This article covers the care / maintenance of exterior plastic, rubber, and vinyl often used for moulding, bumpers (unpainted), trim, weather seals/stripping, cladding, and wheel wells. These materials, otherwise known as polymers, are essential on the modern automobile as their unique properties afford automotive manufacturers the ability to add aesthetics, increased functionality (corrosion resistance, strength, reduced weight, etc.), and flexibility of design.
They require proper care so as to provide the appearance and functionality they were designed to provide. From an aesthetics point of view, polymers allow for some nice touches to a car’s appearance – if properly taken care of. Polymers on the exterior of a car, however, are subjected to the adverse effects of light, oxygen, heat, oil, road tar, grime, ozone, etc., and, even though durable, these elements will cause polymers to age prematurely.
Premature aging ultimately results in loss of strength, decreased flexibility, discoloration, ease of scratching, loss of gloss, and cracking that, among other things, creates an unsightly look.
Plastics contain various additives including plasticisers to enhance suppleness, and fillers which determine the surface quality. With time, heat, frost, solvent-based cleaning agents, UV radiation and other environmental factors negatively affect plastics, making them appear dry and brittle.
The stress-strain curve for a typical plastic is highly dependent on the temperature. At low temperatures, most plastics behave as brittle materials and there is very little deformation or strain before failure. At high temperatures, most plastics behave as ductile materials and there is considerable deformation before failure. This is known as the ‘ductile-brittle transition’ temperature
There is an array of plastics used in manufacturing.
The two main categories of plastics used are Thermoplastic, a type of plastic that will soften when heated, and Thermoset, which after it hardens or cures, will not soften when heated. Parts also can be made from many different compounds such as Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO), Polyurethane (TPUR), Acrylonitrile butadiene-Styrene (ABS), Sheet Mouldable Compound (SMC) or Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP), just to name a few.
Most of the adhesion promoters were designed for specific plastics. Recently, many of the leading paint manufactures have developed lines of improved plastic adhesion promoters. PPG has made available their "One Choice" which is a single system that was designed to cover most of the plastics on the market.
Novus 1; Plastic Clean and Shine - gently cleans all plastics without scratching, leaves a lustrous shine that resists fogging, repels dust, and eliminates static.
Novus 2; Fine Scratch Remover - removes fine scratches, haziness, and abrasions from most plastics (exceptional for removing scratches from Plexiglas) Use repeatedly and restore faded and discoloured plastics.
The type of polishing cloth you use will make a difference; nonabrasive, absorbent and lint free. Uses a soft 100% cotton towel (Swissvax or Zymol) avoid using polyester (Microfiber), which can scratch unprotected plastics. If using a machine polisher (Novas 2 or 3 (used for heavy scratches) use low speed and light pressure with a clean 100% cotton bonnet (as opposed to foam) to avoid overheating the plastic
[: Polyvinyl chloride is produced by polymerization of the monomer vinyl chloride (VCM), as shown. Since about 57% of its mass is chlorine, creating a given mass of PVC requires less petroleum than many other polymers]
Unlike leather, which are a natural organic product, vinyl and other imitations leather are synthetics, which are impregnated with plasticizers; they generally remain supple for quite a long time. When the plasticizers eventually migrate into the atmosphere, there is nothing that can be done to re-soften these materials. Surface blemishes such as rips or tears and holes can be repaired in the same manner as with leather, and they can be refinished
Vinyl is a plastic made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with a chemical polymer plasticizer mixed in and it’s also an ultra violet (UV) sensitive material, which degrades when exposed to sunlight. Maintaining the integrity of the topcoat and protecting against UV damage are the keys to keeping vinyl looking and performing "like new".
The plasticizer is the compound which makes the vinyl soft and pliable. Theoretically, the more plasticizer that a vinyl material contains the softer and more flexible it becomes. There are three types of vinyl: Expanded, non-expanded and non-backed. Non- Expanded Vinyl all are commonly used in the manufacture of automobile upholstery and trim. It is important to determine if the material that you are working with is Vinyl or Leather since these materials will require the use of different chemicals and techniques. Due to the differences in make-up, it is not possible to use the same repair and maintenance materials
Vinyl products, including car interiors, initially release chemical gases into the air (the cause of windscreen ‘hazing’ in new vehicles). Some studies indicate that this out gassing of additives may contribute to health complications, and have resulted in a call for banning the use of diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) the Japanese car companies Toyota, Nissan, and Honda have eliminated PVC in their car interiors starting in 2007.
Polyvinyl chloride (chloroethanediyl) commonly abbreviated PVC, is the third most widely used thermoplastic polymer after polyethylene and polypropylene. Made from Polyvinyl Chloride manufactured in a number of diverse ways, and is found on many vehicle surfaces both interior and exterior. The vinyl's topcoat contains the plasticizers, (Phthalates or Phthalate ester, which phthalates exhibit low water solubility, high oil solubility, and low volatility) are used as softening agents and provide low temperature flexibility and weld ability.
