How To Fix Scratches On Plastic Dashboard?

How To Fix Scratches On Plastic Dashboard? Scratches and scuffs on your car’s plastic dashboard can make the interior look dull and worn. While plastic is durable, it can easily get scratched over time from daily use and exposure to the sun. Thankfully, there are several effective techniques you can use to repair scratches on plastic dashboard surfaces and restore them to a like-new condition.

Clean The Area Thoroughly

The first step in fixing scratches on the plastic dashboard is ensuring the area is completely clean before attempting any repairs. Use an interior cleaner or plastic polish cleaner to wipe down the dashboard. Spray the cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and rub it into the scratched area using gentle circular motions. Make sure to remove any dirt, dust or debris that could interfere with the scratch repair process.

Pay special attention to cleaning the specific scratched area to ensure any polish or compound will adhere properly. Allow the plastic surface to completely dry before moving onto the next step. Proper cleaning is crucial for getting top results when repairing scratches on a plastic dashboard.

Use Scratch Repair Pens and Compounds

Once your plastic dashboard is clean, you can begin fixing scratches using scratch repair pens or polishing compounds:

Scratch Repair Pens

Clear plastic scratch repair pens are one of the easiest ways to fix light scratches on a plastic dashboard. They contain a specialized formula that fills and levels out scratches as the pen glides over them. The built-in polishing tip buffs the area to blend the repair and restore clarity.

Look for pens formulated specifically for use on plastic and acrylic. Shake the pen well before use and test on an inconspicuous area first. Apply using light pressure while slowly tracing over the scratch. Immediately buff with the polishing tip until the area blends evenly.

Polishing Compounds

For deeper dashboard scratches, use a plastic polishing compound. These can level scratches and restore optical clarity to cloudy, dull plastic. Apply a small amount of compound to a soft cloth and rub it into the scratch using gentle pressure. Work in a circular motion until the scratch disappears. Buff the area with a clean dry cloth to remove any hazy residue and restore the plastic’s original shine.

Try Sanding and Heat Techniques

If you have extensive cracking or deep gouges in the plastic dashboard, you may need more aggressive scratch removal using sanding or heat techniques:

Try Sanding and Heat Techniques
Try Sanding and Heat Techniques


Lightly sanding can help even out and smooth over significantly scratched plastic dashboard. Always start with a fine grit sandpaper like 600 grit and work up to finer grits if needed. Sand gently in the direction of the scratch to slowly taper and diminish the edges. Avoid sanding too aggressively as this can damage the plastic.

Thoroughly clean the area when finished and restore shine with plastic polish. Be very cautious using sanding to fix scratches on the plastic dashboard as it may thin the plastic if overdone. Test in an inconspicuous spot first.

Heat Smoothing

For very deep gashes or cracks in a plastic dashboard, carefully applying heat can help smooth and fill in the damage. Use a heat gun on the lowest setting and lightly wave it over the area just until the plastic softens. Immediately use a plastic smoother like a roller tool to gently press down the raised edges of the scratch so it fills in evenly.

Re-heat and re-roll if needed for full smoothing. Let the area fully cool before cleaning and polishing. Caution should be taken not to overheat the area when using this method to fix scratches on the plastic dashboard.

Consider Professional Repairs

If you’ve tried these DIY methods without success fixing the scratches on your plastic dashboard, don’t lose hope. Seek out professional auto upholstery and plastic repair services to properly resurface and fill scratched plastic dashboards. Experienced technicians have specialized tools and plastic fillers that can inject into scratches for seamless repairs. While more costly than DIY, professional repairs yield superior, long-lasting results.

With some simple techniques and plastic-specific products, you can successfully remove unsightly scratches from plastic dashboards and restore your interior’s appearance. Always properly prep and clean the area first. Test products to avoid potential damage. Be patient for best outcomes. Or seek professional assistance for extensive scratch repairs. Keep your car looking its best by promptly fixing any scratches on plastic dashboard surfaces as they occur.

