Vinyl Wrap FAQ

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What is a vehicle vinyl wrap?

A vehicle wrap is a process whereby pressure-sensitive vinyl, in almost any colour or finish, is applied by hand onto a vehicle’s painted surface. This can be done to certain panels or the whole vehicle. Think of it like a big, high quality sticker that can change the colour and finish of a vehicle.

Can it only be used for cars?

You can literally wrap any surface you can think of including boats, jet skis, motorcycles and more.

What are the benefits of wrapping your car with vinyl as opposed to getting it resprayed with paint?

Completely removable and you can easily go back to your original paint whenever you choose.

Does not devalue the resell value of your car like an aftermarket paint job does, especially on exotic/luxury vehicles.

The quality of a respray is hardly ever the quality of the paint on a luxury vehicle unless you are spending serious money on a very good paint shop. Someone trained in paint can easily tell most resprays.

The vinyl wrap protects your OEM paint underneath.

Cheaper then an equivalent quality aftermarket paint job.

Lease vehicles can be wrapped where as in most instances a lease vehicle can not get resprayed.

Certain colours and textures can only be achieved with a wrap such as coloured chromes, brushed metals, leathers, carbon fibre looks and many more.

If choosing a matte or satin finish a wrap is much more durable and harder to damage. In the event of repairs needed re-wrapping will achieve a perfect colour match where as with paint it is extremely difficult with matte and satin.

How long does a vinyl wrap last for?

As a rule of thumb generally 5-7 years but just like paint, comes down to how it is treated. Paint can last 5-10 years also if not taken care of. Certain vinyl textures such as chrome have a much shorter life span.

Can I wrap my car if the paint is in rough condition?

While it is usually not intended to be used on bad paintwork due to adhesion problems, there are certain situations where it can be done. Please contact us to discuss.

The truth behind “Electronic Rust Protection”

151125 - CECI Unit on its ownEvery now and then we get asked by customers if we install electronic rust protection. Our answer is always quite simple “You do know they don’t actually do anything?” This can sometimes lead to an awkward conversation.

For years in the automotive industry car dealerships and many aftermarket accessories installers have pushed electronic rust protection installations valued anywhere from $500-$4000. Most of that money was profit with a small amount for a little electronic box with some flashing led lights and wires. For years we have told customers these things don’t work and finally as of 2015 it looks like our Australian government has finally shut one of the largest suppliers down.

www.finance.nsw.gov.au/about-us/media-releases/no-rust-bust-warning-re-car-rust-reduction-devices

In case this link dies here is the transcript:

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning NSW consumers not to waste their money buying computerised electronic corrosion inhibitors (CECI devices) for motor vehicles after investigations by Western Australia Consumer Protection revealed the devices don’t work.

WA Consumer Protection has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking under the Australian Consumer Law, on behalf of all ACL regulators, with distributors High Performance Corporation Pty Ltd (HPC) and MotorOne Group Pty Ltd (MotorOne) to stop the sale of and secure refunds for consumers who bought devices that were falsely claimed to reduce rust and corrosion by as much as 80 percent in motor vehicles.

These businesses sell a range of goods and services to the national automotive market largely through vehicle dealerships, auto parts stores and window tinting outlets.

The device was often sold as part of a package of after sales care products on new vehicles and connects to the vehicle’s battery. The devices are generally simply connected to the vehicle battery and an earth point.

WA Consumer Protection sought independent expert opinion and testing that concluded CECI Units did not prevent rust or corrosion. The makers of other, similar products are also being investigated by WA Consumer Protection. Prices of these similar devices have ranged up to $4,000.

Mr Stowe said the ‘science’ behind the claimed protection simply cannot work. For unwanted rust to be attracted to a sacrificial piece of metal using positive electrical current, the negatively connected rusty metal should be in a conductive solution, so essentially the vehicle would need to be constantly submerged in water.

The undertaking with HPC and MotorOne prevents them from supplying, advertising or promoting CECI Units, or substantially similar devices, in Australia from 31 December 2015.

It also requires the distributors to write to retailers that sold their products to inform them of the undertaking and the availability of refunds to all consumers who paid hundreds of dollars per device over the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2013. Additionally, a notice must be published on the distributors’ websites www.defensepak.com.au and www.motoronefleet.com.

Mr Stowe said false and misleading statements had been made about CECI Units in multiple jurisdictions. This included a claim that ‘laboratory tests demonstrate a reduction in the corrosion process by as much as 80 percent effectively doubling your vehicle’s life span against rust and corrosion’.

The undertaking can be viewed at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/undertakings.

 

You have to remember, modern day cars are made from all different types of alloys, aluminium, plastics, carbonfibre, kevlar and the list goes on. Very little rust sensitive steel is being used anymore and therefore the dealers of these products know very well that your vehicle has an extremely unlikely chance of rusting. This is how they make people believe the product is doing something when in reality it is simply the materials being used.

