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Polishing Plastic Lens, What's the Best Way

1248 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  GypsyR
Just curious if minor scratches and water corrosion, can be polished out of tail light, parking and back up lenses? If so, what do I use? I've got some JR1 - Jewelers & TC6 - Tripoli compounds that works great on chrome, but I'm not certain what will work with plastics.

I know the new lenses don't cost much, but a little bit here and a little bit there starts to add up!
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I cannot think of what its called but there is such a thing a plastic polish, we use it in the fire dept. and it works great. I looked at the Galls web site and could not find it. Sorry could not be more help…

Tooth paste. Cheap and easy to find. And it works. But use a slow buffer.
Hi Wizco,
I use Semichrome metal polish. Works excellent. For deep scratches, use some 1200 wet sandpaper first (use with caution).
Meguiars makes plastic polish. I have a bottle of it on the shelf. This stuff should not be used on chromed plastic. Use a buffer wheel on your bench grinder, use polishing rouge to start. Buff until free of scratches with rouge then use with Meguiars to get a fine polished finish. Meguiars can then be used like a car polish to keep the plastics looking good.
We have a 93 LX and the headlight housings were going bad. I watered down some #& polishing compund and used that first. Then I used the plastic polish on them. Clear and clean and shiny!! Took about 1/2 hour for the job.
I own a small plane and have used Plexus. Pledge spray furniture polish also worked well. Meguires too.
Look in the phone book under plastics manufacturer's, they have apolish designed for it, works very well, very inexpensive.
I have polished quite a few lenses...I use eastwood's plastic polishing compound with loose section buffing wheel for a start, then follow with the plastic compound and a canton flannel wheel...then a final wipe down with Mequire's plastic polish with a wouldn't belive the difference you can make on a can take a scratched, yellowed lense and make it look new.
A few one side in one direction and the other side at 90 degrees to that direction...that way as you work if there are areas where you haven't buffed fully you will be able to identify quickly which side they are on......move the piece constantly...don't ever let the piece stop moving or you will melt it.....that goes double for sharp edges...don't go across a sharp edge...go with edges will melt very easily....
light pressure...don't push hard.....on very bad pieces I have gone as far as starting with emery, then stainless, then plastic and white rouge.
Please practice on a scrap piece first...and keep a two handed grip on the piece at all times...they will go flying.
I have a washing machine motor set up with an arbor....perfect speed for buffing plastic....but I used to use my regular buffing motor.
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For final finishing try "Novus" plastic polish, usually sold with a companion container of cleaner. This stuff can return optical clarity to a motorcycle helmet faceshield. The tiniest defect is blindingly obvious when it is 1 inch from your eyeball, especially at night. I used to routinely chuck out faceshields, nothing I ever tried worked. Novus is the sole exception.
I haven't used it much on car parts, other than the instrument lenses and my tail lights.
The local motorcycle shops used to carry this stuff, but the last bottle I bought came from the internet. Last time I looked at a JC Whitney catalog they were selling it.
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