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Car glue: The best glues for money-saving repairs

Learn which car glue to use for simple repairs to your vehicle. Do it right the first time with a bit of forethought and by observing the tips in this article.

What’s unique about automotive adhesive?

Doing automobile repairs presents some unique challenges. Car surfaces and interiors get very hot in the summertime and cold in the winter. In addition, many parts of a car are often exposed to UV light from the sun, and vibration is a constant when driving.

A good automotive adhesive must not only adhere well to the surfaces and materials it’s being applied to but also stand up to these extreme conditions.

No worries, many car adhesives can do the job. We’ll help you choose the best glue for car parts and apply it properly for lasting repairs.

Use the right car glue for the situation

When choosing an adhesive for any project, consider the materials you are bonding, whether flexibility or a solid bond is preferable, and the conditions the part will be subjected to.

When it comes to choosing a car glue, follow the same process. First, what materials are you bonding? Many interior parts are plastic or vinyl, so you will want to choose an auto glue specifically for plastics.

On the other hand, the exterior of the car is, of course, mostly (sheet) metal. Trim, decals, and various parts that are made of vinyl, plastic, or other materials which may come loose and need to be refastened. In this case, look for a car adhesive glue that can bond plastic to metal and stand up to the elements.

Second is the matter of flexibility. If you are repairing a torn seat or armrest, you will need an auto adhesive that will remain flexible. A hard spot on a padded area will be very uncomfortable.

Flexibility is also essential because of the vibration experienced when you are driving. The engine, uneven road surfaces, and acceleration/deceleration all cause shaking and vibration. So, when mounting a rear-view mirror to the windscreen or a side mirror to the door, for example, you can imagine why car glue with some flexibility will hold up better.

Ultraviolet light from the sun is also an issue. It can break down ordinary adhesives very quickly. Make sure to take this into consideration, especially for exterior repairs or those on the dashboard and doors.

How to apply car adhesive

Applying automotive adhesive is similar to using other types of glue. Follow these steps:

  1. Make sure surfaces to be joined are clean and fit together tightly.
  2. Apply a small amount of car glue to one surface and press the parts together. Hold in place for several seconds until a bond begins to form. 
  3. Allow the item to cure undisturbed, or clamp together, if necessary, until completely dry.

Replacing the rear-view mirror is a common repair. Many vehicles have an attachment plate that can be easily glued in place first. You can secure it with a piece of tape. Once cured, the mirror base slides in and is secured with small screws.

A special automotive glue for challenging repairs

Sometimes a button, knob, or other plastic item inside your car breaks off and shatters, or the broken piece is lost.  

In this case, use Loctite Kintsuglue to refashion the item. Just knead the putty for about 10 seconds, then shape it to fit. Apply it to the surface, and it will begin curing within a half hour. Loctite Kintsuglue dries solid but flexible and is waterproof as well as paintable.

Choosing the best car glue for your repair

Which automotive glue is best? Well, that depends on the specific repair.

However, you’ll find Loctite Extreme Gel to be a great solution for many repairs on your vehicle. Since it bonds to different materials, it can be used for various applications. Most importantly, it stands up to the extreme conditions your vehicle faces. It’s impact resistant, withstands vibrations, moisture, and UV rays. Extreme Gel also dispenses as a no-drip gel for easy application and dries crystal clear.

If your repair requires bonding to glass, try Loctite Super Glue Glass. This adhesive is formulated to work on all types of glass and bonds in seconds, making it ideal for glass-to-glass applications or attaching metal to glass. It dries transparent, so repairs will be nearly invisible.