Best Glue for Automotive Plastic

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It is common for minor accidents to take place, which can lead to denting or breaking of your car parts. If the accident is minor enough, you do not need to go to an automobile repair shop to fix a part that you can take care of easily. It is quite simple to quickly fix your car yourself rather than spend money on doing this. However, the damage must be considered before you start fixing it by yourself. If the damage is something you feel you cannot manage, you need to get it repaired professionally. 

Glues are very useful and handy but they will not hold your front bumper long-term.

If you are looking to fix or repair a small broken piece, read further to know what kind of glue is the best for your needs. 

Most car parts are held together using screws and bolts, however automotive glue provides durability and is an affordable solution for broken parts. Glue for automotive plastic is used for repairing some exterior or interior parts of your car. When the need arises, you will need to use automotive glue. The glue you use to fix parts of the car needs to be strong and durable. There is a wide range of glues that fit the description and this article will provide details of several types of glue that we recommended. Spoilers and cladding are usually held together by glues or double-sided tapes. 

Also, ensure that the adhesive you use is durable and can weather any condition the car is placed in.

Types of Glue for Automotive Plastic

  • Two-part Adhesives 

This type of glue is used for automotive fixing and repairs because of its strength and durability. They are known as two-part adhesives because it consists of two types of glue, mostly epoxies mixed together to create a strong adhesive. When these adhesives are separate, they cannot be used for heavy-duty repairs but when mixed together, the chemical reaction creates a strong bond. The process is similar to making automotive body filler but epoxy creates a bond strong enough to affix two parts together. 

  • One-part Adhesive 

Single-part adhesives are a no-fuss product that is quite easy to apply. The glue dries quickly through evaporation. When you think of glues, one-part adhesive is probably the first thing you think about as they are more commonly used. However, they are not as durable and robust as epoxy, and are usually used to glue together parts that belong to the same material. 

  • Moldable Glue 

Two-part and single-part adhesives are liquid-based glues but moldable glue or sticky putty, as it is known, is an excellent option to fix parts that are hard to reach. This kind of adhesive also dries quickly by evaporation and is flexible and resistant to shock. This glue is useful when you want to fix malleable plastics in the interiors of your car.

Our Reviews - Best Glue for Automotive Plastic

Best Glue for Automotive Plastic – Best Overall

A first-rate bonder that most do-it-yourselfers swear by, the J-B Weld Plastic Bonder is a perfect adhesive for your automotive plastic. If you work with automotive plastic, this bonder is a good choice as it sets fast and without hassle. It takes about 15 minutes to dry and within half-an-hour, your work will be fully completed.  It has a ductile strength of 3770 PSI.

Stand-out features include

    • Highly powerful urethane adhesive 
    • Compatible with all plastic
    • Can be mixed in a 1:1 ratio 
    • 3770 PSI tensile strength

Best Glue for Automotive Plastic – Best Glue for Car Bumpers

As a moldable glue, this product differs from otters in its properties and application. Sugru Moldable Glue is generally marketed for use at home but this is a great glue to use for flexible automotive plastics of your car. The reason behind this is that it is easy to apply, can reach hard places, and dries quickly and effectively. An advantageous feature of this glue is that it is available in different colors so you can choose the one that best fits with your interiors rather than taking the effort to paint over visible glue. If you want something that goes along smoothly with your car trim, choose this product as it is more effective than double-sided tape. 

Once the product dries, it is shock, heat, and water-resistant. It also provides good insulation and is resistant to different weather conditions. 

This product also has a few disadvantages. If you need to affix plastic on another material such as metal, it is better to choose another glue on this list as the hold is not as strong. Some might also find that the application process is a bit tedious compared to the ease of application of other glues.

Stand-out features include

  • Converts to silicone rubber when left overnight 
  • Water and heat resistant 
  • Best for plastic bumper repairs

Best Glue for Automotive Plastic – Easiest to Use

Flexible and easy to use, this glue works on a variety of plastic types and materials like acrylic, ABS plastic, nylon, fiberglass, phenolic, plexiglass, polycarbonate, polyester, polystyrene, PVC, and urethane. This glue is quite easy to use and if you are deciding on a beginner glue, this one is perfect. It does not clog nor does it drip due to its specially designed tube. Since it is specifically formulated to glue plastics, it is also stronger than most other glues in the market. 