Vinyl is subject to deterioration from UV radiation, which solidifies dirt and grime into its surface and surface abrasion from entering / leaving seating areas. On a microscopic level polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or vinyl is protected with a thin topcoat.
Plasticizers are added to keep vinyl soft and flexible; these are added to the topcoat, which protects them from evaporation due to UV radiation. Vinyl is a very ultra violet (UV) sensitive material that degrades when exposed to sunlight. A solvent-based silicone will remove plasticizers as the solvents evaporate, negatively affecting its elasticity, so once they are heated by infrared radiation (IR) it will cause them to dry out and crack.
Plasticizers are unstable so they undergo a chemical change and migrate into the atmosphere, so maintaining the integrity of its plasticizers and providing protection from UV radiation damage is the key to maintaining its as-new condition.
Once the UV absorbs the ion process starts to breakdown (cleave) its weak chemical bonds it leads to bleaching (photo degradation) discoloration, chalking, brittleness and finally cracking, all indications of UV deterioration. Like all detailing task’s the correct preparation before applying the product will ensure that it works correctly, and has both durability and aesthetics.
Solution Finish - restores faded, discoloured or oxidized black surfaces to a rich black finish, apply to a clean, cool surface in the shade using gloves and eye protection. Apply a small amount to applicator pad or microfiber sponge. Spread a thin coat over area in an even motion, covering completely. Allow solution to penetrate for 1-2 minutes. Buff off excess and wipe off glass and paint (will stain unsealed paint).
CarPro CQuartz DLUX - a protective film, which contains UV protection. Product forms an extremely durable glass coating on top of any substrate it is applied to. Also offers protection of aluminum wheels. Restore the gloss of rubber, bumper resin and faded plastic. Product can be used on textured, smooth and will restore faded trim. Easy to apply with great UV protection
Aquartz Perl – is an aqueous (water-based) silicon oxide hydrophobic coating that contains (UV) inhibitors, apply diluted 1:1 with a foam brush and allow to remain overnight. Restores the original finish providing a durable matte finish
Clear-Cote was originally developed to protect vinyl tops from oxidation and embedded dirt build-up. Clear-Cote is also a protective coating for newly refinished vinyl. It provides a durable, washable surface for any vinyl surface. Please specify Original Gloss or Matte Finish. Clear-Cote is especially recommended for use on very light colours, off whites and bright reds, and as a protective finish in hot and humid climates. –Color-Plus
Why is it important NOT to use products containing solvents?
Acrylic, polycarbonates, and plastics are all porous materials. They will absorb whatever you place on their surface over time. Solvents will break down, deteriorate, yellow, haze, and craze transparencies. There are many ways solvents are introduced to transparencies: washer/cleaner fluids, jet fuel, de-icing fluids, paint thinners, unapproved window cleaners, and polishes.
It is very important to read the labels of the products you use around your transparencies. Anything containing, petroleum distillates, wax, ammonia, or alcohol is not recommended.
Like all detailing tasks proper surface preparation is necessary to obtain the desired outcome. Using the wrong vinyl "protectant" product is worse than using no vinyl treatment product at all. Avoid vinyl treatment products that contain any type of oil, have an oily or greasy feeling, contain petroleum distillates or leave a coating that dries like wax. If a product label says "flammable or contains petroleum distillates", do not use on vinyl
This is where polyurethane begins to turn yellow from a combination of factors including reactivity to chemicals and/or heat as well as build-up of dust, dirt and oils from insufficient cleaning. Solvents that cause a reaction with the polyurethane (Kerosene, Toluene, and Xylene) and some other solvents or propellants commonly used in many adhesive removers can also cause yellowing. Toluene can be used in small quantities without adverse effects, but in concentrate form if left on film and not neutralised right after use it will cause yellowing.
Toluene will degrade polymers, so do not use on headlights indicator lenses or urethane convertible rear. Also any products that are formulated with petroleum distillates (paraffin wax, etc.) will also cause yellowing
Basic Cleaning Requirements
As with all detailing tasks; surface preparation is the most important first step. Products will bond to a substrate and that will ensure it works correctly, and has both durability and aesthetics; if applied to a properly cleaned and prepared surface
Three types of energy are required;
· Chemical energy- provided by the synthetic cleaner
· Kinetic (abrasion) energy provided by machine or hand
· Thermal energy -provided by warm or hot water
Use a high-quality cleaner, formulated without strong solvents and one that has a pH value between 4 and 10 (neither strongly acidic nor strongly alkaline).
Faded vinyl and rubber has to be the most difficult to restore; they resist most restoration attempts as most products either wash away or fade. Vinyl moulding on modern cars and SUVs that present the ultimate challenge, re-dying can be both time consuming and expensive.
To renovate and to accomplish long lasting renovation repairs on ultra violet (UV) faded, scuffed, or scratched black exterior trim, moulding, mirror covers, door handles, etc. without replacement or repainting This system is long lasting and can be applied without the use of specialized tools, these products are not dressings that will wash off after a short period but rather is an actual dye that can last from 6 - 12 months.
