View Full Version : painting old plastic chrome grill

Aug 5th, 2019, 12:29 PM
Obviously this has nothing to any Meguiars products.
I have a 2003 Ford Explorer. It has one of those chrome covered plastic grills. Needless to say after 16 years of age the chrome tends to chip off and if any one know what those ice-cube-tray grills look like, it obvious that these are hard to clean or protect with waxes. Hence the chrome on mine has chipped and looks like ****. I am now tempted to go to the auto wreckers and buy another used grill, to repaint. $20-ish.
I'm thinking of changing to a satin-black finish. Why? It's easy to do and it might give it a "newer" look, since many new trucks and cars have gone to blackened grills.

I'm not able to sand blast but can maybe power wash the finish and maybe some finger type sanding, primer and paint.

Does anyone here have any suggestions so I can achieve the best outcome. This is definitely my DIY...and... on the cheap. If it doesn't work, then I'm not out a pile of money

Aug 11th, 2019, 07:50 AM
JerryJ, I had the same issue with my 50 year old plastic chromed A/C vents and plastic chromed door armrest bases. I bought some chrome paint. The top cover of the paint showed a nice chrome finish so I thought I would give it a try. What I got was gray flat paint. It looks better than the chipped chrome but had I known, I might have gone a different root like flat black paint. Regardless, it’s my fault for not testing it first. Just sharing my experience. I think black-satin finish is a good idea. Just test it first.

Aug 11th, 2019, 08:56 AM
One way to remove the 'chrome plastic' stuff is to soak it in household ammonia. I realize it would take a big tub and quantity but maybe hit the 'dollar store' for a cheap price the ammonia.

Hope this helps...


Aug 11th, 2019, 11:49 AM
I knew roughly what I wanted, that sort of satin-black. Did NOT want shiny or high gloss. I rummaged through my shop and found a can of black rocker-guard paint, that rubberized paint. At least it resist stone chips :chuckle1

Low and behold it went on easy and initially looked fairly decent. I let it dry for a bit and then applied a second coat. The can said the dry for 4 hours. I let it dry for over night. BTW I went to the auto wreckers and bought a second grill, $14.00. So, if I ruined anything I still had the stock grill. Let the second coat dry over night and, tada, the result was exactly what I was looking for. What were the odds?

I think my bottom line here, like anyone else, we just have to experiment and try stuff. Sometimes we're successful and sometimes we're not but by sharing THIS tip maybe it could help someone else.
I'd post a before and after picture but because I'm new here maybe permissions is not granted yet. BTW the word I tried to type on original post was c.r.a.p. Or, in better words like junk.
Thanks to those who replied