Best Trim Restorer: Revive Your Car’s Faded Black Trim
Bring out the black color in your plastic and rubber trim with these trim restorers
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PUBLISHED ON September 4, 2019
Your car trim is prone to premature discoloration due to UV rays, harsh cleaning detergents, grime, and oxidation. Black trim may turn gray after frequent exposure to such conditions. Fortunately, it’s possible to restore the faded trim on your car with a plastic restorer. Read our review for a detailed rundown of some of the best plastic restorer products on the market today that will restore the original color of your trim.
- Best OverallTriNova Plastic & Trim RestorerSummarySummaryA high-end trim restorer and protectant that shines and darkens faded trims on cars and motorcycles.ProsProsIt prevents future discoloration and premature aging. Leaves a long-lasting shine. Can last for 12 months. Offers advanced protection against rain, salt, and dirt. Doesn’t leave a streak residue. Easy and quick application.ConsConsDoesn’t include fast dry action. Can be messy. Can be washed away by a heavy downpour. Accumulates dirt and dust.
- Best ValueChemical Guys Sprayable DressingSummarySummaryA sprayable, fast-dry, and non-greasy formula that restores the original color on trims, tires, and dashboard surfaces.ProsProsAffordable. Great plastic reconditioner. Protects against fading. Includes a convenient spray applicator. Includes sun blockers for UV protection. Lasts for weeks. Will not attract dirt or dust.ConsConsHas a strong smell. Washes off in heavy rain. Forms streaks after rain and white discoloration on a dark trim.
- Honorable MentionMothers Trim & Plastic RestorerSummarySummaryAn original formula that cleans, protects and restores the original black color on trim and plastic.ProsProsRemoves dirt on the surface film. Can be used in the car’s interior and exterior. Includes anti-UV ingredients. Superior dark shiny finish. Can be used on almost all surfaces.ConsConsForms streaks under rainwater. Feels greasy to touch. Needs constant reapplication. Applicator pads sold separately.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of a Trim Restorer
- It improves the look of your vehicle. Trim and plastic restorers deepen the dark color on the bumper and other plastic surfaces. It makes your car look as good as new and offers long-lasting results. The products also add a lustrous finish to the black parts that absorb UV rays to prevent further aging of your vehicle.
- It’s multifunctional. You can use plastic restoration products on all the plastic parts of your vehicle's interior and exterior, including rubber parts like the tires and window seals. The restoration formula is best for restoring the original color of leather seats, plastic bumpers, and plastic door handles.
- It’s safe and environmentally friendly. Most plastic restorers won’t damage your trim even if you use too much of the product. Also, manufacturers are becoming more sensitive to the effects their products have on the environment, and that’s why most of the plastic renewal products on the market are eco-friendly and safe for human contact.
Chemical Guys is an American-based company that was founded in 1968. It manufactures a wide range of automotive detailing products that are sold in over 50 countries worldwide. This car detailer sells a wide range of products, including car shampoos, pre-wax cleaners, wax, sealants, leather protectors, polish pads, polish machines, air fresheners, and trim restorers. One of its cheapest car exterior plastic restorers is the Chemical Guys Sprayable Dressing.
TriNova specializes in automotive care products designed to treat aluminum, wood, granite, leather, and vinyl. Its products are eco-friendly, and some of them include waxes, tire shine sprays, car wash concentrates, plastic restorers, and a variety of interior detailing products. One of its best-selling plastic rejuvenators and vinyl restorers for cars is the TriNova Plastic & Trim Restorer.
Mothers is an American car care detailer headquartered in California. The company produces over 70 marine and automotive care products, including high-quality sealants, paints, car waxes, shampoos, brushes, and automotive tools. It has been in the car care industry since 1995, and one of its best black trim restorers is the Mothers Trim & Plastic Restorer.
Forever Black is a new entrant in the car care industry and has taken the industry by storm with its specialized dyes that are more durable than most standard dyes. The company is Northern California-based, and its products are used in showrooms all across America. One of its best black bumper restorers is the Forever Black Bumper & Trim Formula.
Trim Restorer Pricing
- Under $15: Most trim restorers are affordable. Selecting a cheap product doesn't mean that you are sacrificing quality. However, cheaper products are packed in smaller tubes and bottles. You may have to buy them as a set to get the job done.
- Over $15: Trim restorers within this price range come in bigger bottles that could be up to a gallon in size. You will also find sets of two or more restorers. Most of these products come with a spray applicator for easy application.
Be sure to check that the trim restorer is compatible with the components of your car. Some formulations are too harsh for certain plastics and may corrode the material. The best plastic restorer products are silicone-free and form a long-lasting glossy finish. Silicon-based restorers have a glossier finish but aren’t long lasting. The manufacturer often indicates the parts of your vehicle that the restorer is compatible with.
In this case, durability refers to how long the restorer stays on the plastic before discoloration reoccurs. Choose a product that works for a month before you have to reapply a fresh coat. Durable restorers are more economical and convenient, since you don't have to think of auto detailing your car every couple of weeks.
On top of restoring the color of plastics, the restorer should offer additional protection that prevents future discoloration. Get a product that's waterproof, dirt-resistant, and above all, offers UV protection, since UV rays are the main cause of discoloration.
- User-Friendly: Get a trim restorer that's mild on the skin. The best products also have a low viscosity for fast and easy application. Choose an exterior trim restorer that comes with a spray applicator for easy application.
- Eco-Friendly: Choose a non-toxic product that doesn't contain any harmful chemicals that can cause a significant effect on the environment. Generally, eco-friendly detailing products don't have an unpleasant smell.
