Paint Care | Maintenance

Paint Care | Maintenance

You finally have your paint looking how you want it to - it's clean, scratch-free, protected, or just brand new. But what now? It will certainly not look this good in a year or two, right? Wrong. It is certainly possible to keep your paint looking as clean as you desire for as long as you want.

Most scratches tend to occur in the wash & drying process, and so taking proper care here can have a massive impact on the look of your car. While the wash itself varies person to person based on products used/time available, there are two main factors which are important to keep in mind: dirt/grime is sufficiently removed from the paint before any rags/towels/wash mitts/sponges contact the paint, and lubrication is always present.

Rinsing the car very thoroughly should be enough to disperse enough dirt to allow the soap/chemical step to begin. The higher the flow-rate of the power washer being used (not necessarily more pressure) the quicker this process should be. When it comes to drying, the paint should never be on the verge of drying out. If it is, then the safest step would be to use a drying aid such as an instant detailer spray, spray wax, or sealant to add lubrication (ideally, a lubricant such as these should be used anyway to ensure there is no dry contact between towel and paint) or simply wash & dry single panels at a time.

These steps above apply to wheels too! Care for your cars new shoes will keep them looking mint as long as you desire. While more tricky because of baked-in brake dust over time (especially in the wheel barrels), regular washing will ensure nothing becomes permanent. Finishing them off with a clean towel and application of the same wax/sealant/instant detailer will both keep them cleaner longer, add gloss, and ensure they receive minimal scratching in the drying process. 

The biggest commitment here is time. Running your vehicle through touch and touch-less car washes certainly provides a massive time benefit, but both will have your car looking dull very quickly. Touch washes will (obviously) pass the same brushes over your car which have gone over every other car that day, rubbing along any dirt and rocks it picks up (great if you like textured paint!). Touch-less, as safe as it sounds, needs to make up for this lack of contact by using very strong chemicals which are known to stain rubber, plastic, and chrome trims. Simply put, nothing will be safer for your car than a care-driven hand wash.

 

2018 Audi RS3 (x2!) | Opti-Coat Pro+ & XPEL Ultimate

2018 Audi RS3 (x2!) | Opti-Coat Pro+ & XPEL Ultimate

We have had the luxury to receive two brand new Audi RS3's - both part of the first handful delivered to Canadians, and both in for the protection dream team! 

Both cars received an initial new car preparation (stickers and tape safely removed with steam to ensure no scratching, and interior cleaned/conditioned), followed by a decontamination wash to remove any dealer applied waxes. 

After preparation, both cars have their paintwork further prepped with a single stage polish. The light polish done at this step is standard practice before the application of Opti-Coat (and thus included with the coating), and also ensures any film applied to the paint bonds perfectly without obstruction from wax residue, or leftover dirt/grime/tar.

All the film work follows the polish now that the surface is spotless, including tint installation to make the windows evenly colored. Both cars receive XPEL XR Prime ceramic tint, to provide interior protection from leather-damaging UV rays while keeping the interior cooler in the sun, and XPEL Ultimate paint protection film for a nearly film-less appearing finish. 

The final touch on both cars is the application of Opti-Coat Pro+ on the entire exterior (including film!) to further the protection and ensure a glass like finish for years. Opti-Coat, compared to other ceramic coatings, bonds exceptionally with the paint protection film on a molecular level rather than acting as a layer on top of the film, which would wear away and give the film a 'cracked' appearance. This allows the film to receive the full protection of Opti-Coat as paint, rubber, vinyl, plastics, and fabric normally would. 

Optimum No Rinse

Optimum No Rinse

In a market flooded with vehicle washing solutions and soaps, it is never an easy decision when it comes to setting your loyalty. While some choose the path of more traditional methods like "Wash n Wax" from the local box store, others simply use dish soap.. *CRINGE* there are an endless range of products to choose from.

Our choice for washing solution comes (unsurprisingly) from Optimum Polymer Technologies. We choose their 'No-Rinse' (We've been using for over 4 years exclusively now) over other soaps for three main reasons: safety, ease of use, and quality of finish.