One thing to take note is the same people that promoted these, oh lets call them “scams” for the lack of a better word, are the same people that supply the majority of dealerships with paint protection products with a “lifetime warranty”….. something to think about…..Kermit-The-Frog-Meme-Blank-01

Everything you need to know regarding headlights

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OVERVIEW OF HEADLIGHT DAMAGE

Headlights on modern day vehicles are made from a type of thermoplastic polymer called polycarbonate, as opposed to older vehicles where they were made from glass. Polycarbonate has huge advantages over glass in that it is easily moulded into complex shapes, is very impact resistant and very transparent to visible light, better then many types of glass. The disadvantages of this type of material is that it is not very suitable for long term UV exposure and can discolour, yellow and begin to crack. Given the extreme strength of UVA and UVB rays in North QLD, bad headlights are a common sight and will take away the overall look of a vehicle, but more importantly will lower the amount of light your headlights transmit onto the road leading to dangerous night time driving.

From factory polycarbonate headlights have a thin top layer of a UV resistance coating. This coating does a fantastic job of protecting the polycarbonate from discolouration for years. However in extreme climates (nearest the equator) or for older vehicles, eventually this layer breaks down and the headlights will go that all to common yellow colour. Depending on the angle of the headlight (the more horizontal it is, the more UV it will get), how much time it spends outside, the quality of the polycarbonate used by the manufacturer and many other variables effect the overall speed this happens.

THE STAGES OF HEADLIGHT DAMAGE (STAGE I)

We like to differentiate headlight damage into three different categories. Stage 1 damage is when the headlights first go this yellow colour, it is usually when the UV resistant coating is still on the headlight however has broken down. At stage 1 the damage is quite easy to fix and people use all sorts of products such as toothpaste, metal polish, automotive paint polish etc. to remove the yellowing damaged coating. The results can sometimes be nearly perfect and these people will then always comment on how awesome it worked and anything else is a waste of money (trust us, we hear this all the time). With this damaged layer now removed, for the first time in their life the headlights are unprotected. To go from new to stage 1 may have taken years or perhaps even a decade to happen, however now the process is sped up and the headlights can start to deteriorate in a matter of months. The other thing that starts effecting the headlights more now is abrasion from driving and the UV penetrating through the entire headlight (remember the barrier that was once there from factory has been removed) and effecting the polycarbonate deeper and also the shiny silver reflector of the headlights. 20140729_104950

An example of what we would refer to as stage I UV damage

THE STAGES OF HEADLIGHT DAMAGE (STAGE II)

We now enter what we refer to as stage II damage. This damage can still be polished out with some success, but the headlights will no longer look completely new since the damage is now deeper (put them side by side next to a new car and there will be a difference). Some people are still happy with the results and move on with life, where as others are now no longer happy since their headlights don’t look perfect. This might lead them to try something a bit more abrasive, or they will simply do the headlights more often. In direct sunlight the headlights may have some scratches or even light cracking. This is from the UV now penetrating all the way through the polycarbonate and destroying it from the inside. There may also be cracking or flaking of the silver reflector lenses inside the headlights.IMG_3383

An example of what we would refer to as stage II UV damage

THE STAGES OF HEADLIGHT DAMAGE (STAGE III)

We now enter what we would refer to as stage III damage. The headlights have most likely been polished a number of times throughout their life and every time the damage comes back worse and worse. The results get worse and worse and eventually the abrasive being used does absolutely nothing. This is because the damage is nearly all the way through the headlights, has multiple scratches and hairline cracks and simply trying to buff off 0.5 microns of polycarbonate does nothing. Eventually the cracks can get that bad that they can’t be removed and the silver reflector inside the headlight gets completely destroyed from peeling.

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An example of what we would refer to as stage III UV damage

HOW TO PREVENT IT IN THE FIRST PLACE

To completely prevent the damage from starting, always put a little bit of wax or sealant onto the headlights when you do your paintwork (you are doing your paintwork right?!). If this is done from when the car is new, the OEM coating on the polycarbonate will never breakdown as a sacrificial layer of wax or sealant is being put on top to protect the headlight from UV.

OFF THE SHELF RESTORATION KITS

There are now plenty of proper restoration kits available off the shelf. The main thing you want to look for is a kit that comes with some sandpaper, some polish and the most important thing is a UV protective coating. Since your OEM coating has already broken down, you want to replace it after you do the process. A restoration kit without a coating is really not solving the issue for you if you are after a proper solution.

OUR PROCESS

Our process has been tweaked over a 10 year period as technology has advanced and our understanding of this complex process has been learnt. This has led to the best possible results money can buy in headlight restorations and in most instances is completely different to what others offer (usually just a quick hit with a rotary buffer, a sheepskin pad and some polish).  So lets go through our process with this Nissan 350Z with stage II damage.

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Stage 1 and stage 2 – after taping up the surrounds of the headlight, careful wetsanding is performed with two different grits of sandpaper (depending on severity of damage).

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Stage 3 – machine compounding is performed to remove sanding marks and to restore clarity.IMG_3643

Stage 4 – machine jewelling is performed to increase clarity even more.

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Stage 5 – Cleansing the headlight and creating a complete clean surface for the quartz coating to bond to.

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Stage 6 – Application of quartz coating.

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Stage 7 – Application of protective layer to ensure quartz coating cures properly.

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And the results. Perfect clarity up close even in direct sunlight.

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This process takes much, MUCH longer (on average 1 hour per headlight) then what most other companies do, uses much more product (the products used tally up to around $200 for the full bottles, not including machines and pads being used) and requires much more skill and expertise. This results in a slightly higher cost to the customer then what some other companies charge (some places actually charge the same as us anyway so go figure) but the results are guaranteed to be the best you can get and the headlights are properly protected. With correct maintenance (just like we mentioned with new headlights, applying a bit of wax or sealant every now and then) the results can last forever.

