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Blacking out the chrome trim: A trial of various options

Before we put the deposit down for our Model S, we knew from the very beginning that our eventual build would have a stealth theme: blacks, grays, and matte tones. The final config joined Steel Gray with the black turbine wheels, which made for a very sleek, masculine look. The only problem we had in achieving a completely stealthy theme was something we couldn't choose as an option: Those pesky chrome pieces.

So what's an enterprising Model S owner to do? I came up with four plausible options:

Option #1: Live with the chrome pieces and let a part of my soul die
Option #2: Spray chrome pieces on the car w/ Plasti Dip
Option #3: Spray chrome pieces off the car w/ Plasti Dip
Option #4: Wrap chrome pieces in matte vinyl

Once we took delivery of the car, I realized Option #1 was something I wasn't capable of doing without losing my grasp on my sanity.

Rinsed before working on trim:

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Option #2: Spray chrome pieces on the car w/ Plasti Dip

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I’ve seen Plasti Dip recommended over the years and thought I’d give it a try. At worst, I could always peel it off. I masked off the area around the driver side mirror housing and gave it three solid coats. Once the side mirror trim dried, I noticed that the Plasti Dip was peeling around the edges where the side mirror housing met the door’s frame and near the edges around the mirror. Without having clean access to these edges, I was unlikely to get a solid coat. Time to start taking things apart.

Option #3: Spray chrome pieces off the car w/ Plasti Dip

IMG_5269.jpg


I took the interior door panel off w/ a trim removal tool and proceeded to remove the side mirror housing. Now that I could reach around the edges of the side mirror unit with the Plasti Dip, I figured I’d have a much better chance of not having it lift off the trim. Even with better adhesion around the edges where the trim meets the car, the edges of the Plasti Dip along the creases near the mirror would lift with little effort on my part. This led me to my 4th and final option.

Option #4: Wrap chrome pieces in matte vinyl

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The vinyl wrap worked exceptionally well. There was a bit of a learning curve to getting the film to stretch and adhere properly to the trim, but once those initial issues were overcome, it was great to work with. The Model S's side mirrors have some strange curves to them which doesn't make application any easier, but a little patience paid off and I was able to get it looking nearly perfect.

Wrapping the trim might look daunting, but if you take the time to get familiar with the materials and proper technique, it makes for a fun little project. That's not to say it wouldn't have been a thousand times easier if we had the option to choose black trim from the factory.

I still have to finish wrapping the rest of the car, and will post more pics once it's finished.

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So the moral of the story is please Tesla, for the love of all that is good and holy, give us the option to order black trim. Glossy, matte, metallic, wooden, Play Doh, we don't care, just give us black trim of some kind.

The other moral is to stay away from Plasti Dip. Unless you like running the risk of having it peel, I'd go with the far more durable vinyl solution.
 
Option #1: Live with the chrome pieces and let a part of my soul die

lol.

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So all the thousands of people who have successfully applied Plasti Dip to their cars are scammers? Wow! I think I'll still at least try it...:wink:

i tried covering my carbon fiber hard top with the stuff.... fail. :D

did a full on spray booth in my garage
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was disappointed in the look
7476407276_97f320b94a_h.jpg


left it on for a year
9858330684_805de0a5e7_b.jpg


then tried to peel it off...
9855368684_7216a917df_h.jpg

at best i could get about 1"x1" pieces to remove without tearing.

got this far and said screw it, im calling a body shop
733788_10200582484064686_2075867395_n.jpg


they had to sand the crap off...
1240564_10200631622613119_428034387_n.jpg
 
So the moral of the story is please Tesla, for the love of all that is good and holy, give us the option to order black trim. Glossy, matte, metallic, wooden, Play Doh, we don't care, just give us black trim of some kind.

How about some of that beautiful gold trim that Lexus tried to start a trend with! That really took off and still looks so modern and stylish!
 
lol.

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i tried covering my carbon fiber hard top with the stuff.... fail. :D

did a full on spray booth in my garage

7476407276_97f320b94a_h.jpg

9855368684_7216a917df_h.jpg

at best i could get about 1"x1" pieces to remove without tearing.

got this far and said screw it, im calling a body shop
733788_10200582484064686_2075867395_n.jpg

What the F%$# did u do? :scared: Was it self thinned rubber dip spray? That's ur problem them. That stuff is not made for automotive use.

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The other moral is to stay away from Plasti Dip. Unless you like running the risk of having it peel, I'd go with the far more durable vinyl solution.

Plasti dip and other liquid wrap products are some of the most durable solutions out there. Prep is the key. I had my car dipped for 5 months and did NOT have one spot lift or peel.
 
I would pay to do that just on the side mirror arms as I get obscene amounts of glare in my eyes from those. But I think the plastidip would rub off pretty quickly on those areas.

Dip will rub off only when the mirrors auto fold. There is a small pad on the front side of the mirror that rubs the chrome surface and will lift the dip. But then again, vinyl would too I'd think.
 

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