Vinyl is only semi- porous, since it cannot readily absorb a dressing or protection; the products remain vulnerable to the elements. Water- based polymer products however, form a molecular bond and provide a longer lasting matte finish, similar to the OEM.
Solvent-based dressings have more shine; they will permeate the surface due to its solvent content, but can be removed with detergents and pressure washers. Vinyl and rubber restoration products contain dyes that can stain the paint surface, so they should be removed before they are allowed to dry.
Clean surfaces using Iz einszett 'Plastik-Reiniger' an intensive, non-corrosive, non-acidic two-phase deep cleaner for urethane covered upholstery and vinyl trim, that removes grime build-up thoroughly and effortlessly, these chemicals restore the original texture, tactile feel and resiliency; use to clean all coloured and clear water-based acrylic polyurethane covered automotive upholstery and vinyl; this product is biodegradable and formalin-free
ValuGuard Exterior Trim Repair Kit (ETR) - solves the stubborn problem of "gray bloom" sun fading and wax/polish residue on black trim components. Each kit contains one half pint
(a) ColorGard to re-blacken the component,
(b) UV Guard to ensure a long lasting repair
(c) New Car Prep for pre-cleaning to avoid fisheyes, and a selection of application sponges and protective gloves included. Returns the part to original finish, this is a renovation type product with outstanding durability unlike cover-up products.
A trim renovation kit that allows for virtually permanent repairs of black and gray trim items that have been damaged by aging, exposure to solvents, splatter from sealant wax or polish, and paint over spray. Repair / renovate trim without time consuming masking and painting that has a durability of approx. three years in average use. This product is not paint or a polish, but an acrylic latex emulsion that is approved by several auto manufacturers. ETR, properly applied correctly ETR has a durability of five (5) years or more.
Part should be clean and dry. If more than one coat is needed, allow to dry thoroughly between coats.
Application Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10MGLY5szqc&feature=player_embedded
Trim-A-Shield - a water-based acrylic polymer formula that forms a molecular bond to vinyl and textured plastic, when dry, it forms a tough, resilient coating that remains flexible. When it cross-links (polymerizes) it forms a very dense, smooth surface that is air tight and water proof.
It also resists common environmental hazards such as UV damage, dirt, grease and oil, the space between the surface and the coating is eliminated. Trim-A-Shield kit; contains GR-40 Trim Cleaner and Trim Dye (black or clear) – TOTL
All surfaces should be clean, dry and free of wax or silicone.
· Apply with a clean disposable foam applicator, or small sponge (always wear cloves)
· Apply to trim and allow to dry 10-15 minutes
· Just wipe on and dry, no buffing is required.
· If any streaking occurs, it means that there is probably wax or silicone residue on the surface( re-clean with GR-40)
Do not apply when air temperatures are below 45 degrees F or in rainy weather. It will not form a proper film and will dry with a white haze.
· Always test a small portion of product for each application in an inconspicuous area for colour fastness before attempting to use on all of exterior trim of vehicle.
Forever Black™ Car Care Products - use specially formulated dyes instead of silicone to bring back the life to faded black bumpers, trim, tires, bed liners, etc. and they hold the colour much longer and help protect against environmental elements such as ultra violet radiation (UVR) and doesn’t attract road grime or dust
Solution Finish – a polymer-based product that restores originally black surfaces to a deep, rich black with-out greasy residue. It provides a durable glossy black protective finish. Formulated for professional use, it is a silicone-free solution that uses all natural oils and is VOC compliant.
Apply to a clean, cool surface in the shade wearing gloves and eye protection. After shaking bottle vigorously and apply a small amount to applicator pad or microfiber sponge. Spread a thin even coat, covering area completely. Allow solution to penetrate for 1-2 minutes. Remove any excess product using a clean microfiber sponge or foam pad, remove from glass and paint (will stain unsealed paint).
Caution - some bumper colorants contain silicon and depending on the type of plastic used it can absorb them, which will cause problems with repainting
Matte black body grilles
Clean the grille with a limonene (citrus) based cleaner (P21S Total Auto Wax) a bottle cleaning brush is ideal for getting in-between the openings. Most waxes will leave a white stained look to them. Collinite Insulator Wax will not stain rubber or vinyl. Wash grille with diluted car wash concentrate and then use Iz einszett 'Plastik-Reiniger'.
Autoglym Rubber/Vinyl restores the matte black finish and solves the problem of "grey bloom" or sun fade. Then use an ultra violet protection product (Iz Cockpit Premium) to avoid fading (See also ValuGuard ColorGard)
The seals on most vehicles are no longer made of natural rubber; vehicle manufacturers use a specialized synthetic material called ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM).
Natural rubber, or blends containing natural rubber, just cannot endure the direct exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet light) and the harmful-to-rubber oxidizing gases in our atmosphere.
