How to Repair ABS Plastic

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A special resin is required for repairing ABS plastic, such as that found on motorcycle trim.
Image Credit: homydesign/iStock/Getty Images

You'll often find ABS, a rigid form of plastic, as trim on motorcycle or car bodies and RV holding tanks, as well as shower pans. Its rigidity makes ABS plastic prone to cracking under force. While numerous adhesives on the market work for plastics, not all are alike -- some that work on softer plastics such as polystyrene do not work properly on ABS plastic, and vice versa. Repairing ABS requires an adhesive resin that chemically melts into the existing ABS plastic, resulting in a strong bond.

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Step 1

Clean the area surrounding the damage thoroughly. Scrub dirt and debris off with a nylon scrub pad and a damp rag. Dry the plastic completely.

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Step 2

Wipe down the damaged area with the cleaner or primer included with the ABS-mending adhesive applied to a rag. Clean several inches beyond the damaged area. Some ABS repair products recommend cleaning the plastic instead with denatured alcohol; so follow these directions instead if present. Allow the plastic to dry completely.

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Step 3

Cut a piece of mesh 1 to 2 inches larger than a hole, or 1 to 2 inches wide and an inch longer than a thin crack. No matter the shape of the hole or damage, the mesh should be large enough to cover it in all directions with a little extra mesh beyond the damaged area.

Step 4

Apply a thin layer of ABS adhesive resin from the kit over the crack or around a hole. Immediately place the mesh atop the wet resin, ensuring the damage is centered beneath the mesh. Quickly brush a layer of resin over the mesh. Allow the resin to dry for up to four hours, or as recommended on the ABS repair-kit packaging.

Step 5

Apply another layer of resin over the repair, allowing it to dry for four hours. Repeat the process one more time.

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