Everything You Need to Know About Black Trim Restoration

Can't figure out how to best detail black trim? Wilson Auto's expert tips on black trim restoration can take your car detailing business to the next level!


Have you ever noticed that a great detail job can look terrible if you’ve got some faded black trim?

Many detailers think that just by purchasing any ole “black trim restorer,” they should be able to get the job done, but that isn’t the case

Let’s jump into this week’s Detail Drop:


To skip all the details, jump straight to the BIG IDEAS section at the bottom.


Retail Black Trim Products vs. Professional

First, it’s important to know that the “black trim restoration” products you can buy off the shelf of a retail store are not restoration products… they are more like dressings. 

You’ll know you’re using one of these if you apply the product, wait 5 minutes, and the surface you are “restoring” looks just like it did before. You can even watch the product dissipate in front of you.

To be really specific, here are some of those common products that DO NOT restore:

  • Chemical Guys VRP
  • Mothers Back to Black
  • Meguiars Ultimate Black
  • Meguiars Hyper Dressing

There are more, but those are some you may recognize. With these products, the word “restoration” is a misnomer.

These products are great for protecting black trim that is already in great shape, but that’s it.

Best Black Trim Restoration Products

There are 2 MAIN products I like for black trim restoration, and each of them serves a different purpose:

  1. Solution Finish
  2. Cerakote Trim Restorer & Ceramic Coating

If you had only these 2 products, you could perfectly restore any black trim in any situation, so don’t overcomplicate it. This is truly all you need.

Solution Finish

There are 4 things that make Solution Finish unique:

  1. It’s extremely affordable
  2. It works in basically every single situation
  3. It’s impossible to mess up
  4. It has a ton of off-label uses

$20 for a 12-ounce bottle of this stuff is insane. This is one of the rare products in the detailing industry that over-delivers and undercharges.

Whether you’re restoring porous or nonporous black trim, Solution Finish will work. It’s kind of like a life jacket… you don’t know if you’ll need it, but if you do, you really want it.

The application of the product is dummy proof. Wipe on, wipe off the excess, and you’re done. It doesn’t stain paint or glass, so if you get some on a different surface, just wipe it off!

While Solution Finish is a black trim restorer, it also is a lifesaver for black interior plastics. Specifically things like dashboards, door panels, etc. This will restore and even cover damaged interiors.

Here’s the downside: It isn’t the longest-lasting restoration in the world. In some ways, what you gain with ease of use, you sacrifice with some longevity. This is the type of product that should be applied to black trim 1-2 times per year if you really want the trim to look new. 

Cerakote Trim Restorer



Cerakote Trim Restorer is a more permanent restoration product, though it can be finicky… here’s what you need to know:

Cerakote comes in a box with 10 large, pre-moistened wipes full of product. You simply open a wipe, spread the product on the black trim surface, and walk away.

This is the longest-lasting black trim restoration product I have ever come across because it is actually a ceramic coating for black trim. The package says it will last for 200 washes… this is no exaggeration. 

Cerakote shares 2 things with Solution Finish:

  1. Affordability
  2. Ease of application

Here’s the downside: It can be a finicky product that leaves a streaky surface if you’re not careful.

    • It does not work well on less porous black trim. In other words, the black trim doesn’t absorb dye as well and is easy to streak with this product. A good example of the “less porous trim” is the black trim that lines a Honda CRV… it’s smooth to the touch. The “more porous trim” is what you will find around a Jeep Wrangler.
    • It doesn’t always self-level. The product is described as something that you can wipe on and walk away from. This is sometimes true and sometimes not. I’ve found that it is necessary to wipe the product and do your best to level the product with the wipe you are using. You can also lightly wipe up the excess with a microfiber towel if you notice some streaking, but do it early before it dries.

The trade-offs with Cerakote are worth it when you consider the durability and the visual appearance. It will SERIOUSLY darken the trim you are working on, and it’s basically a permanent solution. Just make sure you are using it on the trim that it will work on. 

While we’re talking about plastic trim, there’s another rule you should know:

I would call most retail-grade ceramic coatings “beginner ceramic coatings" and they can also be applied to black trim in addition to car paint. Most of these coatings naturally darken and restore (very minorly faded) black trim and buff to a streak-free surface.

Sometimes this is an easy way to get a dark, uniform black trim on exteriors in addition to some longer-term protection. Avalon king’s Armor Shield is a product that comes to mind. You can also check out Mckees Graphene Ceramic Coating for this type of use.



  1. There are 2 main types of black trim… porous and “not so porous.” It’s important you know which one you’re restoring because it will inform the product you choose. Another way to think of the “nonporous” black trim is just the smoother trim that is often on areas like window trim. 
  2. Solution finish is my all-around favorite black trim restoration product because of its price and useability. It will literally restore any kind of black trim that you come across, and it is totally dummy-proof. That said, it is not the longest-term restoration product, and when compared to products like Cerakote, it doesn’t even come close to competing on durability. Solution Finish also has endless uses for interior black plastics.
  3. Cerakote is the only other black trim restoration product I suggest because, between these two products, you can tackle any black trim… you don’t need anything else. The Cerakote trim restorer is the longest-lasting trim restorer I have ever seen, and I would call it a permanent solution. It is technically a ceramic coating. The only drawback with this product is its streakiness that happens when applied to smoother black trim or if you don’t level it when necessary. If I had my choice, I would use this product every time. 

If you understand those basic things about black trim and black trim restoration products, you will be way ahead of the game. Hope this helps.