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Best fix for damaged clear coat on aluminum trim?



The clear coat on a few of the aluminum clear-coated trim pieces around my windows has 'lifted' a bit. Metal polish has no effect, not surprisingly.


This is not unheard of on the Audi forums and some was replaced under warranty. Well, I'm well out of warranty. Replacing it is a real PITA becase you pretty much have to disassemble the entire door.


Therefore, I was wondering if I could just sand the clear off and then just use the metal polish on the exposed aluminum.


Anyone with experience with this that could offer some tips?

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I have no experience in this, but by you trying to sand the clear off will only lead you to more work in the long run. Your better off replacing them.


Yeah I figured as much.

I saw a post on another forum where someone replaced them. The labor was ridiculous. WAY more than just taking off the door panel. All the window, regulator, insulation, etc etc come out too. Guess I'll just put up with it.



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Certainly seems possible, but I hate losing the 'shiny' OEM look.


The problem is not super bad, as there's no flaking and nothing you can feel. The 4 door pieces at the base of the window just look a little cloudy. The rest of them are basically perfect.


What's the prep for the plasti-dip? Woudn't you sand the pieces anyway to get it to adhere? That kind of defeats the 'go back to original' possibility. I'll have to read into it more.

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may seem like a silly question... but are you absolutely sure they're aluminum under the clear? Many parts like that are actually just plastic painted with a metallic paint that looks like aluminum/chrome.


Good question.

According to the Audi forums on many threads I searched they are clear-coated aluminum. To replace was about 2hrs per piece by a tech requiring the entire window frame removal and realignment....ummmmmm no, plus each piece was about $250. Yikes!

Searching more, here's a thread on the topic where a guy sanded his for a 'brushed aluminum' finish (me likes, plus he didn't remove the trim piece):

Well, I got tired of looking at the pitted/oxidized chrome trunk trim strip... - AudiWorld Forums



I see this Shadowine product which I'm sure is nice (it better be for $1100 a kit), but I really prefer the shiny look and would rather replace than put this on. I would think the plasti-dip would be applied better if the trim was removed...thus see the above PITA description.

BMW Shadowline Matte & Gloss Black Window Trim & Roof Vinyls



I'm thinking the brushed look would be the slickest look IMO, closer to OEM, albeit time consuming. I liked his method of putting down the blue painter's tape on the finish, and then covering that with duct tape to resist the sanding....clever.

Once down to the aluminum, metal polish 1&2 would keep it maintained.



Sounds like a good winter project.




I sent a PM to the guy that sanded his trim to get some additional details and see how it held up since it's been a few years. Hopefully he still has the car.

If I take this on, I'm thinking just seal it or leave it bare and maintain it with Metal 1&2. I'd hate to re-clearcoat it and have the same issue pop up again.

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