View Full Version : Trim & Molding Care

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03-03-2006, 01:37 PM
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Trim & Molding Care

Nearly every vehicle you see on the road has some sort of black plastic or rubber trim on the exterior. As your vehicle ages, this trim fades and dries out if it isnít protected. The trim is often overlooked because people either donít know how to properly care for it or they donít realize what an impact it makes on the overall appearance of the vehicle. This guide will give you some suggestions on how to keep trim and moldings looking like new for the life of your vehicle.

Regular maintenance

Wash the trim and moldings when you wash the rest of the vehicle. On coarse pieces, you may want to use a Pinnacle Detailing Brush (http://www.autogeek.net/pindetbruski.html), found in the Pinnacle Detailing Brush Kit (http://www.autogeek.net/pindetbruski.html). For larger pieces of trim, you might find it easier to use the OXO Car Wash Brush (http://www.autogeek.net/carwashbrush.html). A brush will allow you to pull contaminants out of the pores of the material. These contaminants may be contributing to the discoloration of the rubber or plastic. Avoid using stiff bristle brushes on smooth black plastic; it will scratch.

If you already have a dressing on the trim and molding, clean it off periodically. Layering dressings will eventually result in discoloration because the outermost layers are not curing to the rubber; they are just sitting on top of old layers. Take a moment to clean off old dressings at least every two months using DP Exterior Surface Cleaner (http://www.autogeek.net/dp320.html). Spray a microfiber towel and wipe down the trim pieces to avoid overspray.

Once your vehicle is clean and dried, you need to protect the trim pieces with a quality rubber, vinyl, and plastic protectant. This will help prevent future UV degradation, which is the primary cause of fading. Pinnacle Vinyl & Rubber Protectant (http://www.autogeek.net/pinvinrubpro.html) and 303 Aerospace Protectant (http://www.autogeek.net/303aerprot.html) are both exceptional products. They both provide excellent UV protection with a non-greasy, satin finish. Use a microfiber applicator pad (http://www.autogeek.net/cobmicpad.html) to spread the protectant over the surface. It will provide an even coat without dripping or running. I apply protectant to my vehicles once a month because the sun is intense in Florida, but once every two months is probably sufficient in most climates.

When applying protectant, donít skip the wiper cowl (the plastic piece at the bottom of the windshield), the mirrors (if applicable), and window and door moldings. Use a detailing swab to apply protectant in tight spaces. Open your doors and apply protectant to the rubber gaskets, too. If they become dry or brittle, they will not effectively keep out air and road noise. Wurth makes an excellent product for this purpose. Wurth Rubber Care (http://www.autogeek.net/w890110.html) is packaged in a sponge tipped bottle so you can rub it right onto gaskets. It will prevent freezing in winter months and it is silicone-free.


If your black trim and molding have already faded, there are options to restore them. Forever Black (http://www.autogeek.net/fbk04.html) is a black dye for coarse rubber and plastic pieces. The dye contains UV protectants to prevent future fading and its polymer formula ensures lasting color. Forever Black is a permanent dye so use care when applying it. In fact, test it out on an inconspicuous area before applying to all the trim. Keep in mind that it will not be able to absorb evenly into smooth plastic.

The Forever Black Bumper & Trim Dye Kit (http://www.autogeek.net/forblacbumtr.html) comes with a cleaner and a bottle of dye. The dye has a sponge-tip right on the bottle for easy application. Turn the bottle upside down and press it against something to get the dye flowing. Spread a thin, even coat over the surface and allow it to dry for 20 minutes. No buffing is required.

If your trim isnít quite black or you have smooth plastic surfaces, another option is Black Again (http://www.autogeek.net/blackagain1.html). This product is a shiny dressing that significantly darkens the color of the plastic or rubber. The trim will look like its wet. The gloss can be toned down by allowing the dressing to penetrate for a few minutes and then wiping it with a microfiber towel (http://www.autogeek.net/pincobdetclo.html). Terry cloth towels will leave lint so itís best to stick with microfiber for this job.

Donít forget the license plate frame

If you have a black plastic license plate frame, it will benefit from a coat of protectant, too. Use a detailing swab or the corner of your microfiber applicator to apply a thin coat. For frames that contain a clear plastic lens, clean and protect it with Plexus to prevent yellowing.

03-06-2006, 12:00 AM
Good info in that little snippit. Some other products for trim & molding care would be: Chemical Guy's Gel-New Look Trim Restorer, Chemical Guy's V.R.T. & Meg's #38.
I love the CG Gel. It's the first product I've used that lasts for a long time & doesn't run all over your paint during rain or washings.

03-06-2006, 04:38 AM
Poorboy's trim restorer & Adams VRT nuff said.

03-06-2006, 10:13 PM
Poorboy's trim restorer & Adams VRT nuff said.

Ain't that the truth. Adam's Vrt>PB NL

03-07-2006, 07:49 AM
For the rubber door molding I use a silicone spary. Works excellent. Watch for overspray and wipe excess off. Work good for me. :D

03-09-2006, 02:14 PM
I recently started using the Pinnacle protectant mentioned in the first post. Great suff.

03-10-2006, 01:16 AM
Are 303 ap and Pinnacle V&R Protectant the same type of liquidy product? Once, I finish off my PB NL I am on to another dressing!!!!

03-22-2006, 10:13 PM
Poorboy's trim restorer & Adams VRT nuff said.

Does the Poorboy's trim restorer really work that well? Does it really restore faded trim or is it just a very good vinyl dressing? I have used Mother's Back to black and it says it restores the trim, and it does, but after a while it seems like it goes back to being faded again, so I am looking for another trim restoring type product.

03-23-2006, 10:27 PM
I agree on that with Back to Black! It make trim look like garbage once it has worn off!!

05-03-2006, 10:29 AM
What about when a sealer, or paste wax is applied to the finish, can't you go over those trim plastic, moldings, etc with those protectors?? as long as the plastic trim is not faded, and the black is still black in good condition overall

When I seal and wax my buggy I go over everything with the sealer and souverin except the rubber and glass.

And looks good to me! but thats why im here, i may be missing something and if so?? this is the place to learn........

05-03-2006, 11:55 AM
I have Poorboy's Trim Restorer, I used to use stuff like Black Magic and others but they never really did anything even on trim that was barely faded, and the Black Magic crap would run after raining.

I was wondering about that as well, say after using PB TR, what could I seal it with, I've heard people mention AIO before would that work?

05-03-2006, 12:25 PM
AOI worked for me.......as well as the wax....

05-03-2006, 01:01 PM
Hello -
Pardon my noviceness, but my son recently scratched the body molding on my charcoal Yukon. What is the best way to remove the scratch?

Thanks in advance

05-17-2006, 09:18 PM
i too would like to know how to remove a scratch from vinyl, iam currently using vinylex from lexol and i like it alot cuz it is a cleaner and protectant combo, it seems to work well and lord knows i need it cuz this hummer has more trim than any other ride i can think of, let me know what u guys think of the vinylex

07-01-2006, 12:55 AM
AOI worked for me.......as well as the wax....


I, well my wife drives an Expedition, I hate the bottom plastic window trim, it is soooo wide. I've seen others like it that havent been take'n care of and they look like crap.

And like Bill, I always wax them and mirrors etc. I would like to suggest Plexus plastic cleaner. Great stuff. With enough elbow grease I have succesfully removed minor scratches to vinyl and even brightened up some headlights/taillights.