The seals around the vehicles lights (headlights, brake and indicator lights, etc.) and the soft seals around doors, windows, sunroof’s, hood and trunk are constantly being flexed and compressed all the while being subjected to a hostile environment. For maintenance use a product that contains glycerine to maintain the look and feel of the material
Periodically clean using Iz einszett 'Plastik-Reiniger' an intensive, non-corrosive, non-acidic two-phase deep cleaner for that removes grime build-up thoroughly and effortlessly, these chemicals restore the original texture, tactile feel and resiliency
Protection – using 1z einszett Vinyl Rubber Care & Potectant "Tiefenpfleger” for use on clean or pre-cleaned vinyl or rubber, it provides a temperature-resistant seal and a low-shine matte finish Dust-resistant and retards the fading effects of UV rays to keep exterior ‘rubber’ and vinyl looking like new.
Ultra violet (UV) protection is a sacrificial / renewable component; this is due to the UV protection layer being degraded by exposure to the elements (sun, sand, road or sea salt, and etc.) so it is imperative that you renew it and needs to be re-applied on a regular basis (dependent upon location climatic condition)
Alternative products- 1z einszett Gummi-Pflege for use on clean or pre-cleaned rubber, protection and durability measured in months, it has a little sponge on top of the bottle so you always get the right amount of product on your weather-stripping or rubber seals. Once applied to rubber they will take on a dark but natural shine. Use bi-annually to provide protection to avoid rubber from hardening or freezing.
Zymol Soft Seal Rubber Restorer - for use on clean or pre-cleaned soft seals, those around doors, hoods and boot lids, present a number of problems as they are constantly being flexed and crushed while being subjected to hostile environments. Zymol Seal is derived from glycerine, a natural plant anti-oxidizing agent, which notably prolongs the useful life of rubber seals by releasing trapped solvents and restoring original moisture
· Iz einzett Gummi Pflege (Rubber Care)
· Zymol Seal - a natural plant anti-oxidizing agent, it will prolong the useful life of the seal by restoring the original moisture and resist tearing and sticking
· Wurth Rubber Care Gel Stick - is silicone-free, biodegradable, and water repellent
Plasticizers are added to keep, trim soft and flexible, ultra violet (UV) radiation exposure will cause oxidation, they become dry and brittle and then leave a grey residue.
Clean using Iz einszett 'Plastik-Reiniger' an intensive, non-corrosive, non-acidic two-phase deep cleaner for that removes wax, sealant and oxidation build-up thoroughly and effortlessly, these chemicals restore the original texture, tactile feel and resiliency
Once the residue has been removed apply 1z einszett Vinyl Rubber Care & Potectant "Tiefenpfleger” on clean or pre-cleaned vinyl or rubber, it provides a temperature-resistant seal and a low-shine matte finish Dust-resistant and retards the fading effects of UV rays to keep exterior ‘rubber’ and vinyl looking like new.
Plastic Anodized ‘Chrome’ Trim
Oxidation is the way aluminium protects itself, the oxidation or white rust (a small portion of the metals top layer) becomes a sacrificial layer. So it makes sense to provide a protective product to act as the sacrificial layer instead of the metal.
It may be possible to restore the original appearance by an abrasive cleaning using a light abrasive (P21S Polishing Soap) or 3M Scotch-Brite 7448 - Grey (ultra-fine). Coarser abrasives such as sandpaper or steel mesh should be avoided, along with acid or alkaline cleaners, any of which would damage the coating.
So it makes sense to provide a protective product to act as the sacrificial layer instead of the metal. After washing surface use remove the oxidation with Swissvax Cleaner Fluid or P21S Polishing Soap and then apply Klasse all in one (AIO) to clean the metal water spots or stubborn stains and provide protection. Use with a terry weave towel to increase abrasiveness if required
Vacuum metallized (chrome plastic). This is usually a 3-step process involving applying a base coat of paint, then metallized with aluminum vapor in a vacuum chamber, and then clear coating. ABS plastic is sometimes used for metallization as it contains two different molecules, one of which dissolves in an etchant and the other doesn't. Thus it can etch extremely effectively to develop spectacular adhesion.
Sometimes PVD metallization is used chromium plating specifications using a 3-layer solution: Primer, PVD metallization and a lacquer Top-coat. Use AUTOSOL 001910 Chrome Plastic Polish, a non-abrasive polish, I would strongly advise against the use of synthetic steel wool or any other abrasives as the will leave micro-scratches in the finish
Periodically clean using Iz einszett 'Plastik-Reiniger' an intensive, non-corrosive, non-acidic two-phase deep cleaner for urethane covered upholstery and vinyl trim, that removes grime build-up thoroughly and effortlessly, these chemicals restore the original texture, tactile feel and resiliency; use to clean all coloured and clear water-based acrylic polyurethane covered automotive upholstery and vinyl; this product is biodegradable, silicone and formalin-free as well as being environmentally friendly.
