LAST UPDATED: September 12, 2019
Best Glue for Automotive Plastic: Top Adhesives for Plastic Parts
Automotive glue is a versatile and easy way to secure plastic parts
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON September 12, 2019
While most parts on your vehicle are held together with bolts, screws, and clips, automotive glue is crucial for securing certain pieces to your car. A lot of exterior pieces, such as spoilers and cladding, are held on with double-sided tape or car body glue. If you're going to use adhesive, you need a glue that can handle the extreme conditions your car encounters. We picked the top three best plastic glue for repairs and replacements.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Glue for Automotive Plastic
- Easier than plastic welding. Depending on what needs to be mended, plastic glue can be a much easier solution than using a plastic welder. Plastic adhesives are flexible and weather resistant, plus they can sometimes be stronger than the plastic itself. If you don't have the equipment, using adhesive instead of welds can be a good alternative.
- Great for seams. The flexibility and water-resistant characteristics of automotive glue make it the perfect choice for seam sealing. Many of the parts on your vehicle require slight movements, and almost everything in your car is susceptible to water damage.
- Cost-effective. Glue for automotive plastic is a relatively cheap product. A small amount can go a long way, and the bond is incredibly strong. Using plastic adhesive instead of adding unnecessary bolts or using double-sided tape can save you in the long run.
Types of Glue for Automotive Plastic
Two-part adhesives are typically used in automotive repairs because of their strength and durability. You'll usually see these as epoxies, and the product is essentially two separate parts that are mixed together in order to create an adhesive. The components used separately do not have adhesive properties, but the chemical reaction between the two creates a high-strength bond. This is the same process for Bondo or body filler, but epoxy is made to be a permanent seal between two parts.
Single-part adhesives are probably what first comes to mind when you think of glue; these products are made to be applied by themselves and cure by evaporation. While these products are typically easier to use, they may not provide the strongest holds. They should hold well with porous materials, such as rubber and interior pieces, but epoxy tends to do better when gluing together two items of different materials.
While the two types mentioned above focus on liquid glue, another option is moldable glue (or sticky putty). Like single-part adhesives, moldable glue dries by itself via evaporation. The advantage, especially for automotive use, is the easy application process in the hardest to reach spots. Once dried, putty is also elastic and shock-resistant, which matches the flexible properties of the plastics used in your vehicle.
In 1969, Sam and Mary Bonham created the J-B Weld Company. Sam needed a cold weld product to replace torch welding, so a Texas A&M chemist helped him formulate a two-part epoxy called J-B Weld. The product helped it grow from a local mom-and-pop-shop to an international retailer, making innovative strides with products like duct tape and WD-40. The company still produces high-quality adhesives like the popular Plastic Bonder and its original Two-Part Epoxy.
The Gorilla Glue Company is based in Cincinnati, Oh. The company has been producing Gorilla Glue for over two decades, a product that was initially used in Indonesia for Teak furniture but became a high-demand product due to its versatility. While a popular house product, people may ask, “Can Gorilla Glue be used on cars? any of their products are great automotive glues. Today, the company is still family-owned and operated.
Professor Vernon Krieble created a "liquid locknut" in 1956. After interest in the product grew, he started the Loctite Corporation in Hartford, Conn. The Henkel company, which had been producing laundry detergent and home goods since 1876, invested in Loctite in the 1980s before acquiring the company in 1997. Today, Loctite is the biggest adhesive brand in the world with popular products like its Heavy Duty Threadlocker and Plastic Bonding Glue.
Glue for Automotive Plastic Pricing
- Under $15: You can find plenty of small autoplastic glue products for under $15. These are typically single-part adhesives that are made for quick fixes and are ideal for interior pieces and minor repairs. Despite the low price, these are still some of the best plastic adhesives for automotive purposes.
- Over $15: Depending on the brand name, size, and type of automotive glue you're looking for, a lot of the products will cost over $15. Some of the best adhesives for hard plastic will cost around $25-$30, and of course, buying in bulk can cost more.
The most important part of using adhesive is how to apply the product. Glue can be messy, and these industrial-strength products are challenging to clean up. Most liquid glues have a nozzle or top that makes it easy to apply the substance. Other glues come with a brush, which is ideal for small parts and precision application.
The plastic parts on your car are relatively flexible, and the material holding them together should be too. A stiff or rigid connection will break easily if the plastic pieces bend or shake. The best automotive plastic glues are made to move with the vehicle's parts naturally and can withstand the vibrations that come from driving. Trim pieces on your doors and interior parts of the car need to handle the shock of closing the door or driving over potholes.
The metals and plastics on your car are made to handle any weather scenario, so the adhesives holding it together should be too. Car glue for exterior parts needs to be waterproof because of the water that it will be exposed to in the rain, snow, or when you wash your car. For interior pieces, water resistance isn't as important, but protection from the heat and sun is crucial. When your car sits in the sunlight, the UV rays heat up the cabin and can potentially dry out certain materials.
- Container Size: The amount of automotive glue you need depends on what you're trying to accomplish and how often you plan to use it. If you only have a small area to fix, then a small-sized container should handle the job. Mechanics will most likely want a larger portion or multiple containers to handle a more significant workload.
- Price: Some adhesives are much more expensive than others, and there are a lot of different reasons why. One is overall strength, and while you may want the strongest glue possible, it might not be necessary to spend the extra money if you don't need industrial-strength glue. Some qualities can cost more and might not apply to your situation, like semi-permanent glues.
- Electric Insulation: You can find plenty of plastic automotive glue that works as an electric insulator. If you're looking to secure exterior pieces or seal a seam, this may not be necessary. However, don’t forget how much wiring there is in your vehicle. The amount of electrical parts means there are plenty of interior locations and spots in the engine that need extra electricity protection.
Best Glue for Automotive Plastic Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Rhino Ultra-Tough Glue is the best glue for automotive plastic, and this kit comes with three different types of adhesives to tackle any job. The kit includes a 40-gram container of Rhino Glue, a 15-gram bottle of Rhino Glue Gel, and a 10-gram container of Brush-on Glue for precision applications. Rhino Glue is an all-purpose adhesive, and it works great for automotive plastics but will also hold together wood, rubber, fiberglass, and metals.
This is an excellent automotive adhesive thanks to its multi-purpose use and commercial-grade quality. The original Rhino Glue is the best super glue for plastic car parts because after it dries it is resistant to impact, shock, and vibration and is completely weatherproof. The Rhino gel shares a lot of the same properties as the glue, but it is thicker, which makes it easier to work with. This is especially useful for interior plastics, although the brush applicator is the best glue for car interior trim.
Despite being the best glue for plastic car parts, this product may not be the best choice for you. The consistency of the original Rhino Glue is runnier than other adhesives, which can result in a messy application process. Getting this glue on unwanted areas will leave a white residue, and it’s very difficult to remove.
The best glue for a car dashboard is Amazing GOOP. This multipurpose adhesive is excellent for plastic parts as well as securing rubber pieces and mending fabrics. On top of its versatile qualities, Amazing GOOP is also one of the least expensive options you can find for a high-strength automotive glue.
The Amazing GOOP is specially designed for car parts. The product is resistant to high temperatures and UV light, water-resistant, and can be sanded. The glue stays flexible after drying, even in direct sunlight, so it's great for seams and can handle shock and vibration from driving. It also does a better job at blocking corrosion on battery terminals than silicone, and it can safely insulate electrical wiring.
While this is a strong glue for plastic car parts, it may not be right for every job. The Amazing GOOP container does not have an applicator, which can make it challenging to use. It also works better as a sealant than an adhesive, so depending on your needs, you may want to choose a more expensive item.
