How to Easily Restore Faded Car Trim with a Heat Gun

So your car’s paint is still a beautiful specimen of manufacturer gold, but the plastic detailing has seen better days. But what do you do? Replacing it would be very time consuming and expensive, not to mention how difficult it would be to find your make and model trim, and painting it would be just a colossal waste of time. Well, look no further, we’ve got your solution.

Here’s how to restore faded car trim with a heat gun.

Step 1. Prepare your vehicle for the fix. Depending on where the trim is located this won’t be too much trouble. You can use heat reflective material that stops the transfer from hurting your paint, but this isn’t dangerous to your finish as long as you are particular about your direction. So grab a heat gun and get ready!

Step 2. For this example, we’ll say you’re restoring the plastic strip down the center of the car’s door. Turn on your heat gun to the lower setting and move in a gentle sweeping motion. Start at one end and work up and down until you see the heat changing the plastic. Don’t concentrate on one spot too long or you could damage the plastic/surrounding paint.

As long as you keep your heat focused to the trim, you’ll have no problems making this work. It’s really that simple. Work the entire length of the surface in question, you will see results immediately.

So, why does this work?

Much of the plastic trim around your car is hydro formed and starts out as a sort of blank slate, and color pigments are impregnated into the plastic. Over time UV light bleaches the top pigments out and causes them to lose their luster, causing fading. What you are doing by applying heat to them is causing the pigments from deep within to rise to the surface, essentially reflowing the material. This is why it is very important to discern that the material you are applying heat to was made using this method. This will not work on materials that just have a top coat.

Good luck!

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