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Auto Body Side Molding Fix

Updated: Nov. 28, 2018

Reattach loose side molding – before it blows away

FH04OCT_BODMOL_06-2Family Handyman
Reattach rubber or vinyl body side molding on your car before it comes loose. Auto trim on late model cars is notorious for peeling off—here's how to reattach it before it ends up on the highway.

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A full day
Less than $20

Body side molding fix

Replacing self adhesive body side molding prep, trim adhesive

Photo 1: Clean old adhesive off the car

Saturate a cotton rag with adhesive remover and clean the old adhesive off the door. Do this in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside on the driveway. Scrape the old adhesive with a plastic putty knife and continue applying remover and wiping until the old adhesive is gone. Then further clean the surface with denatured alcohol to remove residue. Don’t use abrasives. What you want is a smooth, blemish-free surface for the mounting tape.

self adhesive body side molding prep, trim adhesive

Photo 2: Clean the molding

Thoroughly clean the back side of the body side molding by saturating it with adhesive remover and rubbing and scraping the old adhesive away. This can be a stubborn job, but take your time and stick with it. When the surface is free of adhesive, wipe it with a clean cloth dampened with denatured alcohol.

trim adhesive remover


Adhesive remover and double-stick molding tape are the only supplies you need for this repair.

self adhesive body side molding

Photo 3: Apply molding tape

Apply the double-stick molding tape to the areas that will contact the molding. Press the tape firmly along the length. For wide trim, use two strips as shown.

self adhesive body side molding

Photo 4: Expose the sticky surface

Peel the protective film off the tape to expose the sticky surface. Be careful not to touch it with your fingers or let any debris get on the tape.

Photo 5: Apply the body side molding

Carefully position the body side molding, starting at one end, and then slowly push it onto the tape. The tape grabs firmly, so take your time. Once the body side molding is in place, push it firmly with a rag. Use a back-and-forth motion across the molding to bond the entire length.

Maybe you’re one of those people driving down the road with your rubber or vinyl side molding flapping in the wind. Well, for less than $20, you can fix this problem once and for all before your expensive molding strip ends up in the back of the highway cleanup crew’s truck. At the auto parts store, pick up adhesive remover and molding tape. Then all you’ll need is denatured alcohol, a plastic putty knife and clean rags.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Rags
You’ll also need a plastic putty knife

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Adhesive remover
  • Double-stick molding tape