Reviving Faded Switches

Worn out car parts such as rusted panels, seat belts, and weatherstrip is non-negotiable and requires replacing while some parts just need a little TLC.  The turn signal/wiper switch on most 240’s are fully functional but are usually severely faded.   There are reproduction switches available, but it would bother me to replace perfectly working switches simply because they were faded, so I decided to save them.The painting process was the same as with all the other plastic panels.  The challenge was restoring the icons. Here are the before and after results following a video review.


The dirt on the stalks was removed using a standard green scratch pad. They were then painted with SEM trim black however, any automotive plastic paint should do.

The dimensions of each icon were measured with a caliper gauge and recreated in Adobe Illustrator.

After applying the decals, the switches were coated with a matte clear acrylic lacquer. The end results were better than expected.

The process in a nutshell:

STEP 1: Clean stalks with a dry green scratch pad
STEP 2: Repaint Stalks
STEP 3: Apply decals
STEP 4: Apply multiple light coats of clear
STEP 5: Allow clear to cure overnight

Stalk restoration service/decals are available to purchase by clicking here

How to apply the decals can be found by clicking here

18 replies
  1. Ed
    Ed says:

    I don’t suppose you’re interested in selling these decals? Looking to restore the light bulb icon on my 3rd gen camry’s blinker stalk. Wanted to buy a whole new part because I have an unhealthy obsession with these rebadged lexuses but unsurprisingly some parts for a 24+ year old car are long out of production…so a decal will do. I’ve noticed that almost every 3rd gen camry for sale where I’m at has the light bulb icon faded due to the way the driver usually hits the indicator stalk, very rare to find one with that decal intact.

  2. Shanks
    Shanks says:

    Hi. Really nice work you put in here. Just a couple of questions, though I realise it’s been a while since you did this.
    How well have the stalks coped since with being handled, as I’m not sure what’s the most resilient varnish: acrylic or polyurethane.
    You don’t say how you managed to find a printer with white ink. Doing the design and applying the transfers seems easy compared to getting hold of white toner.
    Anyway good stuff which I’m hoping to copy for some cruise-control stalks I’m cobbling together for a VW Transporter.

    • cplhardy
      cplhardy says:

      The stalks have no wear. You can lay on the clear coat as thick as you want. It’s the same as protecting paint with a clear coat. As long as the clear coat is present, there is no chance of the paint or decals wearing away.

      • Chander
        Chander says:

        Thanks for getting back to me on this. I was concerned about putting so much effort in, only for the effect to wear off in use.
        Got my eye on a 2nd hand laser printer and some Ghost White toner which ain’t cheap. Regards


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