How To Easily Restore Faded Black Plastic Trim On Your Car

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restored plastic trim on a car

If you own a car that’s more than 7-8 years old, there’s a big chance that the black plastic trim is already fading. Today, I decided to show you how to restore faded car plastic trim in less than an hour easily. You can do it as a part of detailing your car.

Key Takeaways:

  • The best way to restore black plastic trim on your car is by applying plastic trim restorer products.
  • Cerakote Ceramic Trim Coat is the best plastic restorer that I’ve tried so far.
  • Using a heat gun doesn’t help with restoring faded plastic trim. It only lasts for a couple of weeks.
  • Painting plastic trim on a car isn’t a good option because most paints will peel off in a few days.

How To Restore Black Plastic Trim On Car: 4 Easy Steps

Let’s see how to apply this product to the car’s plastic trim properly. Also, even with these steps, make sure to read the instructions on the package again.

Step 1: Clean Plastic Trim

The first step is to clean the plastic trim. It should be free of any dirt, dust, or other contaminants.

Use a pH-neutral car shampoo, or you can even use an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth to clean the trim.

To get even better results, use a detailing brush and agitate the area. That will clean all the tiniest specks of dirt from the trim (and believe me, there will be some because the trim isn’t as smooth as the car’s paint).

Step 2: Let The Trim Dry

After you have washed the trim, it’s important to let it completely dry off. Plastic trim on cars dries pretty quickly, so it should be dry within 10 minutes or so.

Also, try to keep your car out of direct sunlight because the trim should also be cool when applying the product.

Step 3: Apply Plastic Restorer To The Trim

When the trim is completely dry and cool, it’s time to apply the trim restorer. Depending on the product, the application process can be slightly different, but I’ll explain to you the process of applying Cerakote Trim Restorer, which is my favorite product for restoring faded plastic trim on cars.

How to apply plastic restorer:

  • Put the gloves on.
  • Take the pre-moistured wipe and start applying it to the trim.
  • Apply one layer, and let it sit for ca. 5-10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, apply 2nd layer and let dry for 30 minutes, and you’re done.

Depending on your car’s size, you might use all the wipes, and you might spend only half of them. For some mid-sized cars, 5-6 wipes should be enough to apply 2 light coats.

The Best Plastic Trim Restorer: Cerakote Ceramic Trim Coat Kit

CERAKOTE Ceramic Trim Coat Kit is the first ceramic coating kit to restore a faded plastic trim on vehicles. I’ve used it on more than 10 cars already, and it provided me with fantastic results every single time.

CERAKOTE® Ceramic Trim Coat Kit - Quick Plastic Trim Restorer - Ceramic Coating Black Trim...
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This trim restorer is totally different than other similar products. It’s not the dressing like the others, but it’s a ceramic coating that won’t get washed off after the first couple of washes. 

Manufacturers claim that it will last 200 washes or 2 years, and they also offer a 2-year guarantee on their product. I still can’t confirm their claims 100%, but it’s been sitting on my car for 9 months already, and the plastics are still deep black, like new.

Also, it won’t be greasy, so it will not attract dirt and grime from the road, as well as bugs. 

The water repellence and the UV protection of this product are just amazing and will last longer than any other similar product.

Why Does The Plastic Trim Fade?

You may wonder why the trim fades.

The answer is pretty simple – the car trim doesn’t have such protection as car paint. Also, people often don’t pay as much attention to the trim as they pay to the paint (they apply waxes, sealants, ceramic coatings, etc.)

The most important reasons for faded trim:

  • The age of the car – with time, plastic trim will lose its shine and will start fading. This is completely normal and will happen to every car.
  • Quality of the plastics used – not every car manufacturer uses the same type and quality of plastic. On “cheaper” cars, you can expect trim to start fading sooner.
  • UV – The Sun is always the biggest reason for faded trim. Non-protected plastic will easily start to fade without any UV protection. Even the car paint will start to fade if there’s no protective layer (clearcoat).
  • Road grime and salt will also speed up the fading process of the car’s plastic trim. 

How To Prevent Trim From Fading?

To prevent plastic car trim from fading, you should apply some protection as soon as possible. 

If your trim is still not faded, products like this TriNova Plastic & Trim Restorer will be great to offer your trim a nice layer of protection.

You need to know that there’s no permanent solution to aging. You just need to take care of your trim as much as possible, which will, in the end, extend its life.

Does Using Heat Gun Fixes Faded Trim?

You’ll see tons of guys on YouTube or TikTok recommending people to use heat guns to restore black plastic trim on their cars. And while results are astonishing, they are short-lasting.

That’s because by using a heat gun, you restore back the color, but you don’t condition the plastics so it has that natural, like-new shine and color depth.

After using a heat gun, the plastic trim will fade in no time, and that’s why I don’t recommend doing that. Using dedicated plastic restorers is a much better and safer option for your car.

Using a heat gun can also be dangerous to the car’s paint around the trim. You’ll be heating it too much and it can cause permanent damage to the clear coat.

Can I Paint Plastic Trim on My Car?

While painting may seem like a great, long-term solution, it’s the opposite.

Plastic trim on cars is very tricky to paint because the surface isn’t smooth, and most kinds of paints will peel off of plastic. It’s almost impossible to find some long-lasting paint that will bond to the trim properly.

If you decide to do that, prepare to do a lot of wet sanding to achieve a smoother finish so the paint can bond to the plastic. It’s just not worth it, in my opinion.

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