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Plastics and Vinyls

What is Plastic?


Plastics are synthetic substances which, under heat and pressure, can be shaped, cast in a mould, or extruded as rods or tubes. A relatively new product, the last forty years have seen plastics become commonplace. The invention of new plastics is so rapid that approximately three new plastics are developed each week. The applications for plastics are almost limitless, as evidenced by their increasing use in automotive components from consoles to bumper bars. Plastics generally fall into two broad categories:Thermoplastics and Thermosets.


Thermoplastics are plastics that can be remoulded if heated to their thermoforming temperature, often used for toys, plumbing pipe and a large proportion of automotive interior fixtures.


Thermosets, on the other hand, do not melt with heat. Examples of thermosets are plastic laminate benchtops and fibre glass reinforced polyester resins used for boats. Steering wheels, headrests and armrests are termed "reaction injection" moulded (RIM) plastics and come under the category of thermosets.


How can I care for Plastic? Many plastics break down with age, primarily due to exposure to heat and sunlight. Windscreen shields, tinted windows and rear window louvres all help to protect automotive plastics from fading and cracking. Beware of using strong solvents to clean plastics as some plastics will melt on contact.


Can Damaged Plastic be Repaired? Yes! The most common problem occurring with plastics is accidental damage. Scratches, gouges, holes and cracks in plastics are repairable. With combinations of heat, solvent, and adhesive fusion, excellent results can be achieved on most plastics, whether thermoplastic or thermoset.


What is Vinyl?


The word "vinyl" comes from the chemical name polyvinyl chloride or PVC for short. Common PVC products are bottles, records and some types of plumbing pipe. Vinyl is widely known as a soft flexible material used mainly for upholstering furniture and automotive interiors.


This form of vinyl is a plastisol made of PVC resins, fillers and plasticiser oils. Plasticiser oil is a petroleum by-product that gives vinyl its flexibility. A wide range of vinyls are produced for different purposes, both with and without fabric backing. Many of the leather-look vinyl lounge suites on the market today are unbacked vinyl. Some vinyls have a darker vinyl lacquer ink applied to their top surface to obtain a two-toned effect and to protect the heavily plasticised vinyl underneath. In high wear areas such as seats and arm rests, this ink wears off and the vinyl beneath is subject to soiling and accelerated wear. Some motor vehicle manufacturers have used this type of vinyl extensively.


How can I care for Vinyl? Sunlight, heat and dirt break down most vinyls. The colour of some automotive vinyls fades very quickly on exposure to sunlight. Shading vinyl from sunlight will greatly lengthen its life. Heat also has a detrimental effect on vinyl due to plasticiser migration. This is especially true for vinyl dashboards. With intense heat the plasticiser oils leave the vinyl in the form of a gas which can actually be seen as a grey fog around the edge of the windscreen. Ultimately the vinyl becomes hard and cracks. To protect your vinyl, keep it as cool as possible by shielding it from heat You can actually stop damage by conditioning the vinyl with plasticiser oils available from Detail King to counteract migration. Dirt can do great damage to vinyl. Clean your vinyl with a mild cleaner and soft cloth. Pen marks should be quickly cleaned off. Marker and pen marks that are left on vinyl migrate right into the plastisol and cannot be removed. Wipe first with methylated spirits (do not scrub). If this does not remove the stain, try nail polish remover. Always test these cleaners on an inconspicuous area to make sure they do not dissolve the surface coat of the vinyl. Perspiration and hair oils can also speed up the hardening of vinyl. Covering armrests and headrests on vinyl upholstered furniture will decrease the chance of these areas cracking in the future


Can damaged Vinyl be repaired? Yes! We have developed equipment and compounds that successfully repair all types of automotive and upholstery vinyls with excellent results. Repairing small tears and scuffs, stain removal, refinishing and recolouring vinyl are processes that are available at a fraction of the cost of reupholstering or replacement.



Platics and Vinyl treatment can be provided by 'Clean my Car' Sunshine Coast Mobile Detailing