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303 Aerospace Protectant Review and Guide

by

The 303 Aerospace Protectant (303 AP) is a major tool in any detailer’s arsenal.  It is not only very good at what it does, but it is so easy to apply and serves so many various functions that it’s a no brainer to have and keep for good.

“Simply spray or wipe the 303 Aerospace Protectant on any vinyl, rubber, plastic and leather surface and you’ll instantly have a richer looking finish with valuable UV protection. The superior protection this product provides is critical to the long term care of your vehicle. The 303 Protectant is great to use on your vehicle’s rubber (tires, seals, hoses), vinyl (dashboard, doors, armrests, interior and exterior trim, engine casings, convertible tops), plastic (car bras, gauges, grills, trim, convertible’s soft windows), leather (seats, trim) and so much more. This versatile product gives all of these surfaces valuable conditioners and protection that will keep each surface looking new and fresh for years to come with regular treatments. The tires, leather seats, exterior trim and dashboard often get prolonged exposure to harmful UV rays so it’s important to thoroughly protect those surfaces. Keeping your interior looking clean and dust free can be challenging, but the 303 Protectant is up to the challenge. Applying the 303 Protectant to your dashboard, arm rests, seats and doors will help repel dust, dirt and human oils from collecting. Many other dressings are oily and greasy which can actually attract dust and dry out the surface. Any surface you apply Aerospace Protectant to will leave behind a beautiful matte finish. For best results just apply one nice thin coating and you’ll instantly notice the beautiful finish it leaves behind!”

The description alone makes my review useless to a degree :), but I’ll try anyway to further explain the product’s advantages.

303 Aeropsace Protectant

303 AP Advantages

First off, 303 AP is extremely easy to use, as you’ll see in my quick guide below.  You simply need to wipe on, wipe off and you’re done.  All that’s necessary for this application is some 303 AP and a microfiber towel, that’s it!  If you care to see a bit more gloss you can go with 2-3 coats and notice quite a difference.

Second, 303 AP has various uses around the vehicle.  As noted in the description above, it can protect anything from tires, to exterior trim, to interior leather, and so on.  It’s just as easy to use on one as it is on another part of the vehicle and does a great job no matter what it protects.  Also, it never leaves a glossy/oily surface that detracts from the cleanliness of the car or car part.  The finish is matte and clean looking.

Lastly, durability of it is comparable to or better than most dedicated dressings out there, such as vinyl dressings, tire dressings, etc.  On tires, I find it to last for a week or two easily and keep a nice dark look, especially if a couple coats are applied.  On the interior, you can usually check durability of it on the dashboard by noting how easy it is to wipe off any dust that has settled.  With 303 AP applied, I notice my dashboard to be much cleaner as well as easier to clean.  A microfiber towel with some Optimum No-Rinse (ONR) will glide across the dash and pick up dust much easier when there’s some 303 AP applied to the dash.  Also for the interior, the durability is much better and, other than the dash which gets most damage from the sun, you can easily see 303 AP protecting for a good 6-8 weeks.

How to use 303 AP

Below is a very short guide on how I like to use the 303 AP and a few photos to show the results. I prefer a dark matte surface on pretty much anything I condition and protect, which is why I use 303 AP for almost any sort of dressing or conditioning that I’ll be doing on a vehicle.  For this guide, I used a small trim piece from my 93 BMW 325i to show what 303 AP can achieve in a very short period of time.  The trim piece is roughly 6” x 2” in size for reference.

As you can see in the photo below, the trim piece is showing its 18 years and 237,000 miles by sporting a beat up, gray and defeated look…

303 Aeropsace Protectant

As mentioned toward the beginning of this article, all you need is a microfiber towel to apply and remove 303 AP.  I like to use a 16” x 16” (or similar size) towel, fold it in half 3 times to end up with roughly a 4” x 8” surface area exposed.  I then spray this area 2-3 times using the 16oz. spray bottle and apply the product to trim/etc. using back and forth then up and down motions to ensure it really gets into every pore.  For such a small trim piece, I would only spray the towel 1-2 times before applying 303 AP to it so as to not apply too much.  One thing worthy mentioning… when applying, I find it best to basically keep wiping a few times with the damp part of the towel, then turn the towel over and keep lightly wiping to a nice matte finish.  Some people prefer to wipe on, leave alone for a few minutes, then wipe off residue later on.  I obviously prefer the “WOWO” (wipe-on-wipe-off) method, but to each their own.

Here you can see 303 AP applied to only half of the trim piece…

303 Aeropsace Protectant

You can see here that 303 AP not only makes the trim much darker, but also fills in some of the deeper scuff marks for a cleaner look.  All this while remaining perfectly matte with no sign of oily or dirty residue.  Keep in mind this is done with a trim piece that was only wiped down with some ONR prior to the 303 AP application, so it didn’t receive a thorough wash or cleaning.