As the name suggests, this product is not to be rinsed off the car once applied - simply follow up by drying. This works safely because this solution is a polymer rather than a soap. It works by encapsulating dirt within itself and pulls it away from the paint, unlike most soaps which break down dirt and leave it be (thus requiring a rinse). The major benefit here over soap is the safety it adds during the drying stage. The No Rinse Solution (ONR) leaves behind polymers' that act as a lubricant, which helps avoid wash induced scratches while drying (80% of wash marring occurs during drying, NOT while washing as many think). ONR works by encapsulating debris within its polymers, and suspending it off the vehicle. The majority of the debris is pulled into the wash media and released into the wash bucket, the rest can safely be absorbed into your plush drying towel.

While this may not feel safe (and certainly took us time to adapt to - we found ourselves double checking paint after a wash), it has proven again and again to be one of the safest methods of washing a vehicle. The issue ONR solves vs soap is lubrication during the drying process (once your rinse the soap away, there's nothing to lubricate the drying towel which may cause scratches).

              No-Rinse applied by sponge

Cars caked with dirt should still be, as with any soap, thoroughly rinsed rather than scrubbing spots, which could lead to scratches being left behind.

Another advantage of No-Rinse is its flexibility of use. We have baffled and shocked many enthusiasts when they see us using the same polymer solution we just used to wash their vehicle, and proceed to clean their windows, door jambs, and interior panels. ONR doesn't harm or streak interior surfaces (in fact ONR has some anti-static properties), ONR is great for removing light dust from panels, and leaving windows perfectly clear.

The only real downside we have come across for this product is its availability - it cannot be found nearly as commonly as others. Typically found only in boutique detailing stores, and on the shelves of Opti-Coat Pro certified detailers (we carry this in our store for instance).

 

Calipers & Wheels | Opti-Coat Pro

Calipers & Wheels | Opti-Coat Pro

As important as it is for many people to maintain the bodywork of their cars, many people also take pride in their wheels and brakes looking the part. Unfortunately, wheels are always doomed to face abuse and, in many cases, baked on brake dust which won't come out without the use of strong chemicals (unpleasant for both the owner and/or detailer).

Luckily, we have Opti-Coat Pro to save the day again! Upon the wheels being prepped correctly (thoroughly cleaned faces and barrels, clayed if necessary, and dried without use of drying aids or waxes), a ceramic coating can be applied as normal.

While ceramic coatings in general will work very well to keep dust, dirt, and chemicals from staining, Opti-Coat Pro has a couple special advantages. Firstly, as with bodywork as well, only a single application is needed for (at the very least) 5+ years. No layers, and no coming back yearly to have your wheels removed and "topped-up". Secondly, Opti-Coat Pro has the highest heat resistance on the market at 4950 degrees Fahrenheit - your brakes would literally melt before the Opti-Coat is non-functional (for perspective, Formula 1 brakes are known to operate up to the low 3000's degrees Fahrenheit). 

A key thing to keep in mind, is that a ceramic coating is not a save-all and your car would never need maintenance again. Proper washes are still required, it is simply the case that your job will both get immensely easier and produce incredible results, without risk of chemical damages.

 

 

The Era of Protection (Paint Protection Films)

The Era of Protection (Paint Protection Films)

Paint protection films have come a longer way than many realize. No longer are protected cars doomed to an obstructive and yellowing film for the sake of avoiding chips and scratches. With proper application techniques, newer films allow the possibility of perfect (and sustainable) clarity for the lifespan of the film.

Fender: XPEL Ultimate Stealth Film
Hood: unprotected BMW Frozen Blue

An example of the consequences of improper application would be protected areas having a 'hazy' look to them - the result of over stretching the film to make it fit appropriately on the panel. This is avoided entirely with the use of XPEL's software to create and adjust the fittings of films; usage of their program allows extremely fine tuning to allow extra film for wrapping edges, machine created relief cuts to hug corners better, and custom coverage to meet the customers desires exactly.

For those who want the most, paint protection films are on the list of surfaces which can be ceramic coated. Of course, this is limited by the choice of ceramic coating (and enforces our choice to exclusively offer Opti-Coat Pro). While most ceramic coatings act as a layer on top of the surface, Opti-Coat bonds on a molecular level with the surface itself. This adds the benefit of chemical protection to your film choice, without losing the 'self-healing' capabilities of the film (other ceramic coatings which bond as layers on top of the film, do not move with the film, causing micro-fractures in the coating, and the film would appear damaged).

