Let’s just face fact – our cars are old. The oldest 924 in the US is just over forty years old, and the newest 944S2 is twenty-five this year. Many of us live in climates that tend to be warm and we use our cars all year long, sometimes putting hundreds of thousands of miles on them. They’re not garage queens, which is something that I love about 924.944.924S owners…we drive our cars.
Driving them and using them means that things get a little worn, a little ratty looking and take on a “patina” – just well-used. I found some magic stuff that works on rubber and vinyl parts of your car that brings them back to life – including the rubber bumpers and rubber spoiler. It’s called PTR – Plastic Trim Restorer, made by Ardex. Apparently this stuff has been around for a while in the detailing and used-car-dealer industries, but I only found out about it recently, so I am passing this on to you.
This stuff is a thick liquid – not quite a “gel,” but close to it. Once you get the part clean, you put a little PTR on a thin towel and wipe it down thoroughly. Then dry it with another thin towel, and that is about all you need.
This stuff is definitely NOT Armor-All or anything like that. I have used those products for years, and they look good for a few minutes, then the shine goes away. PTR is magic…if used properly. Here is an example using an old bumper rubber.
The two criteria for saving a bumper rubber are 1) all the 6mm studs are still in position without rust and 2) there are no gouges in the rubber. This one qualifies on both counts, although it is a bit nasty looking.
The first step is to clean it with soap and water. Don’t get real aggressive, though. Use the cheapest dishwashing liquid you can find and if needed, use a Scotchbrite pad with soap on it. Be gentle!
You can see in this photo that the surface is now pretty clean. Some of these get paint overspray or other substances lying on top of the surface – I use a DULL knife to carefully scrape those things off. A butter knife stolen from the kitchen works well.
Now for the PTR. Using a soft, thin towel, rub it on, then wipe off any excess.
PTR is not a permanent solution, but it does last a long time. I have a spoiler on a 944S that I did about nine months ago, and it still looks great – and it has lived outside for most of that time in the Florida sun.
PTR is available online, but it isn’t cheap and it is difficult to find. Supposedly it is only available for sale to detail shops and such, but occasionally you will find it on Ebay or other online entities. (Don’t bother with Amazon – they don’t list it.)
I have used this stuff on the black plastic on my Ford F150 and it works great, but again, not forever. For our Porsches, the stuff can rejuvenate your outside rubber and plastic as well as your door panels, rear seat panels, and other plastic and vinyl in the car.
Good luck and happy cleaning!!
Kevin Duffy is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Daytona State College in Florida and a dedicated car guy. He divides his time between teaching criminal justice topics in the online environment and working on/driving cars, particularly Porsches. Kevin is one of the principals in InspiringLifeOver50.com.