Matte finishes and how to maintain them

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Matte finishes used to be reserved for the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari, BMW and Mercedes to name a few, however these days they are becoming a more common site as Hyundai and Harley Davidson have started mass producing these finishes over the last few years and vinyl wrapping has exploded worldwide thanks to 3M’s range of 1080P vinyl wraps. All it takes is a look through the halls of SEMA in Las Vegas to see every second vehicle in a matte finish.

There is however a lot of misinformation about these finishes, mainly on how to maintain them, or more importantly what not to do! So let’s delve into the world of modern day matte vehicles and answer the most commonly asked questions.

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Can I use any sort of car care products on the finish?

Unfortunately hardly any general, off the shelf car care products that you find in automotive parts stores are suitable for this finish. These products nearly all contain some form of gloss enhancing agents, abrasives, waxes or silicones which will destroy the finish by creating patches of gloss which can not be undone. This includes most shampoos and quick detailing sprays. Remember, 99% of vehicles are manufactured to be glossy, so all these products are made for gloss paints so their sole purposes is to maximise this gloss. Something that you do not want.

So I can not polish or wax my vehicle?

No. This will instantly destroy the paint as the polishes will abrade the surface causing it to smooth out, creating gloss. The wax will fill the voids in the matte finish, once again smoothing the paint creating gloss. Even rubbing the paintwork a bit to vigorously with a cloth can easily damage the finish.

Can I still get scratches on my vehicle?

Yes, just as easily as any other vehicle. The major difference is even the smallest scratch can not be removed once it is in the matte finish. While gloss paints can have these scratches polished out through the means of compounds and polishes, matte vehicles can not as once again it will destroy the finish (noticing a pattern yet?). Therefore it is extremely important that good wash technique with the two bucket method is employed and only the best microfibre products should touch the paint.

Can I take the vehicle to a car wash?

No car wash, wether it is automatic or a hand car wash should touch the vehicle. This is because of two reasons. The first, is any car wash with any sort of brush will easily scratch the finish and two, even if no brushes are used, all the products that the car wash will use will contain gloss enhancing agents, waxes or silicones which again will glossify the finish.

So does all this mean that I don’t need to protect the finish?

Unfortunately matte finishes are more susceptible to damage from the environment then their gloss brothers. They are extremely prone to water spotting, bird dropping and bug damage which can easily stain the surface.

So after all of this, how on earth do you take care of the vehicle?

Washing requires the use of a proper shampoo containing no gloss enhancers what so ever made specifically for matte finishes. We recommend using Nanolex Matte Shampoo with the two bucket wash method using a soft microfiber wash mitt. For any finger prints, dust or water spots we recommend using Nanolex Matte Final Finish that renews the finish. Finally to protect the vehicle we recommend using Nanolex Spray Sealant which acts as a protective barrier, much like a wax or polymer sealant.

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If all this  sounds a bit to difficult, Attention To Detail offers a complete Matte Detailing Package where the vehicle will be properly prepped and protected for the next 12-24 months. We will also train you in the correct way to wash the vehicle so you can spend more time enjoying the finish rather than pulling your hair out trying to maintain it! We are one of the only companies in Townsville trained and experienced in properly taking care off matte paint and matte vinyl wraps so contact us today if you have any questions.

The truth behind “Lifetime Warranty” Paint Protection

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OVERVIEW

Is “paint protection” that is offered at a car dealership something that your vehicle needs and is it worth the money? Does lifetime warranty mean that the paint protection will last for the next 10 or 20 years? Does paint protection even exist? Will your car forever be protected? In this article we will be answering all of these questions and more.

In a couple of our other articles we have briefly touched on the topic of paint protection and the lifetime warranty that is usually offered. Most people would have heard the term “paint protection” in the new car sales industry or in the aftermarket detailing industry and nearly always the sales people are quick to point out that they back their product with a lifetime warranty. Now, this whole subject is an extremely long topic so we will try to keep it as short as possible (HA!), while still answering all the questions as to what is actually getting sold to you and what that lifetime warranty actually means, or doesn’t mean….

THE TERM “PAINT PROTECTION”

The car care industry classifies protection for automotive paints into three major categories; waxes, sealants and coatings (please see our other article discussing the difference between these three if you are not familiar with the terms). All three of these types of products can be referred to as a layer of protection that goes onto the paint protecting it from the elements, and they all have different properties, strengths, weaknesses and durability. As of the last few years, professional detailing companies world wide, only really refer to paint protection as the types of products that fall into the coatings category, as this is the newest and most durable form of protection. Before coatings existed, sealants were what was commonly referred to as paint protection. There are two major industries offering paint protection, the car dealerships and professional detailing companies. So let us first cover car dealerships since this is where most people are likely to have it done on their new car.

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CAR DEALERSHIP PAINT PROTECTION

For years now car dealerships have offered customers buying brand new vehicles a paint protection package with a lifetime warranty for the price of around $1000-$3000 depending on the vehicle. Let’s say you just agreed to purchase a brand new vehicle and the paperwork is signed for the sale, the salesperson would then leave the room and another person comes in to talk about paint protection. Their whole job is to scare you into thinking your huge investment is going to get destroyed and put the fear of God into you, so suddenly the $1000-$3000 is a small price to pay in comparison to what you just spent on the car itself. While we 100% agree that a vehicle’s paintwork needs to be protected, it’s what they are actually offering which is the problem. Let’s continue.

