I’m not a fan of chrome – in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve eliminated all of it from my car, except for a few stainless/brushed accents like the mirror caps (an S4 trademark), the lip protector rings of my BBS, and the inner housing of my headlights (still debating blacking those out). I blacked out my grilles almost immediately, removed chrome badges, and also paint matched the trunk trim as some of my first mods. One of the hardest parts to black out; however, is the window trim. Those with the “Titanium Edition” B7 Audi A4, S4 or RS4 don’t have this problem, but the majority of B7s have chrome window trim. This post contains the options you have to black out your window trim, and explains why I ultimately with having a body shop professionally paint my trim. All pictures in this post are of my car using the professional paint option…
Option 1 – Vinyl (DIY or Professional)
Vinyl is easy to remove and fairly cheap. I used vinyl to black out the window trim on my Acura TSX a long time ago. The downside is that it’s excruciatingly hard to install – tales around the internet (as well as my personal experience) indicate it takes about four hours of meticulously stretching, cutting, shaping, etc. Even after the 4 hours of tedious vinyl application, you’re bound to have some imperfections, bubbles, and edges where the vinyl had to be cut. To me, vinyl can be a good option but it’s just a lot of labor and will never come out perfect unless a professional does it – and if you’re going to go through the expense of a professional, I think there are better options for the money.
Option 2 – Plasti-dip (DIY)
Plasti-dip is another option – the pros are much like vinyl in that you can DIY it, it’s removable, and it’s pretty cheap. Another advantage over vinyl is that there are no edges to cut or bubbling to worry about, as it sprays on smooth. The downside is durability – the chrome window trim isn’t very sticky for the plasti-dip, so it’s fairly easy to peel off – almost too easy, as I’ve seen several reports of it peeling off accidentally after a few washes or several months of wear-and-tear. It’s a good temporary solution, but you may find yourself reapplying & touching up quite often depending on how thick you put it on and how often you wash your car. I wash my car weekly, so I didn’t think this would be a good option for me.
Option 3 – Order Titanium Trim from Audi
This is a totally viable option, except that new window trim cost about $880 plus installation. The primary reason for this is that you have to replace the rear triangle shaped window, as the only way to remove the trim is to break that window. If you want to do it 100% OEM this is your only option, but it’s an absurdly expensive one that may not be the best use of your money in my humble opinion.
Option 4 – Paint (Professional) – My Preferred Method
I ultimately went with paint here. I have a body shop I trust (thanks Phoenix Collision & Custom Paint) and that charges reasonable prices. And nearly six months later, the finish is still flawless. They chose a semi-gloss black to match my grilles and wheels, and it looks 100% OEM. There are no bubbles, edges, or other problems like vinyl. It’s withstood heat, washing, dirt, etc. with no problems unlike Plasti-dip. The downside is cost – I think I paid about $400 for this, but to me that was well worth it. The trim didn’t have to be removed to paint (they simply masked the car off and painted while installed, so no replacing glass or spending hours disassembling the car. It’s still far less than half the cost of replacing the window trim with OEM titanium trim, plus I could choose a matte or semi-gloss finish instead of the gloss finish of the titanium package. It’s holding up well and looking great, so that’s the method I advocate.