Finally, the after photo:

303 Aeropsace Protectant

If you simply look at the before and after photo, due to the lighting conditions you can’t tell much of a difference in how much darker the piece is, but don’t let the photos fool you.  The difference in the before vs after photo is in the details.  One can easily see how just one application of 303 AP filled in all the scuff marks and stains, leaving a cleaner looking trim piece that when put back on the vehicle doesn’t belong at all with the other pieces.  The half/half photo is a clear indicator in how 303 AP improved the black look of the trim.

Final thoughts

Honestly there’s not much more than can be said about this great product.  It passes with flying colors all the tests detailers like myself look for in such products… ease of use, quality/performance and durability.   It also comes in multiple sizes so you can purchase however much you need, although I highly recommend purchasing a gallon because you’ll find yourself using it on every car and even around the house.  As you can see in the first photo, I like to put a custom sprayer on the 16oz. bottle and work with that.  303 Aerospace Protectant is a great product in every sense of the word and one that I don’t see myself replacing with anything for many years to come.

I’ll end this article with a photo of my helper for the day looking on wondering “are we done yet?!”.  I took the photos in my parents’ back yard and their little Pomeranian wouldn’t leave me alone.

303 Aeropsace Protectant

As always, hope you enjoyed it and please leave any comments below.

Thanks,

Ivan

 

Ivan Rajic Lustr Deatil
Ivan Rajic
LUSTR Auto Detail
341 Lively Boulevard
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
LustrDetail.com
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37 comments on 303 Aerospace Protectant Review and Guide

  1. Andy says:

    Perfect timing. I was planning on ordering a gallon today and this reinforces my decision.

    Thanks,
    Andy

  2. Great article Ivan, and equally great product. I use it a lot and it never lets me down!

  3. Kris says:

    I love this product. My interior only collects a fraction of the dust it used to when using Meg’s Natural Shine Cleaner/Protectant.

  4. Tim says:

    I love that it doesn’t run on exterior plastic trim.

  5. Matt says:

    I love articles like this, thoroughly explaining the everyday products you guys use so that we thoroughly understand
    1)Why you use them specifically, as opposed to something the rest of us monkeys pick up from the local autozone
    2)How you use it, along with little tidbits about what you use it in conjunction with any why (in this article for example, ONR)

    It really helps to explain why we keep seeing these products pop up in every article and it’s nice to know their specific purpose, which would obviously make the more in-depth detailing articles lengthy and cumbersome. So much time and effort goes in to explain the different DAs, polishes, pads, waxes etc. that sometimes these products get forgotten.

    Thanks Ivan

  6. Nathan Hoekzema says:

    Ivan-
    How are you diluting your ONR for the interior “wash” prior to the 303? Just curious, many detailers seem to have their own ONR cocktail. I am trying to maximize my use of both ONR and 303 Protectant.

  7. Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

    Kris & Tim: I can definitely relate to both of those characteristics and fully agree. It works a lot better than a lot of products out there, and just simply better than the rest :).

    Matt: Thanks for the comments, I really appreciate it. I’m lining up some more similar “simple” articles that should be up shortly, so hopefully you’ll enjoy those as well.

    Nathan: I tend to fudge around with their 8oz ONR to 1gallon of water ratio recommendation. I believe it’s recommended for quick detailer, or it may be clay lube… I don’t have a bottle on me now. In any case, it comes out to 2oz of ONR per one 32oz spray bottle. Usually I’ll go with 3-4ish oz. ONR when using it as clay lube or quick detailer and 1-1.5-2oz when using it for the interior stuff. I used a more concentrated solution for the trim as I was trying to clean it up a bit, whereas I’ll use the less concentrated one on interiors to provide some cleaning but mostly collect all the dust really well.

    I have tried diluting 303 AP before to a 1:1 and 3:1 (303 AP:water) ratios, but didn’t really like it at 3:1 and didn’t like it at all at 1:1. It seemed to run a bit more, which makes sense as I diluted it with distilled water, so I now use it straight out of the bottle.

    Hope that makes sense.

    • Mike Williamson says:

      Articles like this are great for those of us that don’t do this work regularly. It takes the experimentation and guess work out of the process, plus it saves us money and time and aggrevation. Ivan this was very informative the way you broke down the steps and reasoning on why and how. Thanks for the help.

      • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

        Thanks for the kind works Mike. Really makes the writing easier and more enjoyable for me, and I believe other authors as well. I’m currently working on a few others similar to this, explaining some things on the PC 7424XP, ONR, etc. Hope those are helpful just as much as this one.

        Thanks again,
        Ivan

  8. chad says:

    I like 303 on everything but tires. It turned my tires almost brown after a couple applications over a two month period. It took alot of grime reaper and a stiff brush to get them back to black again. 303 is the bomb under the hood though.

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Chad,

      Did you clean the tires before applying the 303 AP? I’ve noticed that most people completely disregard tire cleaning and over time they start to retain so much dirt that they’re nearly impossible to clean.

      I never had any such experience so I’m wondering what the process of application was in your case.

      Thanks,
      Ivan

  9. Great article on a very useful and popular product Ivan!

  10. ken scott says:

    HONDA ELEMENT… 1/2 of mine is plastic.