Now that your vehicle is getting the paint protection, what is actually getting put onto your car? Most car dealerships may actually use words such as Nano, Ceramic, QuartzCoating, etc. to describe the product getting put onto your vehicle. Does that mean you are actually getting one of  these coatings? Unfortunately not. Most dealerships use synthetic polymer sealants and barely any prep work is done to properly decontaminate the surface or properly paint correct the vehicle to remove any swirl marks. For them this is nice and easy work with a huge mark up to make money. So why aren’t proper coatings put onto the vehicle from the dealerships? The main factors are; the difficult application, possibility of permanent streaks, time consumption (we spend 2-3 days on a vehicle coating), prep work required and product costs.

Let’s use this brand new 2014 product from one of the largest and most well known car care company in the world, Meguiar’s as an example. This is Meguiar’s new synthetic polymer sealant called Paint Protect which will retail for around $30 and is stated to last up to 12 months. More or less this is what is getting put onto your vehicle. We know what you are thinking, This seriously can not be true, that can’t be what I just paid $2000 for? Unfortunately it is and we haven’t even got to the warranty part yet which is where this all falls apart.

 

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LIFETIME WARRANTY

Now onto the main point of this article, the “Lifetime Warranty” fad that every one has jumped onto. This was mainly started by the car dealerships years ago and unfortunately is now also being used by some manufactures of coatings and by some car detailers who are applying these coatings. The lifetime warranty is a draw card used to raise the image of a product, otherwise if you just got told that the car dealership was going to put a $30 bottle of sealant onto your vehicle, would take them a few hours to complete, would realistically probably last 6 months in North QLD and they wanted you to pay $2000 for it, do you think any one would actually fall for it? Let that sink in for a moment….

DOES A PAINT PROTECTION EXIST THAT LASTS A LIFETIME?

Currently as of 2014, the longest lasting coatings on the market last approximately 2-5 years depending on factors such as how much the vehicle is used, how the vehicle is maintained, what products are used to wash and clean the vehicle and most importantly, how well the coating was applied in the first place. You can have the best coating in the world, but if the detailer didn’t prep the paintwork perfectly or applied the coating incorrectly, it is not going to last, simple as that. There is no coating on the market that lasts longer then this in the real world, PERIOD. Yes if you put 10 layers of a Quartz coating onto a car, vacuumed sealed it in a plastic igloo and locked it up in your garage for 20 years the coating would still probably be on the vehicle.

HOW DO THEY GET AWAY WITH MADE UP LIFETIME WARRANTIES?

Now our laws in Australia are fairly tight, so how do these companies get away with all of this? Good old fine print! Nearly all of these companies will have amazingly written contracts done up to get out of the warranty under any scenario. Let’s have a read of one that we got our hands on for a coating that is being offered in Australia and also in Townsville. Now this is a fairly respected brand and we are not saying that the product is bad, what we want to address is how the lifetime warranty works. In bold are the key areas of concern and we have removed any brand names as what we are trying to concentrate on is the wording of these contracts, not the product it self.

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THE LIFETIME WARRANTY CONTRACT

Type of Cover

******* warrant the vehicles exterior painted surface coated with ****** Paint Protection under the following Terms & Conditions from environmental induced contamination damage such as; bird droppings, tar, tree sap, bug impacts and oxidation. Should this damage occur, and providing that all of the terms and conditions have been met, ****** will rectify the damage under the “Limit of Liability”.

Period of Cover

New & Used Vehicles are covered for the life of vehicle ownership if annual service requirements are met. (See: Annual Inspection). Failure to undertake an annual service within the required period will change the period of cover to “5 Years” from the date of the last service which cannot be reversed. Once the 5 years has transpired the warranty will be terminated.

General conditions

1. Warranty cover is only valid if the Approved Applicator has issued a Warranty Card and it has been registered within 30 days of application.

2. The vehicle must remain at all times registered for road use within Australia.

3. Only vehicles registered as Passanger Vehicles will be warranted. Commercial vehicles of any kind will not be covered.

4. Vehicles over 3 months old must require a machine polish to be carried out by an approved applicator prior to application, newer vehicles may also require a machine polish if advised by the approved applicator.

5. In the event of damage / repair to the surface (ie, accident repair) the vehicle must be taken to an approved applicator for retreatment to the repaired area at the owner’s expense within 45 days.

6. Warranty is in the name of the vehicle owner and cannot be transferred.

7.  Should a product reapplication be required (eg. vehicle accident) you or your insurer are liable for a reapplication fee, determined by the approved applicator.

8. The vehicle exterior paint work must be maintained and washed regularly to ****** recommendations to prevent contamination build up (ie, fortnightly/monthly).

 Exclusions

1. Where the owner has deemed to have been careless, negligent or fails to maintain the exterior painted surface in the correct manner.

2. Pre-existing damage to the painted surface.

3. Damage to the coated surface by incorrect manual wash techniques, automatic car washes, brushes or contaminated wash tools that may cause abrasion, or damage caused by a third party not authorised by ******.

4. Swirl marks, marring, scratches, scuffs, scrapes, chips to the painted surface.

5. Damage caused by collision, accidental damage, vandalism, malicious damage, fire, hail, flood, stones, collision, surface rust, rail dust, physical damage, paint overspray, water etch or vehicle manufacturer’ defects, or defects which may be covered under a manufacturers or dealerships protection plan.

