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How to Paint Plastic Body Molding

by Don Kress

ABS plastic automotive body molding must be specially treated before painting it. Otherwise, the natural properties of the plastic will not allow the paint to properly adhere to its surface. The process can be completed quickly, using a spray can of touch-up paint. This allows you to match the color of the trim on your car to the color of the car.

Remove the trim from the vehicle using an automotive trim removal tool. Because trim is installed using double-sided tape, this tool slides between the trim and the vehicle body to cut the tape and remove the trim.

Wipe the part with a rag with wax and grease remover. This removes excess dirt, dust, wax and grease that has built up on the trim.

Scuff the trim lightly using a gray automotive scuffing pad. This removes any excess gloss surface from the trim so that the paint will adhere to the surface.

Spray the surface of the trim lightly with the adhesion promoter spray. All that is necessary is a light dusting. Follow the label instructions to determine the necessary drying time before you can apply primer.

Spray the trim with plastic primer once the adhesion promoter has dried. Use slightly more primer than adhesion promoter. While it is necessary to coat the part thoroughly, the coat does not need to be very thick to do the job.

Allow the primer to dry according to the label instructions, and then apply two to three coats of paint. Ensure that you completely cover the primer.

Spray the trim with clear top coat once the paint has dried. To help avoid having to sand and polish the trim, apply two heavy coats while being careful to avoid running the clear top coat.

Items you will need


About the Author

Don Kress began writing professionally in 2006, specializing in automotive technology for various websites. An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician since 2003, he has worked as a painter and currently owns his own automotive service business in Georgia. Kress attended the University of Akron, Ohio, earning an associate degree in business management in 2000.

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