Top Ways to Repair Broken Plastic Parts on Your Car
On antique cars most of the car was made from metal and you can weld and restore damaged parts pretty easily, but plastic isn’t that simple. There’s no MIG welder or simple “squirt gun” repair. With cars using more and more plastic over the years we’ve worked to try and come up with our top ways to repair and restore plastic. Whether you’re fixing a broken grill mounting tab, a dented plastic bumper, or a damaged center console, there’s a few ways to tackle these repairs. We listed our favorites below.
Plastic Welding– Welding plastic is that a thing?! While the method of welding plastic is a little different than welding metal (no sparks or welding mask!) they do have a few things in common. Both types of welding require heat and melting the surface of the part you’re repairing. You then can add filler material to the damaged area and repair the area. With plastic welding you need to use a special iron that heats the surface and without burning through. Most quality plastic welders have a wider contact area and some even have a temperature control. Use these plastic welders with plastic filler rods to fill imperfections or join cracked plastic back together.
Solvent Repair– There are some easy-mix plastic repair kits that use a plastic powder and a solvent to fill and repair plastics. These can be used in conjunction with a plastic welder or plastic stapler. This will fill low spots or damaged areas and require little supplies other than the kit.
Paintless Dent Removal– PDR is often talked about for repairing metal panels on a car body but they actually work well to repair plastic bumpers that are caved in or dented. This is usually the first step to pulling out damage in plastic. You may need to follow up with one of the other methods to repair cracks or damaged plastic, but a paintless dent repair kit can often save repainting the bumper if the damage isn’t too severe.
Easy Fill Holes in Plastic- If you’re doing a non-structural repair you may need to fill holes or voids in plastic like an old dashboard. You can use Sealant Foam to fill those voids and support any body filler you put on top. We don’t suggest using this for structural repairs, but it can work for refinishing parts like interior items where you need to build up a void or missing part.
Plastic Stapler– If you need to make structural repair of plastic parts that might flex or be exposed to forces like wind and weather you may want to use a Plastic Stapler to stitch up cracks or breaks in plastic. The stainless staples bridge the cracks and are heated and sunk into the surface of the plastic giving a structural repair for the part. We suggest using these staples for parts like bumpers, grills, headlights, and other exterior parts that need to be quite strong. The hot stapler comes with enough staples to make many repairs and requires little skill to make quality repairs.