So over the past three months, I’ve been testing plastic restoration products. My biggest frustration with these types of products is they never last really doesn’t matter what product that I’ve tried. Any of these plastic restoration products hasn’t held up. In my experience, it seems, like you know, after three to five days, the plastic’s, just as faded as what it was before I put the trim restore on it. So what we’re going to take a look at in this article is all these different plastic trim Coatings as well as a heat gun.
What actually holds up so guys? The way that I did my testing was, I had one piece of faded, plastic trim and basically, what I did was I just cleaned it off, wiped it down with isopropyl alcohol made sure that there was absolutely nothing on this plastic before I put each one of These Coatings down the way I did it was, I literally divided this piece of faded plastic into sections and applied each product on a different section of this faded plastic.
So what we’re going to take a look at in this article is basically the results. After about three months, most of these products did not even make it two weeks. As far as the testing itself, I made sure I did not wash the vehicle so once I cleaned it applied the products the the car was not washed at all.
So none of these products were exposed to any sort of like harsh chemicals things like that, it’s simply UV light exposure, maybe a little bit of heat from direct sunlight as well as some rain um. That’S essentially what I’m testing here I wanted to eliminate as many variables as possible and if I started washing things that was just going to introduce different variables, depending on the type of soap that I used. How long I cleaned it for how long I rinsed it for so I did not wash anything.
This is what I’m going to show you guys is literally best case scenario for each one of these coatings. So the first thing we’re going to talk about before we really dive into any of these coatings is going to be the heat gun.
There is a ton of articles out online, saying showing you how to use a heat gun to restore plastic trim. Yes, you can. The main issue with using a heat gun to restore plastic trim is it’ll, look good for about three to four months, and then it’s going to fade even worse than what it is when you started. What this essentially does is it pulls the oils that are in the plastic and just brings them back to the surface.
Once those oils um start to get degraded by the UV light, it’s going to fade again when it fades again, it fades even worse.
So there’s only a limited amount of oil and dye inside that piece of plastic trim. Each time you bring it to the surface, with the heat gun, there’s less and less as it gets broken down by that UV light. So, yes, you can restore it, but unless you’re looking to like sell the vehicle like you’re a used car salesman or something don’t use a heat gun because in six months, you’re going to be worse off than what you are right now all right.
So, for the purposes of this article, I’m going to separate these products into two separate categories first over here is going to be. The ceramic coatings over here is going to be the dressings.
The thing is with the ceramic Coatings versus the dressings, the ceramic Coatings will last much longer than any of the dressings. Will I don’t care who makes the product the ceramic coating as far as longevity is going to last much longer than any dressing? That’S on the market.
Currently, the thing is with the ceramic Coatings, though you may or may not like the finish that the trim has when you’re done. What I mean by that is any of these ceramic Coatings that I tested at least these three.
These have a super high gloss finish to them, so it literally looks like you took the piece of plastic trim spray, painted it black and hit it with a super high gloss clear. It doesn’t look anything like it did from the factory um. So keep that in mind, if you were looking at the ceramic Coatings, yes, they will last a much longer period of time than any of the dressings.
But you may not like the finish that these ceramic Coatings have so, if you’re interested in the ceramic Coatings just test it in an inconspicuous location, first make sure you’re happy with it before you go. Do the whole vehicle, because once it’s on there, it’s on there for an extended period as far as the dressings are concerned, guys the dressings give a much more.
You know OE Factory style finish to the trim versus the ceramic Coatings but, like I said they are not nearly as long lasting. So what I’m going to do now guys is we’re going to go back like three months when I applied these Coatings. What everything looked like and then I’m going to show you kind of like week by week how each one of these did so guys taking a look here.
This is what they all look like after I just got done applying all of them. If you take a look at some of these ceramics they’re simply like way too glossy we’ll see what they look like when they’re dry, but initially they look nowhere near.
You know what they’re supposed to be look at. These look at the amount of shine in that plastic compared to what you have down here with the heat gun and the heat gun literally just pulls the old oils that are down in the plastic and pulls them back to the top of the plastic.
So this is essentially what it looked like when it was new. This is what it looked like right now that it’s faded. So to me this is what all of them should be.
The closest one is probably the ammo. The 303 is a little dull and, like I said, the Ceramics are simply just too glossy. They look great from about 10 feet away, but you get up on top of them and it looks totally just unnatural all right. So this is how all these products look. After one week, as you can see, the 303 is already struggling, so this is where we’re at two weeks in this is the heat gun.
