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How To Remove Scratches From Rubber Trim

Over time, the rubber trim on your vehicle's doors can get scratched and worn. Not only is this unsightly, but it can also make your car look older than it really is. But is there a way to remove these scratches and make your doors look new again? Let's take a look below.

Depending on the severity of the scratches, there are a few different methods you can try to remove them. Here are some tips:

  • Sandpaper and rubber paint
  • WD-40
  • Polishing compound
  • Replace the rubber trim
  • Professional auto body or detail shop

Removing scratches on rubber trim can be a difficult task. That's why in this article, we will discuss each method to help you find the best way to fix your issue. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about restoring vehicle trim, so read on!

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open passenger door, mirror, dashboard of car. Right front door. A new modern shiny parked white car. Interior luxury car , How To Remove Scratches From Rubber Trim

How Do You Remove Scratches On Rubber Trim?

Rubber plays an important role in your vehicle's trim. Not only does it add to the aesthetic of your car, but it also protects the metal and plastic beneath it. Over time, however, the rubber can become scratched and worn, making your car look old and neglected.

There are different methods you can try to remove the scratches, but scratches are all different depths. With that said, you may need to try a few different methods to find the one that works best for you.

Let's take a look at each method in more detail.

elastic rubber at door for reduce sound outside a car

Sandpaper And Rubber Paint

If the scratches are not too deep, you can try sanding them out with sandpaper. Start with medium-grit sandpaper and work your way up to fine-grit paper.

You may need to also wet the sandpaper to help remove the scratches. Just be sure to sand in the same direction as the grain of the rubber.

After you have sanded out the scratches, you can then paint over them with rubber paint. This will help protect the area and make it look new again.

Be sure to tape off the area around the scratches so you don't get paint on your car's finish.

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WD-40

Another method you can try is WD-40. This lubricant can help to fill in the scratches and make them less visible. Simply spray the WD-40 onto the scratched area and rub it in with a microfiber cloth. You may need to do this a few times to get the best results.

Once you have applied the WD-40, you can then wipe it off with a clean cloth. You can also try using the WD-40 in conjunction with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Polishing Compound

If the scratches are deeper, you can try using a polishing compound. This will help to fill in the scratches and make them less visible.

To use a polishing compound, simply apply it to the scratched area and rub it in with a microfiber cloth. You may need to do this a few times to get the best results.

Once you have applied the polishing compound, you can then wipe it off with a clean cloth. You can also try using the polishing compound in conjunction with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Blue round brush of industrial polishing machine with white cream before applying polishing compound to car close-up in workshop

Replace The Rubber Trim

Unfortunately, some scratches are just too deep to be removed. In this case, you may need to replace the rubber trim.

You can purchase replacement rubber trim from most auto parts stores or online. Be sure to measure the area before you order so you get the correct size.

Replacing the rubber trim is a fairly easy process, but it is best to leave it to a professional if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.

Professional Auto Body or Detail Shop

If you don't feel comfortable trying to remove the scratches yourself, you can always take your car to a professional auto body or detail shop. They will have the tools and expertise to remove the scratches quickly and without damaging your car's finish.

Keep in mind that this will be the most expensive option, but it may be worth it if you want the best results. This option may only make sense on a newer car or if the scratches are extremely deep.

How Can You Avoid Getting Scratches On Your Rubber Trim?

Now that you know how to remove scratches from your rubber trim, let's take a look at how you can avoid getting them in the first place.

One of the best ways to avoid scratches is to regularly clean and protect the areas that have rubber trim exposed to the elements. This will help to repel dirt, dust, and other debris that can cause scratches.

By simply using soap and water on any rubber trim, you can help keep it clean and free of debris. Doing this twice a year can help to keep your car's finish looking new.

In addition, parking in a garage or under a carport can help to protect the rubber trim from being scratched or damaged. 

If you must park in the sun, be sure to use a sunshade on your windshield and windows. This will help to keep your car's interior cool and prevent fading and cracking.

Finally, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on the rubber trim. These can damage the rubber, making it more susceptible to scratches.

If you must use a cleaner, be sure to test it in an inconspicuous area first. This will help to ensure that it won't damage the rubber trim. 

A Basic Car Door Metallic Frame, Showing Focus to the Rubber Cushion with Plastic Trim and Overhead Roof Fabric

How Much Is Rubber Trim For A Car?

The cost for new rubber trim can vary depending on the make and model of your car. The reason being is that vehicles vary in size, which means that the trim will be different sizes.

In addition, if your vehicle isn't in production anymore, the trim may be harder to find and more expensive.

That being said, you can expect to pay $20-200 for new rubber trim. The cost will also depend on how much trim you need and where you purchase it from.

Typically, you can find universal rubber trim that you can install yourself. However, if you want an exact match, you may need to order it from the manufacturer or a dealer.

Keep in mind that installing rubber trim is a fairly easy process, but it is best to leave it to a professional if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.

Showing a Car Door Rubber Cushion with Air Holes, on a Blue Metallic Steel Frame

How Long Does It Take For Paint To Dry On Rubber Trim?

If you have decided to go the paint route, you will need to know how long it takes for the paint to dry on rubber trim.

Typically, the paint will take about 24 hours to fully cure. However, it is best to wait 48 hours before washing or waxing your car.

This will give the paint plenty of time to set and prevent any damage from being done.

You should also avoid driving your car for at least 24 hours after you have painted the trim. This will help to prevent any chips or scratches from happening.

Lastly, you should also wait 30 minutes to an hour before applying another coat. This will help to ensure that the paint is evenly distributed and will not run.

Is It Worth Fixing Rubber Trim On A Car?

The answer to this question will vary depending on the severity of the damage.

If the scratches are superficial, then it may not be worth fixing them. However, if the scratches are deep or if the trim is cracked or torn, then it is probably best to replace it.

The reason being is that the rubber trim on a car is also a sealant. It helps to protect the paint and metal underneath from the elements. If the trim is damaged, it can allow water and other debris to get under the paint and cause further damage.

It can also allow water to get into the interior of the car, which can cause mold and mildew to form. So, unless the scratches are minor, it is probably best to replace the trim.

Silicone grease lubrication of rubber door seals in a passenger car

How Do You Remove Rubber Trim From A Car?

If you need to remove the rubber trim from your car, there are a few things that you will need.

First, you will need a putty knife or a flathead screwdriver. This will help to pry the trim off of the car. Next, you will need a hairdryer. The heat from the hairdryer will help to loosen the adhesive that is holding the trim on.

Finally, you will need a rubber eraser. This will help to remove any residue that is left behind after the trim has been removed.

To remove the trim, start by heating up the area with the hairdryer. Then, use the putty knife or screwdriver to pry the trim off of the car.

Once the trim is off, use the rubber eraser to remove any adhesive residue.

If there is any stubborn residue that won't come off, you can use a tar and bug remover. Just be sure to test it on an inconspicuous area first.

Final Thoughts

open passenger door, mirror, dashboard of car. Right front door. A new modern shiny parked white car. Interior luxury car

Removing scratches from rubber trim can be challenging but not impossible. Before going to a professional or replacing the trim altogether, try one of the methods above.

Remember to take your time and be patient. With a bit of elbow grease, you can get rid of those scratches and have your car looking like new again in no time.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

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