Plastic trim sections have been a popular design choice by manufactures for decades. Whilst older cars tend to feature more trim, it’s a material found on car of both old and new. As with any exterior car features, it’s exposed to the elements and is therefore prone to fading.
Permanent trim restorers are not only a great way of restoring trim to a factory finish, but they also provide much need protection against the elements following restoration.
Whilst fading trim is usually associated with older cars, some trim restorers are a great way of increasing the longevity of trim on newer cars. You’d be surprised at how quickly trim fades away from that factory finish detailers strive for.
Why Does Trim Fade?
Fading trim is simply part of the car lifecycle. After a time, most exterior parts on the car will start to show signs of fading, wear, or degradation. Unlike paint, which has a protective clear coat, trim is a lot more exposed to the elements. It’s also often forgotten about, as people will happily wax or seal the paintwork, but will leave trim exposed to the elements.
The speed or degree of fading can be influenced by the quality of plastic trim used, the age of the vehicle, or other environmental factors such as:
- UV radiation – Most cars spend their life outdoors for years and years so it’s not surprising that all that time in the sun will have some effect on the bodywork. UV radiation from the sun can accelerate fading on unprotected trim. Its no different to car paint which has lost its clear coat – if there’s no protection so it will fade quicker!
- Road contaminants – Road grime and salt can contain middle corrosive elements which can also affect the rate at which car trim fades. Another reason why it’s so important to protect your trim.
Can You Permanently Restore Faded Trim?
Like any car part, trim will fade over time – so you’re never going to restore it forever. However, there are measures which you can take to permanently restore your trim for months, even years!
The aim here is to restore your trim to a factory finish and to protect this finish for years to come. The key to retaining that factory finish is to protect the trim after restoration. Otherwise, it will fade within a matter of weeks.
How to Permanently Restore Black Plastic Trim?
There are several methods of restoring faded plastic trim. We recommended using a high-end permanent trim restorer for the safest, most effective, and most durable solution.
We recommend Gtechniq C4 as the best way to permanently restore your plastic trim.
Gtechniq C4 – Best Permanent Black Trim Restorer
Whilst most “restoration” products simply coat the plastic, Gtechniq C4 forms a covalent bond with the plastics. This molecular bond ensures the product doesn’t just coat the plastic but instead becomes part of the plastic.
This chemical process is what makes Gtechniq C4 so robust and durable, and what allows it to permanently restore trim. It means that the product will not just wash off in the rain, or evaporate away in the sun. Gtechniq say that C4 can stand up to the elements for 1 to 2 years – maintaining the new-look finish of your trim.
You’ll often find that many off-the-shelf trim dressing and restorers will leave a shiny finish on the trim, which isn’t that desirable – especially if you’re after a factory finish. Gtechniq C4, on the other hand, leaves a satin finish by enhancing the black colouring resulting in a factory finish.
Gtechniq C4 may seem quite pricey for the amount of product you receive. However, this is a case of quality over quantity. Gtechniq C4 offers much more durability than most off-the-shelf alternatives. It will also save you from reapplying trim dressing every fortnight – reducing cost in the long run.
This product is very satisfying to use, giving an instant result upon application. It will restore the trim on both old and new vehicles whilst ensuring a protective seal.
Gtechniq C4 is powerful stuff – so it’s important to apply it correctly. Here’s our breakdown of applying a permanent trim restorer.
Using Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer?
Always remember to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Fully clean all areas of the trim so that there’s no visible dirt or grime. We recommend cleaning the entire vehicle to avoid cross-contamination. What’s the point it sprucing up the trim if the rest of the car is still dirty.
- Using a dedicated All Purpose Cleaner (APC) or degreaser, spray the trim and agitate with a brush (or a sponge/wash mitt ). This will remove any embedded dirt or wax left behind by previously applied protection or shampoo. Both of which would compromise the bond of the coating.
- [Optional] To fully ensure the trim is fully decontaminated, wipe down the trim with an IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) solution, or panel wipe. This stuff is designed to cut through any remaining grease, wax or sealants.
- Read the instructions and safety information carefully to become familiar with the product.
- Using the Gtechniq applicator pads, drip a few drops of the trim restorer onto the pad and gently work into the surface.
- Once applied to a section, use a clean and dry microfibre cloth to remove any excess trim restorer. Ensure the finish is satin and uniform before moving onto the next section.
- Repeat for all trim sections of the car – then stand back and enjoy the view!
Permanent Trim Restorer Tips & Tricks
- A warmer environment like a garage which helps the trim restorer to bond with the plastic. On the contrary, applying the product on a cold winter morning will limit its ability to bond with the plastic. However, we do not recommend applying any product in extreme heat or direct sunlight.
- If you’ve got a lot of trim to cover, or are planning on restoring the trim on multiple vehicles, we recommend stocking up on extra applicator pads . Makeup removal pads are a good emergency alternative to the Gtechniq applicator pads if you find yourself without any spares.
- Avoid getting any trim restorer on the paintwork as it may cause streaking or hazing. We recommended taping areas where the paint meets trim to ensure this doesn’t happen.
- Ensure each section of trim is fully completed before moving onto another section. Failing to do so may lead to inconsistencies
- Wear protective equipment such as gloves and eye protection. Permanent trim restorers contain powerful chemicals which you want to avoid contact with.
How Much Do You Need?
Gtechniq C4 comes in a 15ml or 30ml bottle – and it can be quite tricky to know which to go for.
For vehicles which feature larger sections of trim, like a Mini – it’s probably worth going for the 30ml so you don’t run out. On the contrary, vehicles which have small sections of trim will only require a 15ml.
You know your vehicle better than anyone else so always use your best judgment.
Caring for Your Trim
To keep your trim looking great for longer, it’s important to keep it protected. Even if you’ve applied a permanent trim restorer, there is no harm in adding some extra protection to increase the longevity of the finish.
If you haven’t felt the need to restore your trim, then caring for your trim is essential to helping to delay fading. If you have restored your trim then this is a great way to extend the durability of the permanent trim restorer, by adding a sacrificial layer over the top.
Gtechniq T1 Tyre and Trim is a great option for regularly caring for your trim. This product gives you plenty of control of the finish of the trim. A single coat will produce a satin finish when buffed with a microfibre cloth – helping to achieve a factory finish.
The results of any car cleaning product vary from case to case – and the same goes for permanent trim restorers. There are alternative paths which you can take to restoring your trim, such as the heat gun approach, but we do not deem such methods as particularly safe or effective. We believe that permanent trim restorers are the way forward for any off-the-shelf solution.