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Old 11-15-2010, 12:23 PM   #1
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How do you remove scratches in plastic interior trim?

Hi, I'm new here so I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong area. I just purchased a used 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L and it has a few problem areas that I would like to get fixed. The first is in the rear compartment on the plastic trim. It has taken a beating from a wheel chair and has some significant scratches. I was looking through one of my car catalogs and found some plastic paint from VHT and they even have the Honda gray that I'm looking for. Does anyone have any experience with this product? Also how do I fill in the scratches? I'm guessing this job requires some sanding. Well if anyone can break down the process for me that would be very much appreciated. I don't have any experience with this line of work and open to any suggestions.


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Old 11-15-2010, 12:43 PM   #2
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Re: How do you remove scratches in plastic interior trim?

Hi offduty,

Welcome to AGO.!!

I had a few deeper scratches in my expedition from getting scraped up. I sanded them down using progressively less abrasive grit until I was satisfied with the look. However, it did change the color slightly ... probably really only visible to me ... and it didn't match the texture of the rest of the panel as would be imagined.

However, I thought the results were much better looking than the gouged, rough look it had previously. I tried a touch up plastic Ford paint in my color and found that it was less appealing than just the sanded out color. Depends on what you end up with I guess.

From the looks of your picture, I imagine a sanding will make it lighter. I also applied Poorboys Natural Look and it gave the panel a uniform sheen but didn't darken or change the color.

It will probably come down to your personal preferences on what look you want to settle with.
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:37 PM   #3
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Re: How do you remove scratches in plastic interior trim?

Here's something on the topic I wrote on MOL back in 2005 as this type of questions comes up all the time...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Phillips

What it means to remove a scratch out of anything...


We get a lot of questions on our forum and at our Saturday classes from people trying to remove scratches out of all kinds of things, for example:

How do you remove a scratch out of;

* Glass?
* Clear plastic like a headlight lens, radio face plate, dash gages?
* Chrome, like a chrome wheel?
* Paint?
* Interior plastics like a plastic door sill or glove box door?
* Stainless steel, like a stainless steel door sill protector?
* Aluminum?
* Rubber?
* Pebble textured plastic like trim components?

This article isn't' about the how-to for removing scratches out of the above materials or coatings but about the practical science behind how you remove a scratch or any below surface defect out of any material or surface coating.

Read the below statement and think about it for a few minutes...

"Some materials and/or surface coatings don't lend themselves well to being abraded with the end-result looking good or looking like the original appearance"

In order to remove a scratch out of anything, metal, plastic glass, paint, etc. You must remove material around the scratch until the upper most portions of the surface are level with or equal to the lowest depths of the scratch or defect you're trying to remove.


Does that make sense?

The below diagram is for paint, however the the same idea applies to just about any coating or surface material.





In essence, you don't really remove a scratch, you remove material around a scratch.


Then the big question becomes...

Is the material or coating workable?

As in, can you abrade small particles of the material or surface coating and leave behind an original looking surface.


For example: Some things you can abrade, (remove the scratch), but you can never completely remove all of your abrading marks, thus you can't really fix the problem, all you can do is exchange one set of scratches of a different set of scratches.

The next factor you have to consider or at least understand is;

How thick is the surface material or material you're working on?


You are limited to what you can do with any material or surface coating. By this we mean there is usually a limit as to how much material you can remove before you run into the risk of removing too much and exposing the underlying surface or removing so much material that you change the component you're working on in a way that it won't look good and you can't undo the damage.

There's a saying on this forum we use often when discussing different members detailing projects and it goes like this,


"Sometimes you don't know what you can so until you try"

It's always a good idea to test your choice of products, applicator materials and application process, (by hand or by machine), to an inconspicuous area. If you cannot make a small area look good with your product, applicator and process, you will not be able to make the entire surface look good.

It's always a good idea to test first and error on the side of caution, versus make a mistake you cannot undo over the entire component or vehicle.



The problem with trying to actually "remove" scratches out of materials like you're working on is there's no way to abrade the surface to level it and have it look "good" or "original".

You can clean and dress the area and it won't be as apparent or consider replacing with a new component or check a salvage yard for a good used one.



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Old 11-15-2010, 01:39 PM   #4
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Re: How do you remove scratches in plastic interior trim?

Moved to Detailing 101 also, this is a good "catch-all" forum for any type of question.


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