Repairing Window Trim Appliques / Door Pillar Covers on a 2006 Impala SS

Special Thanks!

Special Thanks to Electrotyper and SidewaysLS4 for their posts on on fixing their door / window pillars. Thanks, guys!


Just so you know, I'm not responsible for any inaccurate information, bad advice, or stupid puns which may or may not be present in this document. I'm not responsible for anything that may happen to your car as a result of doing anything, especially anything which may be described here. I'm responsible for mowing my lawn and that's about it.


General Motors equipped early LS4 Impala SSs with glossy plastic pillar covers / window trim (the plastic pieces that are what you see between the front and rear windows). Unfortunately, the finish on these pillar covers tend to deteriorate and starts to look suboptimal before long:

Window pillar damage

Later impalas don't have this problem that I know of as their pillar covers are a matte finish that seems to stand up better to whatever damages the earlier pillar covers.

There are 6 plastic pieces that have the potential for this problem--one on each front door and two on each rear door. The cost to replace all 6 of these pieces is over $311 at the discounted prices of NewGMParts website:

Instead, I scanned the forum at and saw the posts by Electrotyper and Sideways LS4 and decided to go with a far more cost-effective solution--repaint them!

What you need

You'll need several tools:

Detach Pillar Covers

There are three plastic tabs that catch into three metal clips and one screw inside the doors at the bottom of the windows that hold the pillar covers (appliques) in place.

Front Window Pillar Applique from Rear Door removed
Front Window Pillar Applique removed showing clips

You'll want to remove the screw first (I used a 7mm socket on a 1/4" drive ratchet, but a plain 7mm wrench will work fine too).

Next, you'll want to carefully slide your slotted screwdriver or putty knife (I used a plastic putty knife to minize the risk of collatoral damage) between the rubber of the door and the plastic of the pillar cover / applique. Carefully and slowly pry the cover / applique's plastic tab out of the metal clip. You'll want to be very careful and take your time as the little plastic tabs have nothing to them--they'll break off if you're not careful.

When you go to remove them, you should know that there is a tab at the top of the cover / applique. You don't want to break that off. In fact, I found it best to bend the entire cover out at the middle.

Prepare the pillar covers

Once your pillar covers have been removed, you'll want to clean them. I used a soapy brush and lots of water.

Next, I used some 600 grit wet and dry sandpaper to smooth out any imperfections in the pillar covers and to scuff the surface so that the paint would adhere better. The paint advertizes that no sanding or priming is required, but if I was to err, I wanted to err on the safe side.

Paint the pillar covers

I used a can of Flat Black Krylon Fusion Spray Paint for Plastics and I was extremely pleased with the results. Krylon also has a Gloss Black and a Satin Black finishes which may more closely match the original color, but I'm very pleased with the outcome and I would choose the Flat Black again.

I used 2 light coats about 10 minutes apart and the finish came out looking great. As I was going for a more matte finish, I opted not to clear coat them. I figure that if the finish wears off or there are other problems, I can easily remove them again and repaint them, possibly with clear coat this time, and get them reinstalled in the course of an evening.

Painted front door and front rear door appliques

The paint dries very quickly. At first I was skeptical of the instructions on the can saying that the paint would be dry to touch within minutes, so I gave the appliques an hour to dry. Sure enough, they were quite dry after an hour. I had no problems (smudges and the like) with reinstallation--they came out great.

Reinstall the pillar covers

This was probably the trickiest part of the project. To reinstall a cover, I would:

  1. start with the bottom of the cover slid down as far as possible
  2. bend the middle sufficiently to allow the tab at the top to make it into it's hole
  3. slide the cover up so that the top of the cover was pressed against the window trim
  4. apply gentle but firm pressure to the applique where the three plastic tabs are
  5. apply pressure to the lower trim (the chrome) so that the screw hole in the trim would line up with the screw hole in the door and hold it there
  6. screw the bottom trim piece back together -- note that it's just a little metal screw going into a plastic trim piece, so don't use an impact wrench here.
Reinstalled appliques

The reinstallation process went very smoothly and took less than 10 minutes.

Do the rear appliques too

Somewhere around the time that I finished the appliques that are between the front and rear doors, I noticed that the rear appliques were of the same glossy finish as the ones around the pillar and that they had just started to deteriorate. I decided to refinish them as well. They process is exactly the same as with the pillar covers and took exactly as long to do. If I were doing the project over again, I would definitely consider doing these at the same time as the pillar covers.

Removed rear appliques
Removed rear applique showing the plastic tabs
Reinstalled rear appliques

I hope this helps! Please direct comments to Wes -at- LS4Store -dot- com.

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