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Rotted Vinyl Restoration in an Electric Car

Posted by Lesandre on

Luke, friend and Renaissance man, recently traded Solar Energy International (SEI) his labor and skill for a Miles all-electric vehicle.

Renaissance man Luke in his Miles electric car

Miles is akin to a little European van, though she is actually Chinese (and yes, she is an androgynous electric car). Miles has a governor that keeps her from accelerating past 35 mph. Miles is not street legal in the USA and is used only as a campus vehicle by universities and government agencies. Fortunately, it sounds like the authorities will permit her to be registered as an ATV in this agricultural community, where she’ll putter on our idyllic country roads.

Ms. Miles has been baking in the high altitude Colorado sun for years. The plastic and vinyl interior had long begun to rot and crumble. The professional Vinyl Lady in me would advise to reupholster or replace the seats, but this adventurous Rub ’n Restorer thought it a worthwhile experiment on an Easter Sunday.

Turns out Luke is a Renaissance man and a Vinyl Lady. He required very little instruction, and together we did a complete interior restoration (plus black plastics like the speaker covers, wipers, wiper housing, and side mirrors) in a half day. The minutiae would have compelled me to a full weekend had I been solo.

An angled artist's brush and black leather dye freshens this plastic speaker cover.

We started with Clear Prep+Finish® as a primer on the seats and the dash. We slathered it on with a sponge and allowed to dry before applying several more coats. We then followed with several coats of a Custom Color, also applied with a sponge and a final quick pass with a spray gun.

Normally we recommend a primer like Bulldog or SEM's Plastic Adhesion Promoter when using our coatings on less-permeable plastic surfaces. Ms. Miles' plastics, however, were so dry and weathered that they drank up the Clear Prep+Finish® and dye instantly--and permanently.

Rub 'n Restore leather dye is anti UV and did a great job shoring up the sun rotted vinyl.

Rub ’n Restore coatings are not void fillers; they cannot correct the extensive cracking of this withered vinyl, but they did a considerable job shoring up the surface. There were areas where the vinyl was so rotted and compromised, however, that a little pressure from my elbow punctured the material. A subpatch and some Soft Filler to the rescue!

Vinyl and other synthetics will rot and crumble if exposed to excessive sun and heat.

Rub ’n Restore® coatings are also anti-UV, so the degradation has been slowed if not totally halted. Too bad we didn’t lay hands on Ms. Miles a few years ago!

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