Are the black plastic trim pieces on your car fading? Or maybe you have a bumper that is starting to look more grey than black. You will be happy to hear that not all hope is lost and you can actually bring back some of that shine back to your plastic and trim pieces by using a high-quality restorer. Vehicles that are often exposed to UV rays, rain, dust, road grime, or normal wear and tear will experience oxidation on its plastic trim pieces, leaving an unsightly mark on your car.
If you’re looking to restore your plastic and trim pieces to their former glory, there are several products available at an affordable price. These are designed to make faded plastic look like new without having to use a lot of effort.
To learn more about plastic and trim restorers, refer to our table of contents.
Updated 10/19/2020 with a new featured product recommendation!
Table of contents
- 1. Featured Product: Lithium Trim Serum
- 2. Editor's Pick: CarGuys Plastic Restorer
- 3. Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer (G15812)
- 4. Rust-Oleum Wipe New Trim Restorer
- 5. Mothers Back-to-Black Plastic and Trim Restorer (06112)
- 6. Solution Finish Black Plastic and Vinyl Restorer
- 7. MEDS ReNu Pro Automotive Trim Restorer Kit (RPK4)
- 8. Chemical Guys Tire and Trim Gel for Plastic and Rubber
- 9. Armor All Outlast Trim and Plastic Restorer
- 10. Turtle Wax Trim Restorer (50601)
- Honorable Mention: Vinyl Magic Plastic and Trim Restorer
- What is a Plastic and Trim Restorer?
- Why do I Need a Plastic and Trim Restorer?
- What to Look for When Shopping for a Plastic and Trim Restorer
1. Featured Product: Lithium Trim Serum
What makes Lithium Trim Serum so effective in rejuvenating your faded trim? For starters, it’s formulated with some of the same ingredients that were used to make your plastic trim in the first place, i.e. plasticizers and polymers. As a result of exposure to UV rays, road salts and other pollutants, these elements break down over time, giving your plastic that oxidized, discolored look. By putting these raw materials back into your plastic, Lithium Trim Serum doesn’t just cover the problem, it actually fixes it. The plasticizers in Trim Serum are easily reabsorbed into the pores of your car’s plastic – and the more you apply, the more it heals and repairs. Then, once the health of your plastic is restored, it acts as a protective shield against the elements.
Since Trim Serum doesn’t contain oil, it doesn’t leave your surfaces looking shiny or greasy or leave you with an oily mess to clean up afterwards. It’s also formulated to last; a single application is expected to last for several months, resulting in high ratings and an “Amazon’s Choice” designation. (Want to see it in action? Lithium puts the Trim Serum and the company’s other products to the test in their YouTube series “Detail and Bail.”)
*This is a sponsored placement.
2. Editor's Pick: CarGuys Plastic Restorer
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.
3. Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer (G15812)
When it comes to car care and car detailing, you’re almost guaranteed to see Meguiar’s somewhere with a quality product. One of the most trusted brands in the segment, Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer is one of the highest rated and most popular items on Amazon. It’s 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.
When using Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer, you only need to apply a small amount on a terry cloth towel or applicator pad. Make sure to use it on a clean, dry, and cool surface, and work with small sections at a time. Do not use this product on glass, paint, tire tread, leather, motorcycle or bicycle seats, and clear plastic.
The Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer comes in a 12-ounce bottle.
4. Rust-Oleum Wipe New Trim Restorer
Rust-Oleum’s Wipe New Trim Restorer is designed to restore and protect worn automotive trim and plastic. It works best on door panels, trim, side mirrors, bumpers, dashboards, as well as leather and vinyl seats. The company promises a long lasting shine with the product, and it’ll continue to work even after the car is washed. It comes in a 1.5-fluid ounce bottle and each kit includes two wipe new applicator cloths, one headlight applicator, one headlight prep pad, and one detail brush. The 1.5-ounce bottle is enough to treat the interior and exterior of an average mid-sized car.
The Rust-Oleum Wipe New Trim Restorer is safe to use on plastic, rubber, chrome, vinyl, leather, acrylic, ceramic and metallic surfaces, but not on glass. Unlike other products, it doesn’t use silicone, so the Wipe New Trim Restorer doesn’t require constant applications. Its formula also protects from oxidation, fading, and sun damage, while offering a two-year guarantee.
Compared to other products, Wipe New Trim Restorer is relatively more expensive, since you are paying for a 1.5-fluid ounce bottle.
5. Mothers Back-to-Black Plastic and Trim Restorer (06112)
Another popular mainstream brand in the world of car detailing is Mothers. An affordable trim and plastic restorer, Mothers Back-to-Black comes in a 12-ounce bottle and features an original all-in-one formula that cleans and protects exterior trim of all colors. It easily removes light oxidation, dirt, wax residue, and surface film while protecting against further deterioration caused by sun, smog, ozone, water, chemicals, and airborne contaminants.
Mothers Back-to-Black is designed to work on trim, molding, bumpers, door handles, vents, and seals. Simply apply some of the restorer onto a dry terry cloth or sponge and massage it into the surface before buffing to a back-to-new look.
Some users do note that this particular product won’t last very long and leaves streak in the rain or when your car gets wet.
6. Solution Finish Black Plastic and Vinyl Restorer
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.
7. MEDS ReNu Pro Automotive Trim Restorer Kit (RPK4)
Available in a 1.75- or 4-ounce bottle, MEDS ReNu Pro Automotive Trim Restorer Kit is designed to restore chalky faded bumpers, running boards, mirrors, and fender flares to their original black luster without using wax or silicone. The formula lasts up to 12 months and is easy to use with a wipe-on, wipe-off process. The company says a 4-ounce bottle of ReNu Pro can restore up to an average of 10 cars, but that all depends on the size of the car and how much trim it has of course.
