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Refinishing Faded BMW Plastic Exterior Trim

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by Jeff Gomon, Oct 15, 2008.

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    Jeff Gomon

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    What are some suggestions for refinishing the plastic trim below bumpers, over wheel wells, door molding etc. I have seen the "Back to Black" and similar products, but have not used them. I do NOT want to just wipe/spray some product that will make it shine, I want a permanent solution that is satin in appearance when done. Does anyone have experience with any such products? I just bought a CPO 2005 X5 4.4i and most of the plastic trim panels have this faded appearance, which the detail guys fix with some silicone spray that comes off with the next washing. Any direction is appreciated.
    highway man likes this.
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    MGarrison

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    I'm not sure if there is the ideal permanent solution, short of replacing perfectly good, albeit faded, trim pieces with new. I think the back-to-black stuff just tends to hang in there longer than the easy sprays. Pulling the trim to paint it is hardly an ideal solution either - eventually the paint will lose adhesion and flake off.

    Hopefully someone will chime in w/ their experience in attempting to resolve the problem.
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    granthr

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    Okay I know this is not the easiest solution, but painting does work very well. I used Dupli-Color Flexible Bumper Coating on my 318i and it made all the faded plastic look new again. I did this about three years ago and it still looks really good. Here is a picture of my car. The painted surfaces are the black plastic on the bumper edges, top, and side pieces and the metal mirrors, since they were horribly faded too.

    You can get this paint at any Pep Boys, AutoZone, Advanced Auto Parts etc. It is suggested to do a primer coat, I did this and I think if you are going to go to this trouble, might as well to do it right. Be sure to rough everything up first with a 3M Scotch Bright pad (Green). Get every little corner, other wise the paint will flake. I did two coats of primer, let that dry for a couple hours, and then roughed the primer up with the scotch bright as well. I then did two or three coats of the bumper coating.

    One last thing, this paint has a matte finish to it, so like plastic, wax will leave white marks on it! :eek:

    GR
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    Qunadry

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    I know that this will sound crazy, but it works. Treat the trim with Kiwi mink oil (the stuff used to waterproof boots). I tried this several years ago and have had success with it on every car I have owned since. I recently told a friend at work about this and he thought I was nuts. But he tried it and was amazed. It may take 2 or 3 applications if the trim is really bad, but try it. It is also works well if you get white marks from wax on the trim.
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    granthr

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    Sounds interesting, I think I will give it a try! :)

    GR
    • Member

    Jeff Gomon

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    Mink oil you say....I would never have thought of that. I have to ask, does it stay tacky or oily? Does it come off when washed with car wash soap? If not, that would be pretty slick and water would certainly run right off as it is a waterproofing agent. I will try this on another vehicle first to check it out. If, for some reason, I didn't like the results, it would take a lot of effort to remove it to a level that another product could be applied.
    Lots of good ideas here. I will continue to search and report what I find before I "buy & apply".
    • Member

    Qunadry

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    Kiwi mink oil is not a liquid, but a very soft paste. After it is applied, it "dries" and you buff it off like wax. If you get any on the paint or windows it will buff off. Any surface treated with it repels water. It also lasts a long time. It does not work well at temperatures below 60-65 F. It does a great job on leather, in particular on dried or cracked leather, but using it on an entire interior takes several hours, and if you over apply it, it will rub off on clothing. I guess my time spent shining shoes in a barbershop when I was 10 provided more then spending money.

    zaxjax guest

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    Black Wow is fantastic! I re-did my F-150 trim and it's night and day

    I did only one application, two really looks great and this was a shot after 6 months

    [IMG]


    Forever Black is a dye that I used on the other side

    [IMG]

    srmadura guest

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    Refinishing Faded BMW Black Plastic

    I have a 2007 X5 and after a car wash I noticed water marks on my window trim. The car was dried inside the car wash immediately after washing. I pointed out the marks to the car wash manager and he tried a couple of products on it and he couldn't get the water marks out. I like you, I tried Black to Black when I got home but the water marks showed thru after buffing. I looked on this forum and found your thread. I tried the Mink Oil suggestion in one section and it seemed to work. I then took a shoe shine product called "Instant Shine". It comes in a small plastic container with a sponge soaked with some kind of oil. I applied that to another section and buffed the heck out of it and it seemed to work even better. In a real bad section, I applied the Mink Oil and buffed it with an orbital buffer and that worked. At least it seemed to help dissolve most of the water marks although not completely. I followed that up with the "Instant Shine" and it looks as good as new. I don't know if it will hold up after a car wash but I do know that no matter how hard I buff the trim, the water marks no longer appear and seem to be gone for now. At least the "Instant Shine" also seems like a simple solution to getting the shine back in BMW plastic window trim.

    It's a shame BMW can't produce a product in excess of $60,000 that you can't take to a car wash without screwing up the trim. I've had many vehicles before, even several I would never own again, used all kinds of household detergents on them, lived in areas where cars were salt licks in winter and never had water residue on my black plastic trim after a washing. I wonder if any other X5 owners have this car wash and plastic window trim problem?

    zaxjax guest

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    You can use 303 Aerospace Protectant on your weatherstripping and black trim to help avoid this. Car washes typically uses very harsh chemicals and soaps, and that's why I never run through car wash. You induce so many swirls going through a car wash. For example how many times do you think they clean the brushes after a muddy work truck goes through and then you take your nice BMW in right after!
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    Qunadry

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    Locally (Western MA) there is a chain of car washs called Laser. There are no brushes and the car always comes out clean. I do not know how they do it, but they do. They have been in business for 6 years. When I can not hand wash my cars, I have no qualms about using them. I wonder if there are any Laser car washs in other parts of the country?
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    highway man

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    highway man

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    Wipe New is a new product on the market and i used it on the faded dull gray plastic trim on my wife,s Nissan Xterra. It is great and it has been on now for about 4 months and still looks like new. I bought this at our local Wall-Mart. Follow the directions as listed on the package. It guarantees the shine to last for up to 2 years. Can also be ordered online at www.wipenew .com
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    wgarrjr

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    I think, perhaps, there are no permanent solutions, because UV rays, heat, cold, moisture, and even air all have a degrading effect on plastic resilient enough to be used in automotive applications. I am with the group on the frustrations of this, but think that it is kind of ironic that we readily accept the need to maintain/detail our paint, tires, wheels, windows, and even our engine bays, but that darn plastic trim ought to stay looking like new, doggone it!
    I have found it easier and longer-lasting to apply the products (in my case Back to Black) with a small black foam wedge applicator that you can get for a couple of bucks per dozen in any paint department. I just brush it on generously (no drips or runs), and let it dry. The wedge end of the applicator gives the control you need not to get the product on painted surfaces. If you want it shiny, just go back and lightly buff it with a clean, soft rag. It is also a quick chore that you can do when you have just a few minutes to relax with your car, or do indoors when the weather is bad. I have found it to be less of a PITA when I don't include it with full washes, but just make it a pleasant diversion when a few spare minutes are found. Let's face it - it does make a BIG difference on just about any car that hasn't just been driven off the showroom floor!

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