Stand-out features include

  • Exceptional strength 
  •  Bonds with different plastic varieties 
  • Excellent choice for beginners

Best Glue for Automotive Plastic – Best for precise jobs

This glue is one of the most affordable ones available. The bottle that it comes in is quite easy to use, too as it comes with an applicator, too. Plus, you will just need a very small amount of glue to make the plastic bond well. You also do not have to worry about the glue drying up as the cap keeps the container airtight. 

This glue is favored by board game enthusiasts for making models, so for tight and fiddly little jobs, this glue is great.

Stand-out features include

  • Affordable plastic glue 
  • Can be used for small projects 
  • Comes with an applicator so the application is quite precise
  • Easily sealable so that it does not dry

Best Glue for Automotive Plastic – Best for Plastic Welding

If you are looking for a starter-kit for bonding plastics, this is the one! The Bondic Liquid Plastic Welder comes in a metal case and it is a superb choice for application on automotive plastics. The defining feature of this adhesive is that it dries quickly and once it dries you can sand it or paint it and it is great for external use on car plastic. 

Additionally, this is not classified as glue as it does not contain any solvents. It is also a non-toxic adhesive that is activated by UV light that is included in the kit. 

The Bondic Welder can be used with not just plastic but also metal, PVC, steel, and other materials. 

Stand-out features include

  • Good for beginners 
  • Does not contain solvents 
  • Can be painted or sanded over 
  • UV light used for activation

Best Glue for Automotive Plastic – Best for Headliner Repair

Looking for an adhesive that will bond fabric material to plastic or metal? This 3M Headliner and Fabric Adhesive for Plastic is perfect to get the job done. This adhesive gels well with heavyweight fabrics and allows them to bond with non-porous plastic or metal. The strength and flexibility of this glue makes it easy to use on cars and trucks, too.

Stand-out features include

  • Bonds heavyweight automotive fabric with plastic or metal
  • Great to use on cars or trucks 
  • Aerosol application 
  • Dries quickly

Best Glue for Automotive Plastic – Best for Plastic to Metal

One of the more popular and easier to use glues that are available. This glue for plastic is a clear liquid that is packaged in a clear 20-gram bottle. This glue is durable, bonds tightly, and dries fast. 

This versatile glue is used not only for cars but for other products like household items, too. It will also do well with adhering plastic to metal and wood.

Stand-out features include

  • Bonds heavyweight automotive fabric with plastic or metal
  • Great to use on cars or trucks 
  • Aerosol application 
  • Dries quickly

Buyers Guide – Best Glue for Automotive Plastic

If you search for glues and adhesives for car parts, you will get a ton of results. It can get confusing to know which glue is best suited for your needs. This simple list will help you narrow down your search to what is best for you. 

How much glue do you need? 

When considering the amount of glue, you will need, take into account the size of the car part of plastic that you wish to bond. Most adhesives come in small tin containers of bottles, so purchase at least two if you are trying to bond a sizable amount of automotive plastic. Two packets of glue will suffice for most bonding purposes. Even if you think it is not necessary to buy extra, do so for future needs. 

Shelf life: 

Ensure that you check the package of the adhesive for its shelf-life information. When buying glue, you will want it to last for a long time as you will not use an entire pack at once. However, most glues have a good shelf life and if there is no information on the packaging of the glue, refrigerate it so that it can last longer. Most adhesives also come with caps so that they will not dry out quickly. If you are looking for long-lasting glues, buy glues that come as two separate chemicals. These glues last longer than regular ones as they need to be mixed for the adhesive to work. 

Materials: 

Before purchasing adhesives, know what kind of materials you want to bond together. Plastic is a general term for different kinds of plastic that are available, so make sure that the glue you buy will be able to affix different materials together. It is therefore advisable to read the specifications provided by the manufacturer.  

Drilling and sanding: 

Your glue should be able to withstand drilling or sanding as sometimes glues can be used as fillers for car parts instead of sticking together the parts. If you are planning to drill or sand the parts, purchase a glue that will be compatible with the process. 

Consistency: 

There are glues that are runny but you should avoid these runny glues as they do not work well for car parts. If you are unable to find a glue that is not runny, use a double-sided adhesive or tape that will be better suited for vertical car parts, especially. If you are unsure about the consistency, check the manufacturer’s specification or the product description. 

Durability: 

When you are using glue on a car, the glue needs to be extremely durable. It also needs to be resistant to water and weather conditions like extreme sunlight on exterior car parts. A car will also vibrate constantly so it needs to be able to hold the surfaces together despite this. 

