Reviews

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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BY Linsay Thomas , Norah Tarichia / LAST UPDATED ON September 14, 2021

Your vehicle's 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 guide for a detailed rundown of some of the best plastic restorer products on the market that will restore the original color of your trim.

Best Overall
TriNova Plastic & Trim Restorer
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Summary
Summary

A high-end trim restorer and protectant that shines and darkens faded trims on cars and motorcycles.

Pros
Pros
  • It 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.
Cons
Cons
  • Doesn’t include fast dry action. 
  • Can be messy.
  • Can be washed away by a heavy downpour.
  • Accumulates dirt and dust.
Best Overall
TriNova Plastic & Trim Restorer
Best Value
Chemical Guys Sprayable Dressing
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Summary
Summary

A sprayable, fast-dry, and non-greasy formula that restores the original color on trims, tires, and dashboard surfaces.

Pros
Pros
  • Affordable. 
  • 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.
Cons
Cons
  • Has a strong smell. 
  • Washes off in heavy rain. 
  • Forms streaks after rain and white discoloration on a dark trim.
Best Value
Chemical Guys Sprayable Dressing
Honorable Mention
Mothers Trim & Plastic Restorer
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Summary
Summary

An original formula that cleans, protects, and restores the original black color on trim and plastic.

Pros
Pros
  • Removes 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.
Cons
Cons
  • Forms streaks under rainwater. 
  • Feels greasy to touch. 
  • Needs constant reapplication. 
  • Applicator pads sold separately.
Honorable Mention
Mothers Trim & Plastic Restorer
by Chemical guys

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Benefits of a Trim Restorer

  • Improve 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Top Brands

Chemical Guys

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

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 theTriNova Plastic & Trim Restorer.

Mothers

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

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. 

Key Features

Formulation

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.

Durability

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. 

Protection Level

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. 

Other Considerations

  • 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 2021

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.

Best Gel
Mothers Trim and 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 one of the best restoration gels 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.

Premium Pick
CERAKOTE Ceramic Trim Coat Kit

If you are looking for a non-messy way of restoring the color of your vehicle’s trim, then we recommend the Cerakote Ceramic Trim Coat Kit. Instead of messy spray or squirt gels, you get a pair of gloves and 10 packages of pre-moistened wipes. You will only need to wipe the trim with the wipes, and the ceramic coat will bond to the plastic to restore the luster and original color of the trim. 


Since it’s a ceramic product, it forms a long-lasting coat that can last for two years or about 200 washes. What’s more, the ceramic coat forms a protective layer against UV rays, dirt, and dust, which are the usual culprits that cause the trim to fade. 


While it may be a durable product, it seems to work better on textured surfaces than on smooth surfaces. It leaves streak marks and spots when applied on a smooth surface such as the plastic on the side mirror.

Honorable Mention
Car Guys Plastic Restorer

The Car Guys Plastic Restorer not only works on plastics, but also works to rejuvenate faded rubber and vinyl. It’s an eco-friendly product that contains no harmful chemicals, and can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces. It contains UV inhibitors that repel UV rays to protect the applied surface from fading or drying. 


Applying it will be fairly easy since it’s non-greasy and comes with an ergonomic applicator bottle. It dries after only a few minutes, and leaves a long-lasting coat that repels water and can survive a heavy rainfall. It will leave the surface looking as good as new for several months. 


The main issue we take with this product is that it doesn’t protect the surface from dust, and may in fact attract more dust and lint. Also, it isn't going to make scratched surfaces look any better, and may be a hit or a miss with older vehicles.

Honorable Mention
Solution Finish Black Trim Restorer

The Solution Finish Black Trim Restorer is another product on our list that can also be used to restore faded vinyl and plastic on a car’s exterior. It's an advanced, silicon-free topcoat that polishes and seals the applied surface to leave a black matte finish. You needn’t worry about the surface looking dry since it also conditions the trim to give it a rich look. 


It's designed to penetrate the trim so that it can prevent oxidation in the plastic to prevent future fading. It also bonds with plastic to offer protection from harsh UV rays and unfavorable weather conditions.  


The price is its most significant drawback—it’s priced higher than most trim restorers on the market. The product is also sticky and the application can be messy. Besides that, it emits strong fumes, so it's best to prepare it in a well-ventilated area.

Honorable Mention
Adam’s New Black Trim Restorer

Adam’s Polishes is a respectable brand in the car care industry, so you may want to try out its trim restorer. The New Black Trim Restorer is a temporary dye that restores the black color to a faded exterior trim in a single treatment. It’s a ceramic-based coating that’s specially designed for plastic trims. 


You only need to apply a few drops on the applicator pad, rub it in evenly, and leave it to settle for a few hours as it goes to work on your trim. When fully cured, it leaves a rich, black color, and the effects can last for several months. 


Naturally, this product also has a few drawbacks. For one, it leaves a residue when fully cured, which can look unappealing if not wiped off. In addition, it doesn’t hold up well to water, and there may be watermarks on the trim if you drive your vehicle in a heavy downpour. 

Honorable Mention
Armor All Outlast Car Trim & Plastic Cleaner

Another brand whose products are worth looking at is Armor All—it makes some of the best car detailing products. The Outlast Car Trim and Plastic Cleaner is designed to restore the original color of plastic, rubber, and vinyl trims. It does so by preventing oxidation and forming a protective layer against UV rays, both of which are the main causes of discoloration. What’s more, you can use it on trims of all colors. 


When applied as recommended, it can last through 100 car washes. It takes less than 10 minutes to dry, and then you can use a wet microfiber cloth to wipe off any excess product. You can use it on vinyl rooftops, side mirrors, door handles, bumpers, and interior trim. 


The main downside with this product is that it doesn’t give the best results when you only apply a single coat. You need to apply several coats if you want a long-lasting finish. Also, the shiny finish may only last for a few weeks.

Honorable Mention
Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer

Meguiar offers a liquid wax that goes on easily with only a towel or a pad. You only have to spray it on and gently buff the surface. When fully cured, it creates a lustrous black finish and a protective seal against UV rays. This keeps the surface from fading and conditions it to prevent cracks. 


The product is designed to work on all exterior plastic surfaces, including rubber and vinyl trim. It will also come in handy for removing cloudiness, and reducing the appearance of scratches on your vehicle's trim. 


However, the product emits strong fumes and should only be applied in a well-ventilated area. You should also wear gloves since prolonged skin contact can cause irritation. In addition, it’s not quite long-lasting and you may need to reapply it after only a month.

Tips

  • 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.

FAQs

Q. Will the 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.

Final Thoughts

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 theChemical Guys Sprayable Dressing. It’s one of the cheapest trim restorers that will return your black trim to its original state.