6. Area’s that have not been retreated after a paint repair.

7. Any loss of time or use of the vehicle while it undergoes inspections or treatments.

 Annual Inspection (Lifetime Warranty)

1. Annual Inspections must be carried out by an approved applicator, within 30 days before or after the anniversary date of the last service to maintain the lifetime warranty.

2. Failure to undertake an annual inspection within the required period will change the period of cover to 5 Years from the date of the last service with annual inspections no longer required.

3. A fee determined by the approved applicator will be charged for the Annual Inspection which includes – Exterior Wash, Decontamination and Inspection.

 Limit of Liability (Claims) –

1. Damage that may be covered under this warranty must be made aware to an approved applicator within 30 days, failure to comply will result in this warranty being terminated.

2. A Claim “Inspection Fee” of $88.00 is payable, this is refunded if the warranty claim is approved for repair by *******.

3. Claim determination is at the sole discretion of ******, either approving the repair / retreatment by an approved applicator or refunding the application cost to the vehicle owner at a maximum of $1000 and terminating the warranty, whichever is less.

4. Any dispute arising under these terms and conditions shall be governed by the law of  ********, Australia, the involved parties agree to submit to the jurisdiction of that State.

End of contract

 

As you can see, they really have covered everything and can get out of the contract in any way they want. You could take away from this that this coating lasts under 5 years, which is completely accurate, most coatings are 2-5 years.

How many people do you think even read or see this contract from the company? What if the detailer didn’t even show the customer this contract? What if you didn’t send away the warranty card because you were not told about it? Why should you have to pay an inspection fee every year? If the coating did actually last longer then 5 years what are they inspecting every 12 months? Paying that fee, every year for 5 years would in most instances cost just as much as you paying to have the coating reapplied after 5 years so in essence you have paid for it again. Perhaps on the fifth inspection they just reapply the coating and you would never know. A lot of people sell their car before 5 years any way so once again the contract is void since it can’t be passed on.

As you can see, the lifetime warranty does not actually mean the product lasts that long and we hardly would call 5 years a lifetime. With the car dealerships they have a nearly identical contract but they instead reapply the sealant every year during the inspection.

Just to add a bit of fuel to the fire we rang one of the detailers, as a customer,  offering this particular coating system wanting to know about the lifetime warranty and whether there were any catches. There was no mention of annual inspections or even this contract and we were told that the product would out live the vehicle.

SUMMARY

Most paint protection packages that are offered at car dealerships are sealants that last 6-12 months (or less depending on what they actually use and how well it is applied!) and aftermarket coatings offered by professional detailers last around 2-5 years. Any paint protection that is offered with a “Lifetime Warranty” has a contract filled with that many clauses and loopholes that it is not worth the paper it is written on.

Hopefully this article has answered most of the questions about the horribly confusing and downright misleading industry paint protection has unfortunately become. If sealants/coatings did last forever, multi billion dollar vehicle manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin etc. would be putting them on all of their vehicles….

 

What are “Gyeon Quartz Cloth” Coatings?

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WHAT IS A GYEON QUARTZ COATING?

A Gyeon Quartz coating is a protection system based on Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) aka Quartz. It has been developed into liquid form with a solvent holding it in this state. Once applied to a vehicle, the solvent evaporates leaving behind an extremely hard and durable Quartz layer. Ths is the most sophisticated technology in car protection that has so far been developed. It has been previously exploited by the most demanding consumers in the electronic industry but this compound is now introduced in a unique form to the automotive industry by the Gyeon brand. Special chemical processes are used to blend Silicon Dioxide with a suitable mixture of solvents which allows its application onto the surface of paintwork. The crucial properties of the Quartz coating are its ability to boost the total hardness of the paint and to increase it up to the level of 9H (hardness of the coating determined by Mohs scale) as well as its thickness, being one of the only coatings which has a measurable thickness up to 1.5 microns (not just claimed). The most critical, however, is the structural integrity that the layer displays. After having vaporized all the solvents contained in the product, the layer becomes firm, solid as well as very hard and highly durable. Due to the Quartz coating’s thickness, all the scratching and fading, which may appear during washing or as a result of extensive deposition to caustic substances e.g. bird droppings, do not reach the paint, leaving its surface intact. Due to very small molecules tightly bounded together, any disarrangement of the structural integrity by external factors is technically impossible. The only way to remove the coating is by means of professional compounding with abrasives and therefore it can be classed as a permanent layer due to the end user not being able to easily remove it.

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QUARTZ COATINGS VS WAXES AND SEALANTS

A Quartz coating is a liquid, SiObased medium which protects painted automotive surfaces. Traditional waxes contain, in most cases, the Carnauba wax of Brazilian palm trees, beeswax or polymer type, synthetic waxes.

THE PROPERTIES OF WAXES

Natural waxes or mixtures of natural and synthetic waxes are characterized primarily by high oiliness resulting in a wet look finish. Yet due to their structure, they are not resistant to strong detergents used in many car wash shampoos. Furthermore waxes are exposed to fast dissolution by chemical contaminants, road salt or bird droppings. Their oiliness, desirable in terms of appearance, translates also into a troublesome and tedious rubbing off the product after evaporation of the solvents. It may also leave smudges or off-white sediment that can be hard to remove.