Applications - wash vinyl surfaces with soapy water and rinse with clean water and then thoroughly dry. Then use 1z einszett Plastik Reiniger. Do not use products that contain petroleum distillates as urethane absorbs them and causes it to yellow or silicon oil formulations as they are build-up type products which accelerate heat damage
Protection - with 1z einszett Vinyl Rubber Care & Potectant "Tiefenpfleger” provides a temperature-resistant seal and a low-shine matte finish Dust-resistant and retards the fading effects of UV rays to keep exterior ‘rubber’ and vinyl looking like new. UV protection is a sacrificial / renewable component; this is due to the UV protection layer being degraded by exposure to the elements (sun, sand, road or sea salt, and etc.) so it is imperative that you renew it and needs to be re-applied on a regular basis (dependent upon location climatic condition)
Application - Spray onto a clean micro fibre towel, agitate it well and then allow it to remain in place for 10-15 minutes. Finally using a clean micro fibre towel buff it to ensure it permeates
303 Fabric/Vinyl Cleaner - will remove stubborn stains from any indoor or outdoor fabric safely and completely. Does not contain any toxic chemicals, ammonia, soap, detergent, or solvents, and will remove stains and restores fabric to like-new condition. The biodegradable formula removes oil, grease, dirt, coffee, tea, juice, wine, and pet stains from any water-safe fabric
Virtually all vinyl manufacturers agree that (Dimethyl Silicones (DMS) should not be used on vinyl (See Vinyl and Rubber Dressings” - Solvent -based silicone dressings)
Vinyl Trim Renovation
Vinyl is impregnated with plasticizers; they generally remain supple for quite a long time. When the plasticizers eventually migrate into the atmosphere, there is nothing that can be done to re-soften these materials. Surface blemishes such as rips or tears and holes can be repaired and they can be refinished.
For best results when recolouring vinyl, use the same colour as on the original finish, as colour changing can be problematic.
Color Plus Super Cleaner to clean the vinyl surface before applying colourant. Surflex Flexible Surface Colorant used to restore the colour of interior vinyl, Surflex is a flexible surface colorant, it’s water -based polymer pigmentation. Does not crack, chip or become brittle with age, restores the natural appearance and does not look "painted". Will not fill in or cover up the natural vinyl grain pattern, remains permanently flexible. Wash and rinse thoroughly per label instructions. Let the surface dry thoroughly before proceeding with the colouring.
Lacquer thinner or any strong solvent used to clean vinyl have a tendency to dissolve the surface, leaving it sticky and unworkable. After the vinyl surface is clean and dry, sand lightly with either very fine sandpaper or steel wool. Remove all residues from the surface with a tack cloth or similar product. Since vinyl is nonporous, it is imperative that no residue is left on the surface when you apply colourant.
Begin in an inconspicuous area such as a seat back or bottom and apply a thin coat of colourant, concentrating on thin even applications. To avoid leaving brush marks, do not re-stroke partially dried areas. As soon as the first coat is dry to the touch, a second coat can be applied. If necessary, touch up with a third coat. Use varied brush strokes (half-circles, cross-hatches, etc.) to eliminate any brush-mark patterns.
When spraying, use about 25 PSI air pressure, a narrow fan tip, and apply a full wet first coat; avoid runs or puddles. If necessary, when dry apply subsequent coat(s) for good colour coverage clean equipment with warm, soapy water
Surflex Flexible Surface Colorant is water-based and dries for use within 24 hours, curing completely in about 6 weeks, after which time the surface should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water and a cleaning preparations intended for vinyl (Iz einszett 'Plastik-Reiniger’)
Leather Magic Liquid Vinyl is a highly concentrated mixture of plastizers and ketones. When exposed to air the ketones evaporate leaving the raw plasticizers in place creating a thin layer of a vinyl-like substance. Liquid Vinyl is primarily used as a base adhesive combined with fibreglass Mesh as well as the liquid mixture.
It may also be used to permanently glue vinyl together. The ketones actually dissolve the vinyl to which it has been applied and when pressed together and allowed to dry thoroughly the two pieces of vinyl actually become one. Liquid Vinyl strengthens as it cures. The longer the liquid vinyl is in position the stronger it becomes. Liquid vinyl dries in about 3-5 minutes in 60 to 70 degree temperature, with low humidity.
Leather Magic DT-11 Peanut Butter Powder - is made of a plastic material ground to a super fine powder. When combined with DT-10 Liquid Vinyl it is made into a paste which can be applied to semi-rigid type vinyl and hard plastics.
The combined mixture is then referred to as Peanut Butter because of its' appearance and the way that it is spread on repair surfaces. The most common use on dash repairs after fibreglass mesh has been put into place. Peanut Butter is workable after about ten minutes of drying time, it can only be sanded.
Vinyl Tonneau Covers come in a variety of styles -
1. Made from cloth or vinyl and uses a rib-like system to support the fabric and keep it taut
2. A "roll-up", which is a unit mounted at the front of the bed just behind the cab.
This unit is usually a small rectangular box attached at each side of the bed. Inside this box is a retractable fabric or plastic cover that can be rolled out and secured to the end of the bed. (See Roadster Fabric Tops for cleaning and maintenance)
3. Fibreglass or hard plastic tonneau covers are quite popular because they have what is generally agreed upon to be the best appearance. They tend to be painted to match the truck Fibreglass or hard plastic tonneau covers are sometimes installed as a factory option
The hard vinyl surfaces all can be cleaned using a damp micro fibre towel and Iz einszett 'Plastik-Reiniger' This is an intensive, non-corrosive, non-acidic two-phase deep cleaner, that removes grime build-up thoroughly and effortlessly, these chemicals restore your tonneau cover to its original texture and resiliency; even at high temperatures, its thermo-stable action protects the product against break-down providing a matte finish.
