Black bumpers, plastic and trim can become damaged from UV rays, rain, grime, oxidation and even strong car wash soap. However, by using a car trim restorer, you can permanently restore the defective plastics back to black. It’s far easier than you’d expect and it can make a huge difference to the overall appearance of your car.
If you require a quick answer, the best trim restorer is the Gtechniq C4, which chemically bonds to the plastic trim and provides up to 2 years of durability from fading. However, if you are on a tight budget, the popular TriNova formula is the best alternative that can last up to a year if applied correctly.
In terms of rating the trim restorers within this article, we based them upon testing and multiple factors. The factors we considered included their type, ease of application, durability, surface compatibility and value.
Table of Contents
Plastic Restorer Comparison
|Gtechniq C4 Permanent||24 Months||1 oz|
|TriNova Ultimate||12 Months||8 oz|
|Meguiars Ultimate Black||6 Months||12 oz|
|CarGuys Plastic Restorer||6 Months||8 oz|
|Lithium Trim Serum||6 Months||16 oz|
|Torque Detail Spray||6 Months||12 oz|
|Mothers Back To Black||3 Months||12 oz|
|Forever Black Dye Kit||6 Months||6 oz|
The best way to restore interior and exterior trim is to use dedicated plastic restorers. Faded plastics look terrible and turn more grey than they do black. With a trim restorer, you can easily restore the trim back to its original finish. However, it’s important to note that if the bumper or plastic trim isn’t black, you will want to avoid plastic restorers that include a black dye because this may have adverse effects on the plastic.
Below is a list of the best plastic restorers that easily restore faded plastic trim or bumpers back to black in just a single application.
The Best Trim Restorer
1. Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer
Gtechniq is a premium detailing brand that are well-known for their highly effective formulas. The C4 Permanent Trim Restorer is by no means a cheap option but it’s the best. It’s a nano-composite coating that restores trim to its factory finish without altering the gloss level.
The best feature of the Gtechniq C4 is the fact that it permanently restores plastic trim for up to 2 years, which is far longer than the alternatives.
Other features of the Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer include:
- Uses a strong UV absorption filter
- Lasts for up to 24 months
- Chemically bonds for maximum durability
- Available as a 15 or 30 ml solution
- Works with many different surfaces
- Leaves a non-glossy finish
The GTechniq C4 is the best trim restorer you can buy with the only drawback being the size of the bottle. Although it comes at an expensive price, the formula provide a permanent finish that lasts up to 2 years. Whether you are tackling plastic trim or bumpers, the Gtechniq C4 provides great results each and every time.Check it Out
2. TriNova Plastic and Trim Restorer
The most popular trim restorer on the market is the TriNova formula, which is a cheaper alternative to the Gtechniq that darkens and shines the surface.
Unlike many of the cheaper solutions, this plastic restorer repels rain, salt and other dirt as well as preventing fading or cracking. In terms of the durability of this TriNova formula, the brand claims that you can achieve up to 1 year of protection after the application.
Other features of the TriNova Plastic and Trim Restorer include:
- Advanced protection against rain and tough terrain
- Protective barrier against UV rays
- Streak-free formula
- Lasts up to 12 months
- Include a dedicated applicator
- Made in the USA
For restoring plastic and trim to a “like-new” color with extra shine, the TriNova is the best option. It protects the surface against the elements and prevents fading or cracking. Overall, it’s a highly rated product that won’t disappoint when used on faded trim.Check it Out
3. Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer
Meguiar’s are one of the biggest detailing brands in the world and they have a product for every task. Their Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer is a great example that works for all trim and plastics components such as bumpers or even rear view mirrors. As the name suggests, it works best on black or grey surfaces that have suffered from the environmental factors such as rain or UV rays.
Other features of the Meguiar’s Ultimate Black include:
- Rich darkness that shines
- Clear coat UV protection
- Can be used for various applications
- Easy to apply
- Non-greasy formula that dries fast
- Lasts up to 6 months
When applying the Meguiar’s plastic restorer, it’s advised that you use a small amount on an applicator pad and work the formula into the surface. It dries instantly and it’s non greasy to reduce the chances of leftover residue being left behind.
