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Published May. 21, 2021

While we can appreciate the economy and practicality of having plastic trim on our vehicles, the frustrating fact is that over time, it tends to get damaged and looks tired and worn out, detracting from the like-new appearance of your ride. Plastic trim and molding is lightweight and durable, but exposure to harsh elements like sun, snow, rocks, salt spray, tar, etc. cause it to begin to break down faster, even going so far as to lower your car’s resale value.

All hail the new generation of top-quality plastic restorers. For a small monetary investment, you can quickly and thoroughly revitalize the plastic trim and accents on your car, bringing back that showroom appearance that we all try so hard to maintain. With so many choices available to you on the market today, Car Bibles has decided to do some leg work for you and we’ve compiled a handy buying guide and a comprehensive list of the best performing and most reliable plastic restorers. No need to waste your time and money on substandard products that don’t deliver great results.

The Best Plastic Restorer

The top product on our list is TriNova’s Ultimate Plastic Restorer. The formula darkens plastic surfaces and leaves behind an attractive shine, so your car looks like it just came from the showroom. The easy-to-apply gel formula provides a protective layer to prevent damage caused by wind, rain, UV rays, and even flying debris.

The formula is streak-free and is more than just a black dye so that it won’t leave messy residue behind. This trim restorer also comes with its own specially designed applicator pad, making it simple and convenient to apply. All you need to do is wipe the gel across the surface of your trim and let it dry. Users say that the gel works instantly, so there’s no waiting around.

Key Features
  • Darkens black plastic surfaces
  • Leaves behind an attractive shine
  • Easy to apply gel formula
  • Resists UV rays, wind, rain, and debris with a protective coating
  • Streak-free formula
  • Specially designed applicator pad included
  • Fast acting
Specification
  • Brand TriNova
  • Model FBA_33307
  • Weight 8.8 ounces

The Meguiar’s ultimate black trim restorer is another great option for keeping your car’s trim in perfect condition. It gives exterior plastic a new lease on life. The formula creates a glossy finish that lasts for weeks, even with exposure to rain. You don’t need to worry about sun damage either, as its protective coat stands up against UV radiation, which slows the plastic’s aging process.

The fast-drying, non-greasy formula is also easy to apply and won’t streak when it gets wet. This versatile product is suitable for plastic, vinyl, and rubber and can be applied to everything from bumpers and moldings to door handles and mirror housings.

Key Features
  • Darkens exterior plastic
  • Leaves a glossy, like-new finish
  • Lasts for weeks between applications
  • Leaves behind a protective coating that protects against the sun’s UV rays
  • Resistant to rain and dirt
  • Easy to apply and fast to dry
  • Ideal for plastic, vinyl, and rubber
Specification
  • Brand Meguiar’s
  • Model G15812
  • Weight 13.6 ounces

The Black Magic Factory Black Trim & Plastic Restorer delivers high-end results that last. This professional-grade treatment utilizes a proprietary reactive silane chemistry that bonds deeply to your plastic trim to give an extremely durable restoration that doesn’t just sit on the surface but grabs deep down. As an added bonus, this formula has a pleasant scent that won’t irritate your sinuses or cause headaches during the application process as some other brands will.

The pristine shine and finish on your black trim and plastic are actually guaranteed for two years, which speaks volumes about the company’s faith in its product. Special InviArmor technology protects against untimely fading, making this product a great bang for the buck. Since you won’t have to re-apply it as often as with some others on the market, don’t be put off by its initially higher price point.

Key Features
  • Suitable for use on external rubber, plastic, wiper arms, and more
  • InviArmor technology protects against fading and UV radiation
  • Patented formula chemical bond to the plastic and rubber to penetrate deeply
  • Lasts for months between applications
  • Pleasant scent
Specification
  • Brand Black Magic
  • Model 120164
  • Weight 4.6 ounces

If you’re looking for a complete and ready to go restoration kit that provides everything you need from soup to nuts, check out the Liquid Performance Racing Trim Tonic Restorer Kit. It’s suitable for use on your car’s exterior and interior surfaces, making it a versatile and comprehensive choice. It works to pristinely restore plastic, rubber, vinyl, and even leather with its non-greasy, no-slip formula that dries completely in minutes.

Feel free to use it on bumpers, tires, mirrors, grilles, and cowls, but also on dashboards, door panels, seats, consoles, and more. It will create a solid level of UV protection while simultaneously removing oxidation damage. It also protects against road salt, tree sap, and other corrosive elements. One application provides months of protection. This kit is a little on the pricey side, but it comes complete with an applicator sponge, microfiber towel, and protective gloves.

