You don’t see too many fire trucks with black plastic trim but the ones that do are usually engine forward. Numerous vehicle makes and models are coming off the line these days with this future eye sore. It should be a sin of all sins to trim something as majestic as a fire truck with black plastic.
I work in a desert environment where it’s dusty on a normal day, let alone the dirt roads. My poor fire engine was adorned with black plastic trim, of which takes a daily beating. Over the last several years I’ve battled to keep it looking fresh. The sun beats on the plastic and then blowing sand pummels it into submission. The trim is porous which allows fine sand and sand dust to make its home there. Black plastic trim fades white with time when exposed to the elements because the oils within the trim are slowly drawn out and evacuated from the plastic.
As a member of Station-Pride I’m big on taking pride in my truck and my station. I’m constantly looking for improvements that can be made. Over the years I’ve tried several black trim restoration products which seem to work for a little while but it doesn’t quite solve the problem.
Some commercial products DO work but amount to nothing more than a paint-like substance that just coats the problem. I’ve also seen a heat gun used to gently burn off contaminates and slightly melt the plastic back to looking new. I don’t have enough gumption to take a heat gun to my department’s apparatus.
Scrubbing, brushing, soaping, and washing the plastic doesn’t seem to remove the contaminants from the porousness. Nor does it restore the color of the plastic. I was at a loss until I discovered Peanut Butter! Skippy, Jiff, Peter Pan, Planters; as long as it’s creamy it’ll work great!. I know it sounds crazy but it’s effective.
Peanut butter works because of it’s physical characteristic. The sticky, thick, butter like consistency adheres and binds to the contaminants in the porous areas, lifting the foreign crap from the plastic and into the peanut butter. Circular motions with a paper towel helps to work the dirt and dust out of the porous areas leaving behind the natural oil from the peanut butter. The oil left behind helps to re-hydrate the plastic giving it a nice natural, clean, glossy shine.
After working the peanut butter around for a few minutes, take a fresh terry-cloth towel or a fresh paper towel and wipe the trim clean. It’s good to go!
I never would have believed it possible until a good buddy of mine introduced me to the polishing magic of peanut butter. I thought he was crazy, but he may have been a bit of a genius.
Applied every month to two months will leave your black plastic fire truck abomination (trim) looking fresh and new.