How to restore plastic trim

Written by robert good
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How to restore plastic trim
The plastic or resin trims on cars being to look scruffy after a while. (Ruzanna Arutyunyan/Hemera/Getty Images)

Bumps, scuffs, scrapes and grime can all take their toll on plastic trim and make it look tatty over time. The restoration process for plastic trim is straightforward compared to other trim materials. You'll need to remove it from the surface to which it's mounted before you can proceed. Your tired plastic trim will look just the way that you want it to once you have properly finished the restoration process.

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Things you need

  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Fine-grit sand paper
  • Warm water
  • Soap
  • Cloth
  • Acrylic spray paint

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  1. 1

    Remove the plastic trim from its mounting. This varies by car model, so check your user manual to find out how to unclip or unscrew the trim on your vehicle.

  2. 2

    Set up your work area in a garage or an outside flat surface. Protect the work area with plastic dust sheets.

  3. 3

    Sand the surface completely using the medium-grit sandpaper to get rid of scratches and dents.

  4. 4

    Sand the surface again using the fine-grit sandpaper after all the scratches and dents have been removed.

  5. 5

    Wash the plastic trim with warm water and soap. Remove the water using the cloth and allow the plastic trim to completely air dry for three hours.

  6. 6

    Apply one coat of acrylic spray paint to the surface of the trim and allow the trim to dry for two hours. You can use a clear coat or select one that matches you car's exact colour. Apply a second coat of paint and allow the trim to dry overnight.

Tips and warnings

  • Check the paint manufacturer's recommendations for drying times between coats.

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