Dear Ask a Mechanic,
I recently transported some wood in my car and a clumsy removal left a pretty deep scratch on my interior. What can people do to fix interior console scratches/gouges? Further, is there anything car owners should be doing to protect the interior of their cars during cold winters?– Lamenting Lumber Lugging
It’s been my experience that damaged interior pieces can rarely be repaired, though you might be able to disguise light scratches or buff out minor scuff marks on certain types of surfaces. Glossy black surfaces – so-called “piano black” – are brutal for showing marks but can respond to careful polishing; specialized products exist for this purpose.
Most wood or carbon-fibre trim in a vehicle is either printed plastic or very thin veneers; neither tends to be easily repaired.
Consequently, damage to the interior of a vehicle can vary greatly in repair cost.
In a best-case scenario, the damaged part is a readily removed trim piece made of inexpensive plastic. An example would be the “finisher” trim across the bottom of the trunk or tailgate opening, which tends to get beat up over time as items are moved from the cargo area.
If it’s the floor of the cargo area that’s been damaged, you can conceal it with a cargo liner. WeatherTech and Husky are two well-known manufacturers.
That ties in well with your prevention question: While plastic is more brittle in the cold, cargo and floor liners are a great preventive measure at any temperature, as are removable covers for seats. The tough, tear-resistant ones meant for dogs will also help resist scratches and cuts from cargo.
Ask a Mechanic is written by Brian Early, a Red Seal-certified automotive technician. You can send your questions to email@example.com. These answers are for informational purposes only. Please consult a certified mechanic before having any work done to your vehicle.
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