This is the ammo. This is the three uh 303, which is you know, virtually gone cerakote ceramic coating, the mcguiars, the uh, the new ceramic trimmer store not much better than the 303. In my opinion, um. This is the car guys from Amazon two weeks in of the non-ceramic Coatings. This looks by far the best um this one down here on the end is going to be the Wipe New all right guys.
So this is the heat gun. This is the ammo. This is a 303 both of these, as you can see, there’s maybe just a little bit of ammo left. This is three weeks in 303 has been long gone cerakote. The ceramic trimmer store McGuire’s, hybrid ceramic.
This is the car guys trimmer store, and this is the only one that is a non-ceramic coat that is held up three weeks um. This is a ceramic coat. This is the wipe new. This is a ceramic coat like I said, and then the cerakote is also a ceramic coat, so obviously the ceramic coatings last a heck of a lot longer than the temporary fixes the heat gun like I said you can get away with it once or twice, but Once you start doing it fairly, often it’s going to make your problem worse and worse. So the next thing we’re going to test here is going to be UV, light exposure.
What I have I have multiple slides and what I’m going to do is I’m going to apply each product to one of these microscope slides. I then have a window tint uh transmission meter, and, if you look at this thing, this middle number right here is uvr UV light exposure. So right now, 100 of UV light is being transmitted across that test area. If I take the slide and put the slide in there, you could see it drops approximately 10 percent. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to take each slide put each product on each slide and then test it with the light transmission meter.
Just to see, if there’s any change in this UV reading now this meter only reads UVA. It is not read UVB, so my my thought is: if there’s any sort of UV protection with any of these products, this UV reading is going to change. Uva is approximately. I think the wavelength is like 400 Uvb, the wavelength is around 250 to 350., so natural light is UVA UVB.
I’M only reading UVA with this meter. Now as far as applying each product to each slide. What I did was, I obviously you know, applied each product to each slide, but then I wiped it off sort of like you would had you applied it to a piece of plastic trim. You know I could sit here and just lay this stuff on here. Super super thick, but it’s going to totally skew the results.
I want results that are going to be consistent with how you’re going to use this stuff on plastic trim all right. So it’s about an hour later. At this point, we’re gon na turn the meter on and uh we’re gon na get some get some numbers on how this stuff actually performs. So the first one here is going to be the ammo. I don’t see much change here, guys um.
If anything, it may be even slightly worse than what it was they were. They were hovering right around uh, nine or ten. This is exactly the same way this one’s 303. Maybe one percent again, not a huge change. It’S definitely more UV resistant than the ammo is, but, as you guys saw, it really doesn’t hold up the next one is going to be the mcguiars.
The hybrid ceramic trimmer store this as far as UV resistance is really about the same as the 303. This is right: around 11, just over 11 So the next one we’re going to look at is going to be the Chemical Guys this actually increased uh the UV damage. If you look that’s around nine and I can pull a blank one over here out of the package and it’s going to run about 10.
so guys check that out, I mean that’s a blank one out of the package that runs about 10 10 and a half And I put a chemical guy or the yeah The Chemical Guys in here, and it goes to nine and a half, so it actually increased the uh, the UV damage, The Chemical Guys. The 3D trim care, the lithium and the chernova they’re all the same freaking product.
They’Re all exactly the same, if you look, I mean that one’s down to eight and a half there, it’s settled in about 8 9, just under nine, but as far as like these uh silicone, clear UV trimmers or these trimmer stores guys I’m I’m just not a fan of them. It’S actually increasing UV damage, which is you know, literally the exact opposite of what you want so yeah. It looks great, but it’s actually doing damage to the trim over a long period of time.
Finally down here, the car guys really right about around where the Baseline was right. Around 10 Moving on over to the ceramic coatings, this is the following, and if you look that’s seven and a half so guys, it’s actually increasing UV damage over here with the cerakote, the cerakote’s better at 9.
9.2, but it’s still worse than the Baseline. So, finally, guys this is going to be The Wipe New and if you notice check that out, it’s 10.3 go back to the uh, the following: whatever the hell, it’s called and that’s at 7 9. 7.
. So there’s obviously some changes between wipe new and this product over here now. At this point, I’m sure some of you are going. You know that little tint gauge that isn’t how you’re going to test UV damage. Yes, this is not how a professional lab would test UV damage, but there’s something here.
I want to show you if any of these products work. I would see a reading here case in point this. This test strip has sunblock on it, so check this out. So if any of these products inhibit UV damage, why am I not getting a larger number here, like I do with sunblock, because the sunblock as you and I both know, always works in addition to sunblock, I also tested an automotive grade clear coat check that out Guys close to 63 percent blocked UV light, so take that for what it is guys just because these products claim they brought, they block UV light and inhibit UV damage.