The curing process with this product is almost instant after a quick wipe with a clean applicator pad. Once it dries, it provides an extremely durable finish that cleans and restores the look of exterior plastic and trim.
It’s a bit more expensive than the competition, but it’s an easier to use product that has lasting effect.
8. Chemical Guys Tire and Trim Gel for Plastic and Rubber
Chemical Guys offers a tire and trim gel that works for plastic and rubber, quickly renewing faded trim, bumpers, rubber seals, and weather-stripping. Offered in a 16-ounce bottle, this is an oil-based trim dressing that gives protection against dirt, water, and harmful UV rays once it is properly applied. It’s considered a premium dressing that is formulated with special waterproofing agents to help it last through multiple car washes.
After applying the product on your trim pieces, it will be absorbed quickly and finishes with a dry-to-the-touch feel, despite a super high shine appearance.
When using this product, apply a thin, even layer to the area of your car for best results. For an extra glossy shine, you can wait 10 minutes after the first coat and apply additional ones as desired.
Users say this product lasts a couple months on trim pieces, but it will be less effective once it rains and could streak on your paint.
9. Armor All Outlast Trim and Plastic Restorer
Another brand you have likely heard of, Armor All’s Outlast Trim & Plastic Restorer comes in an 8 ounce bottle at an affordable price. This product is designed to restore plastic, vinyl, and rubber trim, while claiming to protect for over 100 car washes. The formula also helps prevent fading, discoloration, oxidation, and damage caused by UV rays and is safe to use on all trim colors.
This product can be used on bumpers, side mirrors, door handles, vinyl roof tops, as well as interior trim so long as it’s a plastic, rubber, or vinyl surface. Like other plastic and trim restorers, you’ll want to quickly wipe off any product that comes in contact with glass or a painted surface.
Using Armor All’s Outlast Trim and Plastic Restorer is straightforward, simply apply it onto a damp microfiber towel or directly onto the surface, spreading it evenly so it leaves a light coat. You’ll want to let it sit for five minutes to penetrate the surface before using a damp terry cloth or microfiber towel to wipe up any excess product.
10. Turtle Wax Trim Restorer (50601)
Another well known brand in the car care market is Turtle Wax. The company offers a competitively priced trim restorer in a 10-fluid ounce bottle, which can be used on plastic trim, body cladding, window seals, molding, plastic wiper arms, door handles, tonneau covers, and more. It’s designed to instantly restore dull, faded trim and body cladding to its original appearance while leaving behind protection against future fading. It also provides an invisible protective barrier to prevent staining caused by waxes and polishes.
It can be used on any color plastic trim, shining and protecting for over 60 days in normal weather conditions with weekly car washing.
Applying this product is similar to other plastic and trim restorers. After shaking the bottle well, squeeze a ribbon of the restorer onto a foam applicator. You will want to wait five to 10 minutes for the product to penetrate the surface before lightly wiping with a clean, dry microfiber towel. Extra applications may be needed if your trim has wax residue, or if it’s badly oxidized.
Honorable Mention: Vinyl Magic Plastic and Trim Restorer
The final plastic and trim restorer on our list comes from Vinyl Magic. Sold in an eight-ounce bottle, this solution offers advanced protection in rain or shine. It features a powerful and effective formula that fights against fading and cracking and is said to not leave streaky residue after rain or a car wash. Vinyl Magic says its restorer will last up to three months.
In addition to shining and darkening surfaces back to black, Vinyl Magic’s product repels water, dirt, and salt. It’s safe to use on faded plastic, vinyl, rubber, and other car surfaces and works on any vehicle with black or dark grey faded trim.
This product is not a silicone-based solution and is made in the U.S.
What is a Plastic and Trim Restorer?
Plastic and trim restorers are car care products designed to restore black plastic and trim pieces to a “like new” appearance. A quality plastic restorer will do more than just dye the plastic or sit on top of the surface, instead it gets absorbed by the plastic and breaks down any oxidation that has occurred causing the black trim to look grey. When properly applied, these restorers will nourish the plastic and could even last several months depending on your weather conditions.
Most plastic and trim restorers are affordable and doesn’t require a lot of effort to apply.
Why do I Need a Plastic and Trim Restorer?
If the plastic or trim pieces on your vehicle are fading and looking more grey than black, then you want to invest into a quality plastic and trim restorer. Not only will it bring the shine back to your bumper or trim piece, some products offer a layer of protection against harmful UV rays and other grime or dirt, extending the life of your trim pieces. Generally, the jet black appearance of plastic trim pieces look much better and cleaner than faded or even cracked grey plastic.
More importantly, most of the products are simple solutions to apply and use, and doesn’t requires a lot of time for them to work. It’s a small monetary and time investment in making sure your plastic trim pieces last as long as your car.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Plastic and Trim Restorer
Most plastic and trim restorers available in the market advertise similar features and properties. Some are oil-based while others are liquid-based. You ideally want to avoid silicone-based solutions as they generally do not last as long and will require constant applications. When shopping for a product, make sure it’s not simply just a dye that goes on the surface of your trim. You’ll want a quality product that not only makes your plastic trim pieces shine black, but help protect them from further wear and tear.
Just keep in mind that these products aren’t permanent fixes. Eventually you will need to re-apply the product, so find something that’s easy to use so you don’t mind doing the process often if necessary.
You’ll also want to look for a product that doesn’t leave behind an oily or greasy finish. Most products will advertise a dry-to-the-touch feel.
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