Making a car shine like new isn’t just about buffing the paint or applying a fresh coat of wax. It’s the little things that can make all the difference, so Dan Maffett stopped by to show us how to that faded black trim look factory fresh in MotorWeek’s “Your Drive!”

DAN MAFFETT: Any automotive owner that has plastic trim on their car knows that it can be the bane of your existence. When it sits in the sun, the sun can bake the plastic and turn it colors. It can go grey, it can even, like this vehicle, pick up tones of that paint onto the plastic and dye the plastic, but it never looks good. There’s a lot of options out there – some snake oil, some real stuff– about how you can wipe things on it, make it new and never have to touch it again. It’s kinda far from the truth.

There’s several options out there. You have something that’s kind of a topical spray, something like this. You spray it on, it’s essentially a tire dressing, a plastic dressing. You put it on, you wipe it off, and you’re good to go. You just have to apply it pretty regularly, every time you wash the vehicle.

Back to Black Trim Restoration

You have something like this which would be a ceramic. It’s going to last a little longer, but it’s a little more process-heavy to apply. But, not having to do it every time you wash the car, might be worth it.

You have some of these high-condensed oils like this as well, which a small bottle like this could set you back $30- 40 dollars. But, it’s very potent, it works quick, it just doesn’t last a very long time.

The only permanent solution you have is something like this. This is a trim black. You either take the plastic off the vehicle, prep it and paint it like you would a normal fender, or you can mask it on the vehicle, spray it, and it gives you that true black factory finish. But, it is process-heavy. You have to mask. You have to make sure you don’t get anything on your paint, and if you do it right, this will last you a long time. We’re going to go through some of these and demo how they might work, and you can see some of the results for yourself.

We’re gonna start with this tire spray. This is a trim and tire coating. This is the easiest thing to apply, so we’re going to start with that. You just spray it on as if you are painting the fender. And it’s paint safe so you don’t have to worry about it getting on the finish. And then you just go through and wipe it across, take off any extra. And this is gonna add all that hydration back into that panel that the sun took from it.

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Now that you’ve seen the easy one, we’ll jump over to the more difficult one. This paint, you’re going to have to just clean the surface really good. I’m going to actually put a piece of tape down the front, so that you can see the before and after.

Tape is a lot cheaper than paint, so don’t be afraid to use it.

I’m going to let that tack and we’ll put a second coat on top in just a second.

Alright, so now you see our first coat is nice and tacked up, it looks kind of satin. You can go ahead and put a nice even second coat on there.

As you can see, painting the trim gives you that factory-new look with just a little bit of work. If you don’t mind a little bit of elbow grease now and then, you can use the spray dressing and it gives you a very good look as well, but a lot of maintenance.

So, if you have any questions or comments, hit us up right here at MotorWeek.