Key Features
  • One application will last through dozens of car washes
  • Cumulative protection gets longer lasting with each application
  • Restores oxidative damage
  • Provides protection against UV rays, salt spray, tree sap, and more
  • For use on interior and exterior plastic, vinyl, and rubber
  • Non-greasy, no-slip formula dries completely in just minutes
Specification
  • Brand Liquid Performance
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 8 ounces

This offering from Chemical Guys is an excellent value. This non-greasy black plastic restorer has a long-lasting formula that penetrates deep into plastic, restoring its shine and strength. Thanks to its creamy texture, the product is easy to apply and won’t produce a streaky finish or drip during application.

It’s also really versatile and suitable for plastic, vinyl, and rubber on your vehicle’s exterior and interior. Wherever you apply the formula, you can count on Chemical Guys’ powerful blend to protect against harmful UV rays while repelling water and dirt. With results that last for weeks, Chemical Guys’ Super Shine is undoubtedly a sound investment.

Key Features
  • Great value for money
  • Long-lasting formula can go for weeks between applications
  • Creamy textured formula is easy to apply
  • Quick-drying, non-greasy formula
  • Suitable for rubber, plastic and vinyl
  • Suitable for car interiors and exteriors
  • Forms a protective layer that shields plastic from UV rays, water, and dirt
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model TVD_107_16
  • Weight 1.05 pounds

The Mothers back to black plastic and trim restorer is a powerful formula that removes light oxidation, dirt, and wax residue from your plastic trim and leaves behind a dark, shiny finish designed to last.

Mothers’ patented blend also creates a protective coating that stops water damage, sun damage, and debris from the road, bringing back that brand-new hue. The solution is diverse enough to be used on both the interior and exterior of your car, so it’s suitable for everything from vents and door handles to bumpers, molding, and trim. Mothers’ satisfaction guarantee ensures you can count on a high-quality product every time.

Key Features
  • Powerful plastic restorer that removes light oxidation and dirt
  • Leaves behind a dark, shiny finish
  • Provides a protective coating that stops water damage, sun damage, and damage from debris
  • Diverse solution can be applied to both the interior and exterior of your car
  • Fast to dry, and easy to apply
Specification
  • Brand Mothers
  • Model 6112
  • Weight 13.8 ounces

When it comes to trusted names in auto care, Armor All consistently ranks as one of the best, and the Armor All Outlast Trim & Plastic Restorer is yet another example of why. This well-priced product is safe to use not just on your car’s black trim, but on all trim colors. Its formula is suitable for use on all exterior plastic, rubber, and vinyl trim, from bumpers to mirrors, grilles, and cowls. It will restore and protect your trim for more than 100 car washes, making this one of the longest-lasting plastic restorers on our list.

This product also helps prevent further fading, oxidation, and discoloration caused by UV damage and harsh road chemicals. It is recommended that if you have extremely faded or porous surfaces, you may need to apply several coats in order to get the look and protection you require.

Key Features
  • Special formula is safe for all trim colors
  • Suitable for use on exterior plastic, rubber, and vinyl trim
  • Quick and easy to apply
  • May require several application on severely damaged or porous surfaces
  • Can last for more than 100 car washes
  • Protects against fading, oxidation, and discoloration
Specification
  • Brand Armor All
  • Model 17451
  • Weight 0.76 pounds

If you’re in a time crunch and don’t have all day to spend applying layer upon layer of plastic restorer, consider the CERAKOTE Ceramic Trim Coat Plastic Trim Restorer. This package includes 10 large wipes that leave behind a ceramic-based coating that bonds directly to your vehicle’s faded and weathered trim in one easy step. It quickly brings back that showroom-like appearance that is guaranteed to last for an incredible 200 washes, making it one of the longest lasting products on our list.

These comprehensive wipes are designed to restore color and shine to your black plastic trim and can even be used on your ATV or UTV trim. It protects against oxidation and further fading from UV damage, road chemicals, oils, and grime. It’s recommended to fully clean and dry your trim prior to application with a non-wax-containing wash, and let the surface fully dry before applying the wipes. These wipes are on the pricey side, but they come backed by a two-year satisfaction guarantee.

Key Features
  • Suitable for all exterior plastic trim
  • Restores color and shine instantly
  • Leaves behind a lasting, protective ceramic coating
  • Will last for up to 200 car washes
  • Protects against UV damage, road chemicals, dirt, and grime
Specification
  • Brand CERAKOTE
  • Model R-GRKIT1004
  • Weight N/A

As another dependable Chemical Guys product, this unique sprayable plastic restorer requires just a few spritzes to produce a non-greasy, dry-to-the-touch finish. It also boasts a dark matte appearance.