Periodically apply Iz einszett Vinyl-Rubber Care + Protectant 'Tiefenpfleger' to a clean and dry surface. Dust resistant and retards the fading effects of UV rays to keep exterior rubber and vinyl looking like new.
Wolfsteins, the leading manufacturer of Raggtop Convertible Top Care Products that are endorsed by Haartz and Roll-N-Lock, manufactures a kit that's designed specifically for vinyl tonneau covers. The kit includes a Tonneau Cover Cleaner and a Tonneau Cover Protectant.
The Tonneau Cover Cleaner is a non-toxic, pH balanced, biodegradable formula that's safe on all surfaces. The cleaner can safely be sprayed on paint, glass, and chrome without causing any damage. Dirt, grime, and bird droppings don't stand a chance with the Raggtop Tonneau Cover Cleaner.
It provides excellent UV protection against fading, cracking, and hardening. This patented formula can be used on all vinyl, plastic, and rubber trim. It contains no silicone, does not streak, and will enhance the appearance that's being treated. A tonneau cover treated with the protectant will be easier to clean and maintain in the future. Each application lasts several months.
Ultima Tire & Trim Guard Plus - a polymer coating that can be applied to most flexible surfaces (vinyl and rubber) and hard surfaces (plastic and metal) to coat, seal and protect. This dressing is durable and provides protection against pollution, ultra violet light (UV) road salts, harmful ozone, creosote and etc.
Understanding dressings is essential; obtain accurate technical information on automotive care products can be problematic, but detailer’s should be knowledgeable on the dressings sold for tyres, rubber, vinyl and leather and their chemical content. Otherwise they are at the mercy of the supplier to provide not only products, but also the technical knowledge and application methodology regarding product usage.
Unfortunately not all suppliers or distributors have the ability or technical knowledge to provide accurate information to the trade; some do not want to divulge what they term ’trade secrets’ as the information might be detrimental to their product sales or company image. Honest opinion or merely advertising?
Commercialism brings with it concerns of honesty and true representation. In other words, it’s difficult to know what is true when someone is motivated by income, i.e. directly targeted at product sales, more so than an unbiased opinion
Some vinyl and rubber dressings contain hydrocarbon (petroleum) distillate solvents and some manufacturing methods use Formaldehyde as its base, using a dressing that contains formaldehyde (used in some solvents) can accelerate vinyl deterioration by altering the original chemical balance of the vinyl. Vinyl and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) dressings are formulated with UV radiation stabilizers that serve as sacrificial molecules and are consumed in place of the materials they are applied to.
Water- based silicone dressings- Silicones (more accurately called polymerized siloxanes or polysiloxanes) are usually a milky-white liquid that does not contain petroleum distillate solvents that can harm rubber and / or vinyl over time. Most water-based dressings use a combination of natural oils to offer a non-greasy, satin finish. Most of these products also contain UV blocking agents to help keep tyres / vinyl from cracking, fading and hardening(Zaino Z-16 Perfect Tire Gloss™ is a non-oily, rubber and exterior vinyl finishing treatment) Most, if not all water-based dressings are biodegradable whereas Silicone is not.
Solvent -based silicone dressings- (Dimethyl Silicones (DMS) usually a clear greasy liquid that contains petroleum distillates solvents for cleaning, they are migratory, entering into the substrate (resin binder system) and being a solvent they will slowly break down the polymer substrate which is also derived from hydrocarbon. They release the plasticizers from vinyl, rubber and paint; causing them to evaporate out of the substrate, leaving behind a dry inflexible surface. This type of Silicone oil is greasy; they attract dust, and soil more quickly.
The seals on most vehicles are no longer made of natural rubber; vehicle manufacturers use a specialized synthetic material called ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). Real rubber, or blends containing real rubber, just cannot endure the direct exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet light) and the harmful-to-rubber oxidizing gases in our atmosphere.
The soft seals around doors, windows, and sunroof’s hood and trunk are constantly subjected to thermal flex and compressed all the while being subjected to a hostile environment.
To remain functional, they must stay flexible and require protection from the environment. The surfaces can be cleaned using a damp micro fibre towel and Iz einszett 'Plastik-Reiniger' Door and window seals must be treated 3-4 times a year. Use Iz einszett Gummipflege to treat all seals and caskets.
1. Swissvax Seal Feed-Gum Feed (contains glycerine) to treat all seals and caskets.
2. Gummipflege Stift - It applies directly from the bottle like a shoe polish; when it dries it creates a dark matte seal, durability measured in months it has a little sponge on top of the bottle so you always get the right amount of product on your weather-stripping or rubber seals.
