Auto Service World
Feature   March 1, 2002   by CARS Magazine

Plastic Repair Basics

With more and more modern car and light truck structure made from plastics, repair of cracked and broken parts is a common problem. Effective repair starts by considering the function of the broken pa...


With more and more modern car and light truck structure made from plastics, repair of cracked and broken parts is a common problem. Effective repair starts by considering the function of the broken part. Rubber-like “elastomers” need a flexible repair, so consider compounds like silicones. Rigid parts respond well to various repair products such as epoxy, polyurethanes, cyanoacrylates (“super glues”) and welding with hot air or a heated tool such as a soldering iron. Heavily-filled items like many headlight or air filter housings don’t respond well to the hot soldering iron technique, so consider hard-setting adhesives or fibreglass and resin. In every case, cleanliness of the bonding surfaces is absolutely essential for a durable repair. Acetone (lacquer thinner) is a good choice. Use it sparingly (it’s VERY flammable) and apply adhesives as soon as the solvent evaporates. Use only as much adhesive as you need. For bigger jobs, two light applications are better than one heavy “blob” of goo. If you opt for the speedy “super glue” solution, consider using the special primers available for those products. A drop or two greatly accelerates setting, and gives a stronger bond. Time is money!


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