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Trim Coating or Trim Restorer – Which do I need?


How can I make my trim look nice again?  How many of us have asked or been asked that question at some point.  Very few vehicles have been made within the last 20-30 years that do not have some type of black trim on their exterior.  Over time the trim when exposed to the sun will turn from a nice deep dark finish to faded gray appearance as shown below.  In some cases the trim will begin to degrade becoming chalky, at that point it is almost basically beyond repair.  It is important to keep the trim on your vehicle properly protected with a product that offers UV protection so this does not happen.  In this example I am using Carpro DLUX Plastic and Wheel Protection and Solution Finishing Black Trim Restorer as these are the two products I commonly use, however there are other options available that will work just as well.

KMG - Faded Trim

The above picture is a good example of trim that has not been properly maintained and protected.  Over the years the plastic has faded from black to a grayish color, however it has not reached the point of being chalky or powdery yet.

KMG - Faded Trim

Before applying any type of coating or trim restorer you will want to thoroughly cleaned the trim.  I am using a Tuf Shine Scrub-All Sponge and the cleaning solution found in the Solution Finish Black Trim Restorer kit. I simply took the wet sponge and applied a small amount of the cleaning solution to the sponge and scrubbed the area extensively.

KMG - Faded Trim

Once you have cleaned the area very well, you will want to make sure you rinse the area before drying the trim.  You can either just let the area air dry in the sun, or you can use a DI microfiber waffle weave towel or a Metro Blaster Sidekick which is what I had used.  You will want to make sure that the trim is fully dried or the product will not properly adhere to the trim which will affect the durability of the product.

KMG - Faded Trim

I sectioned off the plastic trim on this bumper with some tape for this demonstration.  On the left I am going to apply CQuartz DLUX Plastic and Wheel Protection and on the right I used Solution Finish Black Trim Restorer.  In the above picture I have already applied DLUX to the trim and you can see that the color has become quite a bit darker than the side with nothing applied yet.  Application is quite simple and everything comes in the kit that you can buy from Detailed Image.

KMG - Faded Trim

I then proceeded to apply Solution Finish to the right side of the trim.  This picture shows just how much of a difference the two (2) products really made.

KMG - Faded Trim

Both products did a great job of darkening the faded trim, however as you can tell from the picture Solution Finish is certainly a better choice when your plastic trim is in rough shape and severely faded.  I recently had a discussion with Chris West, the owner of Solution Finish in which he mentioned that Solution Finish will actually perform better and provide longer protection on trim that has severely faded due to the pores of the trim being more porous, allowing the product to soak into the trim strengthening the bond with material.  Both products offer UV protection that will help resist further fading of the trim, however they will need to be reapplied occasionally as these are not lifetime products.  A trim coating or product such as Carpro DLUX is better suited for new trim or trim in very good condition, and will provide better protection and resistance to the elements.  A trim restorer such as Solution Finish is more intended for older trim that has been neglected and needs color restored to the product and will produce better results as shown in the picture above on this type of trim.

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Kevin M. George
KMG Detailing
Lebanon, PA

6 comments on Trim Coating or Trim Restorer – Which do I need?

  1. Kyle Allen says:

    Have you tried applying DLUX on top of Solution Finish?

    I heard that Chris was developing a topper for SF, but have not seen it on the market yet

    • Kevin George says:

      Kyle, I have not tried applying DLUX over Solution Finish yet. However I have talked with Chris and he mentioned that other have had good success with it. Also in discussions with Chris he does have some new products that will be come out soon, however I am not sure about a topper for SF.

  2. Steve K. says:

    Great post Kevin! I will refer folks to your post since this is a question I get asked about routinely. Almost as good as Christmas in Lititz!…LOL!

  3. Shane says:

    Fantastic find, I mean your blog.. Keep it up and I will keep paying attention for possible new product application for marine where #WeBeautifyBoats

    • Kevin George says:

      Shane, thanks for reading and I am glad you found this information useful. Detailed Image is beginning to carry more supplies geared toward the marine industry that I am sure you will find useful.

  4. Dave says:

    Kevin, I’m a Solution Finish guy. I talk to Chris all the time even though we have never met. This product is amazing though a little pricey. I transfer it into a 2oz. flip top bottle so I can have more control over the amount I pour on to my applicator. That way I don’t have to worry about spilling the large bottle that gets very slippery.

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