the surface cool down fast.

After the surface comes at a normal temperature, use a bit of plastic cleaner to clean the surface again for a better-finished look.

Plastic Repair Kit Method

The second method is to use a plastic scratch removing kit. The method is pretty simple compared to the other we have discussed above.

Buy a plastic scratch remover, clean the surface, apply it, and finish it according to the instructions given by the manufacturer.

However, these scratch removing kits are mostly filler kits, and there remain visible repair marks on the surface after the completion of the work. Especially, getting textured finish from the plastic filler kits is very rare.

So, we highly recommend using the first method to get rid of the interior scratches of your car.

Can You Remove Scratches From Car Interior Vinyl?

Yes, the method is the same as our heat gun method. Clean the surface, mark it with a towel and adhesive tape, use heat to soften the vinyl and use grain pad to get the textured finish, finally, leave the surface to cool down.

You can use the method to remove scratches from plastic trim, dashboard, and light scratches from any household items as well.

How to Remove Scratches From Glossy Plastic of Car Interior?

If you have a luxury car and have some glossy plastic parts in your interior with minor or deep scratches, hold tight! This may give you a headache. Because the thing is quite complicated and you can mess things up quickly, we don't recommend doing this yourself.

You need to use polish and a gloss finishing tool to make things look good again. Here is a nice video about the process-

How to Prevent Scratches on Plastic & Vinyl?

Now that you have restored the plastic of the car interior, it is important to be cautious about the scratches. So that you don't need to follow the same method again after a few months. Here are some of the tips that you should follow-

1. Keep your windows shut when you are driving at high speed. This will prevent hard minerals from coming with the air and scratching the surface up again.

2. Don't bring sand, metal, or any other abrasives in the car. These particles scratch up plastic easily.

vacuum cleaning car interior

3. Keep a portable vacuum cleaner in your car so that you can eliminate dust from the interior panels first before using any cleaner. Wiping the surface without removing sand or steel can leave minor scratches on plastic.

4. Clean your car regularly both inside and outside to keep it shiny and scratch-free.

Conclusion

When doing things for the first time, test the process on some other similar surface to get an idea about it. We recommend trying in a small portion of the scratched plastic and see the result. If it comes out good, proceed to the full restoration.

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