How to Restore Faded Running Boards

How to Restore Faded Running Boards

Over the weekend I detailed my brother-in-law's boat and truck. The truck is a 2018 Chevy Silverado High Country with the power retracting running boards.

Side shot of a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado freshly detailed.

PJ bought this truck new but has never used anything to protect or maintain the exterior plastic trim including the plastic on the running boards. He asks me,

"Do you have anything for this ugly plastic on the running boards?"

I'm thinking, I work at Autogeek! Of course we have products of this type of exterior black plastic. When I washed the truck I machine scrubbed the running boards, and this is key to using anything to treat or dress this type of plastic. Looking at the plastic and how faded it's turning, I handed PJ a bottle of Solution Finish and a microfiber applicator pad. I told him to apply it, work it in and over the plastic like you would apply skin lotion to sunburned skin. I also told him, if you get any on the chrome or paint - use a microfiber towel and simply wipe it off.

Here's the running boards after a thorough cleaning - this is a LOT of plastic to take care of!

Picture of dull and faded trim ready to be treated.

Here's PJ applying Solution Finish - I love watching other people work!

Man applying Solution Finish to faded running board trim on truck.

Working his way down the running board. Me? I would have grabbed the Speed Master Rolling Detailer's Cart to sit on instead of bending over.

By the way, the Speed Master Rolling Detailer's Cart is NOT a car - it's a chair with wheels.

Another shot of a man applying Solution Finish to the running board trim of a truck.

Look at the difference! Freaking HUGE difference. And regular treatment will keep these running boards looking brand new.

50/50 shot of treated trim vs. untreated trim.

The untreated plastic doesn't even look black.

Close up shot of treated trim vs. untreated trim.


Another close up of treated trim vs. untreated trim.

Just a little more real-estate to go and he's done with the passenger side.

Trim almost completed.

Bottle of Solution Finish being applied to applicator and trim.


I cleaned the plastic on the backs of the rear fenders TWICE. And scrubbed it hard with both a car wash and an APC and whatever road PJ has been driving down the dirt/mud has permanently stained the plastic.

Stained trim ready to be cleaned and treated.

Watch how well Solution Finish repairs and restore stained plastic.

Solution Finish being applied to a microfiber applicator.

Applying Solution Finish to running board trim on truck.


Trim has been fully restored.

Plastic looks NEW again!


Solution Finish by Chris West is a solid performer for restoring a deep, black appearance to faded black plastic. The key is getting the plastic really clean first. Understanding how Solution Finish works is also key. Solution Finish is NOT a dressing. It's Carbon Black, which is a pigment - ground to the size of a VIRUS. And this is why it's key to get the plastic CLEAN. Plastic is not normally absorbent. But if you get it clean, then due to the miniature size of the pigment - it can and will penetrate into the plastic to restore the dark black color.

Make sense?

Then if you want to, you can then apply your favorite dressing OVER the Solution Finish treated plastic and the dressing will build on the results created by Solution Finish. Depending upon the dressing, you can also be adding UV protection as well as water-proofing the surface.

I've never seen Solution Finish not work as long as the plastic was first properly cleaned. For the plastic on the running boards, I told my brother-in-law to drive the truck for a few days and then bring it back and we're going to apply a second application of the Solution Finish and after this second application - then we'll apply a topper to lock it in. Stay tuned.


Here's the most important thing - if you buy a new car, truck or suv and it has black plastic trim on it anywhere - then RIGHT NOW - before it fades, wash and clean the trim and start what we call,

Preventive Maintenance

Go ahead and apply the Solution Finish to the brand new trim on your vehicle and then lock it in with your favorite topper. Don't wait for the sun and weather to take its toll and fade and damage the plastic - be PRO ACTIVE and by doing so - your car's black plastic trim will always look brand new.

And for what it's worth...

I love PJ to death but he's not what I would call, Into car detailing Point being - if he can do this type of stuff - you can do it too...


And after tackling the exterior and the interior - this truck looks better than new and is ready to hit the road again!

After shot of truck with fully restored trim.