THE PROPERTIES OF QUARTZ COATINGS

Very high structural integrity of the quartz coating prevents damage by external factors, such as strong chemicals and detergents, bird droppings and road salt. So strong is the structure of the coating that it is resistant to chemicals from pH 2-11. Due to the coatings specific thickness and substantial hardness it protects the automotive paint from scratching which commonly happens during the washing and drying procedure (what we call swirl marks). The extra added benefit to the coating is that it provides very high clarity and transparency, creating an extremely glossy and deep finish to the paint, something that even a lot of high end carnauba waxes can not achieve. The following picture shows the Gyeon coating once it has completely hardened (our suede applicator pads have to get thrown out after every use due to going rock hard!).

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HOW RESITANT IS THE COATING TO EVERY DAY USE?

The table below shows the most common external factors, by comparison to a wax, with a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is a total failure, and 10 is full protection against a specific factor). As you can see, every factor is much better with coatings with the most drastic difference being that waxes offer no scratch resistance and very low abrasion resistance.

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HOW LONG DO THESE COATINGS LAST?

As a certified Gyeon detailer, we offer a 5 year warranty on Gyeon’s MOHS+ Quartz coating. This however does not mean that the coating only last 5 years as like all coatings, waxes or sealants, durability completely depends on how the vehicle is used and cared for. A vehicle which is taken out once a month to a car show and kept protected inside of a garage will easily last many years more then one which is driven 7 days a week and lives outside on a driveway. Therefore it is difficult to say that product “X” lasts for 12 months, as the conditions vary from every single vehicle and owner. What we can say with certainty is these coatings are the longest lasting form of protection available on the market.

Please understand that nothing lasts for ever and it is extremely well documented in the car care world. Any one that offers a “lifetime warranty” on a car care protection product is either lying through their teeth, has fallen victim to the sales pitch from the manufacturer, or the fine print on the contract has that many conditions and loopholes that the warranty means absolutely nothing. Most paint protections offered by dealerships with a lifetime warranty state in the contract that the product must be reapplied every 12 months at the owners cost to keep the warranty. This is simply a synthetic sealant being used which will last under 12 months (most actually last less then 6) which you then have to pay to have reapplied, so how is that a lifetime warranty? If you would like to know more on this please read our other article on “The truth behind Lifetime Warranty Paint Protection”.

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DIFFERENCES IN EVERY-DAY MAINTENANCE OF A VEHICLE

Due to significant, self-cleaning properties of the Quartz coating, washing the car becomes much easier. Dirt adheres to the Quartz layer more slowly than to paint protected with wax or a sealant, and its removal does often not even require detergents, only a blast of water. This means that the vehicle stays cleaner for longer and therefore doesn’t require as much maintenance. Using products such as Gyeon Bathe + shampoo or Gyeon Wetcoat spray boosts the coatings durability and with regular use extends the life of the coating dramatically.

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When taking into account all of these characteristics, such as durability, total hardness, easiness of every-day maintenance and the gloss factor, a Gyeon quartz coating is an obvious choice for a customer demanding the best in automotive care. If you would like any more information about these Quartz coatings please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Industry terminology & definitions

There are many words used in the car care industry and it can get very confusing as to what they all mean as certain manufacturers will call one product a polish but in reality it may be a glaze, so let’s give a brief overview of common words and what they mean. If the product does what the definition describes, then that is what the product technically is, regardless what it says on the front of the bottle.

 

AIO – All-in-one. Refers to a product that does the job of a cleaner, polish and wax in one. Many off the shelf retail products are AIOs to give the customer an acceptable result with only one product. Sometimes cleaner-waxes are technically AIOs depending on exactly what the product is doing.

Base Coat/Clear Coat – A two stage paint, base being the colour coat and the clear being the non porous protective layer on top of the colour coat to seal and protect the colour from the environment. Adopted as an automotive industry standard in 1992 originally to protect metallic paints and provide depth of colour (they were however used by some manufacturers prior to 1992 as early as 1980). These types of paint systems do not oxidise in the same way as single stage paint did prior but are however subject to clear coat failure if exposed to long term doses of UV. As a reference, most vehicles have less clear coat then the thickness of an A4 sheet of paper!

Car wax – A product that contains a lot of natural ingredients such as Beeswax, Carnauba wax, Linseed oil and Montan wax. In their highest concentration they are usually found in small containers as a thick paste and are usually rated in their grade or percentage of Brazilian Carnauba content.

Carnauba –  A wax of the leaves of a native palm only grown in the northeastern Brazilian states. It is obtained from the leaves of the carnauba palm by collecting and drying them, beating them to loosen the wax, then refining and bleaching the wax. Carnauba wax can produce a glossy finish and as such is used in automotive waxes. Number 1 Yellow is the highest grade of carnauaba wax and is used in most high end automotive waxes.

CeramiClear AKA Ceramic Clear Coat – Invented by PPG it was the world’s first automotive clear coat to use nano particle technology in the final coating, protecting the colour coat while providing a much more durable, glossy appearance. Used on many high end Euro vehicles such as BMW and Mercedes.

Clay Bar – A putty/plasticine-like product that is pushed along the surface of a vehicle with a lubricant to remove any above surface contamination such as old wax, overspray, fallout etc.

