It happens to all of us: you need a replacement trim panel for your car so you spend a couple of weekends trying to find one in a salvage yard. When you do find the part you need it’s probably in worse condition than your own, and when you find one that isn’t broken it isn’t even close to the color of your interior. But you don’t have to find one that matches, because there’s a product that will turn your mismatched panels into matching panels. That product comes from ColorBond Paints.
We came across the same situation as mentioned above, the kick panels in our classic car were on their last legs and only friction was holding them in place instead of the screws meant to retain them. The holes had cracked; the addition of large washers was about the only way to keep them mounted. So we went on a trek and wandered the web to find a pair of kick panels for our car.
Weeks of searching didn’t return a blue set, so we decided to purchase a red set and change the color to match our blue interior. It would have been nice to find what we wanted, but we know that ColorBond will work, and for far less than what we paid for the trim panels.
ColorBond works with vinyl and hard plastic trim panels using a process to refinishing the panels, and it all begins with the preparation. Most people who paint for a living will tell you that the paint prep is the most important step in refinishing, and it will determine whether you have a great topcoat, or a recipe for failure.
The three steps necessary for refinishing the plastic trim for our classic are Prep Cleaner, Adhesion Promoter, and LVP Refinisher. The Prep Cleaner is diluted into a spray bottle with tap water, this provides a simple method to apply the cleaner, it helps remove dirt and grease, and leaves a clean surface for the next step.
The second step is Adhesion Promoter; it’s a clear spray that works much like a primer to create a molecular bond to a hard plastic panel. It prevents cracking or peeling of the topcoat, and improves the bond between polypropylene (PP) and thermoplastic olefin (TPO) and the ColorBond paint.
The final step is the LVP Refinisher, which can be used on leather, vinyl, or plastic. The refinisher won’t crack or peel, and is available in hundreds of colors, including many factory or OEM colors. Both the Adhesion Promoter and the LVP Refinisher should be applied in moderate temperatures and not in the hot sun.
Beginning with the Prep Cleaner, we applied it generously to the panels that we purchased. They weren’t in bad shape, but clearly had years of dirt and dust on them, and cleaning them up was paramount. The prep cleaner was sprayed on and a soft cloth was used to wipe them down.
The LVP Refinisher topcoat went on in three light-to-medium coats, allowing the paint to dry to the touch between coats. If too much is applied, it can be wiped down with a soft cloth and resprayed, but it’s better to not rush and allow a couple of minutes between coats. Spray the refinisher from different sides in a criss-cross pattern to cover the panel evenly. After three coats, the entire surface was coated, including the recessed areas for the mounting screws.
When we selected a color from the ColorBond chart, we picked a dark blue that was close to what we had, and it turned out to be almost a perfect match. Once the refinisher was applied to both panels, it was impossible to tell what color they started out as without flipping the panel over. If one desires, both sides can be refinished, however, since the back side is only seen when the panel is removed we decided to just refinish the front side.
The entire process took us less than an hour to clean, prep, and refinish our two kick panels, and once the parts were installed we were completely satisfied with the results. For a total cost of under $100 including the price of the parts, we now have kick panels that match the interior – and are held in place the way they’re supposed to.
If you’ve got some panels in need of replacing and can’t find the right color, let ColorBond change and renew those panels. If you can find the right color, that’s great. But if you can’t, ColorBond will get the job done and save you from repeated trips to the salvage yards.