Black plastic trim is present on pretty much every car made in the last 35 years, but it does benefit from some care and protection from black trim restorer. From the giant slabs of plastic that make up the bumpers of modern vans and base model city cars of old to small styling details of high-end saloons, black plastic is everywhere, and that’s where trim restorer comes into its own.
Your last chance to pick up black trim restorer at a bargain price
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And while it will look really good under the lights of a dealership and when it’s brand new, black plastic is not the best for retaining the dark look that makes it so enticing. The once rich black plastic goes a horrid flat grey as the sun’s harmful UV rays damage the plastic trim, making the surface brittle and missing pigment.
Thankfully, there are a load of black trim restorers available on the market, and we’ve chosen our top picks right here.
The best black trim restorers at a glance:
Editor’s choice: Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer – Buy now from Amazon UK
Best wipe-applied protection: CERAKOTE Ceramic Trim Coat Kit – Buy now from Amazon UK
Best simple black trim restorer: Autoglym Bumper & Trim Gel – Buy now from Amazon UK
The best black trim restorers
- Long-lasting results
- UV protection
- More laborious to apply
- So easy to apply
- Top value
- Not the most durable finish
- Tested "The results on the rear of my Volvo speak for themselves, there was an immediate change in the appearance of the faded plastics and they now look brand new. It was also very easy to apply, the only issue I had was regulating how much gel I applied to the applicator pad. Still, any excess was easily buffed away. It also has a really nice smell, a little worrying for something that can cause drowsiness and dizziness."
- Easy to apply
- Some UV protection
- Still not long-term
- Versatile choice
- Full coverage
- Applicator sold separately
The best applicators for restoring trim
Special care should be taken when using any of these black trim restorers as they’re all flammable and several are skin irritants. As such it’s recommended that an applicator is used to apply the product to a car.
- Good quality microfibre
- Easy to use
- The elastic strap could be tighter
- Comfortable size
- Machine washable
- Thinner than some others
Before you restore
Before you restore your trim, make sure that the trim is clean from debris to avoid scratching the trim while it’s being restored. You don’t have to wash the entire car as usual; however, a diluted all purpose cleaner (APC) sprayed onto the trim and wiped away should be more than enough.
All our top trim restorers won’t pose a threat to paintwork either, so there’s no need to apply masking tape to the surrounding areas. If there is a little over-spray, all you’ll need to do is wipe it away with a clean microfibre towel.
What you need to know about black trim restorer:
Does it work on non-black trim?
The majority of these products are designed for black trim only and will not give the desired look on other colours. If you have coloured trim that’s looking a little. The same can be said for chromed or metal trim, you’ll need a proper polish for the best results.
What about piano black exterior trim?
Glossy black plastic trim is a popular choice for window trim and is notoriously hard to keep scratch-free and is susceptible to UV damage like all black trim. While one of these trim restorers will restore any lost lustre, the tiny scratches won’t be removed and will require machine polishing for a flawless finish.
How can I prevent my trim from becoming damaged?
Park your car in a garage when at home and try and park it in a shaded area when you’re away from home.
Look at ceramic coating your car as it offers excellent protection against the harmful UV rays that damage your car’s trim.
Why should I care?
It’s very easy to look at faded trim pieces and write them off as nothing to worry about. Yet, for a relatively small amount of money and some elbow grease, restoring these trim pieces will make your car worth more when it comes time to sell it.
Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tools Editor for Parkers and CAR, specialising in car cleaning and hand tools. With an MA in Automotive Journalism, when he’s not testing buckets he can be found looking at old Porsches.
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