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How to Remove Scratches From a Car Radio Screen?

I love to play my favourite songs on the car stereo while driving, and one day I noticed that there were scratches on it, and it looked ugly.

It does not take much effort to remove scratches from the car radio screen, but how to do it correctly? Let’s find out.

To clean minor scratches from the car radio screen, first put a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and apply it to all scratches on display. Then use a microfiber cloth and start rubbing the scratched area in a circular motion. This will clean all minor scratches on the screen and make the display crystal clear.

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Tip: There are various other methods that are very effective in removing scratches for car radio screens, depending on their size, but regardless of which way you use, make sure you use a soft brush that will not create more than already existing scratches on display.

I use IPELY soft brush that is also used for car detailing and recommended by many cleaning services. It works great on smooth surfaces and is easy to clean after being used in the car.

In this article, I will dig deep into removing car radio scratches, what causes them to appear, and how you can prevent the screen from happening again.

What Causes Scratches on the Screen?

Radio screens are used for navigation and as a display. Many cars nowadays have factory-installed touch screen stereos, which because being often touched are easy to get dirty or scratched.

As we know, screens attract dust particles due to charge induction, and you can see these particles on the screen when light falls onto them. When you touch the screen of stereo with dust particles on it, this leads to scratches. Another reason for scratches is not using glass protector on the screen.

Scratches can happen on screens due to various reasons and are unavoidable unless you clean them regularly.

Dust Particles 

The dust particles in the air are the number one cause of starches on car stereo screens. This is because the car stereo screens are positively charged, and due to this, a static negative charge is induced in dust particles.

This induction of charge attracts dust towards the radio screen, and it gets stuck to its surface. If you live in a polluted environment near the coast, you will find more dust particles on the screen than in other areas.

When you use your fingers to touch the screen or swipe up or down, your finger will rub against the dust particles, which will cause scratches on the screen.

These dust particles harm not only your screens but also your health, and this is the reason why people nowadays use cabin air filters which you should often replace. 

But regardless if your car has a cabin filter or not, to keep the screen in good and clean condition, you should regularly clean the dust particles with a dry microfiber cloth

Using Dirty Hands, nails, or keys on Infotainment Screen

If you touch the screen with dirty hands or use the car key on the touchscreen, then do not be surprised if it does not look brand new after a short time.

The simple solution to this is always to touch the car screen with clean hands. 

Apart from the above-listed causes, the scratches can happen accidentally, and below I will show you how to remove them from car stereo screens.

Can Scratches Be Removed From the Screen?

Car stereo scratches are a problem many car owners face because the car touch screen is sensitive, especially if you have a radio with a resistive screen, which is more susceptible to scratching or wear.

The good news is that you can remove scratches by using simple things. For example, you can use toothpaste, baking soda, vegetable oil, or QUIXX 10003 Acrylic Scratch Remover.

In most cases, you will remove the scratch all by yourself, but it may happen, especially when the screen was touched by something sharp and the scratch is deep, that you have to leave the car with a professional.

How Often Should I Clean the Car Radio Screen?

Well, I clean my car once per week with detailed screen cleaning once per month. 

I recommend cleaning your car stereo screen once a month while you are washing your car. First, I use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush to suck off the dust from my dashboard and screen. Then I use Shine Armor plastic spray cleaner to clean the whole dash and screens and wipe it dry with a microfiber cloth. 

Whenever I see too many fingerprints or dust on my infotainment screen, I jump in to clean it myself.

If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, you can use a compressed air can typically used on computers instead. Personally, I do not like it in the car because the cabin and dash area are small, and the dust is not actually removed, but it is blown into other places inside the vehicle, so this has nothing to do with actual cleaning.

LFOTPP Navigation Screen Protector for 2019 Santa Fe 7 Inch, Clear Tempered Glass Car Display Touch Infotainment Screen Scratch-Resistant Extreme Clarity

What Should I Use to Remove the Radio Screen Scratches?

The method you can use to remove scratches from the car radio depends on whether you have a radio with a standard or touch screen.

For touch screen car stereos, you can use baking powder water paste, baby talcum powder, vegetable oil, or toothpaste to clean scratches. 

For a single din car stereo, which is operated by buttons (does not have a touch display), you can use just a polishing spray and fiber cloth.

Removing Infotainment Screen Scratches Using Toothpaste

  • First, unplug the car stereo from the battery by removing battery leads.
  • Now clean the screen with a microfiber cloth to remove dirt, then take a soft cloth and apply a small amount of toothpaste to it.
  • Rub toothpaste cloth gently on the car stereo screen in a circular motion. Don’t put pressure on the screen, otherwise, it will harm your car stereo touch functionality.
  • After this, clean the touch screen with a dry cloth.

While cleaning the car stereo screens, one thing to remember is that don’t use gel toothpaste.

