How to Care for Exterior Auto Plastics & Rubber

Written by c.l. rease
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How to Care for Exterior Auto Plastics & Rubber
Harsh weather removes moisture from your vehicle's rubber and plastic parts. (dirty car image by Alexey Klementiev from

Rubber seals and plastic trim are common on today's vehicles. Exposure to harsh environments and sunlight cause the moisture held in the materials to dry out. Dried-out rubber and plastic become brittle and crack. The cracks can escalate, causing air leakage around the rubber seals and peeling paint from the brittle plastic. Treating the materials with a cleaner containing a moisturiser will prevent the rubber and plastic of your vehicle from becoming brittle and cracking.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Car washing liquid
  • Plastic bucket
  • Water
  • Rags
  • Exterior cleaner
  • Clean rags
  • Vinyl and rubber protectant
  • Restoration dye

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  1. 1

    Pour car washing liquid into a plastic bucket. Fill the bucket 3/4 full with water. Wet your vehicle with clean water. Wash your vehicle with a rag soaked in the plastic bucket. Allow your vehicle to dry.

  2. 2

    Apply exterior cleaner onto the rubber and plastic with a clean rag. Wipe the cleaner from the materials when dried.

  3. 3

    Pour vinyl and rubber protectant onto a clean rag. Wipe all vinyl and plastic parts of the vehicle with the vinyl protectant. Use a circular motion when applying the protectant to the materials to ensure complete coverage. Allow the protectant to absorb into the materials before wiping it off with a clean dry rag.

  4. 4

    Wipe restoration dye to black rubber seals with a clean rag to remove discolouration from the material.

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