Best exterior car trim cleaners

Black has become the new chrome for many new vehicles, as automakers have taken to swathing bumpers, side panels, and other exterior areas in dark, plastic trim. But exposure to the elements takes its toll, and dark trim often starts to fade to a lighter gray and turn chalky over time. Worse, as the material dries out it can become brittle and prone to breakage.

The trend has spawned an array of cleaners and protectants that are designed to restore a dark sheen and preserve a supple flexibility that could help reduce the risk of damage. We recently sampled five exterior car trim cleaners and found big differences in the claims, performance, and price.

Most of these products are