A very different product from the others, Sugru is a moldable glue made for use on all types of materials. While marketed for home use, this product makes for a great automotive adhesive due to the easy application process, versatile bonding properties, and its unique look.
Sugru Moldable Glue comes in a wide variety of colors. While most adhesives are clear to avoid being visible, the color options of this product are great if you can't hide the glue and you want to avoid painting the product. The ability to mold the product also makes this the best adhesive for car trim, which typically relies on double-sided tape. After drying, Sugru is flexible, waterproof, electrically insulating, and resistant to heat, cold, and vibration.
Even though it is the best glue for sticking car trim, the Sugru Moldable Glue isn't perfect. This glue doesn't hold as strong as others on the list, especially if you need an automotive glue for plastic to bare metal. This product can also be challenging to apply in tight areas because of the application process.
This is the go-to bonder for DIYers. This version of J-B Weld is specifically designed for use with plastics. It comes in black to blend in with black plastics. This is a two-part urethane adhesive system. Once applied, it will set in 15 minutes and can be worked with in about 30 minutes. It has a tensile strength of 3770 PSI.
If you’re working with automotive plastic, you’ll appreciate that this bonder sets fast. You can then begin sanding and working with your bonded plastic sooner. This means you can continue to move along with your project and not get stuck waiting for your adhesive to set. Once it’s set, it’s a permanent and hard bond.
Unfortunately, it takes skill and practice when mixing this bonder. It needs to be a 1:1 mix, but the two ingredients don’t come out at the same rate. This makes getting the right mix challenging. If the mix is wrong, it won’t set right. It also has a tendency to cure and still be flexible, which may not work for your intended purpose.
This plastic glue is meant for use on your vehicle. It claims to be usable on emblems, bumpers, interior plastic, exterior plastic, and door trims. It will set extremely fast. The tube comes with 1.7 ounces of glue. To use this glue, you’ll need to pretreat the surface with Fusor #601/602/603.
This product is approved for use by GM and Ford. This is important because that approval means you won’t void your warranty or other guarantees. It also means that you can be confident that once it’s glued, your repaired part will stay bonded throughout the use of your vehicle.
While this glue is designed for use on your vehicle, it’s really only meant for fixing minor cosmetic repairs. It’s also black in color, which may not work for your plastic repair if it isn’t black. Using this glue could be hazardous to your health. You should wear eye and face protection and gloves. Be careful not to breathe in the fumes.
This two-part adhesive will set in seconds and successfully bond plastic. To use this adhesive, you’ll apply the activator to the hard-to-bond plastic. After waiting 60 seconds, you’ll then apply the glue to the prepped surface and bond the two pieces together.
This glue works well on surfaces that other glues fail to bond, such as polypropylene and polyethylene. It also works fast, so you won’t have to wait for hours for the glue to cure. This glue is really durable, and is resistant to chemicals, freezing temperatures, and water.
Unfortunately, this is a multi-step process, so it’ll take some time and finesse to get the steps right. You’ll want to make sure you get the activator everywhere you need it, or the glue might not work. This glue isn’t specifically meant for automotive plastics, so you’ll want to test it before you commit to using it.
Doesn’t Gorilla Glue just work on everything? This gel formula dries clear and is sandable and paintable. You can use this glue on several materials in your car, such as rubber, plastic, leather, and metal.
The gel formula makes this glue thicker and perfect for use on vertical surfaces. It also limits the number of runs you’ll have, so it’ll be a cleaner application. It sets up incredibly fast, in less than a minute. The clear formula makes it suitable for use on all shades of plastic, which isn’t the case with several of the other glues on this list.
However, this glue isn’t meant for use outside. If the plastic that you need to glue is on the outside of your car, then this glue may not hold up. It’s not recommended for polyethylene or polypropylene plastics.
If you need to glue a wide variety of plastics and similar materials, this glue is what you need. It works on acrylic, ABS plastic, nylon, fiberglass, phenolic, plexiglass, polycarbonate, polyester, polystyrene, PVC, and urethane. Each tube has 0.11 ounces, or 3 grams, of glue.
