Coated Paint Maintenance
As technology and advancements in protective solutions for paint has evolved we have seen better and better products come to the market. From hybrid waxes to polymer sealants and ceramic coatings the options are endless. Choosing the best option of course depends on your driving conditions, climate, time for maintenance and a host of other factors.
Today I would like to discuss some best practices in maintaining your coated vehicles. While most manufacturer's of coatings have a recommended maintenance routine some don't and that is where I would like to help.
Washing: You can use a standard two bucket method or a waterless wash system, however the amount of lubricity is detrimental to removing debris as safely and efficiently as possible. While coatings offer protection against light scratches and are generally more resilient to swirl marks, they are not swirl proof and improper washing can lead to swirling the coating. And as with clear coat, the only way to remove swirl marks from a coating is to polish them out. You want to ensure you use a PH balanced soap, and try to use a product recommended for coatings such as the Americana Coating Aftercare Soap.
Maintenance: If you like to ensure the best durability of your coating as possible then I recommend after every wash using a product designed to lengthen protection or add protection. While no necessary it can only help to ensure the effects of your coating last as long as possible. Some coating manufacturers produce their own products and others don't. Sometimes you will find other products that work better with certain coatings then their own brand of maintenance items. Try using CarPro Reload or ServFaces Care Seal. These detail sprays have special polymers and formulas in them that will increase the protection and add durability to the coating itself. Using this after a wash process is a great way to ensure you see optimal performance out of your coating.
As always it is best to follow a recommended maintenance program from the coating manufacturer themselves. However, these basic steps will help to ensure that the coating lasts as long as possible. Be sure to avoid all purpose cleaners, degreaser's, and any other acidic products as this will often reduce the coating's effectiveness. Always inspect for any failure in the coating or adherence of fallout and other debris that won't easily remove from the paint itself. In this case try using a product such as Sonax Fallout Remover to help remove debris. Lastly, remember that most coatings wear away due to abrasiveness and the more touching of the paint you do the more your rubbing away the coating. No matter how careful you are this is the nature of a coating. So try to always keep a slick surface and use the best products you can to ensure minimal wear and added longevity.
What's The Best Wax To Use?
After taking all the steps to get our car ready for waxing, you usually want to make sure the last step protects the paint the best to make future work easy. A good coat of wax can make future washes a breeze, make those bugs come right off, and help prevent bird poop or other contaminants from leaving stains. Often times when it comes to detailing our cars we are stuck looking for the best protection option for our paint. There used to just be a paste wax in a can and that was the only option. However, as time passed and technology advanced, new options came to be available.
There are several options to choose from now including spray wax, paste wax, and even liquid wax. All having a benefit in which the other doesn't have. The choice really comes down to a few factors. So lets take a look at the choices and review what is best for your vehicle.
Even though spray wax is still partially a liquid car wax, it contains the same great ingredients that traditional waxes have. Spray waxes provide a great durable shine and UV protection. With up to an incredible two months of durability spray wax can be a great choice for those looking to give their car protection quickly and have the time to do it every so often.
The spray wax is a great alternative for traditional waxes because of its simplicity. Spray wax is one of the most effective ways to wax your car quickly and easily. Spray wax can also be a great for in between maintenance details. Those details where you take a few extra steps after a wash, but don't go as far as decontaminating the paint, claying, and even polishing. You could easily follow every wash or every other wash with a quick spray wax to maintain the finish for longer.
Spray car waxes work great with your car and they are very easy to apply, leaving a great shine to the exterior. It should take less than a quarter of an hour to wax the entire surface of your car. Having a spray wax means you don't necessarily need to buff the wax. While there are some spray waxes consisting of more solids requiring time lapsed between spraying on and wiping it off, there are many that don't require as much.
Liquid wax contains the same protective benefits on spray wax with added durability and length in which the car will remain protected. Because liquid wax is usually applied and left on the car to dry before removal there is a better bond to the clear coat. Liquid wax compared to spray wax requires more effort however it is less effort then a paste wax requires. Because a liquid wax goes on with ease and doesn't require much elbow grease you can still get your waxing done quickly and have great results. A liquid wax can also be applied by machine which some prefer to use as they believe results would be better and quicker. A buffer and orbital can help obtain the same benefits as a paste wax with reduction of minor swirls and oxidization. Liquid wax can be a great way to protect your car in a quick and efficient manner.
