Removing Truck Side Trim Molding
Chevy Truck 2500 HD

Removing truck side trim moldings caught on in a big way back in the early 90's when lifted Chevy Suburbans were all the rage. With the intent to "clean-up" the appearance of there trucks and Suburbans, as well as customize there ride from the crowds, this became a popular trend. Back in the early 90's, the side trim moldings were manufactured in black plastic and held on with double sided tape. Today's truck side trim pieces are held on with the same double sided tape, but are color matched to the color of the truck.

Removing Truck Side Trim Molding

removing truck side trim molding

Today, many guys choose to remove the side moldings from their trucks for the same reasons as back in the early 90's, and you might find these are the same reasons you may want to consider having these truck moldings removed from the side doors of your truck:

  1. The truck side moldings discolor and turn yellow and rusty color.
  2. In order to "clean-up" the appearance of your truck.
  3. Washing and detailing is made easier by the removal of these superfluous add-on's.

Truck Molding Turns Yellow and Discolors

removing truck side trim molding

As you can see, the side molding on this otherwise very nice truck, has discolored and turned yellow; almost taking on a rusted appearance. It is possible to clean them using different methods, but it is an endless battle as they continually yellow and discolor.
I received this call from someone who had been annoyed long enough buy the constant battle to keep these trim pieces clean. As you can see, this very nice truck looks very dated and "aged" due to the discolored side trim pieces on the truck doors.

It was clearly time for removing truck side trim molding professionally....

Removing Truck Side Trim Molding Process

removing truck side trim molding

The intent of this page is to not take you step by step of "how to remove truck side trim moldings", but to highlight the reasons and the steps if you are considering having these truck moldings removed professionally by someone like myself. If you are interested in learning how to remove side moldings on cars and trucks yourself, you can visit my car badges, emblems, and moldings removal page and see a variety of projects we have done professionally, as well as tutorials for the Do-it-yourselfer.
The picture just above shows the beginning of the process with the removal of one of the first truck door side moldings already removed completely.

Truck Side Trim Removal Steps

removing truck side trim molding

When it comes to removing the exterior side trim moldings from your truck, there is a specific order of things to consider:

  • Pull, and peel off first plastic side molding from truck door.
  • Remove double-sided tape from truck door panels; the most difficult part.
  • Remove residual adhesive of double-sided tape using adhesive remover.
  • Polish abraded area of truck side moldings.
  • Apply wax to area.

removing truck side trim molding

The above picture is the molding removed from the truck doors. The discoloration is very apparent here and you will notice I have laid out the moldings so as to see the front and backside. Notice the backside and you can see how there are 2 strips of double-sided tape that run the length of each of the moldings where they adhere to the truck. I also included the wads of double sided tape to show the amount of tape removed in the process.

Removing Truck Emblems from Side Door

removing truck side trim molding

My customer also wanted to further "clean" up the appearance of his truck with the removal of the 2500 HD truck emblems. The same steps are required for the removal of these as in the side moldings. Actually in ways, these are more difficult as the double-sided tape is a wider area that is on the entire back-side of these truck emblems. The longer these are allowed to remain, the more difficult they are to remove.

The Remains of Truck Moldings and Emblems

removing truck side trim molding

Here lies the remains after final removal of the truck side moldings and the truck emblems. Once you have gotten to this point, there are few areas of concern:

  • There will always be a layer of residual adhesive beneath the double-sided tape that must be removed.
  • Just when you think you have removed all the residual adhesive, go back and look again, and again, 'cause I can promise you, some will have been missed!
  • During this very last step, you will scuff and mar up the paint slightly and will need to be polished.

  • Polishing the Affected Area

    removing truck side trim molding

    The area will always receive a certain amount of scuffing to the paint as much rubbing with adhesive remover will be necessary for complete removal of the residual adhesive. It is possible to get descent results with polishing by hand, and I have some suggested polishes in the right hand column of this page, but ideally, using a car buffer is the only way to go for truly professional results!
    The picture above shows how I tape up vulnerable areas to protect from too much friction, as well as any polish splatter that might get into unprotected seams of the body panels.

    Removing Truck Side Trim Molding


    removing truck side trim molding

    The "dated", weathered look of the truck prior to removing the exterior side moldings and truck emblems.


    removing truck side trim molding

    The new and improved truck without the weathered side moldings and the "busyness" of the truck 2500 HD emblems!

    Another Happy Customer!

    removing truck side trim molding

    Let me close by giving you some additional tips to this removing truck side trim moldings page that are worthy of considering if you are contemplating removing these truck side moldings yourself:

    • It will be more time consuming and difficult than you think.
    • Better left done on newer trucks as the older the truck, the more difficult to remove.
    • It's one thing to remove these moldings, it's another thing to perform at a professional level of results.

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    Car Emblem Removal Products

    The list of products below will produce superior results for you when performing the car emblem removal process. I have divided it into 2 separate sections for you:

    1) Professional detailers

    2) The "Do It Yourself" crowd

    Professional Detailers

    Car emblem removal is an excellent add-on service you can offer people. Very popular with people, car emblem removal service can be mastered with the helpful tips I offer here, along with these superior products listed below. Most professional detailers will already have some form of commercial tar and adhesive removal product; if not, use the 3M product below in removing the adhesive residue from the double sided tape. If you are already skilled at using either a DA or rotary buffer, the Meguiar's kit below is what I personally use and recommend professionally for superior results. These polishes are incredibly user friendly and great for any car emblem removal job as well as any paint correction process you need to take a car through!

    3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner 15 oz. - 38983

    3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner  15 oz. - 38983 Meguiars Ultra Polish Kit with 6.5 Inch Pads

    Meguiars Ultra Polish Kit with 6.5 Inch Pads

    Car Emblem Removal

    For all the Do-It-Yourselfer's out there, use the list below to perform the final step of car emblem removal with these quality polishes and remover.

    Adhesive Remover -

    Use this 3M adhesive remover to remove remaining double sided tape and adhesive.

    3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner 15 oz. - 38983

    3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner  15 oz. - 38983

    Polishes -

    After complete removal of adhesive, use one of the polishes below by hand, to polish and restore luster to removal area, followed up with your choice in car wax. I recommend the use of Meguiar's Ultimate paste wax below, that also happens to be ideal for both light and dark colored cars.

    Meguiars Mirror Glaze #205 Ultra Finishing Polish 8 oz.

    Meguiars Mirror Glaze #205 Ultra Finishing Polish 8 oz.

    3M Scratch Remover 8 oz. - 39044

    3M Scratch Remover 8 oz. - 39044

    Car Wax -

    Meguiar's Ultimate Paste wax is the winning combination featuring the durability of polymer, and the visual enhancement capabilities of a quality paste wax.

    Meguiars Ultimate Paste Wax

    Meguiars Ultimate Paste Wax

    Flex/Meguiar's Polishing Kit -

    If you have been sitting on the fence regarding the purchase and use of a car buffer, then the Flex kit is your answer!The DA (Dual Action) polisher from Flex is a professional grade buffer, perfect for beginner to professional. Don't let all the horror stories of paint damage and high speed polishers keep you from getting the kinds of results normally reserved for professionals. DA polishers like the Flex kit below, offer professional grade equipment and product. Whether you need to polish as part of car emblem removal, or polishing your entire car to high gloss perfection, this kit is the perfect solution that still provides the ability for true paint correction, without the fear of paint damage associated with high speed buffers!

    Meguiars FLEX 3401 Ultra Polish Kit with 6.5 Inch Pads FREE BONUS

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