If you are looking for showroom results for all of your your plastic trim, the Meguiar’s formula is a great option. It’s one of the best best plastic restorers that’s relatively cheap, which is surprising as Meguair’s products often come with a premium price tag.Check it Out
4. CarGuys Plastic Trim Restorer
The CarGuys plastic restorer is an affordable product for restoring exterior trim and it can also be used upon rubber and vinyl. The brand are so confident of their restoring abilities from this formula that they offer a full refund if you aren’t happy with the results. In terms of its durability upon auto trim, CarGuys claim that it lasts several months and it can withstand rain, grime and other dirt.
Other features of the CarGuys Plastic Restorer include:
- Patented additive for additional durability
- Non-oily formula that is dry to touch
- No harmful chemicals that could potentially damage trim
- Uses a UV guard to protect against drying or fading
- Formulated by professional detailers
- Can be used for both interior and exterior plastics
- Made in the USA
Overall, the advanced nano-technology and non-greasy formula make it an excellent all-round plastic restorer. It’s versatile and combines performance with value for money, which makes it a great option to consider.Check it Out
5. Lithium Auto Elixirs Trim Serum Restorer
The main premium rival to the Gtechniq formula is the Lithium Auto Elixirs Trim Serum. It’s a highly concentrated formula that penetrates the plastic pores in an effort to completely restore the color. It also creates a durable shield, which protects the plastic trim from drying out, cracking and oxidizing once restored. According to the brand, it’s a long lasting formula that last months but it’s not a permanent solution like the Gtechniq alternative.
Other features of the Lithium Auto Elixirs Trim Serum include:
- Suitable for plastic, rubber and vinyl
- Dries clean with zero residue
- Contains UV inhibitors
- Cleans and protectors plastic trim
- Backed by an unconditional warranty
The Lithium Trim Serum is a premium plastic restorer that’s quick and easy to use. However, considering the more expensive price tag when compared to the alternatives, you would expect the protection to last longer than 6 months.Check it Out
6. Torque Detail Plastic Trim Restorer Spray
If you prefer to use a spray formula, the Torque Detail plastic restorer is the best option. It’s a 3-in-1 spray that restores, shines and protects plastic, vinyl or rubber surfaces. The brand claim that it’s the easiest trim restorer to use on the market and they aren’t wrong. The advanced formula uses true nanotechnology, which permeates plastic and provides protection for up to 6 months.
Other features of the Torque Detail Plastic Restorer include:
- Easy to apply spray on formula
- 60 days guarantee
- Provides UV protection
- Seals and protects most hard surfaces
- No harsh chemicals and made from organic compounds
- Made in the USA
The Torque Detail plastic restorer is a highly rated formula that restores and provides long lasting shine to your car’s trim. It does come with a premium price tag but it’s environmentally safe and lasts up to 6 months.Check it Out
7. Mothers 06112 Back To Black Restorer
Mothers are a reputable American detailing brand and their Back To Black formula is a highly rated option. It’s designed to remove light oxidation, dirt, wax residue and film from plastic trims, which helps to prevent fading.
It’s an all-in-one formula that has been used by professionals for many years and has the added bonus of being suitable for exterior trim of all colors.
Other features of Mothers Back To Black include:
- Protects against further deterioration
- Cleans and protects for up to 3 months
- Satisfaction guaranteed
- Can be used on all trim colors
- Easy to apply and buff off
- Only available in a 12 oz bottle
Overall, the Mothers Back to Black formula is an excellent all-round plastic restorer that offers great value for money. The ability to restore all colored exterior trim makes it the best option for those with multi-colored plastic trims or bumpers.Check it Out
8. Forever Black Bumper and Trim Dye Kit
If you want a permanent showroom finish to your plastics without painting it, you should consider the Forever Black Bumper and Trim Dye Kit.