Using Plastic Polish or Compound

One of the easiest ways to fix minor scratches on plastic dashboard surfaces is by using a high-quality plastic polish or scratch removing compound. Here’s a look at how to complete the repair process:

Using Plastic Polish or Compound
Using Plastic Polish or Compound

Clean the Area

Use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe down the area you want to polish, removing any dust or dirt. You can use a plastic cleaner or even just some soapy water. Make sure the area is completely dry before moving to the next step.

Apply Polish/Compound

Put a small amount of plastic polish or scratch removing compound on a clean, soft cloth. Gently rub the product into the scratched area using circular motions. Apply light to moderate pressure as you work the polish into the surface.

Buff the Area

Once you have worked the polish over the entire scratched area, use a fresh dry microfiber cloth to buff off any residue. Buff in straight lines or circular motions until the scratch disappears and the plastic regains its original glossy finish.

Clean Residue

Use a plastic cleaner to give the area one final wipe down, removing any remaining residue from the polishing process. Dry the dashboard completely with a lint-free cloth. Inspect to ensure the scratch on the plastic dashboard has been successfully removed.

With this simple polishing process, you can easily fix minor scratches on plastic dashboard components, steering wheels, and other interior trim pieces. The results will restore your vehicle’s interior to showroom condition.

Applying Touch Up Paint to Scratched Areas

If you have scratches on plastic dashboard that are down to the bare plastic and won’t buff out, applying touch up paint can help cover up the damage:

Clean and Prepare the Area

Make sure to thoroughly clean the scratched area with plastic prep cleaner or alcohol to remove any residue. Lightly sand using 600 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface so the paint will adhere properly. Dust off any sanding debris.

Applying Touch Up Paint to Scratched Areas
Applying Touch Up Paint to Scratched Areas

Paint over Scratches

Shake your touch up paint bottle well and apply thin coats over the sanded scratches, allowing each coat to dry in between. You may need 2-3 coats to fully cover the area and match the surrounding dashboard color.

Blend the Paint

Once the paint has dried, use 800 grit sandpaper to lightly smooth the edges and blend the painted area into the original plastic surface. Don’t sand through the paint.

Buff and Polish

Use a plastic polish to buff out any sanding marks left behind. This helps blend the painted area for an undetectable dashboard scratch repair.

With a few simple steps, touch up paint can make scratches on the plastic dashboard virtually disappear. This works well for hairline cracks or deep scratches that won’t buff out completely.

Using Heat to Soften and Reflow Plastic

If you have cracks, gouges or large scratches on the plastic dashboard, applying heat can help reflow and soften the plastic enough to smooth over the damage. Here is the basic heat repair process:

Clean the Area

Make sure the area around the scratches is cleaned and dry. Wipe it down with plastic prep cleaner to remove any oils or residue.

Apply Heat

Using a heat gun on low setting, slowly wave heat over the damaged area until you see the plastic start to soften. Avoid directly focusing heat in one spot.

Smooth with Tool

Once plastic is pliable, use a plastic smoother tool to gently press and smooth out the scratches so they level with the surrounding area.

Additional Heat/Smoothing

Reapply heat and use smoother as needed to blend repair and make it undetectable. Let cool completely before touching.

Restore Finish

Use fine grit sandpaper to remove any marks followed by plastic polish to restore original glossy finish.

With some care, the heat reflow technique can effectively fix deep dashboard scratches that are otherwise unrepairable. Just take care not to overheat or burn the plastic.

Professional Plastic Injection Repairs

In cases of extensive cracking, deep gouges or badly scratched plastic dashboard, professional plastic repair may be required. Qualified auto upholstery shops can perform plastic injection repairs to fill holes, cracks or extensively scratched areas for seamless, permanent fixes. Here is an overview:

Professional Plastic Injection Repairs
Professional Plastic Injection Repairs


  1. The damaged area is cleaned out and prepped to receive the plastic filler injection.
  2. Using specialized tools, liquid or putty plastic filler is injected under pressure into the scratches/damage.
  3. Once cured, the repaired area is sanded smooth and contoured to match the original molded shape.
  4. Textured graining may be added to the filler to recreate OEM texture on textured plastics.
  5. Final finish restored through sanding and polishing for a smooth, factory appearance.


