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Drab, Dull Trim? Bring it Back to Life with Plastic Restorer

Trim Needs Detailing, Too

Showing a classic car means detailing every inch of it to perfection. After a long day of polishing, though -plastic, vinyl or rubber trim doesn’t always get the attention it needs. From door seals and bumpers to drive belts and tires, these polymers need protection to stay looking great and functioning properly.

UV Light Damages Vinyl and Plastics

Not only are polymers affected by oxygen, heat, oil, road tar grime and the ozone, the biggest culprit is UV light. It’s almost impossible to keep your classic car out of direct sunlight, which is why plastic restorers and protectants are so important.

Wash the Paint, Scrub the Trim

The best defense is a good offense. Keep plastic and vinyl trim looking good with regular maintenance. Washing your car is not just about getting the dirt off the paint. Be sure to thoroughly scrub the trim using a soft bristle brush, removing embedded contaminants as well as built-up layers of protectant, which can cause it to look dull. A couple times a year, remove all the old layers before applying a fresh coat. Exterior trim cleaners, which contain strong alkaline solutions, will remove old residue; just don’t get this on your paint. You can also use a diluted solution of vinegar or mineral spirits to strip them clean.

Traditional Dressings Vs Restorative Coatings

Traditional trim dressings will bring plastic and vinyl back to life but will only last through a few washings. They are usually water based solutions, which is why they don’t will last. Restorative coatings like SONAX Plastic Restorer form a protective bond to the surface and will last a couple of months.

Detailers Masking Tape Vs Painter’s Tape

Using low tac detailers masking tape (designed for delicate surfaces), tape off trim, gaps or emblems, which keeps wax and other detailing products away from your trim. Avoid areas with peeling or fading paint, overlays and pinstripes. Don’t use painter’s tape. The chemicals used on the edge to keep paint from getting underneath are too harsh for the clear coat. Remember - a little effort upfront will save you time in the long run.

Vegetable Oil Removes Wax Stains

While you’re detailing, avoid getting wax and other solutions on vinyl, rubber or plastic areas. These solvents will stain your trim and are very difficult to get off. A strong exterior trim cleaner can remove some of these. One DIY trick is to rub the stain with vegetable cooking oil and then wipe off. Use a soft brush to work it into the pores where wax loves to hide. Always follow up with a protectant.

Chase Away the Grays with Permanent Dyes

For severely discolored trim, try using permanent dyes. They can bring the trim back to a darker black condition. They are great for small areas but large areas like bumpers have a tendency to show streaks. It may take several coats to get the look you want. As is their nature, dyes will stain your paint, so keep them away.

Plastic Restorers – Sunscreen for Your Trim

Think of plastic restorers as sunscreen for your classic car’s trim. Keeping a good coat of a protectant on your trim will keep it looking clean and black the way it is supposed to. Your garage queen will appreciate your thoughtfulness and the show judges will reward you for it. Classic Auto Insurance is proud to partner with SONAX to bring their fine products to the attention of our classic car community. Learn more about the SONAX quality line of car care products at

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Your attention to every detail on your classic car is legendary but have you covered everything? Make sure you have the right insurance protecting your garage queen. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 12/28/2015 12:00:00 AM with 0 comments

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