How to paint interior car trim

Updated February 21, 2017

Painting car trim is a simple auto upgrade for any auto enthusiast. It improves the look of the trim and adds contrast against the upholstery. This upgrade is performed with simple tools following an easy-to-understand process. If trim is dirty or just an unpleasant colour, a fast paint job is all you need to liven it up. Materials also cost under £26.

Remove the trim piece from the car by pulling it straight up and off of the interior. Trim pieces do not require special tools to remove, they are simply held in place by plastic clips and removable by hand.

Clean the trim piece with a degreaser and clean rag to remove grease and dirt. Then wipe the trim piece dry with a clean towel to remove the degreaser residue.

Lightly sand the surface of the trim piece by hand with 200-grit sand paper just to scuff the exterior. This helps the paint adhere better.

Spray on a coat of surface primer. Cover the entire trim piece with primer and allow it to dry for several hours or as recommended on the paint label.

Sand the surface of the primer lightly after it has completely dried using the 200-grit sandpaper to knock down the paint texture. If you want the final piece to have a textured surface, skip this step completely.

Spray on the final coat of paint. Move the spray can in a consistent motion back and forth across the trim piece until it is completely covered. Do not worry about painting the underneath side of the trim, as it will not be visible. Allow the trim piece to dry for eight hours (or as specified on your spray can).


Avoid spraying too much paint into crevice areas if any exist on your trim pieces. This may cause the paint to build up inside the crevices.


Use spray paint only in a well ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean rag
  • Degreaser
  • Dry towel
  • Sandpaper, 200 grit
  • Surface primer
  • Spray paint
  • Clear coat (optional)
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About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.