  1. Permanently fills cracks, gouges, and deep scratches on the plastic dashboard.
  2. Restores structural integrity to damaged plastic.
  3. Repaired area retains flexibility and won’t shrink or sink over time.
  4. Color matched to seamlessly blend repair.
  5. Much less cost than full dashboard replacement.

While more expensive than DIY methods, plastic injection provides the most complete, lasting repair for severely scratched plastic dashboards. This professional solution should restore it to like-new condition.

Maintaining Your Dashboard

Once your plastic dashboard is repaired, proper maintenance is key to preventing new scratches. Here are some tips:

  1. Use sun shades on windshield when parked to block UV rays.
  2. Keep interior surfaces clean; dust and dirt can quickly scratch plastic.
  3. Don’t place any heavy or sharp objects on the dashboard.
  4. Immediately clean any spills; chemicals can damage plastic.
  5. Apply UV protectants to shield plastic from sun damage.
  6. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbing pads.
  7. Consider installing clear vinyl covers on top of dashboards.

By taking proper care of your car’s interior, you can keep your dashboard looking pristine and avoid the need to repair scratches on plastic dashboard surfaces. Quickly addressing any minor scratches that do occur will also prevent more extensive damage long-term.

Can You Get Scratches Out Of Plastic Dashboards?

Yes, there are several effective ways to remove scratches from plastic dashboards. Light scratches can often be buffed out using plastic polishing compounds. For deeper scratches, try filling in the damage with scratch repair pens or touch up paint. Carefully sanding the area can also help even out scratches. In severe cases, professional plastic injection repairs may be needed to fill and smooth significant gouges or cracks in the dashboard.

How Do You Fix Scratches On Interior Plastic?

Lightly sand the scratched area with fine grit sandpaper, then use a plastic polish or rubbing compound to buff out the scratches. Scratch repair pens can also fill in light marks on interior plastic components. 

For deeper gouges, apply touch up paint after sanding to help cover over and fill in the damage. Professional repairs may be needed for extensive cracking or deep scratches.

How Do You Fix Scratches On Plastic Cars?

Clean the area thoroughly then apply plastic polish in a circular motion to buff out light scratches. Use fine grit sandpaper to gently smooth deeper scratches before polishing. Try a scratch repair pen to fill in light marks. Touch up paint or professional plastic injection repairs may be needed for heavy scratch damage on exterior or interior plastic car components.

Does Toothpaste Remove Scratches?

Toothpaste is mildly abrasive so it can help remove very fine surface scratches by gently polishing the plastic. However, it is not effective at fixing deeper scratches. Use actual plastic polish and rubbing compounds instead for deeper scratch removal. Toothpaste may work temporarily but won’t deliver lasting scratch removal on plastic.

What Is The Best Scratch Remover For Plastic?

High quality plastic polishing compounds and scratch removers specially formulated for use on plastics will deliver the best results safely removing fine scratches from plastic surfaces like dashboards. Avoid harsh chemicals or cleaners not designed for plastic as they may further damage the plastic.


Fixing scratches on plastic dashboard surfaces is doable with the right techniques and products. For light scratches, plastic polish and scratch repair pens offer an easy fix to restore your dashboard’s appearance. Moderate to heavy scratch damage may require sanding, heat application or touch up paint to smooth and fill scratched areas. 

Professional plastic injection remains the best solution for severely cracked or gouged dashboards in poor condition. With proper care and maintenance, you can keep your interior plastic looking its best for the long run. Addressing scratches on the plastic dashboard promptly can help restore and maintain your vehicle’s appearance.

Also Read:

Author's Image

Ammar Masoud

I have had a long and fulfilling career in the automotive industry, primarily with Honda and Acura. With 15 years of experience as a Honda service technician, I became highly skilled in repair and maintenance, gaining a deep understanding of these vehicles. After many years in the automotive field, I decided to embark on a second career in industrial manufacturing. It was a significant change, but I found that the skills I had honed in the automotive industry were incredibly valuable in my new role. In my current position in industrial manufacturing, the demand for quality workmanship and meticulous attention to detail is paramount. Fortunately, these are traits that I have cultivated throughout my years in the automotive industry. I take pride in applying these skills to meet the high standards expected in the manufacturing sector.