These benefits tied in with the ongoing development of the quality of film itself provides a chance for very high expectations for those who wish to not only protect their cars, but preserve a desired look for many years on any kind of paint finish.

 

 

2012 BWM M3 | Exterior Refresh!

2012 BWM M3 | Exterior Refresh!

Talk about an upgrade - the owner of this Le Mans Blue E92 M3 comes to us after having his previous BMW 335i polished and coated with Optimum Gloss-Coat. After being driven proudly and bearing the markings of a 5 year old car, this M3 has a bit of work to go before it can hit the streets with its new owner.

After going through our thorough Opti-Coat Pro preparation, the car is raised on a lift to ensure we have full access to all the lower portions of the bumpers, side skirts, and wheel wells. One of the most obvious defects of this car is the chewed up wheels, which were removed to be refinished.

With the paint prepared for a polish, we can jump right in and begin testing different combinations of polishes and pads to see what agrees most with the paint of this car, while staying within the agreed upon limits.

A strong advantage to having a lift is obvious right away - we are able to efficiently correct the lower half of the side skirts at eye level with a 3 inch polisher. This achieves a very even finish on every painted surface of the car. Another advantage to working at this height, we quickly polish the entirety of the exhaust tips to ensure they look brand new from (literally) any angle!

Once we reach the desired level of clarity throughout the car, the paint is given a final cleanse with Optimum Paint-Prep, a mild alcohol based cleanser, to ensure there is no polish or compound leftover on the paint prior to the application of Opti-Coat Pro (this step is non abrasive, unlike the use of Optimum Primer Polish which is ever so slightly).

With the car polished and looking 5 years younger, protected with Opti-Coat Pro, and lastly wheels refinished back to their original look, this car is all ready to turn some heads on the streets!

2017 Ford Raptor | New Car Prep + Opti-Coat Pro

2017 Ford Raptor | New Car Prep + Opti-Coat Pro

This brand new Ford Raptor came in for Opti-Coat Pro alongside the windshield protection equivalent, Opti-Glass Pro. A must for monsters of this size, this truck will be much easier to maintain in the many coming years.

Our work starts with a deep cleansing of the vehicle to ensure a clean canvas. Beginning with the wheels and wheel-wells, they are pre-rinsed and treated with a mild (non-acidic) soap. The key here is not so much of the soap used, but rather proper agitation. We use a medium width soft brush to ensure every corner of the wheel is reached properly, in combination with a long fluffy bristled brush to reach inside the barrels.

Preparation of the paint work requires a little more attention. We initially wash the truck as normal (pre-rinse to discard heavy debris buildup, sponge application of diluted Optimum No-Rinse), and leave the paint wet. At this point, there is still baked in debris under a layer of wax applied by the dealership which both need to be removed. This is done efficiently with the sprayed-on application of Ferrex, meant to chemically dissolve waxes and particles on top of the paint without any damage and staining to clear-coat, trim, and plastics. We work the Ferrex into the paint with use of a claybar on all painted surfaces as well as glass (as glass is porous, it will still hold onto contaminants and require proper cleaning).

After a very thorough rinse to ensure there is no more Ferrex, wax, or contaminants remaining on the paint, as well as any overspray on the wheels and tires, we give a quick spray of water-based tire shine and plastic dressing to the wheel wells and begin the drying process. The most important part of drying is to not use any drying aids (spray waxes, sealants, etc.) to ensure the paint is as "pure" as possible prior to a ceramic coating.

And we are almost ready! Although this vehicle is only sitting on a handful of kilometers, it was still (unfortunately) slightly swirled and hazy on one of the most commonly swirled places - the side pillars. Scratches such as this are often hid under waxes and coatings applied by dealerships which leads to a pain that keen observers will notice right away after a proper wash on their new car. After some very light polishing, this Raptor is brought up to a point which is much more comfortable to coat.

Our final step before the application process begins is to machine apply and subsequently remove a primer polish meant as the final cleansing layer of all the surfaces which are to be coated. This will very lightly abrade the clearcoat surface to remove light scratches and ensure the ceramic coating bonds cleanly. This step includes the same treatment on the windshield, which would receive its own ceramic coating.

After the coating is applied, what is left is a truly better than new truck, with years of protection to ensure it always looks as beastly as the day it left our shop!