Removing Car Stereo Screen Scratches Using Baking Powder

Baking powder is an effective and cheap solution for removing car stereo screen scratches or other surface scratches, and to make it right, follow the steps below:

  • Take a small amount of baking soda (1 teaspoon) and water in a bowl. Mix it with water until you get a thick paste consistency, but do not add too much water.
  • Now take a clean cloth and dip it into the paste. Finally, apply the baking soda paste to the LCD screen in a circular motion.
  • Rub it gently, but do not put too much pressure on the screen. This will not only clean your stereo screen but also remove scratches.
  • After this, wipe out the baking soda with a soft piece of cloth, and enjoy your screen’s brand new look.

Use Baby Powder To Remove Minor Scratches From Stereo Screen

Baby powder is delicate and can be used to remove hidden or minor scratches.

  • Similarly to baking soda, mix the baby powder with water and make a thick paste.
  • Now take a piece of cotton and dip it into the paste.
  • Apply this paste on the stereo screen and gently rub the screen in a circular motion.
  • Wipe out the powder paste with a clean cloth, and you will find that it has cleaned scratches.

Use Vegetable Oil to Clean Scratches on the Stereo Screen

You can also easily remove car stereo scratches by applying vegetable oil.

Oil removes the scratch by getting inside the crack and filling it with an oil-based compound that prevents the dirt from sticking again.

Here are the steps to clean the stereo screen using vegetable oils

  • Take a clean cloth and dip it into vegetable oil.
  • Rub that cloth gently on the stereo screen for 15 – 20 minutes continuously.

● Now take a dry cotton cloth and wipe out the vegetable oil with it.

With this simple hack, your stereo screen will shine like a new one.

Never use hot or icy oils on your screen because the touch screen glass is delicate, and rather than shining it, it may harm your screen.

Remove Deep Scratches Using Scratch Remover Creams

Silicon or Acrylic-based scratch removing creams like my favorite  McKeey’s are also top-rated in removing scratches and marks from stereo screens.

They not only clean the screens from the scratches but also cover the cleaned area with a thin protection film.

  • Take a clean piece of cloth and apply a small amount of scratch removing cream on it.
  • Now rub the cloth on the stereo screen for 15 – 20 minutes in a circular motion.
  • Now wipe out the cream with another clean cloth, and your stereo screen will look scratch-free in no time.

Remove Scratches Using a Machine Polisher

In addition to all the above procedures, there is one more way to make the radio screen look brand new. Actually, the results are the best, and you can not only remove the scratches but completely restore the radio screen that has a matt effect.

To make the screen perfectly shiny, you need a polisher with soft pads and polishing paste.

  • Before starting, cover the surrounding buttons of the stereo with masking tape so you will polish only the screen. Also, you do not need the polishing paste inside the buttons.
  • Punch the soft polishing pad onto the machine polisher.
  • Take a tiny dot of polishing paste and place it on the pad. Start the machine polisher and clean the car radio screen gently. Some polishing pasts require a screen or glass to be wet before polishing, so check how to proceed with the paste you use.
  • Do not put too much pressure on the polisher otherwise, the screen may break. Instead, remove the excess off the paste with a clean cloth.
  • After the first round, if you still find scratches, apply the polishing cream again and repeat the process.

In most cases, I have my screen clean after the first try, but it depends on the scratches’ depth. If still visible, you may need to repeat the process, but do not use a more aggressive paste on the screen. 

The short video below shows exactly how to do it, so if you want to see more, check it out.

Do Scratches Affect Response on Touch Screens?

Minor scratches do not affect the functionality of touch screens, and the displays work fine. However, larger and deeper scratches that reach the touch screen membrane can affect the screen’s responsiveness and color transparency. In the worst cases, your screen can become unresponsive to the finger touch.

Touch screens work by responding to light and pressure with a change in electrical resistance. If the screen is scratched, it will change the resistance pattern, causing errors and lowering response time.

How to Protect the Radio Screen From Scratches?

A car infotainment system is an essential tool when traveling these days, so it is worth investing in its protection. 

To protect your radio screen from scratches, you can use a plastic screen protector of the same size as the screen. These screen protectors are well known for their ability to protect infotainment screens from dust, dirt, scratches and have superior strength.

The installation process of these car protectors is simple and can be done in a few minutes, similar to cell phones.

Here are some popular protective glasses available in the market that I recommend using, especially if your radio is at a higher risk of being scratched.

ATOTO AC-8101

This protection film for standard 2-din car radios comes in two pieces, depending on how shiny effect you want to achieve. One is Frosted Film and one High Definition film. Both are for 7″ screens and are really easy to apply.

You can add the designated screens for the specific car models when you have a factory-installed car stereo with customized screens. I listed below a few examples for popular car models:

Ram 1500 / 2500 / 3500 2013-2021 with Uconnect 8.4

Ram 1500 / 2500 / 3500 2019-2021 with TRX Unconnect 12″

Conclusion

An infotainment screen is highly prone to scratches because it has to deal with dust and debris.

The best way to ensure your screen’s protection from scratch damage is by applying a plastic film protector that will keep your device safe from scratches.