Cosmetic and Exterior Trim


Clear and transparent-coloured plastics can readily benefit from treatment with a plastic polish. Mothers® Plastic Polish has proven itself effective on signal lenses, head and taillights, clear emblems, plastic convertible top windows and centre caps. The Mothers® product has the added benefit of leaving behind a fine layer of polymers and UV inhibitors that protect your plastics from future environmental torment. Plastic with stains and yellowing will also look better after being treated with a plastic polish. If the discolouring is extensive try Mothers® Nulens® Headlight Renewal Kit which is slightly more aggressive.

Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit uses patented PowerBall® technology to restore clarity and protect from future damage. It’s easier, faster, better. For severe damage, the NuLens Kit now includes power-sanding disks to remove harsh yellow hazing and scratches from clear uncoated plastic surfaces.

Convertible Top, Fabric or Vinyl

Your convertible top can benefit from being washed with car wash just like the rest of the vehicle, but it needs further attention to last as long as it should. Whether dealing with a vinyl convertible top or fabric, the material itself is more porous than the rest of the car’s exterior, and dirt will work its way deep into the weave. Mothers® Car Wash’s most important feature is how the cleaning agent works without breaking down the top’s waterproofing.

It’s best to wash the top first and remove all surplus dirt. Pre-treat tough stains with an extra blast of undiluted Car Wash, agitating it into the top and then letting it soak for a few minutes. Apply the Car Wash liberally, thoroughly coating the top material. Follow that with a firm scrubbing. Remember to hit the seams too, but don’t be as firm there. In some cases Mothers VLR, Mothers Protectant or Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner can be used on convertible tops. Be sure to know what finish your convertible top has and always test on a small area before proceeding.

Do not use a wire bristle brush, only nylon or a natural fibre, and preferably one that’s not too stiff. Employ your common sense—you don’t want to use a bristle that looks like it’ll chew through the top material. After cleaning and allowing the top to dry (or you can dry it with a soft cotton tow- el), there are two paths you can take. If the top is vinyl give it a light coat of Mothers® Protectant. On a cloth top, brush the whole surface in one direction (front to back).

If your top is white and you must use bleach, dilute it with water (less than 25 percent bleach). Also, be sure to wet the surrounding areas and rinse thoroughly. Too much bleach will break down the fibres and damage other components. Mothers® Car Wash is gentle and bleach free. The same tip applies for tonneau covers, vinyl and fabric hardtops, other exterior automotive fabrics and boat covers. Most convertible tops will have either a plastic or glass rear window, so consult this guide’s sections on glass or plastic care accordingly. Bleach is a last resort due to its harsh nature.

Exterior Plastic, Rubber and Trim

More maligned than exterior metals, more abused than automotive glass, more rejected than your ride’s rubber; this is the story of exterior plastic and trim. Take heart, there are remedies close at hand. First, understand the condition of the plastic items you plan to work on. Is the build-up a light layer of atmospheric grunge or has the colouration and consistency of the plastic changed? Is the plastic and rubber in jeopardy of falling apart, or are there just a few areas that need buffing? What sort of polymer is it—rubber-based trim or hard plastic? Consider what you’re working on before approaching it with a chemical.

Even though plastic is a popular component of exterior adornment these days it doesn’t last forever. It holds up well for a long period of time with minimal cleaning and maintenance, but deteriorates if you don’t take care of it. There are two general types of plastic to be concerned with—trim and moulding plastic, which is opaque and usually matte-finished; and lens and light plastic, which is transparent and/or shiny. If the piece is opaque, coated plastic or urethane (used on trim and mouldings), then treat it with a regular application of a high-quality dressing like Mothers® Protectant. The outermost layer will last much longer, preserving the appearance and structural integrity of the piece itself.

Restoring Rubber

Rubber is often used to surround bumpers and other external parts that regularly move out of alignment with the body structure. Like opaque plastics, regular treatments of Protectant or similar high-quality penetrating preservative will greatly improve the longevity of the rubber no matter what colour. If the item has gone beyond the easy save and needs some resuscitation, then stronger plastic and rubber restoratives like Mothers® Naturally Black® Trim & Plastic Restorer are again the smart remedy. Applied generously and allowed to soak, these restoratives can bring lost lustre back to the rubber. Try multiple coats if at first you don’t succeed.

In the case of opaque plastic and urethanes left exposed and dirty, where the surface is eroded and oxidised, dried out and faded, you can revitalise it with a plastic restorative agent. Mothers® Naturally Black® Trim & Plastic Restorer is a good example of a formula designed for this purpose. Repeated applications over several days can help to bridge the gap between tired or sunburned molecular bonds. When washing your car, you may notice that exterior components (such as trim, moulding, bumpers, door handles, vents, seals and others) have faded from black to grey, their surface crispy and cracked. This is where restoratives like Naturally Black® shine (pun intended).

Note: once plastic has deteriorated so much, lighter chemicals like Protectant can’t save it anymore. At this point Naturally Black® is the only best option. New to the range is Mothers® Naturally Black® Heavy Duty Trim Restorer which can erase years of neglect and deterioration as a first step to revitalize your trim pieces.