Maintaining and Restoring Exterior Vinyl Auto Trim

carsVinyl trim improves a vehicle’s appearance, but it can turn a showpiece into a beater if it is not properly maintained. What good is beautiful, glossy paint on a car that is framed in dull, dingy molding? When it comes to trim deterioration, weather is a car’s main enemy. Talk to any Houston mobile windshield repair specialist and you will learn that the Texas sun and heat are merciless on cars. Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep your vinyl auto trim looking awesome.

Washing the Molding and Trim

Road dust, dirt, car polish and wax products will work into the pores of textured vinyl trim. To scrub away the grime, use some mineral spirits, vinegar or vinyl cleaner along with a small detailing brush or wheel brush. Only use soft-bristled brushes on smooth vinyl to prevent scratches. You can also rub out the contaminants with a microfiber cloth. If wax or polish has made the vinyl chalky, you will need to use a solvent to dissolve the buildup.

Undressing the Surface

Protective vinyl dressing products enhance the appearance of vinyl trim and molding, but they should be cleaned off between applications. Layering the dressing discolors the surface. This is because the additional layers only rest on each other instead of on the plastic. It is better to wash off the dressings every couple of months. Using an exterior trim cleanser and a microfiber pad or towel, wipe the trim until the sheen returns. The cleaner’s effects should last for at least two months.

Protecting the Freshly Cleaned Trim

Adding a protective barrier will prevent vinyl deterioration. You can do so with a special vinyl protectant. UV rays are often the cause of damage, so most Houston auto glass repair technicians will suggest choosing a product that offers UV protection. Look for one that darkens the trim but also creates a natural look. Once a month, evenly spread a coat of protectant across every vinyl surface, including door and window molding, mirror trim and the area at the bottom of your windshield.

Restoring the Luster with Dye

If the molding on your vehicle has already lost some color, you have a couple options for restoring it back to new. One of the easiest ways to create a fresh finish on textured pieces is to use a polymer-based black dye. You will see long-term benefits if you apply it correctly. After testing an inconspicuous spot, evenly spread a thin coat over the vinyl. If you need to apply several coats, allow the dye to dry between applications. Some dyes are formulated to protect the vinyl surface as well, so keep that in mind when making a purchase.

Restoring with Protective Coatings

Certain surfaces just do not play nicely with dye, and many car owners cringe at the thought of permanently coloring their trim. In these cases, you can use a clear coating to restore your vinyl pieces. Thicker formulas will penetrate better and provide a more resilient barrier. Opt for a product that lasts for a few months if you are not a fan of upkeep. Many restorative coatings can be used on textured and smooth exterior plastic.

Once your automobile trim is exposed to heat, sunlight, humidity and pollutants, it can not only lose its rich, dark tone, it can become faded and fragile. Most Houston windshield replacement experts will probably agree that it is essential to preserve the function and durability of exterior trim by regularly cleaning and protecting it. If you maintain the vinyl surfaces on your vehicle and restore any dull finishes, you can prevent future damage while adding long-lasting value.

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