I’m going to show you how to restore the lower plastic trim on this ‘99 Honda Prelude but the process will be the same on most cars.
Everyone knows that the Honda Prelude is one of humanity’s finest achievements. In terms of engineering, style and heritage it has few rivals — But sadly the last one rolled off the assembly line in 2001. Those of us who own one today have a moral obligation to maintain it.
1999 Honda Prelude
This car is 20 years old and in overall great condition but the trim around the bottom is faded and mottled.
We’ll be using professional quality trim paint to restore it.
All we to need to remove this trim is some stubby screw drivers, a 10mm socket/wrench, plastic trim removal tools and a plastic bag so we don’t loose any fasteners. If you don’t happen to have plastic trim removal tools you can buy them here for only $5. They’re life savers when it comes to taking apart car interior or exterior plastic pieces without breaking them.
Let’s get started. The reason we wanted stubby screw drivers was so we could remove these screws in the front wheel well without being blocked by the tire.
On the bottom we have these 3 of these plastic clips. Be careful to not break them! Pop out the center with a flat head and pull out the base with the plastic trim tools.
They’re 20 years old and made of plastic so of course I broke one. I work on a lot of Hondas so I order these in bulk on eBay (300 of them for $20). You can also pick them up at your local auto parts store for a couple bucks.
Remember to put everything you take off in the plastic bag so you don’t lose it.
With all the fasteners removed you slide the whole skirt forward about an inch and pull it out revealing decades of dirt. To properly look like a suburban dad wear black socks with plaid shorts.
With the side skirts off let’s talk about this rear bumper trim. It’s held on by the same plastic clips.
Oh, remember that 10mm socket and wrench I said we’d need?
10 clips and 3 bolts later we have the rear bumper trim off.
Now it’s time to prep these parts for paint. We’ll need soap, something to scrub with (abrasive pads not pictured), naptha (or another plastic safe solvent like rubbing alcohol) and clean microfiber towels.
A paint job is only as good as the prep work so let’s scrub the side skirts and the rear bumper trim.
You really don’t want to paint over ANY dirt so don’t be shy with the Scotch Brite pad. Also this is a great time to hose out the filth that was behind your side skirts.
These trim pieces are normally only inches off the pavement and have seen years of oil so once they’re dry we’re using naptha to remove any residues of oil or soap. This stuff has some strong vapors so do this outside.
Naptha evaporates fast so work quickly. Pour and wipe. Pour and wipe. Now we have clean but really faded trim.
Let’s paint. Don’t skimp on paint quality. If you’re going to all this trouble order something good like the SEM 39143 Trim Black I am using. It was $16 from Amazon, you can buy it here. I’m going to do 3 light coats and 4 medium coats. The last thing we want is runs or drips. If you’re not experienced with aerosols watch a tips and tricks video.
side skirts freshly painted
rear trim freshly painted
Remember all those bolts and clips? Put it all back together and you’ll be looking like it’s 1999 again.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more car projects in the future.