Carmakers long ago stopped using spring clips to attach car
trim and molding. Instead, they use adhesive tape. The tape works well. But
chemicals like wax and bug remover can destroy the tape's bond to the car trim.
Once that happens, car trim and emblems can eventually fall off. If you catch
the problem early, you can remove the old tape, clean up the paint and reattach
the car trim or decorative molding. It's a DIY job that will cost about $25
and takes only a few hours. Here's how to do it.
adhesive remover is pretty potent, so perform this repair in an area where
you'll get plenty of fresh air. Start by repositioning the trim or emblem in
its original position. Apply removable masking tape around the perimeter of the
trim to act as a repositioning template when you're ready to reapply. Next,
grab some nitrile gloves and don a paint solvent-style respirator—this is a
messy, stinky job. Dribble the adhesive remover along the top edge of the trim
and let it soak into the tape for about five minutes. Then slip a plastic putty
knife under the trim and rock it up and down and into the tape to slice through
it. Continue adding remover as you go. Once the trim is off, continue using the
adhesive remover to get rid of every speck of the old tape and adhesive residue from
both the trim and the car paint. It's important to remove all the residue so
the repair will last.
touching the new tape with your fingers or you'll affect the adhesion. So slip on a clean pair of nitrile gloves and apply the new tape to
the paint around the inside edge of the template. Press it into place as you
go. Remove the top liner and position the trim directly above the template.
When it's perfectly aligned, press the trim onto the tape. Apply pressure to
the entire length. You're done.
You can find these materials at any
auto parts store that carries body shop supplies. Or order them from
3M 08984 Adhesive Cleaner and Remover, $17
3M 03614 Scotch-Mount 1/2" x 15' Molding Tape, $8
— Rick Muscoplat, Automotive Editor
Car Trim Repair Guide
A mask is definitely encouraged in this task. It can get really stinky. I did it once for my Ford, and I am not too keen on ever doing it again. The adhesive remover was practically dripping everywhere, but it is quite a doable job for a beginner. It just requires a careful pair of hands. Still, it is probably one of my least favourite car parts to replace. I might just pay my nephew to do it next time.
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