Once applied to rubber they will take on a dark but natural shine. Use bi-annually to provide UV protection to avoid rubber from hardening or freezing – Detailer’s Domain
3. Zymol Seal a natural plant anti-oxidizing agent, it will prolong the useful life of the seal by restoring the original moisture and resist tearing and sticking
4. Wurth Rubber Care Gel Stick- a silicone-free, biodegradable, and water repellent
Exterior Glass ‘Rubber’ Seals
EPDM has extremely poor resistance to solvents and oils. Do not use a cleaner or any chemical product that contains oils or Dimethylsilicone (DMS) usually a clear greasy liquid, which leaves a never-dry gloss film, as most contain petroleum distillate solvents that are that are incompatible with EPDM.
Exterior - For dull or faded seals or window mouldings- remove imbedded white stains in vinyl and rubber mouldings; first wipe the mouldings with a multi-purpose cleaner. P21S® Total Auto Wash or 1z einszett Plastik Reiniger (Deep Cleaner) both products are excellent for this task. This removes any wax / polish / silicone debris and dissolves surface stains.
Protect - with 1z einszett Vinyl Rubber Care & Potectant "Tiefenpfleger, if stains reappear after two coats, the vinyl or rubber is chemically bleached (See Vinyl-Plastic and Rubber Care). After treatment, protect the trim with 303 Aerospace Protectant to provide (UV) protection Apply to a cloth or applicator pad and give the trim a quick once over.
Renovation - Forever Black™ Car Care Products - use specially formulated dyes instead of silicone to bring back the life to faded black bumpers, trim, tires, bed liners, etc. and they hold the colour much longer and help protect against environmental elements such as ultra violet radiation (UVR) and doesn’t attract road grime or dust
Metallic Window Trim
Quixx Scratch Remover is a unique repair system that uses a German engineered process called Plastic Deformation, to effectively remove scratches from all paint finishes (including metallic) quickly and safely. Using a micro fibre towel and rubbing in the direction of the scratch gives the best results
Is an option on current BMW models, offered in matte and glossy finishes; it replaces the chrome around the windows, body panels, bumpers and grille. The glossy black trim pieces are anodized, not painted, and the discoloration does not mean that the surface has been damaged. Exterior trim may become discoloured; this discolouration is due to a film deposited on the trim which distorts the light reflecting off the trim.
These deposits may come from car washes, hard water, or other environmental conditions. Deposits that cause the discoloration can be easily removed by polishing with a quality light finishing polish
(Extract from a BMW technical service bulletin (TSB)
Note: The glossy black trim pieces are anodized, not painted, and the discoloration does not mean that the surface has been damaged. Therefore, the trim pieces do not need to replace.
This discoloration could be weathering bloom, chalking, or chemical attack. Weathering bloom may occur when sealing is inadequate, and the surface of the anodized coating has become etched during weathering. Acidic pollutants in the environment promote this effect.
It may be possible to restore the original appearance by an abrasive cleaning using a light abrasive (P21S Polishing Soap). Coarser abrasives such as sandpaper or steel mesh should be avoided, along with acid or alkaline cleaners, any of which would damage the anodized coating.
After washing surface use Klasse all in one (AIO), for water spots or stubborn stains use with a terry weave towel to increase abrasiveness
Plastics contain plasticizers (Flex agents) to help them maintain flexibility so that they can respond to temperature changes as well as fillers that determine the type of surface finish. Do not machine polish the paint on non-metallic panels (rocker panels, spoilers, etc.) as it is much softer due to the flex agents.
The machine will be putting a lot of kinetic energy into a very small surface area, and non-metallic panels are a poor conductor of friction induced heat and will tear / burn the paint system.
Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) heat, cold and high solvent content cleaners and environmental agents attack plastics making them dry, brittle and prone to cracking. Use a product that is enriched with preservative oils that will replace the moisture that has been lost and provides ultra violet (UV) protection and restores plastics parts to their original appearance
There is no such thing as a permanent UV stabilizer, it a matter of physics, not chemistry. Providing protection from ultra violet radiation (UV) is very important to avoid photo synthesis (colour fading) particularly in an open-air roadster/convertible UV protection is a sacrificial / renewable component; this is due to the UV protection layer being degraded by exposure to the elements (sun, sand, road or sea salt, and etc.); so it is imperative that you renew it and needs to be re-applied on a regular 45 to 60 day basis (dependent upon location climatic condition)
1z Plastic Cleaner (Plastik-Reiniger) - an intensive, non-corrosive, non-acidic two-phase deep cleaner that removes grime build-up, scuff marks, bitumen (tar), and nicotine thoroughly and effortlessly with dust-resistant anti-static action. Use to clean armrests, door handles, shift knobs, vinyl seats, pedals, dashboard, storage compartments, tires, rocker panels, wheel wells, and more. Water-based formula is biodegradable, formalin-free and environmentally friendly. Follow-up with a treatment of Iz Cockpit Premium
/ Iz Cockpit Premium – an interior care and protectant developed specifically for that original factory look. This is a treatment spray for all interior components including the dash, vinyl seats, door handles, trim, navigation screens, stereo head units, and clear plastic. Cleans and protects components from the UV exposure and heat. The gentle formula is water-based and free of oils providing a flat, original showroom finish. Non-slip finish allows for application on the steering wheel, shift knob and imitation leather seats.
