Trim Transformation from Dull to Dazzling!

Last updated on December 13th, 2023

Trim transformation from Dull to Dazzling on my 2019 Blue Mazda CX5 Touring!

Hello, fellow car fanatics! Today, I am excited to share tips and tricks for your car’s trim transformation from dull to dazzling!

If you are anything like me, you take pride in keeping your vehicle looking its best. The trim is no exception. However, knowing where to start or what to use can be challenging with many different trim types and levels. Undoubtedly, there are probably just as many products for restoring your trim.

That is why I have put together this comprehensive guide to help you make your trim transformation easy and stress-free!

First, I will walk you through the different trim types and what kind of maintenance they require. The following post will specifically focus on maintaining your plastic and rubber trim.

I will explain how to clean, polish, and buff it for the best possible results. I will give you some pro tips on avoiding common mistakes that can damage your trim and leave it looking worse than before.

That is not all! In addition to maintenance, I will show you a list of the pros and cons of a couple of products in the marketplace that will leave you doing trim restoration with less frequency and effort than you thought imaginable.

Whether you are a seasoned detailer or a complete novice, this guide has something for everyone. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started on your trim transformation from dull to dazzling today and take your car detailing to the next level!

Affiliate Marketing Disclaimer: I am an affiliate marketer with links to online retailers on my website. When people read what I have written about a particular product, click on those links, and buy something from those links, I earn a small commission from the retailer at no extra cost to the buyer.

What Causes Plastic Trim on a New Vehicle to Fade?

After purchasing a car, truck, or SUV, have you ever noticed the black plastic trim on bumpers, mirrors, fender flares, running boards, and bed rails, and the plastic at the bottoms of many car doors fades and loses its shine? This is caused by several explanations that I have listed below:

  • UV radiation: UV exposure is one of the most significant contributors to black or gray rubber or plastic trim fading. The sun breaks down the pigmentation, causing the plastic and rubber to discolor.
  • Environmental pollutants: Exposure to airborne contamination, such as acid rain and smog, will also cause plastic and rubber to lose color. The contaminants react with the chemicals in them, causing discoloration.
  • Chemicals used for cleaning: Use caution about the types of chemicals you are using when cleaning your vehicle. Detailing or non-detailing chemicals will react with the chemicals used in rubber and plastic parts.
  • Increases or decreases in the outside ambient temperature can cause the plastic and rubber vehicle trim to expand and contract, which causes discoloration in them over time.
  • Plastic manufacturing process: The process by which the plastic and rubber components on your vehicle are made can contribute to their fading or discoloring.
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Say Goodbye to Discolored Trim.

Next, we should address the ways to slow or prevent the process of plastic fading or discoloring. Although I do not believe there is a way to fully mitigate it from happening, there are ways to slow the process. Here are a few steps that may help below:

  1. Park your car indoors, under a cover, or underneath shade whenever possible.
  2. Wash your vehicle regularly and use chemicals to protect against harmful UV rays.
  3. Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners. Do not use household cleaners that break down plastic or rubber.
  4. Use chemicals developed for the trim when you perform maintenance washes on your car.

Plastic Trim Restoration Made Easy!

As mentioned in other posts, I use many prosumer-grade detailing products to provide relevant information to people who follow my website. I perform various investigative and trial research on the products to determine ease of use, cost, time, and return on investment. This post will be no different. That said, a few products I had used performed well when the trim transformation went from dull to dazzling.

Last June, I used Mothers Polishes, Waxes, & Cleaners on our Mazda CX5. I performed significant exterior and interior detailing on the car, including all the black trim restorations.

From the picture, you can see plenty of black plastic trim work to detail. Specifically, the product from Mothers that I used was called Back to Black Trim & Plastic Restorer, and it has held up for nearly a year without reapplication.

Trim Transformation from Dull to Dazzling on Our 2019 Blue Mazda CX5 Touring!

If you click on the picture of the 2019 Blue Mazda CX5, it will open in a new browser tab so you can see it with more clarity.

How to Restore & Rejuvenate Faded Black Plastic Trim?

This past weekend I performed a detailing job for this wonderful couple I do detailing for annually. They are so lovely and appreciative after I finish their cars. Well, this weekend was no different than this time last year other than the products I used to do the job for them. The couple has two Lincolns: a 2020 Aviator and a 2019 Navigator. They both have a tremendous amount of black plastic trim to accent the Pearl White exterior and chrome on the vehicle. If you click the following link to the 2020 White Lincoln Aviator, you will see the complete work from 5-6-2023.

First, I started with my typical two-bucket car wash. You can see the step-by-step guide for Top Car Wash Tips for a Flawless Finish! I began by cleaning the tires & wheels and moved on to a high-pressure soap wash and rinse—my post on how to Revamp Your Tires & Wheels: A Guide to Lasting Shine here.

Afterward, I performed a high-touch hand wash with a Synthetic Clay mitt. Here is that post, What is Automotive Clay Bar Detailing? Why is it Important? I dried the vehicle with my Chemical Guys drying towel called The Speed Mammoth. It is an Ultimate Super Plush 25″ * 30″ car drying towel. I could have stopped right there; their Aviator looked absolutely amazing.

Chemical Guys |  The Speed Mammoth is the Ultimate Super Plush 25" * 30" car drying towel.

