How to Restore Color to Plastic Auto Trim

Written by mason howard
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How to Restore Color to Plastic Auto Trim
(Jupiterimages/ Images)

Until it starts to fade, it is easy to overlook the importance of a car's exterior plastic trim as an aesthetic component. Once faded, though, the trim sticks out and quickly becomes an eyesore. Plastic trim not only fades due to sun exposure, but also from contact with the elements, which can dull the once-shiny finish of the trim. Restore trim using plastic automotive dye, such as Mother's Back to Black or Showroom New. Plastic dye is available from automotive detailing product suppliers.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Dish soap
  • Painter's tape
  • Rags
  • Gloves
  • Vinyl protectant

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  1. 1

    Clean the trim thoroughly with a sudsy solution of warm water and dish soap. Allow the trim to dry.

  2. 2

    Mask around the trim with painter's tape, if you can't remove it from the car completely.

  3. 3

    Place a small dollop of dye on the end of a rag (some types of dyes come with applicator sponges). Wear gloves and stainable clothing when working with plastic dye. Smear a generous coat of dye over the trim. Allow the dye to sit for the time indicated in the instructions.

  4. 4

    Wipe off the excess dye with a dry rag. Leave the trim to dry overnight.

  5. 5

    Spray the trim with an even film of vinyl protectant. Vinyl protectant has UV inhibitors and will help deter fading in the future.

Tips and warnings

  • Plastic dye can also be used on rubber parts.

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