Introduction: Pimp My 350Z Armrest

Apparently the 2007 Nissan 350Z suffers from an armrest ailment: The paint scratches off very easily. Other than that, the car is perfect. Here's what I did to improve the look.

Step 1: What I Used

Exacto blade
Vinyl and Fabric spray paint (matte black)
Painter's tape
Sanding block
Plastic bag (for masking the parts I didn't want to paint)
One smokin' 2007 350Z

Step 2: What It Looked Like Before

The center part wasn't quite as bad as in the photo (I scraped it some before I started shooting the pictures), but it was pretty rugged. The edges around the white area are indicative of what was going on prior to the makeover.

Step 3: Getting Down to the Base

I initially thought that underneath the original matte black finish was a solid gray base, but I was wrong. Apparently the gray is just a primer (and not a very good one, at that). I think I'd have gone with a black primer, but that's just me. I guess if it's gray, it lets you know pretty quickly that the matte black finish is coming off. Anyway, as I was scraping away at the original finish (which comes off like a pliable nail polish, for those of you who nervously scrape off your nail polish), I scraped through the gray into another black, which seems to be a solid base. The process of getting through the gray added an hour to the project. The gray is a little harder to get off than the outer black. I scraped it carefully with an Exacto blade. I knew that I was going to sand it a little, but I was still as careful as I could be not to nick into the base.

Step 4: Tape It Off

I started taping the area off before I finished scraping, to help protect the unpainted areas and to help me see my edges. I eventually scraped it all except the area toward the mirror adjustment knob. See the gray stripe on the right? I left that, and the paint above that line is the original finish. I left that, too. I noticed that after a couple of hours, I lost patience with the scraping. I figured, it's my car. It can't look much worse than it did when I started. I sanded all the scraped area.

Step 5: The Fun Part

After I taped the plastic bags around the entire area and made sure to tape the window, lock, and mirror adjustment mechanisms, I was ready to paint.

I like spray paint. This was my first time to use this Vinyl and Fabric spray, and it worked well. It went on very smoothly and dried really quickly. I have probably five coats on this armrest. I don't know yet how it will hold up, but it looks good.

Step 6: The Reveal

Nissan probably won't be calling me any time soon to do detail work, but I'm happy with the outcome.

Comments

author
Dr. P made it! (author)2014-12-26

On your planet, RyanM11. In my time/space continuum, it takes two seconds to put piping around an 18" pillow. I guess it's all relative, huh?

author
RyanM11 made it! (author)2014-12-26

The proper way to do this is to take out the armrest which takes two seconds and sand it down to prep it for spray painting.

author
Honda Enoch made it! (author)2013-01-17

It would be much easier to remove the door panel and unscrew the arm rest from the back.

author
Dr. P made it! (author)Dr. P2013-01-17

Wait, that's not a bad idea! Do an Instructable on that.

author
Honda Enoch made it! (author)Honda Enoch2013-01-18

Fine When the rain stops here this weekend. I'll do it. Will be my first.

author
Dr. P made it! (author)Dr. P2013-01-19

Great! I'll test it out on the passenger side armrest. Keep it simple for me. Oh, and if you can tell me how to replace the tire pressure sensor (the light blinks and then stays on--tire place says it's a bad sensor), that could be your second!

author
Honda Enoch made it! (author)Honda Enoch2013-01-19

1) I am a Honda man, but the arm rest will be basically the same.

2) I worked for 5 years in a tire shop, but never once had to replace a tire sensor. I recommend taking the car to a tire shop that has the reader for the sensor. Let them check/reset it. If you ran the car with low pressure it will trip the sensor. If it is a bad sensor then they can replace it. Sorry I can't help more on that.

Will work on the arm rest instruction today.

author
Dr. P made it! (author)Dr. P2013-01-19

Hey, just speaking language I understand (I don't understand cars; I just love them) helps! Looking forward to a long series of your Instructables!

author
Honda Enoch made it! (author)Honda Enoch2013-01-19

P.S. Took me about 15 mins to remove, while taking photos and replace. But as I said in the write up, I have been doing this for 15 years. Each car is different.

author
Dr. P made it! (author)Dr. P2013-01-19

It will go into my file of life skill tricks!

author
Honda Enoch made it! (author)Honda Enoch2013-01-19

Here you go. Enjoy. :)

https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-remove-your-cars-door-arm-rest/

author
Dr. P made it! (author)Dr. P2013-01-17

Hahahaha! Yeah, no. I think that would involve putting things back together. But there's another armrest that needs work, so if you're in the neighborhood...

author
sunshiine made it! (author)2013-01-07

Big difference! Thanks for sharing!
sunshiine

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