Cleaner-Wax – This is a two in one product that cleans the paintwork while at the same time applying a protective wax layer. It saves time by combining the two steps of decontaminating the paintwork and then applying the wax. These are the most common retail level waxes and if you go to a local autoparts store and pick up a bottle of box from the most common car care brands it will usually be a cleaner-wax.

Cut & Polish – A very old term used to describe some of the first polishes that came out on the market years ago that are still available now by certain manufacturers. They are usually non-diminishing and can “hack” away quite a bit of paint due to their extremely aggressive nature. Usually found in a small tin at a very cheap price. Joked in the industry as “rocks in a tin”.

Coating – Very new word used to describe the extremely long lasting man made chemical coatings. Once hardened very difficult to remove from the vehicle due to their near permanent structure. The latest and greatest in the car care industry.

Compound – A very aggressive diminishing abrasive used to remove heavy paint imperfections such as deep swirls, scratches or oxidation.

Finishing Polish – The opposite of a compound, a very light diminishing abrasive used to remove light paint imperfections or to remove any marks left by compounding,

Glaze – Refers to a type of chemical full of fillers which can hide light below surface imperfections such as swirl marks, scratches, holograms etc. Sometimes the glaze will be mixed with a polish or a sealant to do two jobs in one. Very commonly used in the body shop industry to hide any imperfections after quickly giving the vehicle a buff or by enthusiasts to give their vehicle that extra bit of gloss for a car show. Glazes usually have very poor durability due to being water soluble and can sometimes come off after only a couple of washes. Glazes have their place in the industry however are sometimes abused by car detailers onto unsuspecting customers.

Holograms AKA Buffer Trails – The shape shifting markings on a panel when exposed to strong light, usually only seen on dark colours. Caused by rotary buffers that have not been followed up by a proper polishing stage or by a mixture of poor technique, dirty pads or cheap product.

Hybrid Sealant/Wax – Most waxes or sealants are actually a mixture of the two using natural and man made chemicals but it can sometimes be difficult to know what category a particular wax or sealant falls into from just reading the bottle.

LSP Ready – A term used to describe the condition of paint that is ready to be sealed with a car wax, a paint sealant or a coating. A paint finish that is LSP ready means that any above surface bonded contaminants have been removed and the majority of below surface imperfections that can be safely removed have been removed leaving behind a predominantly defect-free surface that meets the car owner’s or the detailer’s expectations for finish quality.

Paint Cleaner – A liquid, paste or cream that relies primarily on chemical cleaning agents such as isopropyl alcohol to remove any light above surface contamination or impurities such as overspray, old wal or fallout to restore a clean, smooth surface as part of a process to prepare a painted finish for application of a wax, sealant or coating.

Polish – The most used word in the car care industry and probably the most misused or misunderstood due to car care manufacturers using the word on everything from a wax, sealant or glaze. The true nature of the word is to mean an abrasive which can remove below surface imperfections such as swirl marks, scratches, holograms etc. Modern polishes are diminishing abrasives which are used in paint correction.

Sealant – A man made mixture of chemicals usually in a polymer base that recreate the characteristics of a wax but with more durability.

Single Stage Paint – Before Base Coat / Clear Coat paint systems were used, automotive manufacturers used porous unsealed paints on vehicles that were usually softer then modern day clear coated paints. Due to their unsealed nature they easily oxidised and faded out in the elements. Some vehicle manufacturers still use single stage paint on white commercial vehicles. Easy to tell single stage paint due to getting colour transfer on a microfiber cloth when rubbed with a polish.

SiO2 – Silicone Dioxide is a chemical compound also known as Silica and is found in nature in the form of Quartz. Silica is one of the most complex families of materials, existing both as several minerals and being produced synthetically. It is the main chemical used in modern day Gyeon Coatings.

Swirls – Millions of microscopic scratches in the paintwork that appear to be in a circular motion when a strong single light source shines onto the panel. Caused usually by microscopically scratching the paintwork during the washing or drying process.

 

We will keep adding to these as we get asked about certain words or as new terminology begins to be commonly used in the industry.

 

Waxes, Sealants, Coatings & durability explained!

As chemical technology changes and advances, so does the terminology and it can sometimes become very confusing for a consumer looking at buying some car care for their vehicle, as what they once knew is now something completely different! So let’s break it down a little bit into what we believe are the three main different types of products that add a layer of protection to your vehicle.

 

WAX – This is one of the oldest words used in the car care industry along side the term polish. Generally we call a wax a product that contains a lot of natural ingredients such as Beeswax, Carnauba wax, Linseed oil and Montan wax. In their highest concentration they are usually found in small containers as a thick paste and depending on their grade or percentage of Carnauba, their prices can be from as little as $20 to well over $1000! High quality waxes are favoured by a lot of enthusiasts as they would argue they achieve a greater natural shine and depth to a vehicle, especially on dark colours. They can also be easily layered on top of one another to add to this effect. Their weaknesses however are usually in durability lasting from 1-6 months depending on the quality of the wax and the application method, but for enthusiasts that enjoy working on their vehicle it is a small price to pay. Some of the best wax manufacturers in the world are Dodo Juice, Swissvax and Polishangel.

