Today we got a familiar call from an outfitter who had a customer with a common sight. They had gotten mud on the clear lense of the Jeep cluster, and in an attempt to clear it off, ground the dirt into it.
What to do? OEM replacements are $$$ from mopar, and junkyard pulls are also pricey, if you are talking JK clusters (anywhere from $75-300, depending on options).
While cracks are very difficult to repair, scratches and grime are much easier to deal with. First, if you get mud on your clear plastics, and cant hose it off, use a spray bottle and some soapy water, or a mild cleaner like Simple Green, and use that to help lubricate the dirt while removing it with a soft clean cloth.
Once its all clean and dry, if you do still have minor scratching or swirling, we have hear good reports from customers using polishing compounds for restoring headlights, although this may be a bit too aggressive. If it just needs a good spit and shine, we use a combo of products here in the shop. First, we go a good soap clean, and use Meguiar's PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish , following the instructions, and then protect the surface from more dust and give it a good final shine with NOVUS PC-10 Plastic Clean & Shine. Both available from the links to the right. All this done with a good quality microfiber towel.
By the way, Novus is what we recommend to use to remove fingerprints from your custom gauge faces after installing. Never use alcohol or ammonia based cleaners on either, as it will lead to cracking, crazing or other adverse effects. We would also suggest it for those soft top windows and other plastics, like helmet lenses and even sunglasses!
We are still on the lookout for a good quality solution for fixing broken cluster lenses. If you have a suggestion that repairs the plastic and leaves it clear again, drop us a line.