Black dye…

Posted on November 2nd, 2007 in Driving Emotion,Opinion,Reviews by Julian Edgar

forever-black.jpgIf you own – or buy – an Eighties or Nineties car you’ll invariably find it has lots of black plastic exterior bits. Bumpers are the biggest examples but often there’ll also be side protector strips and rear vision mirrors.

And nothing looks worse on these cars than when the rich, deep black turns to a friable grey.

My Peugeot 405 SRDT is one of the breed with lots of exterior black plastic trim. And, especially against the white paint, the black-that-was-now-grey looked terrible. I tried some exterior trim restorer – a good brand of stuff, quite expensive – and it didn’t fix the problem. (But on another car, with rubber strips rather than plastic, it worked well.) So I went back to the auto parts shop and looked again.

What I came home with is pictured above – Forever Black Bumper and Trim Reconditioner. The on-box blurb says: “Permanently recolors and protects all black plastic, vinyl and rubber surfaces on your car without silicone”.

And now, having applied the stuff, that description seems pretty well on the money. Because you see, this liquid is basically a dye! You clean the surface with the provided cleaner (I must say that, having just cleaned the car, I didn’t bother using the cleaner) and then apply the liquid via a foam applicator, a bit like shoe polish. The instructions suggest masking off surfaces you also don’t want black, and I did a combination of this and later using polish to remove the excess that had got past the masking and onto the paint.

Grey, faded surfaces turn to a rich black – and if they don’t, you simply put on a second coat. It’s nothing like the other ‘black surface’ restorers I have used – although over the years I’ve tried only a handful so am certainly no expert.

The rear bumper of the Peugeot clearly needed less, so perhaps it had been replaced during the life of the car. The front bumper needed two coats.

The end result makes the car look vastly better, not just in that it looks less tired, but also in that the original designers’ intentions are now much clearer – the body visually ties together better.

I saw a Euro Barina on the road the other day – perhaps along with the Ford Ka the car most in need of black plastic restorer. But what made me notice the Barina was how good it looked – someone had spent some time with some black dye…

8 Responses to 'Black dye…'

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  1. Oosh said,

    on November 2nd, 2007 at 9:41 am

    Vinyl die has been used by the PC Case Modding community for a long time now, I’d be willing to bet this is much the same stuff, and probably cheaper since car variants of products invariably carry additional margins.

  2. Lucas said,

    on November 3rd, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Julian, what I like about your blog about tweaks and mods is that they are practical, and cheap. Being someone that owns old(er) cars myself, keeping the body trim neat and tidy is always good so that the old car doesn’t look more grey and worn than it really is!

  3. John said,

    on November 5th, 2007 at 11:08 am

    That’s a top find, I will have to invest in a bottle of that for my mirrors – Unless I just repaint them to match the car.

    In the past, I always just used some plastic primer then black spray paint to do this job, but it doesn’t last forever and this is probably much better for anything forward facing as it won’t chip.

  4. EMC said,

    on November 8th, 2007 at 7:31 am

    I’ve always used plain black shoe polish. It’s worked wonderfuly on my last 2 cars, and have never had problems with it.

  5. Wayne said,

    on November 18th, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    I kind of miss those 80’s bumpers. My first car (81 Mazda 323) had them. I found they were successfully brought back to life by rubbing with a steeel wool soap pad. Now days when someone bumps into my el falcon in the carpark, the bumper needs to be painted 🙁

  6. Allan said,

    on January 23rd, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I have a motorbike with a similar problem. Can you tell us where you got the product from.

  7. Julian Edgar said,

    on January 24th, 2008 at 8:42 am

    The local auto parts shop.

  8. Black Betty said,

    on July 3rd, 2008 at 6:32 am

    I’m w/ Wayne here: Just going back to the late 70’s/early 80’s, bumpers were mostly steel w/ a chrome finish. This product definitely aids in the newer-style bumpers that gets a bit shredded w/ literally a 5MPH “bump” per say. I’m looking forward to purchasing this for my black ’03 Ford and seeing those frayed gray strips on my front bumper!