The best black trim restorer to freshen up your car 2023

Faded black trim will age a car and make it look neglected, some trim restorer will make your car look like new.

Black Trim Restorer

by Ryan Gilmore |
Updated on

Taking the time to protect a car's paintwork is futile if you don't invest in some black trim restorer. Black plastic trim is incredibly popular on everything from vans to premium SUVs and is particularly susceptible to sun damage. Over time, the sun breaks down the pigments in the trim, turning that black into a sad flat-grey colour that cheapens the look of an otherwise immaculate car.

Black trim restorer works like a car wax, providing a barrier against the sun and enhancing the finish. Often made of a blend of silicones, black pigment (often carbon) and UV protectors, black trim restorer may not be a permanent fix, but will noticeably improve the look of your car for up to a year, or even longer if you introduce ceramic into the mix.

As the sun breaks down the pigments in a car's trim, there is no way of properly restoring this without either properly (and expensively) restoring the trim or buying a whole new trim piece. As such, these coatings are your best bet for improving the overall look of your car, and we've found the best.

The best black trim restorer

The best black trim restorer

Editor's choice

Gtechniq C4 is an exceptionally clever way of restoring faded exterior trim and gets our top pick. When wiped across a car with an applicator pad, C4 leaves a layer of protection, bonded tightly to the plastic surface thanks to clever nanotechnology. This protective layer works to revitalise lost colour which darkens the plastic while also proved a durable layer of hydrophobic and UV protection. The small bottle may make this option look like poor value for money, but when you realise how much a tiny smear of the product will cover, C4 becomes even more tempting.

Pros

  • Long-lasting results
  • Effective restoration

Cons

  • Don't spill any, the bottle is tiny

The best black trim restorer on a budget

Autoglym Bumper & Trim Gel
Price: $26.99

If it's your first time restoring exterior plastics and you're worried you'll do it incorrectly, Autoglym's Bumper & Trim Gel is probably what you should reach for. Suitable for restoring exterior trim, this gel is both easy to apply (with a separately purchased applicator) and is both effective at restoring dull plastic, and harmless to paintwork should you get some overspill. It'll darken dulled plastics and provide a layer of protection too. It may not have the durability of other choices, but it has ease of use and value in its corner.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Not the longest lasting

The best graphene black trim restorer

Graphene is supposedly the next big thing, taking the crown from ceramic. While the jury is still out on which is better, the protective qualities are compatible with ceramic. Turtle Wax is spearheading this technology and this graphene and acrylic trim restorer is definitely worth considering. Designed to work the same as other options here, this black trim restorer is applied with an applicator (you'll need to source that yourself) and works to restore lost colour and provide some extra shine. It'll also provide UV protection to ensure the plastic doesn't start to fade again.

Pros

  • Long-lasting
  • Really affordable

Cons

  • Can be sticky to the touch

The best ceramic black trim restorer

Just as ceramic technology is now making its way into paint protection, it can now be found in black trim restorers too. The main benefit of ceramic options is the durability offered. This Ceramic Trim Coat Kit is rated for two years of protection, an incredibly impressive figure. It ships with a set of gloves and ten individually-packaged wipes that you wipe over any dulled area where it'll work to restore lost lustre and provide extra protection. Best of all, it's non-greasy to the touch and quick to cure. It may be a premium option, but it's certainly worth considering.

Pros

  • Two years of protection
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Only one pair of gloves provided

The best black trim restorer gel

Gel-based protection does have a notable benefit, it's easier to ensure you reach every little nook and there's often a clear visual reminder of where you have and have not been treated. ValetPRO Black to the Future is our favourite gel black trim restorer and features an awesome name.

The gel formula makes it easy to apply to surfaces and ensures an even coating. Designed to device tired-looking trim, it can also double as a tyre dressing, bringing both surfaces back to a deep black colour. It's also designed to be hydrophobic, helping water bead straight off and keeping surfaces easier to clean.

Pros

  • Multi-purpose application
  • Excellent water beading

Cons

  • You'll need an applicator to apply this

The best black trim restorer: what you need to know

How does black trim restorer work?

Each example works slightly differently but they all follow the same basic concept. Apply some of the product to an applicator, rub it into the desired area and wait for it to dry. Once it has, buff it and remove any excess product with a microfibre towel.

Most examples will use some form of silicone and UV filters to provide a layer of protection, often relying on carbon to darken the plastics through a process of repigmentation.

Can I use black trim restorer on coloured trims?

The majority of these products are specifically formulated for black trim pieces which may give you a poor finish if you apply it to painted trim pieces. If the coloured trim is looking tired then it's probably time to look at polishing it.

What about chrome and other bare metal surfaces?

Again, using a black trim restorer on chrome or other metal trim will more than likely result in a dreadful finish. Look at getting some proper metal polish if you want shiny metalwork.

Can I use peanut butter as a black trim restorer?

An old wife's tale sadly, peanut butter (or oil) will provide a short-term darkening of a car's trim, but it won't restore the trim and it certainly won't provide any UV protection. We say, save the peanut butter for your stomach.

Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tool Editor for CAR and Parkers, specialising in car cleaning and hand tools. He also contributes to What's The Best.

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