- I’m not a pro, nor even a ‘complete’ detailer; I just enjoy polishing paint and applying coatings to see how they do. Interiors make me cringe and I can barely clean interior glass without having a streak-induced mental breakdown. Know your limitations and all that.
- For the most part, all of this nonsense came outta my own pocket and 90% of the vehicles resulted in no financial compensation; 1 or 2 paid for materials but that’s about it.
- Aside from 2 or 3 products that were free from different vendors (“Hey, can ya try this out and tell us what you think”) the product cost, much to the dismay of my wife who would occasionally see a credit card statement, came directly outta my pocket. Ouch.
1. Paint Coatings
2. Glass Coatings
3. Wheel Coatings
4. Personal Cars
5. Other things…
7. Cut to the chase, after all these choices, what did I eventually settle on as ‘My Best’, emphasis on MY
What I want out of a coating:
All my screwing around with coatings/corrections/detailing and such began as a journey to find the best for my personal cars. All costs incurred are, well, incurred by me personally with no real compensation. Fortunately I have a fleet of service vehicles at work to prep/correct/coat which I then get to watch each day to see how they hold up which I find very entertaining. If you search the Autopia forum for user BudgetPlan1, that’s me. I tend to use things and then write somewhat wordy reviews of them as when I was just getting into this stuff, that’s the kinda thing I was looking for. People commenting on a product with a “it’s great” with no substantiation were of little value to me so I try to get all the info I can out there so folks can make their own decisions.
I live in NE Ohio so all my findings/thoughts are based on that climate. The characteristics of a coating that matter most to me are:
- Great Self Cleaning Abilities: Our cars see rain and often get rained on in the morning and then sit outside in the sun in the afternoon; don’t like waterspots. I like clean cars but don’t like cleaning cars.
- Durability and resistance to environmental contamination like water spots and bird bombs. Don’t wanna have to worry about running home and immediately dealing with removing things that would otherwise etch bare paint. Like hard water spots did to our Corvette during the Zaino years. Also has to last cuz I don’t wanna be hauling out compounds and polishes every Spring, given reasonable maintenance.
- Appearance: Well, stuff has to look good. Has to accentuate body lines, curves and hard edges. It needs to make me stop and admire it when walking towards it, walking away from it or catching a glance in the garage when I take out the garbage.
What I think about the oft-mentioned ‘hardness’ that many focus on when looking for a coating:
Claims of hardness, scratch resistance and such are, IMO, way over-marketed with coatings. While they may provide some minor resistance to light marring, it’s a harsh world out there and many things (jewelry banging paint around door handles, boxes hitting trunk areas while loading, leaning on hood of vehicle with grimy sweatshirts, etc) *will* leave a mark. Problem with coatings is the only way to remedy those marks/marring is to re-polish (removing coating) and re-coating that area, generally an entire panel as many coatings don’t lend themselves well to spot fixes. If you’re horribly OCD-ish about having a totally defect free car for 2 years, a coating may not be the best way to go…or a ‘lighter’ coating like Gyeon CanCoat may be more appropriate.
Additionally, while trying to wrap my my around it I kinda came up with the following to help understand it in my SiO2 addled mind:
It’s all nonsense marketing. My 2h fingernail will leave a mark on a 10h coating.
The ‘h’ hardness can be measured in 2 different ways, leading to confusion and exaggeration.
The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a scale characterizing scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of harder material to scratch softer material.
The Pencil Hardness test employs various graphite pencils of varying hardness to determine the h-hardness measurements. Since even the hardest pencil is still made of graphite (Mohs hardness of 1-2) it seems possible (to me anyway) that even a 9h coating (as measured by the pencil test) is really, comparably, at most a 2h hardness and thus quite easily scratched.
For the purposes of coating hardness, perhaps considering the pencil test a subset of the Mohs test which, although kinda a generalization may be useful for comparative purposes. The pencil test, based upon graphite testing pencils, then translates into a subset of the Mohs
MOHS Scale with Pencil Test Subset (and yeah, I just kinda made this up based upon info I could find)
Pencil Test Subset applicable to coatings using graphite pencils
- 3h Average Automotive Paint
- 4h Average Automotive Paint
6 Orthoclase feldspar
So, given that coatings are measured using the pencil test (graphite) there is no way for a coating to be any harder than 2h measured on the Mohs scale while a fingernail is 2-2.5h on Mohs
- Fingernail – 2-2.5h (Mohs)
- Clearcoat – 3-4h (Mohs equivalent 1.5h)
- A 9h coating – 9h (Mohs Equivalent 1.5h)
While a coating is indeed slightly harder than the generally accepted toughness of clearcoat, the actual difference is likely very, very, VERY small and my fingernail will still goon up a vaunted 10h coating.