- Versatile: Not all plastic restorers are designed to be used on all plastic surfaces. You should check the manufacturer’s description to determine where you can use the product. The best trim and plastic restorer can be used on tires, bumpers, leather seats, rubber seals, engine components, and other plastic parts of your vehicle.
Best Trim Restorer Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: TriNova Plastic & Trim Restorer
The Trinova Trim Restorer is a fade-preventive formula that restores the original dark color of your trim. It darkens, shines, and prevents further aging of worn-out plastic, rubber, and vinyl surfaces. It also forms a protective coating against dirt, salt, and water. In case the trim gets rained on or you travel through dusty terrain, all you have to do is to wipe off the dirt layer on the coat to reveal the dark and lustrous trim.
What you will appreciate about this product is that it won’t leave behind oil streaks after a car wash or rain shower. It will also prevent the trim from cracking under intense sunlight. The product is easy to apply and comes in an eight-ounce bottle with an applicator pad. The restorer can last for up to 12 months and is recommended for both cars and motorcycles.
A major drawback of the product is that it may take up to three days to dry. It feels oily to the touch, and it can get messy when you apply it. That's because the bottle doesn’t have a spray applicator, and you have to use a cloth to spread the greasy product. You also have to constantly wipe off dust and dirt from the car trim because the product attracts dust. It may also be washed off by a heavy downpour.
Best Value: Chemical Guys Sprayable Dressing
Chemical Guys Sprayable Dressing comes in a 16-ounce bottle with a spray applicator for easy and fast application. It’s a water-based formula that dries a few seconds after you apply it on plastic, rubber, vinyl, and even on tires. The product is suitable for vehicle interiors and exteriors. It leaves a durable, silky shine and restores the original OEM look of your car trim. It’s also dry to the touch and won’t attract dust.
This non-greasy trim restorer is formulated with sun blockers that penetrate deep into the trim to prevent harmful UV rays from cracking or discoloring it. Its creamy texture is easy to apply and can last for weeks of driving through rough terrain and rainy weather. The product is also safe for engine components and can be used on bicycles, motorcycles, passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs.
The product leaves a nice new-car look on your trim until it gets wet or it rains. It may form streaks when wet or leave a white discoloration on a dark trim. It also washes off in a heavy downpour. This spray has a strong smell that you may find nauseating if you use it in your car’s interior.
Honorable Mention: Mothers Trim & Plastic Restorer
Mothers Trim & Plastic Restorer is a great product that restores the original dark color of your car trim. It also cleans the surface by removing dirt, waxy residue, and light oxidation. The product protects your trim from cracking, fading, and aging caused by UV rays, smog, water, ozone, harsh chemicals, and airborne contaminants.
The product comes in a 12-ounce bottle, and it’s easy to spread it on any black surface with an applicator pad. It leaves a perfect shine on your car and prevents further deterioration of the plastic parts of your car. This Mothers product is the best restoration gel to get a car with black plastic parts showroom ready in record time.
A major downside of the product is that it leaves a streak residue after a car wash or after being rained on. It also feels greasy to touch and may take a few days to dry. Moreover, the product’s shine doesn’t last long. The coat starts to thin out after only a few weeks, and you may have to put on a fresh coat every few weeks to maintain the shine.
- After using a trim restorer, make the trim sparkle and hide scratches with some of the best polishes, sealants, and waxes. They will help bounce off UV rays and prevent scratches to keep your trim looking new for longer periods of time.
- If the trim restoration product fails, try using a UV-protected dye to prevent future fading from occurring. Select a black permanent dye for longer-lasting color, and use masking tape to seal other parts of your car from the dye.
- Besides car detailing, you can restore the faded black plastic by using a heat gun to bring out the oils that enhance the color. You can also use oily peanut butter to restore black plastic or paint over the defective plastic.
Q: Will trim restorer remove the wax coating off my car?
A: It depends on how you apply the restorer. Trim restorers work by stripping off whatever is coating the exterior trim surface and replacing it with a protective layer that prevents fading, water, and dust. If you use an applicator pad to apply the chemical on the trim, it will remove the wax. However, it won’t remove the wax coat if it accidentally spills on parts of your car that are wax-coated as long as you don’t rub it in.
Q: How long do trim restorers last once they’re applied?
A: Exterior trim restorers are typically reapplied after a few weeks or months depending on the quality of the restorer. It also depends on the level of damage of your exterior trim, how much of the product you use, and your driving conditions. For example, if your car is old and you drive on rugged terrain under harsh weather conditions, then the trim restorer may only last for a week. It will last longer if you don’t frequently expose your car to heavy rain and harsh sunlight.
Q: How do I keep my trim from fading?
A: Assuming that you have a new car or have just restored your exterior trim’s color, you can prevent the trim from fading by keeping your vehicle parked away from direct sunlight. Hose down your vehicle to remove dust, and if you have to, give it a hard wash to remove tough stains using a mild detergent and a soft scrubber.
Q: What parts of my vehicle make up the trim?
A: The car trim is any black material on your car that may fade when exposed to harsh environmental conditions. This includes the door handles, roof rack, window rubber gaskets, mud flaps, fender flares, bumper, tires, side mirror cover, and lower rocker panel trim pieces. It also includes the plastic and rubber parts in your vehicle’s interior.
Our top pick is the TriNova Plastic & Trim Restorer. It's currently one of the most popular trims and plastic restorers that shields against UV rays, darkens the surface, and can offer up to one year of protection.
Our value pick is the Chemical Guys Sprayable Dressing. It’s one of the cheapest trim restorers that will return your black trim to its original state.