Meguiar's Mirror Glaze line M17 Clear Plastic Cleaner and M10 Clear Plastic Polish with a new foam pad to restore scratched plastic surfaces. http://bit.ly/53GDcK
Polishing Polyurethane (Plastic)
Whilst kinetic (or dynamic) friction is somewhat of a benefit on painted metal surfaces; friction induced heat should be minimized as much as possible on plastic surfaces.
Most modern cars use plastic bumper systems and covers made of thermoplastic olefins, polycarbonates, polyesters, polyurethanes, or blends of these polymer compounds. Often, glass fibres are added to provide more strength and structural rigidity to aerodynamic parts (i.e. spoilers, side skits, air dams, etc.). Plastics allow automotive engineers to have a lot of freedom in styling, building and placing components.
These parts need to be flexible to perform their intended function, and to this end flex agents are added to their paint systems to avoid cracking or delaminating.
The paints flex agents cause the paint to be more porous, creating foam with microscopic pockets. These pockets allow the paint to remain spongy and flexible. Most of the pockets are deep in the layers of paint, but some float to the surface, it also causes the paint to remain semi-soft.
Polyurethane conducts friction induced heat differently than metal, so do not leave the machine / pad in one place for too long or you will friction burn the surface. The flex agent paint cannot be buffed or polished with anything more than the finest polish, or the finish will smudge and be ruined. Using a PC with limited downward pressure, a light abrasive 4-inch foam pad, a mildly abrasive polish and reduced machine speed
DO NOT use solvent, steel razor blades or steel wool on plastic lenses
Plastic polish will not remove clarity defects that are within the plastic or deep scratches (1.0 µ) but it will remove external/surface scratching and oxidation (yellowing). Prior to application of a plastic polish ensure that the surface is clean and free from dust particles by washing with a soft cloth and warm water. Be cognizant that heat may cause the plastics to deform
Is a registered trademark of SABIC Innovative Plastics; a highly durable polycarbonate resin thermoplastic intended to replace traditional glass and Plexiglas where the need for strength and impact resistance justifies its higher cost. Using an abrasive polish may remove the UV protective coating
After washing and drying the surface; use a plastic polish that is safe for all types of clear and coloured (polycarbonate) type plastics i.e. Lexan®, Perspex, Lucite and most clear acrylics – Bay Plastics Ltd -Novus 1, 2 & 3
Novus 1; Plastic Clean and Shine - gently cleans all plastics without scratching, leaves a lustrous shine that resists fogging, repels dust, and eliminates static.
Novus 2; Fine Scratch Remover - removes fine scratches, haziness, and abrasions from most plastics (exceptional for removing scratches from Plexiglas). Use repeatedly and restore faded and discoloured plastics.
The type of polishing cloth you use will make a difference; nonabrasive, absorbent and lint free. Uses a soft 100% cotton towel (Swissvax or Zymol) avoid using polyester (Microfiber), which can scratch unprotected plastics. If using a machine polisher (Novas 2 & 3) use low speed and light pressure with a clean 100% cotton bonnet (as opposed to foam) to avoid overheating the plastic
Alternative products - 3M Plastic Polish and Cleaner, Plexus® Plastic Cleaner, Protectant & Polish or Renovo Plastic Cleaner can be hand or machine applied
LP Aero Plastics - acrylic polish and sealant, a no-wax, non-yellowing formula containing polyethylene polymers. This product gives a super slick surface to your acrylic windshield and windows, used extensively on light aircraft.
DO NOT use solvent, steel razor blades or steel wool on plastic (Lexan®) lenses
Interior Trim Cleaning
Consists of the dash, vents, hard plastic surfaces and vinyl trim, these surfaces all can be cleaned using a damp micro fibre towel and a 5:1 PP21S® Total Auto Wash / distilled water solution and with a water-based, anti-static cleaner Iz einszett Cockpit Premium; even at high temperatures, its thermo-stable action protects the product against break-down
For all plastic surfaces (BTI Chemicals Plexus® Plastic Polish & Cleaner) including wood, as they are protected with a urethane clear coat
To be of real practical use, a subject like automotive detailing requires a great deal of research, and updating as new products become available. The advent of materials like detailing clay, micro fibre technologies and finely milled micro diminishing abrasives, suitable for ceramic nanotechnology paints are examples of why it’s so important to monitor the industries new products, chemical technologies and ideas that are constantly being introduced, as are the techniques for applying them, hence all of the in-depth articles will be up-dated and revised on a regular basis
Always be willing to learn; because the more you learn, the more you’ll realize what you don’t know. You should never stopping learning, and your quest for information should be part of your everyday process. It is said that knowledge is power, with the caveat that it includes access to a reliable information sources. I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.
I hope these articles are informative. They are based on the current status of technical development as well as my experience with the products.
By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.
I would appreciate it if you would share these articles as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
As always if you have questions, I’ll do my best to answer; bear in mind the only stupid questions is the one that was unasked. Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated
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