Justin Fivella
December 30, 2013

Who would have thought making significant exterior color changes could be so easy? Just a few years ago the thought of a DIY spray-on rubberized coating in a can that's easily applied and removed (but also doesn't harm most finishes) was little more than a pipedream. But now, thanks to the marvels of technology, a spray-on synthetic rubber coating, aka Plasti Dip, has forever changed the game. Now, people are using it to customize wheels, add stripes and other body accents, and you can even do you whole car.

Although this rubberized miracle coating (a similar product, Custom Shield, is also available from Armor All) has been around for years, it didn't gain popularity in the automotive world until recently. Workers in industrial applications have long used jugs of the rubbery stuff to dunk tools and various pieces into. The rubberized coating creates an airtight seal that's said to be good from -30°F to 200°F.

More recently, companies like Performix took the very same rubberized coating and developed it into a spray-on form. Along with an easy-to-use aerosol can, there are over a dozen color options, including clear and tinted, and for those wanting to expand beyond the standard satin finishes, glossy outer coatings (a clearcoat of sorts) can be applied to add a pearl, glossy, or metalflake look. In extreme situations, a special primer can be used before applying the Plasti Dip for the most durable of finishes.

For those unfamiliar with Plasti Dip, it's best described as a rubberized plastic wrap that can be applied from a spray can. The rubberized coating shrinks as it dries and adheres to almost any surface. Once the coating has cured, it leaves a protective layer of rubber that not only looks killer, but also helps prevent scratches and dings.

But perhaps the best part of Plasti Dip is the fact it's easily removed. That's right—you simply peel it off without consequence to the finish. This means you can change colors on a whim, and for those brave enough, even a full exterior color change is possible. Yup, a simple Internet search will reveal plenty of wicked Plasti Dip paint jobs that are easily removed when the new finish grows old. It's amazing stuff.

To put it to the test, we grabbed MM&FF reader Eddie Lotti and his pristine '08 Mustang GT that he's owned since new. The nearly stock, stick-equipped GT was just begging for mods, so we took the budget route in adding a can of Plasti Dip to the mix.

Instead of coating the entire car, adding racing stripes, or other bold moves, we decided to simply black out the emblems and rims. In a little over an hour, we were staring at a completely different animal. And if Lotti grows tired of the blacked-out look, he can simply peel it off and return his GT back to stock.

Since we've heard of horror stories where owners have attempted to remove the Plasti Dip only to peal off the paint below, we decided to leave the coating on the rims for several hot summer days to see if the coating would bake into the rims. Upon removal we found that the coating simply peeled away without problems. While we can't guarantee all surfaces will work, we can safely say in our application (and in most) that Plasti Dip is totally safe.

Does it look as good as paint? No, not really. It's rougher and not quite as finished, but hey, it costs under $10 and is pretty durable, so can we really complain? It's perfect protection for a track day, or to add to your lower quarters to keep the burnout rubber off the paint.

For those not wanting to make color changes, the new clear finish allows enthusiasts to make their own clear bras, protect headlights from fading and even coating their expensive rims from debris or tinting tail lights. Seriously, the possibilities are endless. If you haven't tried a can yet, do yourself a favor and give it a whirl, it's low-buck modding at its best.

1. (Before) Chrome is cool, but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up a bit.
2. (After) Once the Plasti Dip dries, simply peel the tape and extra Plasti Dip away. Don’t worry, it will break on sharp corners, leaving just the logos covered. A toothpick is handy in getting stubborn bits (like inside the G on this logo) without scratching the paint.
3. (Before) Bling might be bad, but we’ve got other plans for this emblem.
4. (After) Note that the Plasti Dip is so thin you can still read the logo beneath it. Now that’s pretty cool.
5. (Before) It’s wise to even mask off the surrounding plastic parts when using Plasti Dip for the tidiest of installs.
6. (After) How’s that for a factory fresh look that will only set you back $10?
7. After several hot days of adhering to the rims, the Plasti Dip simply peels off like it’s plastic wrap.
8. (Before) Here’s the low mileage ’08 GT looking good, but still stock.
9. (After) Now $10 and an hour later we think the redux is proper. Although we chose to coat the emblems and rims, the possibilities are endless, even down to a complete exterior spray or racing stripes.