The best black trim restorer to get your bumpers back to black

Restoring your black trim can add value and make it look like new.

The black bumpers of three vans

by Ryan Gilmore |

Black plastic trim is present on pretty much every car made in the last 35 years. From the giant slabs of plastic that make up the bumpers of modern vans and base model city cars of old, to small styling details of high-end saloons, black plastic is everywhere.

And while it will look really good under the lights of a dealership and when it's brand new, black plastic is not The once rich black plastic goes a horrid flat-grey as the sun's harmful UV rays damage the plastic trim.

Thankfully there are a load of black trim restorers available on the market, and we've chosen our top picks right here.

Before you restore

Before you restore your trim make sure that the trim is clean from debris to avoid scratching the trim while it’s being restored. You don’t have to wash the entire car as usual however, a diluted all purpose cleaner (APC) sprayed onto the trim and wiped away should be more than enough.

All our top trim restorers won’t pose a threat to paintwork either so there’s no need to apply masking tape to the surrounding areas. If there is a little over-spray all you’ll need to do is wipe it away with a clean microfibre towel.

The best black trim restorers

Autoglym AG 163254 Bumper & Trim Gel

The best black trim restorer
Autoglym AG 163254 Bumper & Trim Gel

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Car cleaning heavyweight Autoglym was always going to be a safe choice for adding black back into your exterior plastics, vinyl and rubber. It's simple to apply and has immediate results which makes it our top choice. While it won't prevent future UV damage, it is a very effective dressing and will keep your trim black for a good while before needing to be re-dressed.

Before and after of using the Autoglym Bumper and Trim gel
©Photo: Ryan Gilmore

Tested 2022 - "The results on the rear of my Volvo speak for themselves, there was an immediate change in the appearance of the faded plastics and they now look brand new. It was also very easy to apply, the only issue I had was regulating how much gel I applied to the applicator pad. Still, any excess was easily buffed away. It also has a really nice smell, a little worrying for something that can cause drowsiness and dizziness."

Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer

The best black trim restorer for moderate protection
Meguiar's G15812EU Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer

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A step up from Autoglym's simple trim dressing, Meguiar's adds a layer of UV protection that'll last for a couple of weeks. Apply it using an applicator and it'll help restore lost colour while also adding this layer of protection. It's suitable for use both externally and internally but be warned, the chemicals are harmful and care must be taken when using it.

CarPlan BTW375 Trim Wax

The best budget black trim restorer
CarPlan BTW375 Trim Wax

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Not as strong as the other choices, this budget option from CarPlan is primarily designed for removing excess wax from black trim to prevent white greasy marks. It will still restore lost colour from black car trim but won't offer the protection of more expensive options.

Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer

The best black trim restorer for long-lasting results
Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer

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The big dog of trim restoration, Gtechniq's C4 may look expensive, but not only does it restore faded black trim but it'll also provide a clear and UV-resistant coating that should last up to two years. It's fairly simple to apply but you'll probably need more than the one applicator pad supplied by Gtechniq.

The best applicators for restoring trim

Special care should be taken when using any of these black trim restorers as they're all flammable and several are skin irritants. As such it's recommended that an applicator is used to apply the product to a car.

What you need to know about black trim restorer:

Does it work on non-black trim?

The majority of these products are designed for black trim only and will not give the desired look on other colours. If you have coloured trim that's looking a little. The same can be said for chromed or metal trim, you'll need a proper polish for the best results.

What about piano black exterior trim?

Glossy black plastic trim is a popular choice for window trim and is notoriously hard to keep scratch-free and is susceptible to UV damage like all black trim. While one of these trim restorers will restore any lost lustre, the tiny scratches won’t be removed and will require machine polishing for a flawless finish.

How can I prevent my trim from becoming damaged?

Park your car in a garage when at home and try and park it in a shaded area when you're away from home.

Look at ceramic coating your car as it offers excellent protection against the harmful UV rays that damage your car's trim.

Why should I care?

It's very easy to look at faded trim pieces and write them off as nothing to worry about. Yet, for a relatively small amount of money and some elbow grease, restoring these trim pieces will make your car worth more when it comes time to sell it.


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