174_BlackPlasticRestoreBy David Harrington

If you ride your motorcycle/scooter/moped for transportation on a regular basis you’ve likely noticed some fade to the appearance of your machine. Though I usually have my two-wheelers in the garage at home, they often sit out in the sun at various destinations, including my office. I keep the shiny bits waxed and I believe this protection helps prevent oxidation and other damage to appearance. When it comes to the flat black “interior” panels on my scooters, the damage is more obvious and not as easy to prevent.

I’ve tried several exterior trim restoration/cleaning products and even some “dyes”, though I confess that I was usually working with automotive black trim in those cases. The dyes worked well IF the piece being treated was off the vehicle. In this case, I’m looking for something that will help deal with oxidation quickly and easily without a lot of bother. Trying Mothers Back to Black came about not because of oxidation, but because of me spilling fuel when filling up a scooter. I had used a plastic cleaner on the spill and there was still discoloration. OK, fine. Back to the garage cabinet, dig, dig, dig, here’s some Mothers Back to Black. It didn’t remove the discoloration, but it did a good job of hiding it. That prompted me to try the product on a severely oxidized scooter.

The image below shows a fairly extreme example of oxidation on flat black plastic. This Kymco People 250 belongs to a friend and I thought I’d volunteer his scoot as a guinea pig for this project.

The first step was a QUICK cleaning. Nothing fancy, just some generic plastic trim cleaner and a wipe -down. Next I applied a liberal coating of the Mothers Back to Black using and old (but thoroughly rinsed) automotive wax applicator “sponge”. I was NOT all that careful about the seams between the flat black plastic and the shiny maroon colored panels. I just wiped off any mothers that got on the colored stuff with a rag. In a few minutes I lightly wiped down the black.

I thought the improvement was noticeable, but went ahead with a second coat anyway. Same thing, just pour a little Mothers Back to Black on the applicator and wipe it on the plastic. Give it a light buff with a rag and it looked even better. Then I got distracted with some other projects and didn’t come back to the Kymco People for a couple of hours. A third coat went on and I think the results shown in the image above speak for themselves.

Though the Mothers Back to Black certainly didn’t return the black plastic to “new” condition, it looks MUCH better than it did when I started. My experience with Mothers tells me to expect this to last 2 – 4 months at which time re-application will be necessary. It’s a pretty quick and easy process and the product is relatively inexpensive. I paid $9 for an 8 ounce bottle at a local Fleet Farm and maybe used a third of the bottle in this project.


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