Repairing Scratches on a Plastic GPS Screen
By John Granby
Scratches on the plastic screen of a GPS unit can be mildly annoying or seriously distracting. If the scratches are shallow and if the exposed material is not a touch-screen membrane, then you may be able to polish these scratches away. Very deep scratches or damage to a touch-screen membrane cannot be repaired by the user, unfortunately, and may require warranty service or replacement of the GPS device.
Identify the exposed material on the screen. If the material you touch is plastic, then you may attempt to polish away the scratches. However, if the material is a touch-screen membrane, you cannot repair these scratches. Doing so will damage the screen further.
Clean the plastic GPS screen carefully with a soft fabric cloth, and then lightly rub with a damp towel to remove any dust or other surface residue.
Apply a small amount of a common household cleaner such as Comet or Soft Scrub to the damaged area. These cleaners are abrasive and may actually help polish away shallow scratches, eliminating the need to buy a specialty polish.
Rub the compound in a circular motion using a slightly damp cloth and applying increasing pressure. This is not a quick process and several applications plus a fair amount of effort may be required. If the results are not satisfactory, proceed to the next step.
Purchase a specialty plastic polish such as Meguiar's PlastX. These polishes are often available in the automotive section of department stores and at auto parts stores. They're the same type of polish used for plastic headlights and convertible cars with plastic rear windows.
Apply a small amount of the compound to the scratched area and rub in a circular motion. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions on dampening your cloth. Some compounds recommend a damp cloth, others do not.
John Granby began his writing career in 2000 as a founding member of a tech industry website targeted at WAP developers. He has provided in-depth coverage of the wireless industry, served as a speaker at several conferences and authored a book on Bluetooth. Granby earned a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from Purdue University.