How to Permanently Restore Black Plastic Trim on Cars

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to permanently restore black plastic trims

Black trims on vehicles give it a sleek and modern character that’s appealing and beautiful to look at. Unfortunately, all trim colors can fade over time, so make sure you know how to permanently restore black plastic trim on cars.

In this short but helpful and fully-detailed post, you’ll learn about the various methods of restoring car trims and the right product to use in the process.

Read on!

Why Does the Black Plastic Trim on Cars Fade?

The black plastic trim on vehicles fades due to UV rays. The UV light from the sun penetrates the trim material, causing the plastic to oxidize when exposed to oxygen. Oxidation makes the car’s plastic trims darken and become brittle.

In addition, oils on the plastic trim’s surface degrade and dry, making it look faded and gray.

Fortunately, many car care specialists and product manufacturers have found the best way to restore exterior black plastic trim colors on your vehicle.

Steps to Permanently Restore Plastic Trim


Step 1: Preparation and Cleaning

Items Needed:

  • Microfiber Towels
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Washing Mitts

To maximize the potential to restore the black trim on your car, you must remove every bit of caked debris, dust, and other residues on the car trim.

Thankfully, you won’t have to bring the vehicle to your carwash to do this. Just follow these easy steps below:

  • Use microfiber towels soaked in isopropyl alcohol. We recommend using an entire bottle to remove every possible residue before applying. Plus, make sure to wipe down all areas as much as possible.
  • Use washing mitts soaked in alcohol to remove much more stubborn dirt. This is crucial if you’re applying a trim restorer after your car came in from the rain.
  • Let the car trim dry before applying your car plastic restore product.

Then, before opening your trim restorer, make sure to do the following:

  • Block off the glass surfaces. You can use taped paper scraps and other materials to cover the windows, windshield, lights, and other glass components of the vehicle.
  • Wear gloves and safety glasses
  • Have adequate ventilation for the place or just work outdoors
  • Follow the manufacturer guidelines. Ensure that you’ve read all of the manufacturers’ specifications and guidelines in using their products to avoid any wrongful use or unintended effect.

Step 2: Trim Restorer Application

Items Needed

  • Microfiber or Foam Applicator
  • Trim Restorer of Your Choice

There are two methods to apply trim restoration easily.

First Method: Wiping

  • Remove the trim pieces from your vehicle. (Optional if you prefer to cover them with scrap paper and tape)
  • Apply the trim restorer directly to the trim with the microfiber cloth or foam applicator
  • Apply an even layer with long back and forth motions
  • Leave on for sixty seconds before recoating
  • Make sure to inspect each application and even out the layers

Second Method: Direct Spraying

  • Remove trim pieces (Optional)
  • Spray the product onto the trim areas
  • Let them dry for sixty seconds before reapplying
  • Wipe off any excess with a microfiber or foam applicator

Step 3: Perform Follow-Up (Coating)

Items Needed:

  • Microfiber or Foam Applicator
  • Trim Restorer of Your Choice

Two coats of trim restorers are usually enough to restore your car trim’s aesthetic appeal. However, if you’re restoring vehicles over a decade old, consider repeating step 3 up to four layers.

Tips to Preserve Your Car Trim After Using Restorative Products

1. Use Special Trim Brushes

Detailing brush kits can clean off car trims without damaging the plastic whenever you wash your vehicle. Consider using them to prolong the trim’s lifespan and sleek look.

2. Clean Off and Reapply Trim Dressing Regularly

Car trim dressing seals in moisture and provides UV protection of car trims. Consider reapplying them whenever you have your car freshly washed.

FAQs About Car Trim Restorer Methods


Why Do Plastic Trim Restorers Work Well?

  • Efficient Plastic Absorption – Plastic trim restorers have excellent efficiency in absorbing and holding on to excess moisture.
  • They also have a coating that further protects the trim from any outside elements.
  • Trim Oxidation Removal – The plastic trim restorer can remove the oxidation and other stains from the car’s surface, making them look new again.
  • High-quality restorers have a blend of protectants that penetrate the clear coat and break down the oxidation and other stains on the plastic trim.
  • Even Finish – It does not require melting plastic trim oils to reveal the black paint. You just need a microfiber or foam applicator and a trim restorer to proceed.
  • Long-Term Protection – These protectants coat the trim and ensure that it doesn’t fade or crack. It offers a water-resistant coating resilient against wear and tears.
  • It also protects the trims from chemicals like soap and shampoo during cleaning and restore black trim on car effectively.
  • Affordable For Any Car Owner

Should I Use Heat Guns and Repainting on Old trims?

For your information, those are not recommended permanently restore black plastic trim DIY methods.

  • Using a torch or heat gun to melt the plastic trim is a well-known and proven method to restore black plastic trim on car.
  • A professional car care specialist uses them to melt the plastic trim to remove degraded oils from the trim’s material.
  • However, torches cause the trim’s shade to become uneven. It can also cause dark spots on the car’s exterior plastic trims.
  • Alternatively, many car owners swear by their repainting or dying methods that help in restoring black trim on car.

You’ll need polyester paint or acrylic paint to paint the black plastic trim back to its original color, just like how professionals do it.


We hope that you’ve enjoyed our guide on how to permanently restore black plastic trim. These tips and steps will most help you achieve the best results in improving your vehicle’s overall aesthetic.

Surely, you have a friend who’ll benefit from car plastic trim restorations, so don’t forget to share this post with them!

What are your ideas on restoring car trims? Do you think there are much better methods to use? Share your ideas and suggestions in the comments below.

Before you go, make sure to check this article on the best way to clean chrome trim.

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