303 Protectant & How to protect the outside plastic trim and panels? [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: 303 Protectant & How to protect the outside plastic trim and panels?

04-21-2005, 12:57 AM
When we got the Element in 2003, the people at the dealership told me not to use any protectant (as well as wax or polish) on the outside plastic trim and panels. The E is an EX and the dealership people told me that if you use any kind of protectant (Armor All, Black Magic, etc.), that over a period of time, the "metallic flecks in the plastic" (they sparkle in the sunlight), would be damaged.

I know that plastic, like most things, will degrade in the sun, so it makes sense to put something on the trim and panels. However, I don't want to cause any damage to the plastic myself.

I spoke to a representative with 303 Products and he told me that the "Aerospace Protectant" has nothing in it, like petroleum distillates or silicone oils, that would hurt plastic/vinyl.

BTW, he told me that when you apply it, make sure to buff it dry, because the buffing action and drying, helps the 303 "Aerospace Protectant" bond to the plastic.

So, what should I do?

Has anyone (especially EX owners) had any problems with the 303 "Aerospace Protectant"?

Thanks in advance!

04-21-2005, 06:24 AM
No prolems yet{ I have an '05}. You must buff it dry or it will run when it rains.

04-21-2005, 07:34 AM
I have also been researching this. There are many great threads regarding what to use on the outside panels. It seams that 303 Aerospace Protectant is HIGHLY recomended. If you go to their web site: www.303products.com you can get FREE SAMPLES!! A web search also informed me this stuff is available at ACE Hardware stores.

04-21-2005, 08:43 AM
I bought a bottle at Ace but haven't used it yet due to my lazy and slouthy nature, but my research said it was about the best for the Honda plastic.

04-21-2005, 11:44 AM
Pay attention to the instructions, including the bit (under fiberglass application) about possible streaking. With the textured outside surfaces, streaking can be a problem. Excess in the gap between plastic and painted surface might also cause streaking.


04-21-2005, 11:54 AM

Anyone have before and after photos using the 303?

teamwork - teamwork - teamwork

I have an '05 and wanna get them proected before the sun really starts hittin us in KY.


04-21-2005, 10:21 PM
I buffed and I buffed and I STILL got streaks when it rained.

I like 303 for the interior and tires though.

I'll stick with Eagle1 wax as you dry for the rest.

04-22-2005, 07:32 AM
I gotta agree with Honu. The Eagle One spray-on wax applied nice and evenly and that real rich look lasted as long as the 303. I use the 303 on inside plastic and Eagle One on the fender panels.

04-22-2005, 08:08 AM
It depends on what you're aiming to do... if you just want to shine up the plastic, then I'm sure the WAUD works... but 303 will actually protect it from the UV rays.

04-25-2005, 11:18 PM
Would Meguiars rubber/vinyl/plastic cleaner and conditioner work? It seems to work incredibly well on my interior.




(last one says interior/exterior...I have both.)

I've been itching to polish those panels up.

04-25-2005, 11:39 PM
I e-mailed Meguiar's to ask them about the plastic panels, but I haven't gotten a response yet. The question about any product for the panels seems to be "How long will it last, especially after some rain"?, and "What products streak"?

My biggest concern, behind damaging the panels with a product, is protecting the panels from sun damage. So far, the 303 seems to be the best at sun protection, and it's not supposed to streak, but you have to buff it dry, that's what the 303 representative told me.

Many people on this site like the Eagle One Wax-as-u-Dry, but I don't know if it contains any sun protection chemicals in it. I'll try to find out.

Uncle MIke
04-26-2005, 12:24 AM
I'm following this thread quite closely since I just picked up a large spray bottle of 303 (for $21.00), but have not made the time to put it on yet. I definately do NOT want it apply it if it's going to alter my E's appearance in any way. :roll:

04-26-2005, 01:03 AM
I have used 303 before and I do believe it is good stuff, maybe the best for protecting things from sun damage. Campers, boaters, and Jeep owners use it.

I started this thread because my Honda dealer told me not to use anything on my EX panels, so as not to damage the speckles in the plastic material. They said use water and car wash soap.

I'm not sure what to buy, or do, about the exterior plastic. I know that plastic will fade and it is hard to believe that I can get away with "using nothing", even on an indestructible Honda vehicle.

I think I'll visit my dealer again to further investigate this situation. I don't blame them, they have been great to deal with in all aspects and I'm glad they took the time and effort to caution me about certain things; some dealerships wouldn't bother.

BTW - does Honda itself, make or sell a protectant for the panels/exterior plastic, available at the dealership? I heard that they make a protectant for the interior plastic trim, to help hide scuff marks.

04-26-2005, 06:48 PM
Well I have an 04 and this year (almost 1year after I bought it) I noticed that its just not like it used to be.

Now when I bought it about 2 days later I was thinking the same question. I personaly went to the dealership and asked what should I do for future protection and all the sales staff said " o just a little armoral should be just fine". Thank god I only used it once.

Now back to this year...

So like I was saying yes it is starting to look a little bit "worn in" so again after usuing armoral (second time) I found this site and found out that what I was doing was VERY BAD....So I ordered some 303 and in the mean time I used the eagle one stuff.

The eagle one stuff (wax as you dry) worked out great but its gonna take some trial and error before I can say what works better. Seing that I haven't used the 303 yet.

So bottom line ....dont always trust the dealership as they usually want to get through with you as fast as possible to move onto the next sale.

Now do trust this forum as its full of people wit the same interest as yourself and have tried and know what works and what dosnt.

Good luck boss..

04-27-2005, 11:02 PM
I called the American Honda customer hotline to speak to someone about the Element and its plastic parts.

The representative told me that they could not help me, because there were no technicians available (on this line) to speak with.

They told me that the "official" and best source of information about the care of the Element, and all Hondas, would be the dealership.

Their reason being, that the dealerships prep new Hondas, and used Hondas, for sale and re-sale, so they know what products to use on the interiors and exteriors. It seems to make sense.

As far as the Eagle One "Wax-As-U-Dry" (W.A.U.D.) goes, the company told me that it is a good product to use, but it is not to replace traditional waxes and polishes.

I guess they mean that you wouldn't expect the "W.A.U.D." to give your car long-term protection against bad, salty, East Coast winter weather, but it is good when you can apply it frequently, during the spring and summer months.

As far as UV blockers in the "W.A.U.D.", I'm contacting them again.

04-28-2005, 12:22 AM
I looked up polypropylene on the web, but could not find much discussion about products to use on it. It appears to be quite durable, and resistant to most chemicals. UV weathering can be a problem, though it is possible to add various UV stabilizers to the formulation. It is used for some types of roofing, so it has to have some resistance to weathering.

My conclusion is that cleaning with soap and water should be enough, especially when dealing with road salt and dirt. A soft brush may be needed to thoroughly clean the textured surface.

A product like 303 should add some further UV protection, possibly reducing fading of the pigments in the plastic. Since it also leaves a slick surface layer, it may help shed dirt, keeping the plastic a bit cleaner (see 303's recommendation for use on wheels to reduce the accumulation of brake dust).


04-28-2005, 12:35 AM
Their reason being, that the dealerships prep new Hondas, and used Hondas, for sale and re-sale, so they know what products to use on the interiors and exteriors. It seems to make sense.

I would not trust the dealership to tell you what to use on your vehicle. I know people that work at dealerships and they prep the used cars with any thing they have available to get it off the lot. Yes they use armor all on all plastic and rubber surfaces and they detail the engine by steam cleaning it and spraying it with a clear coat to make it look like new. These people Im talking about work for a popular H dealer.

What I use on my pannels is Mothers Back to Black cleaner. I apply it with a foam sponge. And then buff the excess off. Its works well and does not leave a greasy film. Try it.

04-28-2005, 12:40 AM
I did not know that the exterior plastic on the E (the panels around the wheels, and other places), were made of polypropylene.

04-28-2005, 01:02 AM
I've used 303 for the protective properties since I'm in AZ. I also like the eagle one just because it takes less time to apply and it looks good when you are done.

04-28-2005, 01:16 AM
I did not know that the exterior plastic on the E (the panels around the wheels, and other places), were made of polypropylene.

A number of interior parts that I looked at, have 'PP' molded on the inside, so it is a good guess that the exterior panels have the same basic composition. Also I just did a search of patents by Honda involving polypropylene, and came up with quite a few. They dealt with bumpers, molding exterior panels, economically giving the material more of 'painted' appearance, etc. By varying the additives the appearance can be varied, so it is possible that both the textured fenders and the smoother bumper faces have same base plastic. However I'd have to look at the back side of the pieces to be sure.


04-28-2005, 10:33 AM

As far as UV blockers in the "W.A.U.D.", I'm contacting them again.

I would definitely be interested in hearing anything you find out about E1 WAUD and its UV protection properties (or claims, at least), since I certainly like it.

SO FAR, it seems to be all I need as far as lasting in the temperate Northwest, but I think a lot of that is that its so easy to apply, that I CAN and do apply it often. I also use Kits Carnuba car WASH, which is minimal for its waxing but seems to work well with E1.

04-28-2005, 10:14 PM
I heard back from the Eagle One people, concerning the ability of the "Wax-As-U-Dry" to protect the Element's plastic/metal exterior parts.

They told me that it does contain UV/sun-blocker in it, which will protect a vehicle from fading.

As I stated earlier, they told me that the "W.A.U.D." is not meant to completely replace traditional waxes/polishes. However, it can be a useful tool in someone's car care arsenal, for in-between wax jobs, or whenever you want to add some extra protection, fast.

They also told me that their line of products is geared toward making car care a bit easier/faster for their customers. They were very cooperative with me and answered my questions quickly.

I hope this information helps all of you "W.A.U.D." users out there. :)