All plastics eventually fade when exposed to the environment, but if your car’s trim is starting to look gray and sad, the best trim restorers can help to revive it. This weathering is a complicated process driven by UV light, and ultimately can’t be stopped, but you will be happy to hear that not all hope is lost, and you can actually bring some of that shine back to your plastic and trim pieces by using a high-quality plastic restorer. 

The best trim restorers are are designed to make faded plastic look like new without having to use a lot of effort. “Designed” is probably the key word, however. The worse your plastic is to begin with, the more work you’ll have to do to bring it back, as we found out when we worked on some. Your results will not be magic: even though these products will definitely improve the appearance of faded plastic trim, your trim may not return to an as-factory appearance, especially if there’s more than surface damage. 

If you have endless expanses of old, faded, and pitted plastic, as we do on the AutoGuide project Dodge Magnum RT, you can expect to see an improvement, not perfection. If you make reapplying part of washing your car and do it at least once a month or so, it’ll be a lot less work after the first time. And if you start using it preventively at the first sign of fading, you have a good chance of heading off damage altogether. Plus, a quick monthly wipe that only takes a few minutes will be a lot less work than multiple applications to bring back damaged plastics.

Do You Need a Black Trim Restorer?

Black trim restorers include pigments that other plastic restorers don’t, but we haven’t tested them side-by-side yet. Users do report marginally better results from color-specific car trim restorers, but don’t hesitate to use whatever you have on hand—you can almost always go over it with a different product after some time has passed.

To learn more about plastic and trim restorers, refer to our Table of Contents.

1. Editor's Pick: CarGuys Plastic Restorer

carguys plastic restorer

Car Guys products are popular with buyers. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

Formulated to restore and renew plastic, rubber, or vinyl, CarGuys’ Plastic Restorer features patented additives to boost longevity, so it lasts for months. Available as an 8-ounce kit, the CarGuys Plastic Restorer is a bit more expensive compared to the competition. The company says its Plastic Restorer will survive rain, unlike some of its competition, because it repels water instead of leaving ugly streaks down the side of your car.

Environmentally safe and completely safe to use, this formula has no harmful chemicals and won’t leave behind an oily mess. It’s designed to restore and leave a finish that is completely dry to the touch while leaving a durable UV guard to protect against harmful UV rays that cause fading, browning, and cracking.

You can also use this product on your RV, motorcycle, vinyl seats on a boat, indoor or outdoor accessories, or home restoration projects such as shutters, furniture, and siding.

2. Best Black Trim Restorer: Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer (G15812)

Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer

Meguiar's is one of the best plastic restorers available, but still needs work to apply. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus / AutoGuide.com.

We can’t think of a car care product that Meguiar’s doesn’t make, and make well. Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer is one of the highest rated and most popular items on Amazon and is designed to restore all exterior plastic, vinyl, and rubber trim including bumpers, moldings, door handles, rearview mirror housings, and windshield cowlings. Meguiar’s says its product uses an advanced hybrid polymer technology that seals non-porous surfaces with UV protection, allowing it to significantly outlast conventional protectants and trim care products. This formula dries almost instantly and is non-greasy. It also won’t streak if the treated surfaces get wet.

Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer

After several applications, you can see the improvement. But there’s still damage visible. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus / AutoGuide.com.

We tried Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer on the old exterior plastics of AutoGuide’s Dodge Magnum RT. It was easy to use with a microfiber cloth, but really struggled with the badly damaged and pitted horizontal window trim. It did a much better job with smoother vertical plastics that hadn’t suffered from UV as much. You can still see some fading, but the difference is obvious. Meguiar’s says you should apply the product monthly, and our exterior plastic trim is continuing to improve as with regular applications.

3. Solution Finish Black Plastic and Vinyl Restorer

Solution plastic restorer

Solution Finish black plastic trim restorer is silicone-free. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

Solution Finish offers a black plastic and vinyl restorer in either a one- or 12-ounce bottle. Specially formulated to restore original black surfaces to a deep, rich, black finish without the wet look, this product is a bit more expensive than the competition. It features “ancient ingredients” with advanced polymer technology and is a silicone-free solution that uses all-natural oils.

It’s designed for professional use, so make sure you read the instructions carefully. The product will stain clothing and skin and should not be used on painted or glass surfaces. If you accidentally get any on paint or glass, you will want to wipe it off immediately with a clean applicator pad, terry cloth, or microfiber towel. The company recommends not washing the vehicle for at least four hours after applying the solution.

Like similar products, users have said it runs streaky when it rains, so keep that in mind if you live in an area that often gets rainy weather.

4. Torque Detail Plastic & Trim Restorer Spray

torque detail plastic and trim restorer

Torque Detail trim restorer is designed to work on trim, rubber, vinyl, polypropylene, and rubberized plastics. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

Designed to work on trim, rubber, vinyl, polypropylene, and rubberized plastics is Torque Detail’s Plastic & Trim Restorer Spray. It’s formulated with no harsh chemicals or oily residues, which means no harsh fumes or sticky surfaces once you’re done applying it. The company says it’s made with an environmentally-friendly formula that features zero volatile organic compounds.

It’ll work to turn all that faded grey plastic to black and can even remove oxidation. Applying this is as easy as spraying it on and wiping it off, leaving behind at least six months of protection. The hydrophobic formula will keep water beading off the surface of your trim while antistatic properties and UV protection keep it looking like new for months to come.

Torque Detail says this solution deeply permeates the plastic and will actually change the chemical chemistry to bring it back to its original state. No dyes are being used and rain won’t wash it off.