How to Remove Scratches from Motorcycle Windshield (Without Making It Worse) in 3 Steps
Have you ever lost a battle with gravity while riding?
No? May good fortune keep smiling on you.
In case you have and managed to escape with just a few scratches, be thankful.
However, while your scratches will heal, the ones that have come up on the motorcycle windshield will not. In fact, windshields can acquire scratches in unknown, mysterious ways as you ride through the years.
(And it’s not just due to the practical joke that nature played when she put those hardened wings on flying bugs.)
So, how to remove scratches from motorcycle windshields?
Truth is, there are a few methods you can use to remove these scratches. Let’s check them out.
How to Get Scratches Out of Plastic Windshield?
For those who prefer to keep their motorcycles spotlessly clean, ugly windshield scratches are simply annoying. Not only can they impair visibility, but they also affect the look of the motorbike.
Unlike car windshields which are made from dual glass layers, motorcycle windshields are mostly made from acrylic (you can call it plexiglass too) or polycarbonate. That makes them more prone to scratches. Even though windshields have protective coatings, scratches can cut through them.
While these scratches may not be visible at all times, they are clearly visible in certain light conditions. For example, they are clearer when you are riding into the sun.
If your windshield is marked with numerous battle scars, the best option is to replace it. But if the scratches are few in number, there are some methods that you might try. Besides, there might be time or budget restrictions that might prevent you from going for a replacement.
The basic process of scratch removal is simple. Here’s the list of items that you will need for the process.
- Sandpaper between 800 and 2000 grits
- Rubbing or polishing compound
- An orbital polisher
- A Clay Bar Kit
- Car wax
Keep in mind that fine scratches, the ones that are barely felt while running your finger over the surface, can be repaired by using just car wax. However, if you can feel the scratches distinctly, they have gone deep and you will have to go all the way. You can take the windshield off the bike to make the process easier.
Start by cleaning the windshield using soap and water. While it’s good to spray-hose it, resist the urge to pressure clean it at a carwash! This could make matters much worse.
Next, use a 800-grit wet sandpaper to rub over the scratched portion. Keep the sandpaper soaked in water for about 10 minutes and then start the sanding process with gentle circular strokes.
Make sure to apply uniform pressure while sanding and clean the windscreen surface with water frequently. This will prevent the accumulation of the removed particles and dirt on the surface. Remember, excess pressure can result in scuffing which might be hard to remove.
Depending on how deep the scratch is, it might take around 10 to 15 minutes of sandpapering. Afterwards, the whole area around the original scratch will appear cloudy. These are the scratches generated by the sandpaper.
Actually, the windshield might look WORSE than it was at this stage.
Take a deep breath and don’t freak out. The polishing process will restore the windshield to its transparent state.
If the scratch isn’t visible, shift to a 2000-grit sandpaper to start the polishing process. This is a much finer sandpaper that will make the area smoother. Once you are done, the area will appear even cloudier.
Now, check if you can feel the original scratch.
If not, great. Wipe the windscreen to remove any residue. It’s time to use an even finer polishing compound. These compounds have micro abrasives that can’t be applied by hand. So, you will need to use an orbital polisher. Another option is to use a compound pad made from wool.
Spread the compound evenly on the windscreen. Start on the affected portion and slowly expand the action to polish the entire surface with the pad.
You can use the compound one more time to achieve the best results. Once the buffing process is done, the area on the windscreen should be fully clear.
At this stage, your windscreen should be free from scratches. Even so, there might be microparticles sticking to the surface that you should remove.
For that, wipe the windscreen with a Clay bar. Clay bars are special resins that can pull out contaminants and other embedded particles and prepare the surface for waxing. Usually, the kit consists of clay, a lubricant, and a towel to clean the surface.
Once the repairing and cleaning is done, it is time to bring out the car wax to finish the process. Before choosing the wax, check if there are any manufacturer recommendations for your motorcycle.
You can spray the wax on the affected area and apply it slowly by using a pad. Make sure the towel is clean because any scratchy stuff can cause micro scratches on the windshield.
After polishing the affected area is finished, you can spread the wax over the entire windscreen. After application, remove the wax and buff by using a microfiber towel.
The wax also acts as an additional coating that reduces weather damage and prevents the formation of water spots on the windscreen.
Will this motorcycle windshield scratch repair method work at all times?
Probably not. But considering the fact that this is a relatively simple and inexpensive process, it’s worth a try before you plan to replace the windshield. Unfortunately, this method is not so effective for removing scratches from motorcycle helmets.
One more thing…
I suggest you perform the task in the shade and not under the direct sun. The sun can dry out the cleaners and polishers quickly and reduce their effects.
How to Protect the Windscreen from Scratches?
If you are a frequent rider, the windshield will get scratched eventually. So instead of removing deep scratches from motorcycle windshields., you can take a few steps to prevent the scratches from forming:
- Keep the windshield clean at all times. Dirty windshields are more likely to get scratched when they come in contact with any surface or even your hands
- Make sure to clean the windshield by using the right materials and use plenty of water to prevent any scratches while cleaning. Warm, soapy water is a good choice.
- Do not use car windshield cleaners on motorcycle windshields. Chemicals used to clean glass windshields in cars may damage the acrylic and polycarbonate material of motorcycle windshields.
- You can apply a ceramic coat over the windshield to reduce the formation of scratches and swirl marks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you polish scratches out of a motorcycle windshield?
If you use the right materials and method, it is possible to polish scratches out of a motorcycle windshield. But if you’re feeling insecure about DIY-ing it, you can contact an experienced mechanic to find out what works best for your motorcycle.
How do you get scratches out of a plexiglass windshield?
Plexiglass or acrylic windshields can be made scratch-free by using the standard process of polishing and waxing. However, make sure to choose the right products to ensure that the chemicals don’t damage the material.
Can you buff out scratches on the windshield?
Yes, you can buff out the scratches on the windshield. Light scratches can be removed by combining buffing and waxing. However, deep scratches will need more effort and are more difficult to remove.
How to remove scratches from ATV windshield?
Most ATV windshields are made of acrylic or polycarbonate. This means you can remove scratches from ATV windshields by buffing and polishing.