So, while a mfg can claim that their 9h coating is ‘more than twice as hard’ as your clearcoat, it’s really not saying much.
Of course there are more than a few other variables that enter into the equation of scratch resistance (substrate hardness, for one) but, for me, the benefits of coating are the resistance to environmental and the self-cleaning characteristics. I stopped caring about scratch resistance long, long ago.
What I think about longevity/durability claims:
You’ll never know for sure how durability will really turn out until you actually try it in your climate and your situation. Some things can be estimated by finding others experiences in similar conditions and usage but that’s still just an educated guess.
We have 3 cars with considerably different usage patterns; all protected with same set of products (Kamikaze)
- Car 1 will likely get to 3 years (if not longer) before needing to be completely redone.
- Car 2 will likely never need to be redone.
- Car 3 will get to 2 years at the most before needing to be redone.
- Car 1 is about 5500 miles a year, no freeway, sits outside from April thru November but only really driven daily November thru April, short trips, no freeway.
- Car 2 is daily driver in nice weather, April thru November, usually no-rain days only, always garaged, 5500 miles a year, rarely freeway.
- Car 3 is year round daily driver, generally always garaged, 25k miles a year, 95% freeway.
All are in NE Ohio.
Same protection, varying usage far different likely outcomes. Freeway use, especially during winter, is very, very hard on a vehicles finish.
Having seen a lot of faded cars last time I was in Arizona, I’m guessing they have a whole different kind of nightmare to deal with, entire different set of circumstances to cope with. Florida apparently has acid-filled Love Bugs that can etch paint if left for too long…another nightmare entirely.
Point being, no claims listed on a box can even begin to adequately predict longevity. It’s the ultimate YMMV scenario.
- Some were on personal cars, most were on fleet vehicles or co-workers vehicles at work. All were decon’d/clayed/compounded/polished as necessary using a variety of machines, pads, compounds and polishes.
- A note about polishing/correction: I’ve been thru a boatload of polishes/compounds including Wolfgang, Menzerna, Jescar, 3D/HD, Meguiars, Sonax, Angelwax, CarPro, Kamikaze, Griots and probably a few others. Throw in likely every one of the more popular pads and it’s a lot of combos. Obviously, depending on the paint, some work a bit better than others but at the end of the day probably 85% of what I do can be done with Sonax Perfect Finish and a yellow Rupes pad. I’ve accumulated a Flex 3401, Rupes LHR15 Mk2 (stock plate as well as Kamikaze Beast), Rupes LHR75 Mini, Griots Garage 6” DA and a Griots Garage BOSS G21.
- Always looking for the next greatest thing, the miracle product/machine combo, has been a long and costly experience. I’ve read the forums, read the books, watched endless hours of YouTube videos but the single most beneficial tool/product I’ve used has been one-on-one instruction from folks who do this all day, every day. After spending a day with the folks at Esoteric in their inaugural Enthusiast Detailing Class (Description of that experience here: One-On-One Instruction). While the correct products and pads certainly make a difference, the real difference maker is your ability to use them efficiently. I highly suggest it or any other personal instruction you can get. It’ll save you time, money and frustration and get you better results. A nice vid that gives an overview can be found here: 5 Paint Correction Tips GUARANTEED to Produce Results
- Fleet vehicles were completed and then released into the wild, none have been hand-washed since coating application except at end of season; occasional trips through the local touchless soap/rinse-only tunnel wash are about as good as it gets. Most sit outside nearly all the time, likely average 15-20K miles a year. They ranged from 2016-current Ford Transit Extended Vans (man, those things SUCKED to correct), Ford E250 panel vans from 2008 thru 2014 and Ford Ranger pickup trucks; all either bright red (Ford Race Red) or a burgundy metallic color.
- Have done many co-workers cars, mostly because I can see them nearly every day and see how they are holding up. Some are maintained regularly, some are maintained occasionally and some likely get no maintenance except for being rained on. I’ll occasionally provide folks with a bucket/Grit Guard/Platinum Pluffles and bottle of Gyeon Bathe to maintain if I think they’ll use it, a sometimes incorrect assumption. After noticing how well a co workers car, done with Gyeon One, was holding up I asked her if she washed it often. Pleased to hear it was washed at least weekly, the joy was short-lived when she mentioned how well Joy and/or Dawn dishwashing soap worked as car wash shampoo. Oh well. Have to say, car always looks pretty good though and water sheets off it quite nicely even 6 months later.
