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Restore Plastic Trim

Restoring plastic trim on a car can dramatically improve its appearance, making it

look newer and better maintained. Over time, plastic trim can fade, oxidize, and

become discolored due to exposure to sunlight, weather, and pollutants. Here's a

detailed guide to restoring plastic trim:

Step 1: Gather Materials

You'll need the right tools and products for an effective restoration.

Materials Needed:

- **Trim Cleaner**: A plastic-specific cleaner or an all-purpose cleaner.

- **Brush**: Soft-bristle or detailing brush.

- **Microfiber Towels**: For cleaning and buffing.

- **Trim Restorer**: A product designed to rejuvenate plastic trim.

- **Masking Tape**: To protect surrounding areas.

- **Applicator Pads**: For applying the trim restorer.

- **Protective Gloves**: To protect your hands.

Step 2: Clean the Trim

Thoroughly cleaning the plastic trim is essential for a successful restoration.


- **Mask Surrounding Areas**: Use masking tape to protect the car's paint and other

surfaces from the cleaner and restorer.

- **Apply Cleaner**: Spray the trim cleaner directly onto the plastic trim or onto a


- **Scrub the Trim**: Use a soft-bristle or detailing brush to scrub the trim, removing

dirt, grime, and oxidation.

- **Rinse and Wipe**: Rinse off the cleaner with water and wipe the trim dry with a

microfiber towel. Ensure the trim is completely clean and dry before proceeding.

Step 3: Apply Trim Restorer

Trim restorer brings back the color and shine to faded plastic.


- **Choose the Right Product**: Select a trim restorer suited for your type of plastic


- **Apply Restorer**: Apply a small amount of the restorer to an applicator pad. You

can also apply it directly to the trim if instructed.

- **Even Application**: Spread the restorer evenly over the trim, ensuring full

coverage. Work in small sections if necessary.

- **Let It Absorb**: Allow the product to absorb into the plastic for the time specified

by the manufacturer, usually a few minutes.

- **Buff Excess**: Use a clean microfiber towel to buff off any excess product,

ensuring a smooth and even finish.

Step 4: Protect the Restored Trim

Adding a protective layer helps maintain the restored appearance longer.


- **Choose a Protectant**: Use a UV-protectant spray or a product designed to

protect plastic trim.

- **Apply Protectant**: Spray or apply the protectant evenly over the restored trim.

- **Buff and Dry**: Buff the trim with a microfiber towel to ensure an even layer and

remove any excess protectant.

Step 5: Regular Maintenance

Maintaining the plastic trim ensures it stays looking fresh and new.


- **Regular Cleaning**: Clean the trim regularly to prevent buildup of dirt and grime.

- **Reapply Protectant**: Reapply the protective layer every few months to maintain

UV protection and prevent fading.

- **Avoid Harsh Chemicals**: Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that

can damage the plastic trim.

Additional Tips

- **Heat Gun Method**: For heavily oxidized or deeply faded trim, a heat gun can

sometimes be used to restore color. Carefully apply heat to the plastic, which can

bring the oils in the plastic to the surface, restoring color. Use this method with

caution to avoid damaging the plastic.

- **DIY Solutions**: Some DIY solutions, like using peanut butter or a mixture of

baking soda and water, can work in a pinch but might not provide long-lasting results

compared to commercial products.


Restoring plastic trim is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance the

look of your vehicle. By thoroughly cleaning, applying a quality trim restorer, and

protecting the trim, you can keep your car looking fresh and well-maintained. Regular

upkeep will help prolong the life of the restored trim, ensuring your vehicle continues

to look its best.

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