The Meguiars PlastX plastic cleaner and polish is designed for plastic. Specifically recommended to use to restore plastic headlights. But is it really?
The front of the label says clear plastic cleaner and polish, but on the reverse side of the label you are presented with more information and instructions. Some of which is confusing, some of which makes sense.
The cosmetic car care industry is so full of bad labeling, misrepresentation, and marketing hype, it is extremely difficult at times to figure out exactly what to do with a product!
This is the question I would like answered!
Is this a dedicated plastic polish made exclusively for headlights, or is it really a general polish for any type of plastic? And what about the other products Meguiar's makes dedicated to cleaning, polishing or detailing plastic on your car:
I wonder how many people know that virtually every set of headlights are made of plastic and not glass.
To add further confusion to the moment, every headlight I have ever come across has been coated. It is called a clear coat and it is was gives your headlights their true, UV protection. This is the same reason your car paint has a clear coat.
And yet the Meguiars PlastX plastic polish, while stating it is perfect for use to restore headlights, says it is NOT safe for coated plastics.
Of course they don't actually inform you as to what they mean by coated:
I still have people ask me if headlights are still made of glass or plastic. (Yes, headlights are made almost exclusively of plastic regardless of how much your vehicle costs)
Plastic cleaner, polish, or detailer?
This all depends on how you categorize or define what these terms mean to you.
Any topic that requires the use of these terms is automatically a problem right from the start when attempting to educate.
I am only going to discuss these terms since these are the 3 main terms that Meguiar's uses in the effort to sell you not one, but 4 different products just to make your plastics look better.
( I realize this is a generalization itself, but at the end of the day is that not what you are after? You want the many types of plastic parts of your car to look better. You think you want the best plastic cleaner and polish, but I bet what you really want is plastic that is cleaner and better looking. This means you are actually chasing the desired end result, and you just accept that there is a means in obtaining that end result. Meguiars PlastX might simply be one of many means in realizing that end result)
Darren's Tips: If you came looking and already convinced that you want and need the Meguiars PlastX than you needn't read any further. But if you want to fist allow me to pull back the curtain on another hyped-up topic of detailing, and then help you become fully informed, then I strongly suggest you keep reading.
Darren's Tips: I would not get overly excited about this product if you have plastic of any kind that is anything more than mildly weathered. While this product does have some abrasives to it, this product is also very mild in its formulation and will prove only effective on the most mild of needs.
Darren's Tip: If you love dedicated products than you will likely appreciate this product. But you can use so many other products that you probably already have to maintain plastics: car wax, spray wax, spray detailers, quick detailers, etc.
Good question, right!
The term "polish" is one of the most misused generalizations within the world of cosmetic car care. While the Meguiars PlastX is not labeled specifically as "Plastic Polish" (PlastX is its official name) it does call it a plastic cleaner and polish as the sub-headline under the PlastX label.
The term "polish" alone can be one of three things:
So here we have a global company called Meguiar's, trying to sell you more product not less product, using massive generalizations to create (4) different types of plastic polishes, cleaners, and detailers, when it could literally be reduced down to (2) products:
Searching for Meguiars PlastX has probably rendered you more confused than ever!
I don't want you confused. I want you informed. I Specifically I want you to be able to go away being a fully informed and educated car owner and consumer.
I will go into further detail and see if I can't help you down this rather complex path so you can emerge a much more informed consumer and car owner.
According to the labeling, it suggest its major use is for restoring worn plastic headlights. And as I have illustrated so far, Meguiar's does a very poor job in educating you and or being very clear (no pun intended) as to the exact uses and abilities of this product.
From restoring plastic headlights in general, to "cleaning/polishing" other types of plastics, the directions are kind of specific while simultaneously being very ambiguous.
The directions state that the Meguiars Plast X is effective at restoring non-coated plastic headlights, and can also be used on other non-coated plastics, eg: Plexiglass, plastic convertible windows, helmet face shields, CD's, etc.
This is a common mistake made by a lot of people. headlights used to be made of glass, but modern day headlights are made of plastic regardless of the cost of the vehicle.
And even further, headlights in virtually every case are in fact coated. Just like your car paint that has a clear coating, your headlights also have a clear coating that provides UV protection.
And if this is really the case (trust me; it is the case), then why would Meguiars PlastX label its product as an effective product to be used to restore headlights, but then warn against using on any coated plastics?
Perhaps Meguiar's needs to clarify (no pun intended once again) what they mean by "coated". Coated with an anti-glare film, like on navigation screens, or the clear coating used on your plastic headlights that filter out harmful UV rays?
Yes. So long as you have very low standards or expectations for this product in removing anything but the lightest of oxidation on your headlights.
Most headlights that need restoring will require more aggressive techniques than this product will deliver.
This product will restore some clarity to headlights, nut will prove very ineffective at headlights where the clear coat is heavily faded, yellowing, or peeling.
Virtually any kind of plastic you can imagine. My own professional disclaimer is that I would not use this product on any type of LCD screen, navigation screen, or infotainment screen. But any type of plastic past that and I would give it a thumbs up.
So long as you don't have unrealistic expectations due to the fact that this product does not contain heavy abrasives that would be required to do any heavy lifting of plastic polishing or restoring.
I hope I have unpacked this subject sufficiently to where you can now walk away having at least a fighting chance in choosing the best product to suit your specific needs.
This industry continues to fascinate with the continuous innovations, but also frustrate me with the endless marketing hype and misrepresentation1
I wish you much success in your detailing efforts!