This kit uses a permanent black dye that requires no buffing and dries in less than 20 minutes to provide a “like new” black plastic. It’s not to be confused with a silicone based plastic restorer, which is a temporary solution.
Other features of the Forever Black Bumper and Trim Dye Kit include:
- New and improved formula
- Includes a cleaner, reconditioner and applicator
- Ideal for vinyl or plastic bumpers and trim
- Protects against UV damage
- Permanently recolors and protects
Overall, it’s a great product to restore faded trim but it does require a large amount of preparation and patience to apply it. If it’s applied in a hurry, the result may run and cause streaking, which could make it look worse than it was.Check it Out
How We Rated The Trim Restorers
After years of detailing cars, we have tried and tested plenty of plastic trim restorers and only very few produced excellent results. In terms of rating the plastic trim restorers within this article, we based our recommendations upon our own experience of using multiple branded products as well as a number of factors. The factors that we considered included their type, ease of application, durability, surface compatibility and value for money.
Plastic Trim Restorer Buying Guide
Using a plastic restorer will allow you to transform faded trim or bumpers back to black. Due to UV rays, rain, dirt and other environmental factors, most plastics eventually begin to fade. Without any suitable protection, fading will occur far quicker than you would expect.
There is a whole range of plastic restorers available but choosing the best can be tricky. However, you should always ensure that you don’t use a black dye on plastics that aren’t dark colored as this may have adverse effects.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding trim restorers.
What Causes Plastic Trim to Fade
The main cause of plastic fading or cracking is due to environmental factors and general driving such as UV rays, rain, road grime and other dirt.
Poorly washing your car can also speed up the damaging effects. For example, many people will use too strong of a car wash soap, which can strip the finish of the plastic trim.
Methods To Restore Black Plastic Trim
- Restoring using detailing products
- Using peanut butter or an oily substance
- Using heat to bring out the oils
- Painting the defective plastic
The most trusted and best method to restore faded car plastic is to use “off the shelf” detailing products such as the products listed above.
Using peanut butter to restore faded plastic is a popular method but not necessarily the best. The oil in the peanut butter provides the restoring effects but at the same time makes a mess and produces a strong smell.
Using a heat gun to heat up the trim can bring out the oils in the plastic. However, all plastics are different and only so much oil can be taken from the plastic. It would also be best to test on a hidden piece of plastic before you attempt visible areas.
The final option would be to simply paint the plastic trim. The plastic may be past restoring and this would be a permanent fix. Alternatively, you could plasti dip the plastic trim or even use automotive vinyl wrap to cover up any defects.
Once you’ve applied a plastic trim restorer, you would expect the finish to be long lasting. Although there is no truly permanent fix, many premium options can last up to 2 years or longer. Although the longer lasting restorers are more expensive, they will reduce the amount of applications required per year.
To further increase its durability, there are many unique ceramic coatings that are suitable for plastic trim. The coating provides unbeatable protection and may be a great addition for maximum protection.
Silicone Based Formulas
Some black trim restorers claim that they don’t contain silicone within their formula. The benefits of a silicone-free plastic restorer is that it usually produces a non-gloss finish that’s long lasting. Silicone based formulas are known for becoming stripped by strong car wash soaps or rain, which means they require regular topping up.
Gloss vs Shiny Wet Finish
Some brands provide different levels of restoration when it comes to their plastic restorers. For example, the Meguiar’s Back To Black provide a shiny wet finish whereas the Gtechniq C4 doesn’t effect the gloss level whatsoever. It’s worth noting that products that provide a shine often require regular topping up to maintain the shine upon the plastic.
Faded black bumpers, plastic and trim on your car not only ruins the appearance but also devalues the car when it comes to resale. Fortunately, a trim restorer is relatively easy to apply and any of the recommendations above will restore the plastic back to black.
All of the plastic restorers within this article are suited to a range of budgets and can be applied in different methods. To avoid disappointment, we advise that you purchase a large quantity of the product so that you can restore all of the exterior plastic trim that has faded. There is nothing worse than running out of the product halfway through the restoration.