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How to Paint ABS Plastic on Motorcycles

by C.L. Rease

The strength and rigidity of ABS plastic makes it a perfect material for motorcycle fenders and fairings. To ensure that an ABS motorcycle part does not become brittle, it needs to be protected from ultraviolet light with paint. Select paint designed for ABS plastic, as some types of paint will etch or melt the ABS plastic, or if the cured paint is not flexible, the paint will crack away from the surface of the ABS part.


Clean the solvents from the surface of the ABS plastic motorcycle part. Submerge a rag in the clean bucket of water, apply two to three drops of dishwashing liquid to the wet rag and rub the rag together to lather the dishwashing liquid. Thoroughly wipe the surface of the ABS plastic motorcycle part with the soapy rag. Rinse the ABS part thoroughly with clean water to remove the soap from the surface of the part and dry the ABS part with a dry rag.


Scuff the surface of the ABS plastic motorcycle part with 800-grit sandpaper. This will give the paint better adhesion to the ABS plastic motorcycle part. Make sure that you scuff all the areas of the part that will receive paint.


Wipe the sanded surface of the ABS plastic motorcycle part with a clean dry rag.


Apply the solvent-based lacquer spray paint to a hidden area of the ABS plastic motorcycle part and allow the paint to dry. If the paint sticks to the plastic part, proceed to Step 5. If the spray paint deforms the surface of the plastic part, do not use the paint on the part. Select another spray paint and perform the test on another hidden section of the plastic part.


Spray light coats of the solvent-based lacquer onto the plastic part until the entire part is evenly coated with the spray paint.


Allow the paint to dry for the recommended amount of time before installing the ABS plastic part on your motorcycle.

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