They requested I apply wax to protect their finish for the following year. There was a wax that I had wanted to try out for some time. The wax is in the Chemical Guys‘ Hydro product line, called Hydroslick Intense Gloss Sio2 Ceramic Coating Hyperwax. I used it for every exterior car part on the Aviator except for the windows & tires to accomplish a Trim Transformation from Dull to Dazzling!

2020 White Lincoln Aviator - Complete with Transformed Trim.

Revived…Your Car’s Trim!

  • Hydrophobic & Hyperactive water beading – Check!
  • Effortlessly apply for durable ceramic protection – Check!
  • Astonishing intense ceramic shine – Check!
  • Shine and protects the glass, brilliantly painted wheels, chrome, faded black trim, and lights – Check!
  • Shields against UV rays, the elements, industrial fallout, and more – Check!
  • Adds astonishing clarity and depth to any color paint – Check!
  • All the benefits of ceramic without the hassle – Check!
  • Adds up to one year of durable protection

The Chemical Guys Hydroslick Intense Gloss Sio2 Ceramic Coating Hyperwax checked all the boxes and is a highly effective coating for restoring the faded black trim on any vehicle. While using the Hydroslick, what I found most impressive was that a little goes a long way. I used maybe an ounce of the product to apply to every part of the Lincoln Aviator, excluding the tires and windshield.

HydroSlick Application Directions:

  1. Thoroughly wash the vehicle’s surface.
  2. For flawless results, thoroughly clay detail the car to remove contaminants.
  3. Machine polish imperfections, swirl marks, and scratches if necessary.
  4. Squeeze 4 – 5 dots of HydroSlick onto a Premium Microfiber Applicator Pad. (Maybe use 4 – 5 drops on the first-panel application; after the applicator is saturated with the product, use maybe 2 – 3 tiny drops.)
  5. Apply a thin, even coat to a cool, clean, dry surface out of direct sunlight, working on one panel at a time.
  6. HydroSlick can be removed in as little as 30 seconds. However, it is recommended to allow 1 – 2 minutes for drying.
  7. Buff the Hyperwax off with a clean microfiber towel to reveal an intense lustrous shine!
  8. After applying the HydroSlick treatment, it is ideal keeping the vehicle out of the elements, dry, and clean for 2 – 3 hours.
  9. Depending on the climate, the hydrophobic effects will improve even more after 24 hours of application.

Detailing the Tires with My New Go To Solution

I wrote a post in January 2023 titled Revamp Your Tires & Wheels: A Guide to Lasting Shine, and it discussed one of my favorite tire care solutions called Armor All Extreme Tire Shine. What I liked about the product was the shiny, wet-looking appearance without any moisture left behind once applied to the tires. Also, I liked the longevity of the product’s protective properties.

I purchased a new product from the Chemical Guys for the 2020 White Lincoln Aviator that I detailed this past weekend, and it will be the product I will use for the foreseeable future. As a result of how the trim and tires turned out on the Aviator, a new product was added to my arsenal. Conversely, the product’s name is Tire & Trim Gel Plastic & Rubber High-Gloss Restorer & Protectant. I applied the Tire & Trim Gel Plastic Restorer with a foam applicator pad from the Chemical Guys. Here is the link to the Hex Logic Applicator Pad I used. Below is a list of the pros & cons of the Tire & Trim Gel:

– Absorbs quickly for a shiny wet look– If you use too much, it can be sticky & hard to remove
– Tires & trim look newer for longer– Pricey at $25.00 to some comparable products
– Locks in essential oils for rubber & plastic
– A little goes a long way (spread it thin)
Trim Transformation from Dull to Dazzling with Chemical Guys Tire & Trim Gel Plastic & Rubber High-Gloss Restorer & Protectant.
Chemical Guys Tire & Trim Gel Plastic & Trim Restorer.

In Conclusion:

In conclusion, the post was written to provide vehicle trim types—mainly black or gray, plastic or rubber. Conversely, I discussed the types of products and the step-by-step processes for applying them to the trim. Finally, I discussed the pros and cons of each chemical I used on the Aviator.

Hence, the primary chemicals used on the 2020 Aviator were purchased from the Chemical Guys. First was the Hydroslick Intense Gloss Sio2 Ceramic Coating Hyperwax. Whereas this product would have been sufficient for the whole car. Maybe even the tires. I used it on the vehicle’s body panels, lights, chrome & black trim, and wheels. As mentioned, I used the Rain-X glass cleaner for the exterior windows this time. Also, I chose to use the Chemical Guys Tire & Trim Gel Plastic & Rubber High-Gloss Restorer & Protectant on the tires and as a topper for the plastic and rubber trim.

I hope you enjoyed reading my post. Applying these products from the Chemical Guys on the 2020 White Lincoln Aviator was easy and satisfying after seeing my final results. Not to mention, my clients were delighted with the results.

Please don’t take my word for it. Instead, look at Joe’s testimonial in the comments section of a prior post, What is the Best Car Wash and Wax Combos? I think he was so anxious to get a testimonial up on my site he didn’t want to wait for me to finish this article about his Aviator. That is acceptable to me, Joe! I appreciate the testimonial and your patronage of my website and my detailing business at Detail Your Rides. Please spread the word about Detail Your Rides with your friends and in Social media posts.

If you like this post, please like, share, and comment. Thank you, Matt.

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