Scratches can easily be inflicted onto plastic surfaces in your car as they are fairly soft in comparison to paintwork and other materials. These scratches can look very unsightly especially in direct light and if it is a clear plastic affected they can even detract from and obscure what is underneath or behind it. Plastic surfaces in your car that may require restoring would include areas like gauge cluster and dial covers, stereo displays or trim details.
A designated plastic polishing product can be used to effectively remove scratches and restore the surface. It should be carefully applied with a soft sponge or micro fibre applicator pad, spread evenly over the surface and then worked in using both circular and linear motions. Once the product has been sufficiently worked in it should then be gently buffed off. It is very important that you use a clean, soft high quality micro fibre towel for removing the polish residue to prevent any more scratches from being inflicted. The process may need to be repeated in order to fully remove the scratches from the plastic.
If you cannot use a designated plastic polishing product then an all in one polish product can be used to achieve similar results. The light abrasives in the product will help to remove lighter and fine scratches and the fillers in it will help to mask any deeper marks. It should be applied, worked in and removed in the same way as a plastic polishing product. You should ensure you do not to get any product onto the surrounding areas and trim as this would leave unsightly residue marks. Again, the process can be repeated if necessary until the desired result is achieved.
It should be noted that some newer plastic surfaces such as dial covers and sat nav screens come with an anti glare coating on them from the factory, this appears as a purple tint when viewed in the correct light. These surfaces should not be polished as the polish will remove parts of the coating and leave it looking very messy. To help prevent any further scratches from being inflicted, or from them even occurring in the first place, the correct cleaning technique needs to be utilized. Sensitive plastic surfaces should never be cleaned using harsh products.
You should use a detailing spray, or an anti static cleaning product designed for cleaning computer monitors and similar, in conjunction with a clean, soft micro fibre towel. This is the most important factor to consider when cleaning plastic surfaces as this is when scratches are easily inflicted.