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Hagerty Employee

How to polish cloudy plastic screens to a brilliant shine

Be it gauge cluster lenses, windows into your HVAC or stereo control panels, or gloriously fake woodgrain, automotive interiors have relied on highly finished plastic surfaces since the 1970s. I've restored lenses dating back to 1972 (in my Continental Mark IV) that were scratched, stained, and foggy. My work culminated in a handful of poorly aged lenses on my 1995 Lincoln Mark VIII's gauge cluster, trip computer, stereo, graphic equalizer, and automatic climate control module. (NOTE: The following advice does not apply to touch screen or anti-glare screens inside newer cars.)


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I've been using clear plastic polishes from Mother's and Meguiars on items like the instrument cluster bezel and radio screens for years.  It always amazes me how much of a difference they can make.  Additionally, try car wax on interior wood trim (both real and fake).  I've even so much as done a three-step (clean, polish, wax) bringing the brilliance of the grain and colour back to the factory finish.  And not to worry, it doesn't add any more gloss to the trim than what would it would have had when new anyway. 

New Driver

For even easier results, use a rotary foam pad.  Harbor Freight offers a kit to use on a drill with a 3" hook and loop holder, buffing pad and two foam pads.  Makes short work of the job and really makes the plastic clear.

Community Manager

Now I know what I will be buying on my next visit to HF!  Thank you.