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Products to Help You Spruce up Your Car

Warmer weather usually means spring-cleaning, and that goes for your car as well. Washing is easy, but if the trim is dull or the paint is scratched, it won't look great. Consumer Reports tested two types of products that claim to solve those problems.
Warmer weather usually means spring-cleaning, and that goes for your car as well. Washing is easy, but if the trim is dull or the paint is scratched, it won't look great. Consumer Reports tested two types of products that claim to solve those problems.

Many new cars and SUVs come with dark plastic trim … that ends up looking dull and faded over time. And those shiny new cars usually end up with scratches, too.

Consumer Reports' Marc McEntee tested five plastic-trim restorers meant to keep your trim looking new. And three scratch repair kits.

"They're essentially paint pens that have clear coating in them, and they fill in the scratches."

To test, panels were specially painted just like a new car is and lightly scratched. Then Marc applied each of the products as instructed.

All three filled the scratches as promised and made them less noticeable … from this angle. But viewed from the side and they look more like a bad coat of clear nail polish.

For the plastic-trim restorers, Marc used old, dull car panels. Each product was applied to a section and then the panels were put on the roof to face the elements. Some didn't last very long.

The Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer and the Mothers Back-to-Black looked completely faded by day 45. The Turtle Wax Premium Grade Trim Restorer looked faded by day 57.

But these two stood out from the pack. The Wipe New for 18 dollars and the 15-dollar ReNu Finish still looked great after 70 days.

So what can you do with those scratches in your paint? Consumer Reports says fine scratches can often be polished out. Quixx Scratch Remover for about 15 dollars worked well in its tests.
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