Suitable for use on vinyl, rubber, plastic, and tires, the spray produces a protective coating that shields against water, dirt, and UV rays. It’s long-lasting and only needs to be reapplied every few weeks. Applying the solution is easy: the spray dispenser spreads an even coat, which you rub in with a cloth. Chemical Guys offers each of its customers a satisfaction guarantee, showing the faith it put in its product.

Key Features
  • Sprayable plastic restorer
  • Non-greasy
  • Dry-to-the-touch finish
  • Suitable for use on vinyl, rubber, and plastic
  • Suitable for both internal and external use
  • Leaves behind a matte finish
  • Protective coating shields the plastic against dirt, water, and UV rays
  • Long lasting solution only needs to be reapplied every few weeks
  • Satisfaction guaranteed
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model TVD_109_16
  • Weight 1.21 pounds

That Black Stuff Black Plastic Trim Restorer deserves some attention for being one of the most durable and full-coverage black trim restorers on the market. It’s pricey, yes, but it’s no ordinary trim treater. It uses a revolutionary acrylic polymer that goes on super easily and permanently bonds to your car’s faded bumpers and trim, restoring that fresh-from-the-factory look. This formula actually lets you not only restore black trim, but completely change the color of your trim if it isn’t black and you want it to be.

It’s safe to use on any rubber, plastic, vinyl, and even on leather and metal, making it the most versatile product on our list. Use it on your car, RV, truck, ATV, UTV, boat, motorcycle, and more. This product is a permanent, high-tech, non-greasy coating that won’t wash away over time and will last for years. With that in mind, use caution during application so as not to accidentally cover a surface you don’t want with this product. It takes attention and patience to apply, but the effort will be well worth the reward.

Key Features
  • Permanently bonds to surfaces
  • Can convert colored trim to all black
  • Suitable for multiple types of vehicles and recreational equipment
  • One-and-done application
  • Won’t wash off
  • For use on rubber, plastic, vinyl, leather, and metal
Specification
  • Brand That Black Stuff
  • Model TSB04
  • Weight N/A

Best Plastic Restorer Buying Guide & FAQ

These professional-grade formulas represent what we believe are the best options on the market right now, offering drivers a safe, easy, and effective solution to the inevitable aging of plastic car components. To help you choose the product that’s best for you and your vehicle, we’ve put together this handy buying guide, addressing the most common questions that drivers have about this kind of product. We hope with this advice you can keep your car’s plastic components looking like new for many months and years to come.

man using a plastic restorer for car

Things to Consider When Buying a Plastic Restorer

Selecting the right restorer for you will depend on a few key factors, which we discuss below:

Silicones

The highest quality, longest lasting, plastic restorers tend to be silicone-free. Silicone-based restorers act more like a dye than an actual restoration product and tend to produce a glossier finish than their silicone-free counterparts. This is great if you really just need to touch up your plastic components, but for a longer-lasting and less superficial solution, it’s a good idea to turn to a silicone-free formula, like those on the list above.

Areas of Use

Not all plastic restorers are equally versatile when it comes to surfaces, and you should always check the manufacturer’s description when deciding if a product is right for the applications you have in mind. For instance, some formulas are suitable for both interior and exterior use, but not all of them. Equally, some products can be used on your tires, rubber seals, and even leather seats, whereas others have been formulated specifically for rigid plastics. Be sure to work out exactly where you plan to use the restorer before making your final purchasing decision, to avoid potentially damaging components of your car.

Ease of Application

Working out how easy a product is to apply before buying it is always a good idea. Look out for plastic restorers that come with their own application solutions – such as a sponge or cloth – since this suggests the manufacturers have carefully thought through the process. If in doubt, look for customer reviews, since these very often mention how easy or challenging it is to actually use the product.

Finish

The type of finish you want will also affect which plastic restorer you end up choosing. Some are designed to leave a wet-look glossy finish, while others result in a more matte appearance. It’s usually best to choose a finish that best matches how your plastic surfaces originally looked, so if it fades faster in one area the result is less conspicuous. It’s also a good idea to look out for a dry-to-the-touch finish, that will prevent debris from sticking to your car, or finish rubbing off on your skin or clothes.

Level of Protection

Another important factor to bear in mind when choosing your plastic restorer is the level of protection it will offer. Look out for a restorer that will protect against UV rays first of all, since the sun tends to be the biggest threat to plastic car components. The next most important type of protection is probably water resistance, closely followed by resistance to dust and dirt.