You’ll like using this glue because it’s easy and clean to use. The tube is drip- and clog-proof, thanks to a special design that draws the glue back into the tube once the pressure is released from the tube. Once dry, this glue is stronger than other adhesives because it’s specifically designed for bonding plastics.
Unfortunately, it may not work as promised on all plastics. There are some plastics that this glue isn’t recommended for, including polyethylene and polypropylene. The clean-use system doesn’t always work as intended, which effectively glues the lid to the tube. Good luck getting it off again.
If you need an adhesive with more strength, then try this permapoxy black plastic welder. It’s a structural adhesive that, once cured, creates a durable and tough bond. Its strength is up to 3,500 PSI. It works on most plastics and is set in about five minutes. It takes 24 hours for it to fully cure. To use it, you’ll need to mix the two included ingredients together and then apply it to the plastic you want to bond.
What’s really nice about this glue is that it does more than glue two pieces of plastic together. You can use it to fill gaps that are up to 0.125 inches wide. This glue is resistant to weather and humidity, which makes it perfect for use on your car.
Unfortunately, the cure time takes forever when compared to other glues. You may also find it challenging to get the two ingredients out in equal parts. This will make it impossible to get the right ratio for the glue to work correctly. The product becomes almost impossible to use if it becomes too old on the shelf.
This glue is slightly different than the other products on this list. It’s an epoxy putty stick. You can use it to fill cracks and holes in your plastic. Use the stick applicator to apply some putty and smooth it out. After about 40 minutes, it will fully harden. Then you can sand, file, drill, and paint it. Once hardened, it can withstand exposure to temperatures up to 250 degrees, compression up to 12,000 PSI, and has a shear tensile strength to 800 PSI.
This product is nice because sometimes you need to repair plastic, but you have a gap or hole that needs filled. Regular glue won’t fill it, so this putty creates that bond and filler. You can then treat it exactly like the plastic you’re repairing and smooth it out to become invisible.
However, this isn’t glue, and you shouldn’t be using it to bond two separate pieces of plastic together. You may also find it challenging to knead, like trying to work with a Tootsie Roll.
- Be aware of whether you need to sand or drill the glue after application. Some types of adhesive can be sanded and painted, while others will not respond to either.
- Use the correct amount of glue that is necessary for the job. Too much can lead to a spill or cause running, and if you don’t use enough glue, it might not correctly hold the pieces together.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when applying automotive plastic glue. Different temperatures can affect the glue as well as the types of substrates you're connecting.
- You will want to clean and dry the surface in order to get a strong bond. This includes cleaning off any old adhesive, dirt, dust, and oils from your hands.
- You should use gloves when handling automotive glue. While most are not toxic, it’s best to be safe and avoid getting the adhesive stuck on your skin.
Q: How long is the shelf life of automotive glue?
A: It varies. Typically, what you need to know is how long it lasts after opening, which might be indicated on the label. If you don't plan on using all or most of the container, then buying a glue with a cap or one that lasts longer when refrigerated is best.
Q: How long does plastic glue take to dry?
A: Different types of glue dry at different rates. Single-part liquid glue is made to dry as fast as possible so that it won't run, which means you have less time to apply it. Adhesive putty and gel will take longer overall—sometimes overnight—to dry completely.
Q: Can I use plastic glue on other materials?
A: Almost every plastic glue can also be used on different materials. This is great if you don't need the full container because you can use the leftover glue on something else. It's also essential that the glue can stick to two different types of material because some jobs require gluing plastic to metal or two different types of plastics.
If you want the best glue for plastic car bumpers and other applications, you should buy the Rhino Glue Pro Kit. The kit includes multiple different adhesive options and easy-to-use applicators.
If you're looking for an auto body glue for plastic that is more budget-friendly, you should get the Amazing GOOP Automotive Adhesive.