It may be such a small minute amount that they can get away with putting it on the bottle when you actually look at the amount that they’re blocking, is it going to make any difference?
It’S really hard to say all right. So what are my final thoughts on all this? So, starting with the heat gun, the heat gun to me is the least ideal option, just because I’m trying to preserve the trim and not do any further damage which the heat gun over time will do that with that said, If you’re trying to like flip a Used car or something like that, the heat gun is an excellent option because it is so cheap.
The thing is with the heat gun, you could do your entire car, it doesn’t matter if it’s like a Chevy Avalanche that is covered in plastic cladding or you know, a regular. You know small car whatever for twenty thirty dollars, you can pick up a heat gun and basically do any car that you want.
It doesn’t matter the size that to me is the biggest Pro the heat gun. For me, in my situation, it’s not something that I’m really looking to do. The thing is guys eventually, if you just keep using the heat gun on something you’re going to create damage on that plastic and the only way you’re going to fix that damage is either paint the plastic or replace it. So keep that in the back of your mind, if you’re going to use the heat gun on a consistent basis, all right so coming in fifth place for the dressings is going to be. The 3D trim care The Chemical Guys, Tire and trim gel the chernova plastic and trimmer store and the lithium trim serum.
I saw literally zero discernible difference in performance um. The way they looked anything I saw Zero, discernible difference between any one of these products. If I was to recommend one of these products, the only one that I would recommend would be the 3D trim carrier. Why? Because I bought that one for the cheapest, the last one that I would recommend would be the lithium.
The lithium is absolutely outrageous. It was over 35 dollars for 16 ounces, whereas this one, I want to say, was less than 20 So guys, like I said, I’m just not a huge fan of these products, they’re all extremely similar. They all look visually identical, they all perform identically and the thing is guys.
I think these have a bunch of basically silicone in them and once that silicone starts to dry out off of the plastic, the plastic goes right back to what it was before you put the trim or store on it. The other thing that I noticed about these product, these products in particular, is they’re very sensitive to heat.
So I put these products down in the lower Grill on that little Honda and what I found out is when I would shut the car off. I’D get radiant heat out of the radiator would just cook all of these products right off the surface. So if you’re in a cert, if you’re in a environment like Arizona or Vegas or somewhere, that’s super super hot. Don’T even bother with these! I bet you.
They won’t even last a week up on the wiper cow on this car. I got these products to last about two two and a half weeks, but they stayed oily the whole time. So my tape lines actually started to grow together and it was getting hard to determine one product from the next because they stay oily. All the time like I said, just not a huge fan for what they cost so coming in a fourth place for trim. Dressings is going to be 303 The 303 looks okay when you first put it on, but guys it really does not hold up um.
This is primarily what I was using on all my plastic trim on my vehicles before I started doing all this testing with this stuff – and I remember my dad using this stuff like 25 years ago, and I don’t know that the formulation has changed at all from What it was in the late 90s to what it is now, I think, there’s a lot of other products that have come on the market since then, and this stuff has sort of been passed up in that amount of time.
Um. One thing that I am curious about with this stuff is: it did help the UV resistance compared to some of the other stuff that I tested it did stop and block some UV light. The thing is, if you were a religious 303 user, would you see any benefit over 20 years or 30 years or whatever using this stuff? Let’S say like once a week, it’s hard to say, and the other thing is: how much is a piece of plastic trim to buy compared to buying you know 32 ounces of 303 twice a year so overall guys I like the product, it does have some UV Blocking to it, it just does not hold up long enough, and I think there’s other things that have come out on the market that have sort of just passed this stuff up so coming in third place for trim.
Dressings is going to be the mcguiars hybrid ceramic trimmer store this stuff. I have to be honest guys this to me was one of the biggest disappointments in the whole test. I know that’s pretty, I know that’s pretty harsh to say, but my thing is guys, there’s so much marketing and so much hype around this product from McGuire’s that this stuff was supposed to be the greatest thing out there and in my testing it wasn’t um the Thing was, I got about a week and a half, maybe two weeks out of this product before it faded.
But overall I was pretty disappointed with this stuff because you know even on the even on the packaging. You know it’s long, lasting, hybrid ceramic protection and it you know, there’s all these buzzwords on the packaging and then you go to use the stuff and it’s really not much better than 303.
