How to Repair a Polycarbonate Windshield Scratch

by Heather Mckinney
motorcycle image by Goran Bogicevic from

Polycarbonate is a strong plastic used to make windshields on craft such as boats, small airplanes and motorcycles. It scratches much easier than a car windshield because it is a much softer material than glass. Polycarbonate windshields often get scratches from dirt, insects and other debris, making them hazy. This can make it difficult to see through the windshield, especially in the sun. There are products designed to rub out these scratches that are available at most auto supply stores. Properly cleaning and maintaining your windshield will ensure you have maximum visibility.

Step 1

Clean the windshield. Do not use cleaning products, such as Windex or Rain-X, that have a high amount of alcohol or ammonia. These cleaners are harmful to polycarbonate. The safest cleaner to use is warm water with mild, nonabrasive dish soap. Dry the windshield with a soft cotton or microfiber towel.

Step 2

Apply a buffing compound. Make sure the compound you use is a fine grade, which is safe for plastics. Use a soft, clean cloth to rub the compound over the scratches, in circles.

Step 3

Remove the compound. Wash any buffing compound off with warm water and soap. Trying to rub it off without wetting down the surface may result in more scratches.

Apply a polishing compound. Again, use a polish that is safe for plastics for this stage. If you choose a polish that contains wax, bugs will be less likely to stick to your windshield.


  • Make sure that all insects are cleaned off of the windshield before polishing. Bugs are often hard to remove when they are dry, so extra care should be taken to avoid scratching the windshield further. Place a clean, wet towel over the windshield for a few minutes to soften the bugs. Then use the towel to wipe the bugs away.
  • Protect your windshield when your vehicle is not in use by placing a soft cloth over it to prevent dust from getting onto it.


  • Do not clean or wipe down your windshield with a paper towel or any paper product. Paper is rough and scratches polycarbonate.

Items you will need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Buffing compound
  • Polishing compound (with or without wax)

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