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SEALANT – This term started being used long after the introduction of waxes and referred to a mainly synthetic or man-made chemical product usually in liquid form for easier application. They are usually polymer based and created from certain silicones, resins and petroleum distillates. Due to waxes having fairly low life spans, sealants were invented to maximise durability and give a wider range of options (adding fillers, adding abrasives, adding cleaning agents etc.). Enthusiasts will usually comment that sealants give a “glassier” look to the vehicle as opposed to a wax and their durability can range from 3-12 months. A sealant will usually offer more water sheeting then water beading like on waxes (sheeting refers to water rolling off from the paintwork in a large sheet like puddle). A good option that professionals do is layer a wax on top of a sealant to get the best of both products, this is referred to as “stacking”.

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COATING – This is the latest term and has only been in existence for the last couple of years. Coatings have become a real game changer in the industry offering some amazing properties and durability never before seen. They are usually tied in with words such as “Nano”, “Glass”, “Ceramic” and “Quartz” as they use very similar chemical structures on a molecular nano level and cost a large amount of money to create for the volume of product due to this high technology. Coatings usually come in very small containers (under 50mL) and are usually in a clear liquid form. The reason they come in small containers is 20mL is usually enough to coat an entire average sized sedan! They will also leave a much thicker layer on the vehicle compared to a wax or sealant that can actually be measured by a paint depth gauge. The main advantages to coatings are their extremely long durability from 1-3+ years depending on application/brand, usually have a very high tolerance to chemical resistance (pH 2-11 in most instances), can give added hardness to the paint acting as a scratch resistant barrier and are referred to as self cleaning due to their extreme water sheeting properties. Their weaknesses are mainly in application as they are not as user friendly as waxes and sealants and therefore usually only applied by professionals with training in the product and have a very long curing time which can take up to 5 days to fully harden and set. If the coating has to be removed it has to be aggressively machine polished off unlike a way or sealant which can easily be removed with a solvent, clay bar, paint cleaning product or even a heavy duty car wash shampoo. Some of the best manufactures are Nanolex for true nano coatings or Gyeon for Quartz coatings.

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The durability factor for a lot of products is hard to say as each vehicle is driven differently. If a vehicle is driven every day and parked in the sun all day long obviously the product will not last as long as on a vehicle driven only on weekends and parked inside of a garage so the durability is given in a worse case and best case scenario. Beware of certain companies claiming “lifetime warranties” or “lasts for 10+ years” as they simply do not exist, period. There is usually some fine print involved stating “must be reapplied every 6-12 months or warranty is void”. Everything eventually wears off due to a mixture of chemical, abrasive and UV breakdown. The day a coating gets invented that can last forever on a vehicle is the day every single high end multi-billion dollar vehicle manufacturer puts them on at a manufacturing level to protect the paint on their $500,000+ supercars…

Now one thing to point out is car care companies love to jump on bandwagons and will use the latest and greatest terminology to describe their product. What this means is just because a product has the word “Nano” or “Ceramic” in it, does not necessarily mean it is a coating and most times will simply be a sealant. Coatings are usually not seen in general retail stores and cost $50-$200 for very small bottles so if that product you picked up of the shelf costs $9.95 and says Nano on it, let’s just say that car care manufacturer might not be telling the complete truth. Unfortunately the car care industry is quite unregulated so manufacturers can get away with putting wild exaggerations on packaging.

What exactly is “Paint Correction”?

PAINT CORRECTION

So what exactly is paint correction and how does it differ to the old “cut and polish”. Paint correction is the process of permanently removing imperfections within the finish of a vehicle through the means of using multiple diminishing abrasives getting finer and finer until the level of finish desired is achieved. A variety of different machine types, pad types, compounds and polishes are chosen to best suit the vehicle’s degree of imperfections. The process can be compared to the same process a jeweler would go through polishing a precious stone from something rough to a flawless stone. Defects in the paintwork such as oxidation, holograms, swirl marks, water etching, marring and light scratches can be carefully removed, often restoring paintwork to better than showroom condition.

Depending on the paint type, a correct single step machine polish can remove 50-75% of these marks and restore depth and gloss to your paint work once the paint is properly decontaminated. This other 25-50% requires multiple stage machine polishing and is the most time consuming part of the paint correction process. However for a customer demanding perfection, it makes it worth it in the end.  This process can be a complete transformation of your vehicle’s paintwork and requires a lot of time, patience and expertise. Paint depth, paint hardness and temperature put into the paintwork through the machine polishing process all have to be considered carefully to ensure no damage is done. Paint correction is rarely offered in the general detailing world and is what separates the level of expertise of a detailer.

In most situations, paint correction is a much better option then respraying a complete vehicle. The overall finish can look glossier and deeper; this is mainly due to panel and paint shops leaving a lot of buffer trails/holograms in the paint and then quickly masking them up with a cheap glaze which will wash off after a couple of weeks. The paintwork is kept original and usually OEM paint is sprayed much better then aftermarket paintwork due to the paint types used and strict quality control. Paint shops will often leave runs in paintwork or rough tape lines edges which easily show a poor quality respray. Most importantly paint correction is a much more cost effective option then a $5000 respray so should always be the first option to look into.

The diagram illustrates some of the different defects that are commonly found in the finish on most vehicles and shows the depth that some of these can be. During paint correction we usually only remove 1-3 microns of paint which is usually only around 1-5% of the paintwork on the vehicle depending on the amount of paint to begin with.

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The below image shows what swirlmarks look like under a microscope magnified 800 times.

Microscopic image of swirls

before and after

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