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By system on Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Exterior Trim is one of the small areas on the car these days, but one of the hardest to keep looking great in the harsh Australian climate. If you have spent hours or days polishing your paint to look glossy and shiny and then your trim is faded and tired, it can really let down the whole look of the car. However good news is here, there are products using new technology that can make your exterior plastic trim look like new for much, much longer – even reviving tired looking plastics to give them new life.

Firstly like the paint and other substrates, even plastics need to be prepared properly. Why – because they are very porous and absorb a lot of contamination, if you do not remove this then the coating or dressing you are applying cannot soak into the pours and really last. This does not just mean a ‘good wash’ – take a proper cleaner like 1Z Deep Plastic Cleaner or Mint APC or Gyeon Prep and apply with a microfibre cloth, working over the area several times and changing the section of cloth a couple of times, you might be amazed with how much dirt comes ‘out’. You can also use a soft bristled brush like an old toothbrush to work into the grain – but beware do not get on the paint as most of the cleaners can remove some waxes. Then allow to dry for at least 30 mins before the next stage.

Then take your coating or dressing of choice (no greasy or high silicone ones – these will not last and have a negative impact on the plastic) and apply as per instructions. For a fairly low cost option Duragloss 271 Rumber Bumper and Trim or Dodo Juice Tyre & Trim Dressing both offer a nice deep black colour, apply with a foam applicator – leave for 1 hour and apply a second coating, working over the area 2 or 3 times, this is more of a longer term dressing and with preparation as above it should easily last a couple of months, not weeks like most.

For a little more longevity then Nanolex Trim Sealant can offer 6+ months and a little goes a long way. This will restore and add depth first to most porous plastics, while then locking in that new finish with a nano-technology sealant that repels weather for months to come.

Then for a super-long lasting option, think over 12 months, try Gyeon TRIM This is actually a ‘coating’ like a number of other products in the range offering the latest in technology and providing superior UV protection, which is the biggest enemy of plastic trim in Australia. Apply this after proper preparation again, in a smooth motion with the applicator provided. This is usually only 1 good coating but it will take more time to dry (or cure) about 4-6 hours during which it should be kept dry. Gyeon TRIM can also be used on restored and new headlights to protect due to the high UV resistance of the coating.

The better the prep, and the better the application – the better the bond of the product and the longer it will last. Note that poor products are still poor products even with good prep, but the ones above will definitely offer you great results if you follow the steps. They are amazing on exterior plastics, but offer slightly less performance on rubber surfaces – because this is a less porous material and will not accept as much product, Duragloss Rubber Bumper and Trim is best for this. And for ‘shiny’ exterior trim, most of the time this is clear coated so test first – this should be treated more like paint.

If you have not got the time for proper prep and not looking for a long lasting solution then 303 Protectant is the best pick of the ‘dressing. It is Silicone Free, unlike a lot of off-the-shelf products, so will not dry out and break down the rubbers. And it does have a good UV resistant factor which will help stop the fade, if it is applied regularly – think every few weeks after a wash to top up protection and great as a quick-hit.

However do not stop with just the exterior trim, make sure other plastic and rubber surfaces are maintained also like the rubber door and boot seals. This needs cleaning properly also and then a treatment with 1z Gummi Pflege would be suggested to restore the surface and allow for good sealing and a squeak-free closure.