The very word “Trim” is often associated with a general state of neatness. For instance, we may describe something as being trim and proper or we may go to the barber for a trim. This association has been carried over to the automotive world, and the trim of any vehicle is the final statement in overall presentation. Most trim and molding is made of vinyl or rubber, and can dry out or crack without simple maintenance. Instead of replacing your moldings or allowing them to fray at the edges, look below to unveil the secrets of proper trim care.
Schedule a Routine
Although plastics are rugged by design, they are still susceptible to fading. High heat and humidity can contribute to the premature cracking and peeling of your moldings. If you notice discoloration or spots in the plastic, you can attribute it to surface contaminants or mildew. Though most drivers can expect to clean their molding once every two months to keep them safe, the intense Floridian climate here at Superior has most of us scrambling to protect our moldings monthly. Location notwithstanding, you should add a trim care session to one of your weekly car washings to keep them safe from the irritating damage that can befall them.
Thick or Coarse Plastic
When dealing with trim of a dense nature, it is best to take advantage of the stiff bristles provided by your favorite automotive brush. While these brushes can damage some smoother plastics, they are perfect for removing contaminants from textured trim. If you’re a wax user, I applaud you, but I’ll bet you don’t know that the trim is a great place for excess wax to hide. Allowing wax or other pollutants to set for an extended period of time can discolor most plastics. Use quality all purpose cleaner to remove wax stains from plastic and rubber exterior trim. This type of plastic isn’t just limited to your trim – be sure to check your car door handle, windshield wiper cowls and mirrors for errant wax. To avoid this problem altogether, use a quality wax that leaves no residue, like Pinnacle Signature Series II.
Soft Plastics and Rubbers
The resilience of rubber makes it a perfect candidate for jobs that require flexibility. Wiper blades, doorjambs and other areas need to stay as supple as possible to ensure their functionality. A dried out wiper blade does not do its job properly, and dried out weather stripping could create a rattling noise. If you are the type of person who enjoys the silent away-from-the-world tranquility provided by a car, you should do well to maintain the rubber gaskets found in automotive doors because they provide ample sound dampening when maintained properly. Pinnacle Vinyl & Rubber Protectant is a noteworthy choice that should not be overlooked.
Products that are advertised as ‘Protectants’ are engineered to prevent a problem from happening. The particular problem you want to avoid is the unattractive cracking or discoloring of your trim, which can cost you hundreds of dollars to replace. You’ll find that few dealers even replace moldings at all. Therefore, it’s crucial that you take care of what you have, because some things just can’t be replaced.
A great trim care protectant will defend your molding from UV degradation, without leaving behind a cheap, greasy finish. Pinnacle Vinyl & Rubber Protectant goes on even and leaves the trim looking satiny and smooth to the touch. To ensure a good application, always use Cobra Microfiber Applicator Pads to apply your trim coating.
Don’t forget to apply protectant to all of your moldings – soft and hard. Protectant will be good for any plastic or rubber you can find on your vehicle, and will leave behind a beautiful ebony sheen. Once you have applied a coat of protectant, it is important to remind yourself to wipe the rubber clean before re-applying. We do this because protectants cure into the plastic and should be removed periodically before reapplying. If you do not, it can result in discoloration as a result of the old and new layer sitting on top of each other. Wipe away the old layers with all purpose cleaner and then put on the newest coat of protectant or dressing.
An automobile’s true color is displayed best when it is contrasted by the blackness of properly maintained trim. If your vehicle’s trim is faded to gray, you can use a product called Forever Black to dye the discolored spots back to a dark, shiny depth matching that of factory-fresh rubber. It should be noted that this product also enhances your rubber further with UV protectants as well, to help it get through those long, sunny days. If you prefer a less glossy finish, allow the dye to settle for ten minutes and then wipe it away with a detailing cloth. Allow the dye to set for a full 20 minutes. Your trim should be looking better than ever and will stay that way longer thanks to the built-in UV protection.