Proper Auto Detailing

Monday, February 25, 2008
How can I restore faded, oxidized plastic automotive cladding?
My 2000 Nissan Xterra has been well taken care of, but no matter what I did to protect the plastic bumpers and cladding from fading in the Florida sun, it didn’t work. I knew I didn’t want a shiny painted finish, but a flat black finish with a little texture would be nice. I looked at a lot of different possible solutions: truck bed spray-on and roll-on linings, underbody coatings, texture paint, etc. A local spray-on bed-liner company quoted $650 to do the job and I had to remove all the parts and take them in - $1200 if they did the entire job and I’d be without my vehicle for a “few” days. I thought there had to be a better way, and I was right.

I looked at the Wurth Stone Guard Black. This stuff is designed for use on rocker panels to protect from rock chips and other things thrown up from the road or trail. One of the things I liked about what Wurth says on the can is:

“Permanent flexible rubber-plastic coating…”

I tried it on a sacrificial panel and I found my fix.One thing I didn't want to get into was removing parts and this worked out well. Get an X-acto knife for close trims of the tape.

I used 2000 grit sand paper to rough all the areas and remove any oxidation to insure a good bond with the Stone Guard. The Stone Guard can doesn't mention doing this, but I believe it to be good practice to make sure the paint sticks.

After washing and drying the Xterra thoroughly I started masking off areas I didn't want painted or scratched with blue painters’ tape.

To make sure all the residue was removed I sprayed Wurth Clean-Solve on a microfiber cloth and wiped down all the areas. You want to make sure this doesn't get on the paint. One can of Clean-Solve goes a long way.

The instructions on the Wurth Stone Guard state:

“…spray at least 20” from the vehicle surface…Spray in short, even strokes, usually 1 – 2 coats, until desired texture is obtained.”

This is a must! Too close and you spray on too much causing it to bubble. Shake the can well before using. Before you start painting with a new can spray on a piece of cardboard or something you don't want. It takes a second or 2 to get to the black paint and you don't want this pre-spray on the vehicle. The material comes out of the can really fast so moving the can quickly and spraying in short bursts is best.

I applied 2 coats to the front bumper & grill, rear bumper, fender edging and splash guards for all four wheels. This stuff is quick drying so 2 coats was no problem to do in a short time.
I had small chips in my front bumper from rock hits, and they are completely covered. The texture is very subtle, nothing like a truck-bed spray-on liner I had original set my sites on. The color is a flat black, darker than the original dark gray, but it is really sharp. It took all of a Saturday afternoon to do and I didn’t have to remove one single part. It took me 4 cans of Wurth Stone Guard to complete the job, and the results are phenomenal!

If you have plastic cladding on your car or truck that is looking dull or has faded from the sun, you should really consider the Wurth Stone Guard Black.

posted by The Detailing Guru @ 2/25/2008 11:13:00 AM   318 comments

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