Past wax, a more traditional method of applying wax offers perhaps the longest lasting protection via wax. Because while you apply your buffing into the surface your generally taking an extra step of slight abrasion causing the clear coat to become smoother and allow for a better bond. Additionally, paste wax is not diluted with water or any other elements to take away from its content. A paste wax however can vary in carnauba content which can provide a better, more durable, protection. Higher content is usually better. However, naturally carnauba is as hard as rock so be wary of waxes that claim to be 100% as this is generally false. A paste wax is an excellent way to give your car the best shine you can without polishing. If you use a paste wax your car after polishing be prepared for insane reflection and deep wet look. Here at Detailing Connect, paste has always been our favorite!
- Compared to paste wax, liquid waxes are gentler on your car’s finish. They are a better choice for newer cars or those with well-preserved finishes.
- Liquid wax is easier to apply and buff off.
- Paste wax typically contains more solvents and wax than liquid formulas, making paste more effective in removing oxidized paint, embedded dirt and small imperfections.
- Paste wax contains micro fillers that can smooth out uneven, pitted surfaces, and help hide small imperfections.
- The downside of paste wax: it requires more physical effort to apply and buff off.
- Paste wax may be the best choice if your car’s finish has been compromised by climactic conditions such as constant dust erosion or prolonged, intense sunlight.
- Both liquid and paste waxes can be found today with UV protection in the formulation. (Think of it as sunscreen for your car.)
- Most importantly any kind of wax coating is better than none; it provides a water-repellent barrier and protection against road salt.
Check out what waxes we have to offer here.
As technology improves, in any industry, oftentimes it has a trickle down effect. For the car care industry, coatings have started to evolve to more consumer level coating options. This allows for the possibility for the at home detailer to experience results that used to be only obtainable by the pro’s. Today, I would like to go over some things I have learned from many years of experience in applying a broad spectrum of coatings in the hopes that you could apply these tips to your own coating application. This is, if you are actually in the market to perform a paint coating yourself. I also recommend that if this process is overwhelming or outside your comfort zone, to seek the professional application of a qualified detail shop in your area.
What to Do
- First and foremost, DO make sure that your work environment is sustainable to achieve the highest level outcome as possible.
- Don’t apply coatings outside and never in direct sunlight or on a warm surface.
- DO make sure the surface has been properly polished.
- DO make sure the surface has been properly decontaminated by using a clay bar and/or iron remover during the wash process.
- DO follow the instructions on the bottle of the coating solution.
- DO wear proper safety equipment such as gloves and a mask if specified by the manufacturer during installation.
- DO Make sure to remove polishing oils and residue after polishing with a solution such as Car Pro Eraser or ServFaces Neutra Cleaner
What to do if you experience high spots
We find that proper surface prep is detrimental to ensure that the coating levels easily
Try to avoid high humidity as this can make it hard to work with certain coatings
High spots are simply an excess amount of coating on the paint surface that was not properly removed or “leveled” during the application process. Sometimes these do not show up in direct lighting but require different light settings and angles to see.
Be sure to apply the coating nice and thin and if you do have high spots, remove them quickly. The longer you wait, the harder they will be to remove, which can often times requiring polishing.
Each coating will have different installation instructions, always follow the instructions on the bottle. Cure or “flash” time essentially means the time it takes for the coatings solvents to properly evaporate and allow the active ingredients to bond to the clear coat. Remove the coating too quick and you risk reduced performance, waiting to remove the coating for too long and it can be very difficult to remove. Try to avoid the car getting wet or seeing rain for the first 48 hours. Coatings generally cure with heat, thus a nice warm day in the sun after coating is the best way to ensure proper and fast curing.
Taking care after coating
To ensure the coating lasts as long as the manufacture specifies it is ensure to take care of the coating as the manufacturer recommends.
Usually this means using a ph neutral soap, avoiding polishing or buffing, removing any heavy contamination as quickly as possible, avoiding use of all purpose cleaners, and using a high quality maintenance detail spray.
Our featured coating brand is ServFaces. German made, German quality, protecting your's.