View Full Version : Vynil and rubber protectant

09-29-2008, 08:33 PM
Hi everyone,

I heard that Armor All will actually make rubber seals and vynil upholstery brittle and it will fall apart over time. At carquest I looked at some stuff called Duragloss. A friend of mine that works there said he has had really good results with it. Has anyone here used it and had good results? I am wanting to protect the nice originall upholstery and was looking for a product with a wide spread reputation that will keep it soft and protect it from UV.



09-29-2008, 09:04 PM
[quote]Originally posted by silverhawk
"I heard that Armor All will actually make rubber seals and vynil upholstery brittle and it will fall apart over time."

Unless I'm misinformed, which is often, I would venture to guess if that were true concerning vinyl that they wouldn't be in business anymore and class action lawsuits would be abundant. There had been some controversy, or at least competitor bashing about the amount of H2O in their products in the past, but not sure how true that might have been. Sunlight and poor interior ventilation is the enemy for any age vinyl getting brittle and I think most people soak it in leather conditioner to any of the many products now out there and use a windshield blind when sitting out in the hot sun to be safe.

09-29-2008, 09:30 PM
I've posted this before, but I'll repeat myself - I haven't found anything yet that does a better job of cleaning/rejuvenating old vinyl than simply taking some mechanic's hand cleaner WITHOUT pumice but WITH lanolin, slathering it on, scrubbing with a toothbrush if necessary, then simply waiting until it gets all runny and buffing it off with a towel. Try it next time you're "detailing" your car, you will be amazed.


55 Commander Starlight

09-29-2008, 09:45 PM
I haven't read that post yet, Nate, so thanks for repeating. Is that for cleaning, or protecting, or both. I have white stitching, so I am pretty careful not to darken that with my black interior conditioner. Would plain old lanolin work, or maybe neatsfoot oil?

09-29-2008, 09:48 PM
quote:Originally posted by silverhawk

Hi everyone,

I heard that Armor All will actually make rubber seals and vynil upholstery brittle and it will fall apart over time.
Thanks, Dylan

:) Well, Dylan; I've heard that too ...but have not found it to be true.

Here's my experience: In January 1976, I bought the 1973 Mustang convertible I still own. It turned 17,000 miles as I drove it home the day of purchase. From the git-go, I intended to preserve it as a low-mileage, original car; what the hobby now calls a survivor. I've done a pretty good job of it, too; it now has only 17,862 actual miles on it and is still on all four production-line tires! (You're right; I drive it very little, only locally at low speeds, on those tires!)

It has the white, optional custom interior with the molded arm rests in the doors that inevitably crack on those cars. I have kept those door panels soaked in either Armor-All or STP Son-of-a-Gun over 30 years, now. To this day, those panels are nice and pliable and have not yellowed.

This is one of those things that only long-term experience can validate one way or another. So, 32 years after I bought that Mustang, those original panels still look very nice, for what that is worth to you.

I've had simliar experience with the dash and top of the rear seat in my 1964 Studebaker Daytona hardtop I bought in September 1977 and still have. There was a slight crack at the speaker corner in the dash overlay when I bought that Daytona, as they all have, but I've also kept that dash soaked in Armor-All for 30+ years. The small crack has not increased in size whatsoever. :DBP

Warren Webb
09-29-2008, 10:02 PM
Armor All breaks down "vinyl". Do what Nate suggests & you wont have any problems. If you have any doubts, just ask any reputable upholstry shop.

60 Lark convertible
61 Champ
62 Daytona convertible
63 G.T. R-2,4 speed
63 Avanti (2)
66 Daytona Sport Sedan

09-29-2008, 10:04 PM
I've used Gojo handcleaner (like Nate said) and it really does do wonders. It made the weathered, 50 year old dash pad in my truck look like brand new. And I found the pad in a truck that'd been out in the woods for years, with no windshield.

Matthew Burnette
Hazlehurst, GA

09-29-2008, 10:20 PM
Thanks everybody,

It looks like it depends on where I use it. I got both so I'll try both. I was just curious for I didn't mess up.

Thanks again,


09-30-2008, 12:05 AM
Why not just use the best - Meguiars I used their stuff on Studebelle, came up well. I guess other products are good too but am gonna stick with Meguiars.

John Clements
Avantilover, your South Australian Studebaker lover!!!
Secretary Studebaker Car Club of SA (as of 3/19/08)
Lockleys South Australia

09-30-2008, 05:18 AM
quote:Originally posted by Warren Webb

Armor All breaks down "vinyl".

I don't know how you can write that after what BP wrote just before you[:0] I've heard this said before, but never backed up by any proof or actual studies; so I figured it was just another fish story. Reading BP's actual, long-term experience will carry way more weight than a guess that originated who-knows-where. While I've never had any car for 30 years with 30 years of consistent use of a product on it, my 3 decades of using these products has never shown any evidence of any harm to vinyl. Combine that with a trusted, knowledgeable friend's testimonial, and I have plenty of proof.

No offense intended; just pointing out the obvious:)

Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
Parish, central NY 13131

"Some people live for the rules, I live for exceptions"- 311

"Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"

09-30-2008, 06:37 AM
"No offense intended; just pointing out the obvious"...

Exactly, how often do you get a testimonial like that? Being diligent with any vinyl interior, I think, is the key. There are so many kinds of vinyl over the years and using a brand name protectorant at the end of the vinyl's life might prolong it, or may not be enough to save it, but unless there is someone's brand new car only used with one certain product weekly and the vinyl is destroyed because of it, I'll believe BP's 30 year version.

