We are all prone to taking shortcuts from time to time, whether it’s a quicker way to drive or simply get things done. But when it comes time to restore a classic car, some shortcuts can cost you time and money in the long run. Most frequently, the items on cars that get the shortcut treatment are those tasks that are difficult or expensive to do.
For example, seat covers are often used to hide worn or torn seats, as they are less expensive than new upholstery and relatively easy to install. But other items like rear quarter panels are often subjected to a wide array of shortcuts, patches, and far more than ideal repairs primarily because they are difficult to remove and replace.
Unlike those difficult to remove items the windshield trim is relatively easy to remove with the right tools and understanding the process of removing it, yet every year I visit car shows and see cars with the telltale signs of being repainted with the trim still in place.
Paint on the trim or even sanding marks on the trim can be an indicator of shortcuts being taken. Whether you’re doing a complete restoration or a simple re-spray, removing the trim will ensure even unseen areas are protected and you won’t have any surprises a year later when corrosion creeps out from under the trim.
We joined up with professional auto body technician Terry Wright and car owner Ross Kiehl to get a first hand look at the process of removing window trim from start to finish, including removing the wiper arms and lower trim panels. Most windshield trim is relatively thin and easy to bend if removed improperly, making an investment in the right tools, one that pays for itself on the first use. Removing the windshield trim also allows for a close look at potential corrosion issues and trim clip replacement as they too get weaker and prone to corrosion over time.