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Pillar Post Trim: Mirror-Bright Dress-Up For The Outside

Automakers apply chrome trim to horizontal window edges, leaving vertical door posts forgotten. We discuss decorative brightwork for these areas - and its installation.
Stainless Steel Trim

While chrome trim has gone in and out of fashion on automobiles over the years, it’s hard to deny the reason chrome always comes back into fashion is because it simply looks so good. Applied in just the right amount, chrome pieces can really make the lines of any car or truck pop. But when most vehicles roll off the assembly line, trim pieces around doors and windows are often found lacking - but with potential for easy improvement.

To be more specific, the majority of modern cars, trucks, and vans have chrome-plated trim along the outer edges of their window areas only – if they have any at all. Vertical posts between doors and windows are usually left without brightwork, resulting in an overall look that can be described as unfinished at best.

Decorative Pillar Posts
Many modern vehicles have vertical posts between doors and windows without any brightwork, resulting in an unfinished overall look. We offer decorative pillar post trim pieces to correct this.
Pillar Post Trim Kit
If your vehicle has no chrome trim whatsoever and you want to do something about it, pillar post trim kits are a great place to start.

In this article, we’ll take a look at decorative trim pieces designed especially for those forgotten areas, and we’ll discuss how to install them. Known as “pillar post trim”, these pieces attach easily and securely to your vehicle with double-sided tape, and add mirror-bright shine that will look like you paid a lot extra for a platinum-level edition factory package – when you really paid a relatively low amount! And if your vehicle has zero chrome trim on it, pillar post trim kits are a great place to start. When you’re ready to add more, we’ve got the rest of your car or truck covered with a whole range of chrome trim pieces for just about every area you can imagine.

The pillar post kits come with an even number of pieces to cover one or more vertical posts on both sides of the vehicle. Smaller pillar post kits will typically have 4 pieces (2 per side) for B-pillar areas of sedans, trucks, and some coupes – while a few kits designed for coupes may feature only 2 pieces (1 per side). Many come with 6 pieces in order to add coverage to C-pillar area posts, and some even include 8 or 10 pieces for mirror pieces and/or D-pillar areas when a particular vehicle design warrants it.

In the Product Options drop down, you’ll see the number of pieces specified in the kits available for your make and model. In some instances you’re given multiple choices for the same vehicle.

Pillar Post Kits
Smaller pillar post kits will typically have 4 vertical pieces (2 per side) for sedans, trucks, and some coupes, as shown on the left. A few kits designed for coupes will have only 2 vertical pieces (1 per side), as shown on the right.

For the uninitiated, the “roof pillars” on a vehicle are assigned letters, starting with “A” at the windshield, and moving back consecutively from there. The next pillar is the “B” pillar (on a 4-door car, that would be the pillar for the rear edge of the front door and the leading edge of the rear door). The images in this article as well as on our website help illustrate this.

Kits With Polished Stainless Steel Finish

Marquee Stainless Steel Kit
The Marquee Stainless Steel Pillar Posts shown here are just one example of polished stainless steel brilliance that’s easy to mistake for chrome.

The reflective surface of mirror polished stainless steel is typically produced with the use of a very fine-grit polishing wheel to ensure all surface burrs and defects are scrubbed off. Once all flaws have been removed from the surface, a small degree of color buffing is used to achieve a hue that resembles that of an actual mirror. The advantages of mirror polished stainless steel include a more affordable cost because no outer coating is applied, and the ability to polish the hard-wearing stainless back to a bright luster.

When it comes to dazzling stainless steel pillar posts, we’ve got the ICI Pillar Posts kit (most kits are 6 pieces), RI Stainless Steel Pillar Posts (4 or 6 pieces), Bully Pillar Post Trim 4-piece kits for select crew cab pickup models, Marquee Stainless Steel Pillar Posts (4 or 6 pieces), and the E&G Classics Pillar Posts (4 or 6 pieces).

Kits With Chrome Finish

Chrome Finish

A chrome finish is a thin layer of poured-on chromium which has bonded to the part below it during an electro-chemical reaction known as electrolysis. Once the process is completed, the chrome layer coats every inch of a part so smoothly and evenly that it’s impossible to tell you’re looking at a top coating. The end result is a bright, dazzling surface that can be brought to a higher level of shine than polished stainless steel.