Color: 

The surface where you apply glue matters when you choose which color glue you want. If you want to bond outer surfaces or even interiors where the glue might be visible, use clear ones. Transparent bumper glue is excellent for this purpose. Other glue colors are tan or black, which you might need to paint over. 

The time needed to set: 

While fast-drying glue is the most feasible and non-time-consuming option, especially when you need to sand the car parts, too. Most fast-drying glues will set within a few minutes and sanding can be done immediately after. The flip side to this is that slow-drying glue allows you to position the parts together well before the glue sets. Once the glue dries you cannot shift its position, especially if it is placed wrong. Slow-drying glue gives you this option and once you finalize how you want to place the parts; you can use accelerating spray to speed up the drying process. 

Strength: 

All glues are advertised and marketed as “strong”. We cannot possibly know which glue is the strongest out there but it is better to know the value of specific weight that the glue can hold. This will narrow down your choices while shopping for the best glue. 

Additional tips

  • Cover your hands with gloves so that the adhesives do not get on your hands. Glues are not usually toxic but it is best to prevent it from getting on your skin. 
  • Before you buy a glue, also assess the size of your damage or the material you are working with. While most glues are effective in small amounts, it is better to buy a bigger glue that can be applied to a larger surface area, such as the Gluesmith Plastic Repair Glue System.
  •  Additionally, keep in mind the temperature before starting to repair. Glues dry quite easily but if you live in a cold area, you will need to dry your materials for a longer time.

How to glue automotive plastics

Before you begin the process of applying glue to your automotive plastic, you will need to double-check if the glue you have is the right one for the materials you will need to bond. Next, ensure that you have read the instructions on the packaging carefully. After you have the glue and the materials, wipe down the surfaces so that there is no oil, acids, remnants of old glue or dirt on the surface. If the surface has debris on it, it can affect the way the materials bond. 

Depending on your type of glue, you will either need to mix chemicals to form an adhesive or you can directly apply to one or both of the surfaces. Again, check the specifications on the manufacturer’s instructions if you want to know the thickness required for firm bonding. Different glues have different drying times so if your glue sets slowly, use accelerant spray to speed up the process. 

Holding the car parts in place is also an option but if you want to save time, use a tape or clamp to hold it together because some glues can take up to half-an-hour or more to set. Use the tape or clamp with care as it might leave a dent on the surface of your plastic. 

Type of Adhesives for Cars

The two options for car adhesives are permanent or semi-permanent adhesives, 

For car trims or any external work, use a permanent glue that is strong and durable as it should be able to withstand weather conditions such as extreme cold or sunlight. However, if you are fixing a spoiler that you may remove at a later time, using a permanent glue can be more harmful than good as it is difficult to remove. The effort to remove the glue is tremendous and it might cause damage to your vehicle as well. 

Therefore, for temporary jobs, use a semi-permanent automotive glue. The perfect solution is using double sided tape adhesives as they are durable and flexible. It will also not take lots of effort to remove and can easily withstand harsh weather conditions. 

Plastic epoxy epoxy adhesives and anaerobic adhesives are the two types of plastics that are used in the automobile industry. If you have two materials that are very different from each other, for example, metal and glass, epoxy adhesives is your best option as this adhesive can bond two different materials very well. This is due to the fact that the adhesive contains a material called Epichlorohydrin. This material forms a sturdy layer and is resistant to water, heat and cold. 


On the other hand, anaerobic adhesives contain monomers which are best suited to bond metals. These are also useful for bonding electrical parts as anaerobic adhesives are resistant to chemicals, fuels and oils. 

Other common materials that are a part of glues are acrylics, urethane, elastomer and silicone. You might find these when you read the product description of the glues. 

Removing Adhesive Residue 

The versatility of glue makes it easy for minor mishaps to take place while bonding materials. If this happens to you, do not fret. Take off the old adhesive first before applying new ones as it can result is low bond strength. Here are some tips you can use if you want to take off old adhesives: 

First take into account the amount of adhesive that needs to be removed and what kind of material you are using and what kind of tools you are using. If you want to use a chemical to remove the adhesive, try it on a small patch of the plastic first so that you will know if any changes occur as it can change the color or texture of the material you are using it on. 

Using a knife: Using a blunt or craft knife is ideal when you want to scrape off the adhesive from the surface. if not a knife, you can use a spatula or an old credit card to scrape off the glue. However, do so carefully so as to not scratch the surface underneath. 

