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I tried repainting my plastic mudguards (fenders) using automotive spray paint. It went on easily and covered well with two coats, but it has no abrasion resistance at all. Within a few weeks my paint job was full of holes where I'd parked the bike leaning on something, and where I'd D-locked the front wheel.

Is there a kind of paint more suited to this task?

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Got to a paint store or auto parts place and find a primer intended for plastic. Also be aware that paint takes several days to several weeks to achieve full hardness and adhesion. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 16 '13 at 19:01
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My first step would be to scuff the surface with a Scotch Brite pad. You want some minor surface imperfections for the paint to adhere to. Clean the surface with either alcohol or what the instructions for the particular paint call for. I am partial to automotive brake cleaner. If you can get it, use Rustoleum Spray specifically for plastic. Apply two coats of primer. Allow it to dry between coats. Then apply two color coats. You have to use a paint intended for plastic because conventional paint will not flex without cracking or chipping . As @Daniel R Hicks has stated, allow the paint to fully cure before it experiences any contacts. If you can set it in the sun for a couple of days it should excelerate the hardening. Even doing this the paint may chip if the fender experiences severe flexing.

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"I am partial to automotive brake cleaner." Thanks for sharing, but what would you put on the mudguards? ;-) –  Dan Hulme Apr 17 '13 at 9:10
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You might want to look into vinyl dye. It can be used for things that have to flex and won't chip off.

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