Because we think that pillar trim pieces should have long-lasting looks, our chrome pillar post kits are all backed up with worry-free stainless steel construction underneath. This ensures the chrome finish will not deteriorate over time in the same fashion it would if metal underneath were prone to corrosion.

Zunden Chrome Pillar Posts
The Zunden Chrome Pillar Posts.
Putco Pillar Posts
Should a gloss black look be preferable to chrome, Putco 4-piece Stainless Steel Pillar Posts are available with a “black platinum” surface finish.

When it comes to chrome plating, we’ve got the Zunden Chrome Pillar Posts kit, some of which come with up to 10 pieces, depending on make and model. There’s also the B&I Pillar Posts which come in 4-, 6-, or 8-piece sets depending on vehicle configuration, and the SES Trims Stainless Steel Pillar Posts which boast a chrome finish that’s triple-plated.

Kits With Carbon Fiber And Other Finishes

For fans of carbon fiber, we’ve got you covered with a choice of several pillar post kits with a top layer of real carbon fiber. For best value, we’ve got B&I’s Pillar Posts that are offered in a choice of carbon fiber or chrome. The American Car Craft Pillar Post kit comes with thicker carbon fiber construction for a limited set of vehicles, and offers a choice of a protective outer surface finish that’s clear and glossy (choose “polished”) or textured (choose “brushed”). Of note, Sherwood’s Pillar Posts are available for a limited number of vehicles and feature real carbon fiber, wood, or other overlays bonded to a top layer of ABS plastic.

Acc Pillar Posts
The American Car Craft Pillar Posts are just one of several products we offer that feature real carbon fiber.

Installation

All of the pillar post overlays we offer are attached with 3M double-sided tape. Installation is extremely simple, because this tape comes with a protective backing that peels off when you’re ready to fit the pieces onto the vehicle. In most cases, your pillar post pieces will come with the tape already applied to them – so you’ll only need to peel and stick the one side that attaches to the door pillars. Our experience with this tape has been positive, and it’s extremely easy to use considering how effective it is.

First, it’s extremely important to clean and prepare the surface areas where the tape will be applied. Firmly press a piece of masking tape onto the areas where you’ll be installing your trim pieces. If the tape peels off very easily or doesn’t stick at all, it’s because wax or silicone treatment is still on the pillars. Start the cleaning process by washing the affected areas with car wash detergent.

The next step is to clean the surface with isopropyl alcohol. If your pillar post kit comes with pre-saturated alcohol cleaning pads, use those. Once the surfaces are dry, apply new masking tape to see if it adheres well. If not, repeat the prior steps until it does.

Next, lay out all the pieces which came with the kit. Some manufacturers label the pieces (“DF” for driver’s side front, and “PR” for passenger’s side rear, for example). Whether the pieces are labeled or not, dry fit (meaning, do not expose the adhesive yet) ALL the parts to make sure the correct part is at its correct location. Once installed, the pieces are almost impossible to remove without damage.

As part of the dry fit, plan to install the trim so that all the parts which are next to each other line up at top and bottom. Be aware that the doors must open and close with pillar post trim in place, so do not install them so close together that they might interfere with door function.

Peel a small portion of the backing strip away from the 3M tape at the top and bottom areas of the first trim piece you’re going to install. With the tape peeled at the ends, position the piece onto the vehicle pillar. Apply slight pressure to the ends so the peeled adhesive keeps the trim piece in place (make sure the ends of the backing strips stick out visibly, because you’ll need to grab on to them in order to pull the tape all the way off). Tack the piece in place, and double check the positioning. Once the part has been lined up, grab onto the backing strip ends and pull until they’ve been completely removed. As you peel, apply pressure along the way. Continue with the next piece until all are installed. The tape will hold instantly, but will need 24 hours to bond fully.

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We’ve installed pillar post trim on many vehicles, both employees’ and customers’, and we’ll rank this accessory as one of the best when it comes to maximum impact for minimum expense. Light-colored cars take on a brighter and shinier glow, and dark-colored cars gain beautiful and subtle contrast points. Combine this with ease of installation (no tools!) and you’ll be convinced that pillar post trim is a win-win for you!

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