09-30-2008, 06:56 AM
I have been a long term fan of Lexol products.
While equestrian in nature (ie: Leather care), their products tend to have a lot of lanolin in them, and they have automotive products as well..
So Nate's comment about lanolin based hand cleaner is an interesting one.
I figure if Lexol can keep a hundred year old saddle and harness from cracking and fading, it might also work on vinyl as well.....
I thought about using Mary Kaye stuff, but that was way too pricey.
(and when I told the wife I wanted her Mary Kaye face cream to smear on my seat bottom to keep the crack from spreading.... I got "The Look"[:X]...again;))
Life is so full of marital mysteries....

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j54/deepnhock/1937CEBearfootingArtwithLabelgif-1.jpghttp://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j54/deepnhock/SDClogo4forum.jpghttp://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j54/deepnhock/StudebakerTruckFarmerStickerA-1.jpghttp://www.racingstudebakers.com/avatar_01.jpg http://community.webshots.com/user/deepnhock

09-30-2008, 08:13 AM
..."and when I told the wife I wanted her Mary Kaye face cream to smear on my seat bottom to keep the crack from spreading.... I got "The Look"...again"

I'm not even going to touch that one, Jeff, too easy! [:o)]:D Very funny. ;)
I forgot about Lexol, that stuff is like lanolin with bees wax; really thick stuff. I may still have a bottle of that, and since I have leather seats and door panels in mine, I'll use that up.

09-30-2008, 10:47 AM
quote:Originally posted by barnlark

I haven't read that post yet, Nate, so thanks for repeating. Is that for cleaning, or protecting, or both. I have white stitching, so I am pretty careful not to darken that with my black interior conditioner. Would plain old lanolin work, or maybe neatsfoot oil?

I've used pure neatsfoot oil on leather; other than the stench that permeates a closed up car on a hot day while this "treatment" is going on it seems to work pretty well. I bought some Porsche seats at York a while back (turns out they were exactly what I needed for my 944) - the price was right but they were hard as rocks. they're still a little stiff but much better now.

As for the hand cleaner - I don't know about protecting, but it cleans very well as well as softening old, hard vinyl and also bringing the color back of aged vinyl. First time I tried it was on an old VW Corrado interior that had been baking outdoors for years; it was amazing how the color just popped after the first treatment.

I also forgot to mention, this will probably make any self respecting paint and body man recoil in horror, but the best thing I've found for door gaskets etc. is plain old silicone; either the spray stuff or just taking a dab of silicone grease and wiping it in. Not only does it seem to protect the rubber but it also keeps your doors from freezing shut in the winter. (nothing says "fun" like going to bed when it's raining and then going out to your car in the morning and finding a 1/4" layer of ice all over it.) At the same time I'm doing this every fall I usually shoot a little spray silicone in the door locks for the same reason. (which reminds me, it's about that time again...)


55 Commander Starlight

Silent Bob
09-30-2008, 01:01 PM
The reason flexible vinyl products get hard over time is that the plasticizer exudes. The evidence of this in a car is the oily film on the inside of windows when the car is new and sits in the sun. As time goes by there is less of a film because the plasticizer is deminishing. They also contribute to the new car smell.

The high end vinyls for cars and other applications have more plasticizer and uv absorber in the formulation. Notice how long a Cadillac interior lasts.

The bad news is that the plasticizer can not be restored. It is blended with the vinyl polymer along with colorants and uv stabilizers when it the product is extruded into fabric for seat covers or molded into dashboard and door panels.

Armoral and similar products are water and a watersoluable silicone. The silicone acts as a uv absorber and reduces the harm done by sunlight on the vinyl. Lexol for leather has oils that will make leather soft because the leather absorbs the oils. Vinyl may absorb some oil but not much. Plasticizers are not oil based but are phthalate based.

Bottom line is keep the car out of the sun and in a cool place to make the vinyl last longer.

If you have kids you may have heard about plasticizers in vinyl toys etc. There has been a lot in the press about the harm they may do to humans. Here is a web site with more info about plasticizers.


09-30-2008, 01:42 PM
Silent Bob's take is similar to mine.

The post is about vinyl. Do not use leather conditioners/"food" on vinyl. On the other hand, do not use products for vinyl on leather.

With vinyl, the main difference is whether you are trying to restore/rejuvenate or preserve. As Bob said, the vinyl loses its plasticizers. You can try some things in an attempt to clean and bring back the vinyl somewhat. Vinyl protectants, like Armor-All, are designed to protect/preserve the vinyl, primarily by blocking UV.

I have used Armor-All, and similar products, on vinyl since the 1960s and I do not recall ever having an adverse result.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer

09-30-2008, 08:48 PM
Gary, I totally agree with you. I've been using Armor-all on the vinyl in my cars over many years and have never had a problem with cracking, etc. In fact, the vinyl interior in my '59 Lark Regal Hardtop looks great. It's the original pleated vinyl interior and it remains pliable & hasn't cracked anywhere.

'59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop

09-30-2008, 09:23 PM
Wurth USA offers a product called RUBBER CARE for the care of rubber body seals. It makes them feel and look as new and proctects them.
It is used by high end European dealers and body shops.
I have used this for many years with good results.


Husband of Lark VIII girl