Spirit: Methylated or white spirit can be used on glass surfaces but it can be detrimental to plastic so you should use it sparingly and with care. 

Upholstery cleaner: If you want to remove adhesive off carpets or other car parts, you can use an upholstery cleanser to remove it without hassle. 

Cleaning fluid: Using a cleaning fluid especially ones formulated to remove harsh stains can be used to remove adhesives

Oil or cold creams: Swabbing the old adhesive with oil or body lotions and leaving it on it for time can help loosen the adhesive. Once it is loosened up, use a cloth to wipe it off the surface. 

Make-up remover: If the glue is weak and easy to remove, do not pull it off as it can still leave some on the surface. Instead use makeup remover pads or tissues to wipe it off. If you do not have this, put micellar water on a cotton pad to wipe it off gently. 

Vinegar: If the adhesive is stubborn and tough to remove, dab it with some vinegar so that it becomes easier to remove. 

General Prices of Automotive Plastic Glues: 

Most glues are within the $15 price range and are quite affordable. There are single-part adhesives that are used commonly for household repair purposes. Just because the price of these glues is low does not mean the quality is compromised. In fact, a lot of good quality glues fall within this price range itself. 

If you are looking for a brand name, then price is going to be more than $15, around the $25-$30 price range. Do not go for high-priced glues if you are buying for a single purpose. 

The Verdict – Best Glue for Automotive Plastic

Best choice 

Our choice for the best glue for automotive plastic is J-B Weld as it is the best adhesive to bond plastic together. It also has a quick cure time and works well with several kinds of materials. If you are looking to repair a component permanently, use this glue for best results. If the adhesive is leftover, you can use it for other household projects and repairs. It works well with ceramics, aluminum and metal. 

Best alternative choice

If you want an affordable but equally good product as our best choice, go for the 3M Headliner as it provides quality strength, durability and value for money. 

While glue is a good option, another alternative to fix your materials together is adhesive tape. One such tape is the 3M double-sided tape. This brand has a great reputation for being one of the most popular brands that offer quality and affordability. Double sided tapes have multi purposes as it can be used for different products. 

Double-sided tapes also can be removed without hassle and do not leave a mark on the surface. 

If you are looking for a short-term solution for your car parts, use the 3M Double-sided Tape so that you can easily replace it. It also bonds different types of materials well. You do not have to worry about the tape “melting” the surface of the plastic, either. 

Conclusion  

If you are fixing or using glue on automotive plastic for the first time, do not guess or pick up just any adhesive. Do your research on which plastic you want to mend, which glue is best united for the job and how to go about it. Once you have this information, look up different glues available either online or in hardware stores. Some glues might be extremely durable and strong but if they do not state that they are compatible with plastic/metal, do not use it as it can damage the material. If you need expert advice on which adhesive to use, visit your local automobile repair shop as they will probably have an adhesive that goes well with metal/plastic.

Cleaning Kings Verdict - Best Glue for Automotive Plastic

Best Glue for Automotive Plastic FAQs

The shelf life of most adhesives is between 6 months to 12 months. Few brands can also last for two years. Note that shelf life of an adhesive reduces once it has been opened. If you feel like the glue is not going to be used for a while apart from your project, buy one that has a cap or refrigerate it so that it lasts longer.

Yes, you can use plastic adhesives on other materials but just to be sure if the glue you have at hand is compatible with the material you want to work with, read the manufacturers guide or instructions. However, most adhesives adhere to materials like fiberglass, PV, coated metals, and aluminum.

Different glues have different setting times. Some glues might dry anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes while others need to be left overnight. Single-part glue is formulated in such a way that it dries fast so that it does not leak. Adhesive gel and putty takes long to dry and should be left overnight so that it sets well.

If you want to playback your home’s outdoor activity, you’ll need a camera with onboard video storage or cloud recording capabilities. Most cameras with recording capabilities have a built-in secure digital (SD) or microSD slot that allows for sufficient recording space. Once the memory card is full, you’ll need to delete footage or store it elsewhere. Some popular cameras automatically override expired videos, which may not be most ideal if you need to keep a video. On the contrary, some security camera providers offer cloud storage monthly plans to securely store videos on the cloud. You can easily access them anytime, anywhere by signing into your account on your mobile device or using a mobile app.

Glues come in different colors such as tan and black but also clear. If you are unsure about which color to use, buy a clear glue so that you can paint over it in the color of your choice later.

Tube-based epoxies and two-part epoxy putty are adhesives that can handle sticking plastic and metal together.