That’S been on the market for what 25 years 30 years. At this point, I I just don’t see it guys um the biggest Pro to this product over 303 is it does last a little bit longer than 303 does and it fights UV about as well as 303 does in my testing. So that’s why I ranked it. The way I did it’s slightly better than 303, but overall for the amount of buzzwords and hype that’s around this stuff. I was kind of disappointed, so in second place for the trim.
Dressings is going to be the ammo mud tire gel now I understand this is marketed as a tire gel, but if you read the fine print on the back, it also says you can use it on plastic trim. So that was why I included it in the test overall guys, I really like the product um. I think it gave the best finish out of anything in the test as far as trying to match the heat gun, to bring an OE type finish to the plastic. This got it as close as anything in the test to what it was originally. The only gripe that I have with this product is.
I wish it lasted a little bit longer. You can get it to last about two weeks, but after two weeks it’s not looking that great it needs touched up again. In my opinion, this is an older version, I’m not sure if the newer version of this stuff I’ve had this bottle a couple years at this point, so the newer version – and I’m not sure if it’s UV, inhibiting this bottle, really didn’t affect the UV resistance at All one way or the other, but it did make the trim, look the best out of anything in the test, so in first place, four plastic trim. Dressings is going to be the car guys overall guys. I was highly highly impressed with this stuff.
I was not expecting results that I got with it. It lasted about five weeks after four weeks. It was still there, but it wasn’t looking good after four weeks, but when you consider the fact that it pretty much doubled the performance of any other coating or any other dressing in the test, it’s pretty impressive product as far as you, as far as the UV Resistance is concerned, we didn’t see any change, you know with the UV resistance, as you guys saw. So is it gon na change? You know going forward how much the trim is going to continue to fade.
It’S really hard to say, but as far as the longest lasting trim restorer, this is by far the longest lasting dressing style product non-ceramic that I have tested. So now we’re going to move on to the ceramic trim products and in third place or dead last is going to be the following: ceramic trimmer store this stuff. I think it was like 20 bucks for this vial. Overall, I was pretty disappointed with it. It’S okay, initially, the finish on it, as you guys saw, is like super high gloss and then it fades extremely quickly um after three months.
It’S definitely showing some degradation in that plastic trim that I um you know coated with it, but it is still there. So take that for what it is, the thing that really disappointed me, the most about this product was probably the UV resistance, um, just sort of like the the silicone products that we talked about a second ago. This product actually made the UV damage worse.
According to my testing, so take that for what it is guys overall, there’s better stuff out there, in my opinion, so in second place for ceramic trimmer stores is going to be the cerakote ceramic trim, restorer overall guys. The biggest thing that I liked about this product was the amount that they gave you they gave absolutely a stupid amount of this product, for I think it was like between 15 and 20 is what I paid for this and [ Applause ].
I still have a ton of it left um. I used it on a bunch of stuff outside of this test because I had so much of it uh. It was just kind of like you know why not um. Overall, the biggest disappointment with the product is the finish out of any of the ceramic trim products that I used this stuff had the worst finish. All the products were prepped the exact same way, and it’s this finished issue that I’m that I’m speaking of isn’t unique to this one piece of trim that I ran for this test, because I had so much of this product.
I used it on some other stuff and the other stuff that I used it on kind of looks the same way, there’s like little dots and some just some blotchiness in it, I’m not sure what’s causing it, but at any rate the product does hold up. If you’re trying, if your main concern, is how the product looks, don’t use a ceramic product go back and use one of the dressings. If you’re worried about durability, this stuff would have absolutely zero issue lasting. Like three months. You know an entire summer, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping for this stuff, not a bad product.
My thing is the finish on. It wasn’t as good as what it should have been in my opinion, so in first place for ceramic trim. Coatings is going to be the Rust-Oleum wipe new, this stuff kind of shocked me because it had the best finish out of any of the ceramics that I tested. The thing is, with this stuff, guys uh my biggest disappointment with it overall. Is they just don’t give you enough of the product?
There’S only four wipes in here which to do an average sized car with a decent amount of plastic on it may or may not be enough. Um. This Kit’s gon na run you about 15 bucks and the cerakote was, I think, around 18 or so the cerakote, I think, had like double or triple the amount of wipes in that for the nearly the same price.
So if your ultimate concern is finish and durability, as far as the ceramic coating, this is going to be what you want, even the UV resistance, guys, the I didn’t see a huge change from my Baseline with the UV resistance overall guys. As far as ceramic trim Coatings are concerned, I like this stuff, the best so guys I will have links down in the description to all the products that I tested here.
If you guys want to check any of this stuff out, as always guys if you guys, like the article hit like if you want to see more content, go down and hit subscribe thanks for reading guys,