How to Install Auto Trim Molding

Written by nick davis
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How to Install Auto Trim Molding
Use masking tape and a roller to help install auto trim moulding on your vehicle. (Auto image by Ewe Degiampietro from

Auto trim moulding is available in a variety of sizes and types, including rubber, plastic and chrome. The trim contains a smooth front surface and a rough back surface that accepts adhesive to keep the trim from coming off your vehicle. Over time, auto trim moulding becomes brittle, starts to break down and needs replacing. It is not hard to install new moulding. You can even install auto trim moulding to a vehicle that never had it.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 3 soft, non-abrasive cloths or rags
  • Isopropyl alcohol (70 per cent)
  • Cold water
  • Bucket
  • Lint-free cloth or rag
  • Masking tape
  • Ruler
  • Pencil or pen
  • Utility knife
  • Rubber hand roller

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  1. 1

    Park your vehicle in a garage or other covered area where dust and dirt are not blowing. This keeps debris from collecting on the vehicle's surface during the installation process.

  2. 2

    Wipe your vehicle with a soft, non-abrasive cloth or rag to remove loose dust and dirt from the vehicle's surface.

  3. 3

    Mix 1/2 gallon of isopropyl alcohol (70 per cent) and 1/2 gallon of cold water in a bucket. Stir the mixture with a soft, non-abrasive cloth or rag. Wring out the excess.

  4. 4

    Wipe the area with the damp cloth or rag.

  5. 5

    Dry the area with a lint-free cloth. The area your vehicle is parked in should be between 18.3 degrees C and 43.3 degrees Celsius for the adhesive on the back of the auto trim moulding to adhere properly.

  1. 1

    Unroll a strip of the auto trim moulding from its packaging. Straighten out the moulding with your hands.

  2. 2

    Place the moulding on the area, but do not remove the liner tape from the back of the moulding yet. Place a piece of masking tape on each end of the moulding to hold the material in place.

  3. 3

    Align the moulding as you adjust the masking tape, using a ruler. Add additional masking tape to hold the moulding in place, if needed.

  4. 4

    Cut the moulding carefully with a utility knife at any door jambs or areas you don't want it.

  5. 5

    Start at one end of the moulding, pull off the masking tape and remove the liner paper from the back of the moulding. Slowly but firmly press the moulding onto your vehicle as you move to the opposite end. Keep the moulding straight as you move toward the end.

  6. 6

    Adhere the moulding onto your vehicle once the material is in place, using a rubber hand roller.

Tips and warnings

  • Once the moulding is in place, wipe the auto trim with a clean, non-abrasive cloth or rag to remove any debris from the material.
  • Wear latex gloves to keep your hands clean.

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