Why You Should Use a Trim Restorer

Making use of a plastic trim restorer has a whole host of benefits – below we outline a few:

  • A good plastic restorer will replenish the dark black color to plastic trims
  • Many formulas are versatile enough to be used on a huge variety of components, including leather seats, tires, rubber window seals, plastic door handles, and plastic bumpers
  • Most plastic restorers are environmentally friendly, so no need to worry if you spill a little
  • Plastic restorers won’t damage your car’s paintwork if they spill onto it
  • Plastic restorers often achieve long-lasting results
  • These formulas are easy and convenient to apply
  • Keeping your trim in good condition is a great way to improve the overall appearance of your vehicle
  • A high quality plastic restorer will also protect your car’s plastic components against future damage
  • The protective layer left behind by most plastic restorers filter out harmful UV rays, and shield against dirt and water
plastic restorer for car

How to Keep Plastic Trim Black?

Resorting to a professionally made plastic restorer is a great way to keep your plastic trims a dark black, or restoring them to their original color. However, there are also a few DIY tricks you might consider trying to restore plastic components to their original glory:

Rub in Some Oil

For light damage and scuffs, one simple homemade solution is to rub a little boiled linseed oil onto your plastic surface before allowing to dry. The oil simply provides a protective coating and shine.

Consider a Heat Gun

This can be a risky strategy, but some auto DIY enthusiasts have great success using the heat gun method. Using the heat gun, gently apply heat to the plastic surface to bring the oils within to the surface. Be sure to try an inconspicuous spot first, as this method won’t work 100% of the time. Also, try to heat the surface evenly, not overheating one spot to ensure it doesn’t burn. Keep health and safety in mind when using a heat gun too, donning some heat-proof gloves and goggles.

Paint the Trim

If you have some time on your hands, and a little DIY skill, another option is to simply remove plastic components from your vehicle and give them a coat of paint. This method allows you to choose the color you want – just be sure to purchase a paint designed for plastic surfaces. Also, remember to give the components to be painted a really thorough clean before painting them. This will prevent an uneven finish and give the paint the best chance of sticking.

Best Plastic Restorer FAQ:

Q: What is a Plastic Restorer?

A plastic restorer is a chemical-based solution that is specifically formulated to restore and protect exterior trim on your vehicle. Some may be approved for use on other surfaces, such as rubber and vinyl as well. Some plastic restorers are also suitable for use on various interior components of your car. Most will leave behind a protective coating on your trim to help prevent further oxidation and UV damage.

Q: Will trim restorers strip the wax coating off my car?

In most cases, yes, a trim restorer has a chemical makeup that will remove wax coatings from your trim, but by the time you resort to using a plastic restorer, there’s probably not much wax left on your trim anyhow. In its place, the restorer will leave behind its own layer of protection, so not to worry. As far as your car’s paint job is concerned, if you get some restorer on the paint, it shouldn’t be too damaging unless you really rub it in. Just wash it or wipe it away with a damp cloth.

Q: Can I use trim restorers on vinyl?

Most plastic and trim restoration products are safe and recommended for vinyl, but double-check prior to purchase. Unless it specifically says it’s safe for vinyl on the product packaging, we wouldn’t risk it.

Q: How long does it last once applied?

How long the restorer will last once applied greatly depends on the chemical makeup of the product. Some last a few weeks, while others last anywhere from 100-200 car washes, and some even last for years. Check labels and user reviews to get an idea of longevity with any restorer you’re considering purchasing. The products on this list need to be reapplied between a few weeks to a few months, but if your car is regularly subject to harsh sunlight or dusty tracks, you’ll likely need to apply the treatment more often. It’s a good idea to make a note in your calendar when you first apply the coating, so you can see exactly how long the effects last for your vehicle and driving conditions. With this information, it’s easy to incorporate the restorer into your regular car cleaning routine. car guys restorer

Our Top Pick

When it comes to a top-notch plastic restorer that combines durability, performance, and price, our top pick has got to be the TriNova Ultimate Plastic Restorer Not only is it quick and easy to apply, but creates a streak-free, even layer of protection that further guards against harmful and damaging UV rays, road grime, and chemicals.

For a super budget-friendly option that also delivers excellent and long-lasting results, check out the Chemical Guys Sprayable Dressing. It’s suitable for use on multiple surfaces and creates a classy, dark matte finish.

Sources:

  1. How to Restore Sun Damaged Plastic – wikiHow
  2. How to Restore Black Plastic – wikiHow

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