Polishing wood trim in the car

The problem with using shiny wood trim in the center console of a car is how it wears. Over time it gets very scratched up and ends up looking quite bad. Over time bits of soda and other gunk had found their way into some of these trim pieces and caused some annoying clicking sounds while driving. I decided to take the opportunity to both fix the noises and clean up the wood. I’m not going to go into great detail about the process, but the basics are:

  1. Remove the trim very carefully. Audi does not make this easy since things fit so well together, but with patience it can be done without damaging anything. When it’s done it looks pretty gnarly.
  2. Completely disassemble all trim pieces. This also takes some patience and careful thought as to how everything is assembled. The picture below is really only about half of the disassembly process. Each piece of wood has both plastic backing plates and inner metal reinforcement plates. Unfortunately I did not get pictures of this
  3. Once everything was taken apart I very carefully went through and cleaned all edges and contact points
  4. Now on to the scratches. The two worst parts are the cup holder and ash tray covers. Each of these were wet sanded, polished, and finally buffed with my dual action polisher. The other wood pieces were just hand polished and buffed with the polisher.
  5. For protection I used a product that is generally an exterior semi-permanent car paint coating called CQuartz. It is a silica based coating that forms a very thin, very hard protective layer when it cures. This was used to treat all surfaces, even the plastics.
  6. Re-installation.


Here are the pictures of the process:

Posted in Blog, Cars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *