Plastic and rubber can be found all over a car’s exterior — the trim, molding, bumpers, even the brackets that hold wiper blades.
Use a protectant to restore the look of faded and discoloured plastic and rubber, and to protect them from damaging UV rays.
Later model cars use black trim, usually made of plastic, but it also can be rubber, vinyl or anodised aluminum. Check your Owner’s Manual if you are unsure what the trim is made of, as that will determine the best product to use.
Use a mild soap, such as car wash soap, to clean the trim. You can also use protectant to clean the trim if it’s plastic, rubber, or vinyl. Use a small brush, like a toothbrush, soaked in protectant to clean faded plastic parts. To avoid overspray, spray the dressing on a rag before applying. Or consider using a gel or wipes.
For best results, let the protectant penetrate the plastic or rubber material before wiping clear, but follow the label instructions.
Over time, sunlight and heat can damage a vinyl or convertible top. If you have a convertible top, make sure you know if it’s made of canvas or vinyl, as each requires a different treatment. Check with your Owner’s Manual, if you are unsure.
Protectants are the most effective way to treat vinyl tops because they contain surfactants to remove dirt, silicone oil for lubrication, and UV protection agents.
Use a gentle soap, like car wash soap, and scrub with a soft, bristle brush. Let a gentle stream of water from the hose fall on the roof directly. Avoid the windows. Be careful cleaning the plastic window in the back, as it scratches easily. Use a soft cloth.
Vinyl can be washed with a regular car wash soap. If the dirt is ground in, use a bristle brush to scrub it. Sun damages vinyl, so dress with a vinyl protectant after washing.
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