    I love this product now that I live in sunny LA with no garage. It is amazing!!

    Ken

  11. Jon says:

    Thanks for the detailed review (no pun intended), Ivan!!

    Please tell me, how do you think AP303 would look & perform as ‘final’ dressing in (1) the wheel wells, and (2) the engine bay?

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Thanks for the kind words Jon.

      I regularly use 303 AP on tires as well as engine bay plastics. Sometimes I use it to dress the wheel wells as well but more often than not I’m using Meguiar’s Hyper Dressing there.

      I like the look of AP on ANY plastic and the protection it provides is great. For those who prefer a more glossy look may need to apply a few coats of 303 AP but if you’re like myself and most of my clients in that your prefer a clean, dark, matte finish, then you should like 303 AP on any of the above surfaces.

      Hope that helps,
      Ivan

  12. Jon says:

    That does help, quite a lot! Thanks for the quick reply, Ivan.

    Happy Holidays!

    -Jon

  13. peaks says:

    What do you use to clean the tires before you apply the 303 protectant?
    Thanks

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      I use an all purpose cleaner, a brush or two and a lot of elbow grease. Usually it’s a must to clean the tires thoroughly as they are rarely cleaned well and many have layers upon layers of old dressings.

  14. Jan says:

    Your thoughts on using on cloth dashboard & doors and a convertible (canvas type)? I have a smart car and it has both canvas top and cloth dashboard which I am afraid will fade with the sun.

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Jan,

      I don’t know about using it on cloth but I do regularly use it on convertible tops with great results. 303 has their fabric protectant that may work well for you on the cloth parts, unless you want to give the AP a try. Hope that helps.

  15. John Valdes says:

    I too have found this product to be excellent. It lasts so long after application.
    I am looking to buy a gallon. But freight charges would make a gallon of 303 a gallon of Patron. I need to find someone local that carries it. Or free freight.
    Great Stuff……………………

  16. Lynn Phillips says:

    My husband and I just love this 303 Protectant for its many uses. He is a fly fishing guide and uses his own equipment and rafts. I preparing on of his rafts, he put it on our Eon composit decking, then sprayed away. After removing the raft, the deck is now left with its imprint! The deck is also really slippery and not too safe to walk on! How can I remove this wonderful product? Never thought I’d be asking this question! Ha! Ha!
    Thank you, Lynn

    • Greg Nichols Greg Nichols says:

      Lynn,
      I going to suggest you try some All Purpose cleaner and allow it to dwell then scrub. Rinse off deck and see. You might have to step up to a strong degreaser such as Optimums Power Clean.

      Cheers,
      GREG

  17. Ryan says:

    Do you use this product for leather seat cleaning/conditioning?

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      While I do use it on leather, I don’t use it as a cleaner or conditioner, rather a light layer of protection if you will. I don’t normally use this on leather seats, because those either get the Leatherique treatment or a light wipedown, so I sometimes use it on a leather dash when not using Leatherique, simply for some protection. Hope that helps!

  18. Kristein says:

    used the 303 aerospace protectant on my 2004 avalanche . This is the only product I have found that brings the plastic back to life. I apply every 2-3 weeks and have never been so happy. Thanks for the great product

  19. Mark says:

    Ivan:

    I like to use a low lustre protectant for my light color dashboard. Many protectants leave a glossy shine behind, which can by blinding in the hot sun out west. How does this product rate in the reflectivity department?

    Thanks.

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Mark, I never noticed any bad reflection from the outside light and in itself 303 AP isn’t a glossy/shiny product. I think it’s a bit dependent on what kind of surface it’s being applied to, but normally even 2-3 coats produces only a slightly more shiny than matte finish.

  20. chris says:

    Im looking to really clean the interior of my car. Dash board, leather seats, everything you can think of. Is this product capable of cleaning and really making a car look show room new? Also I want to make the exterior of my car shine again like car room quality. Rims, plastic trim, entire body. Can you use this product on the body of a car also (kind of like a wax I guess you can say im looking for).

    • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

      Hi Chris,

      303 AP does lightly clean, but I would recommend using it as a dressing to improve the look of and protect trim, rubber, etc. For cleaning, you can try some products meant just for that task in order to clean it safely and properly before applying the protection. I wouldn’t use it on anything but plastic, rubber, etc.

      • John Porcellana says:

        I have a 2012 Dodge Challenger SXT with a flat/matte WIDE stripe on the hood and flat/matte double stripes on each side. Will this product harm the paint finish in ANY way?

        • Ivan Rajic Ivan Rajic says:

          John I honestly can’t say for certain whether it would harm the finish but from my experience with it, it’s fairly harmless. As with anything, if you get some on the paint I would recommend wiping it off quickly, but overall it shouldn’t do any damage.

  21. Art Gray says:

    Have a ’10 Avalanche and usually the plastic boards and sides show the Arizona sun, within 6 weeks of some off brand protection. The 303 usually lasts about 3 months in direct sun, but its better than the other market products.

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