Winter is drawing near, and with it comes the nasty weather and salty corrosive mess that we must deal with. Over the past 5 years, we’ve coated countless vehicles with glass coatings to protect them from such elements. But regardless of what coating is on your vehicle, we get some pretty common questions in regards to maintaining glass-coating protection. In this edition of Shift, I have some helpful tips for keeping your glass-coated car looking its very best.
The most common question we get is, How do I wash it? First of all, let’s start with the number one issue most people run into: water spots. It’s no secret that one of the biggest attractions to having a glass-coated car is its ability to protect with high durability, and the hydrophobic effects are amazing! But there’s no changing the laws of physics. All vehicles, whether they are coated or not, face the impurities and qualities of the water being used to clean them. A coating will certainly resist damage from such impurities that would easily create havoc on the typical paint finish, but if the vehicle is left to dry on its own, those impurities will remain.
In our Ceramic Pro Installers group, we’ve noticed this is something that’s pretty common for first time customers. The solution is simple: dry the vehicle with a proper drying towel, preferably a microfiber waffle-weave variety. Pat dry the water left behind, and you will eliminate those water impurities from becoming an issue. For a more effective approach, use the appropriate maintenance spray for your coating during the drying process. For example, if your vehicle is coated with 22PLE, use VS1 during the drying process to help build a sacrificial layer of protection against things such as water spots.
The next question we get is, How do I maintain the finish in between washes? And this has a pretty simple answer as well. Keep in mind that coatings chemically bond to your paint, and in many ways they become the new finish of the paint. The vast majority of coatings, if not all of them, contain some degree of Silica Dioxide. This is glass in a very pure form, and the physical ability to go from a liquid state upon application to a solid on a paint finish is what gives them their component of scratch resistance and durability. Controversially, the hardness or scratch resistance can range from light to extremely resistant from brand to brand. But regardless of the brand or hardness, coatings are not a suit of armor and still need to be cared for appropriately. If the vehicle is merely dusty in between washes, use a detailer maintenance spray with clean microfiber towels to gently remove dust. Traditional dusters from “the west coast” are never a good option. Ask any true professional detailers, and they would agree with me on this. Those dusters hold so much dirt and debris, it’s like taking a shop broom to your paint.
Lastly, we do get customers who enjoy waxing their vehicles and love giving them some extra TLC. For these coatings, though, waxing is not recommended because the wax simply coats the paint surface for a short time without much added benefit other than a temporary slick surface. As an alternative, many glass coating manufacturers have developed sprays that help maintain or serve as a booster for their specific coatings. These sprays are super easy to use and help those who enjoy kicking up the gloss a notch on the weekends. Most sprays give added protection from UV, help with water spotting, and give a slick feel that lasts from 4 to 6 months. In the case of products such as Ceramic Pro Sport or Kamikaze Over Coat, these products can even be applied as a stand-alone coating on a vehicle that isn’t glass coated, providing awesome lasting protection that is easy to install by anyone at home.
This past spring, I had a chance to meet and spend time with the inventor and developer of Kamikaze Over Coat during his visit from Japan. Kai Morita developed Over Coat to be extremely neutral, and this makes it a product that can be used with any brand of coating, as a stand-alone protection, or as an application during the final rinse in a wash process. An ingenious approach, Kamikaze is one of our top-selling sacrificial coatings in our Driver’s Edge store at SweetCars, and we keep both sizes in stock.
The detailing industry can move faster at times than the cars that we work with, and competition is fierce in the industry. But it seems that glass coatings are pretty much here to stay. As a product, glass coatings have certainly changed how we look at protection, and they continue to develop rapidly to keep their competitive edge. But once the coating is applied to the consumer’s vehicle, understandably there are some questions that will come up from time to time. At SweetCars, we keep in constant communication with Ceramic Pro and 22PLE to keep up on the latest application techniques and products. And we’re proud to be part of a great network of detailers that install these products. So until next time, take pride in your detailed ride!
Here we grow again! Construction is well underway on the addition to our shop, and we are excited about our growth here at SweetCars. I’m also looking forward to attending the 2015 SEMA show this year and checking out the latest detailing products and technology. SEMA is the largest convention in the country for specialty and aftermarket products. For those who are attending SEMA this year, I have been invited to be a guest detailer for SONAX. Stop by and say hello at their booth (#12161) from 2:30PM to 3:30PM on November 4 & 5, where I’ll be demonstrating the latest products from SONAX.