- Our personal cars are a 2016 Honda Civic Coupe in Aegean Blue Metallic, a 2016 Subaru WRX in Crystal Black Silica Metallic (sold 1 month after doing the whole Kamikaze combo on it…oops!), a 2017 Honda Accord V6 Coupe in black, and a 2004 Corvette in, well…black, non metallic (since sold, replaced with 2019 black Corvette, details here: 2019 Corvette) and a 2016 Porsche Cayman S. They get washed when dirty using Gyeon Foam at 1:10 dilution w/ SunJoe SPX3001 pressure washer, MTM PF22 Foam Cannon, Gyeon Bathe, 1-bucket wash (gasp!), flood rinsed and then dried with platinum pluffle towels, Griots PFM’s or Gyeon Silk Dryers, using Kamikaze Overcoat as a drying aid about once a month or Polish Angel Cosmic Spritz after drying, usually applied with a Rag Company Eagle Edgeless 350gsm. For whatever reason, I seem to like shorter nap towels. Really don’t venture much outside of Gyeon products for maintenance as they work well and the 4L containers fit nicely on the shelves I keep them on. It’s the little things that make a difference.
- Recently moved to drying with the BigBoi BlowR Pro ( BigBoi Blowers ) which now makes drying so much easier, safer and more effective. If you have been pondering air-drying, this is a killer unit, most notably the hose which is both rugged and kink-free. Although I’ve never used a Metro-Vac, I’ve held one and the BigBoi hose alone made me choose it over the Metro-Vac or other models. Ease of use and all…
For the most part, I’ve used the foam block (Gyeon, CarPro, Kamikaze) and microsuede cloths to apply; Either the included cloths with coating or snatching up a large CarPro microsuede towels and cutting them to size as it’s cheaper. After discovering the AutoFiber ‘Coating Saver’ applicators I generally use those most of the time now.
I seem to like lower nap for initial coating removal, followed by a slightly plusher towel for final buff. Eagle Edgeless 300 towels and find them to be my new favorite go-to towels for initial removal/leveling of coatings followed by a final wipe with a higher GSM towel like an Eagle Edgeless 350gsm. The Eagle 300’s are cheap enough that no reason to try and wash, just toss ’em when done.
- Kamikaze Miyabi + Kamikaze Overcoat
- Kamikaze ISM + Kamikaze Overcoat
- Kamikaze Miyabi + Kamikaze ISM + Kamikaze Overcoat
- Kamikaze Miyabi + Kamikaze ISM + Kamikaze Infinity Wax + Kamikaze Overcoat
- Kamikaze Miyabi + Kamikaze ISM + Kamikaze Infinity Wax + Polish Angel Cosmic Spritz
- Kamikaze Miyabi + Zipang + Overcoat
- 22ple HPC + 22ple Vs1 Final Coat
- 22ple HPC + 22ple Finitura + 22ple Vs1 Final Coat
- 22ple VXPRO2 + Finitura+VS1
- Cquartz Classic/110 & Gyeon Cure
- Cquartz Classic/110 & Gyeon CanCoat
- McKees 37 Paint Coating V1
- McKees 37 Paint Coating V2
- Gyeon Prime + Gyeon Cure
- Gyeon Prime + Gyeon CanCoat
- Gyeon Mohs
- Gyeon Mohs + Gyeon Booster
- Gyeon Mohs + Gyeon Cancoat
- Gyeon Can Coat
- Gyeon Syncro
- Gyeon One + Gyeon CanCoat
- Pearl Nano
- IGL Quartz (test panel sample only) + IGL Premier
- Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light + C2V3
- Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light + Gyeon CanCoat
- Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light x 1, EXOV4 x 2
- The Gloss Shop Ceramic Coating V1
- The Gloss Shop Ceramic Coating V2
- Feynlab Ceramic
- Feynlab Ceramic + Topcoat
- Nanolex Si3d + Nanolex SiFinish
- Wolfgang Uber Ceramic
- Wolfgang Uber Ceramic + Gyeon Cure
- Wolfgang Uber Ceramic + Kamikaze Overcoat
- Wolfgang Uber Ceramic + TAC Systems Moonlight
- CarPro Cquartz UK 3.0 + Gliss V2
- Kamikaze Zipang + Kamikaze Miyabi + Kamikaze Zipang + Kamikaze Overcoat
- SPS Graphene
Boosters/Maint Products/Topcoats (ranked in order of preference for *MY* needs:
- Kamikaze Overcoat
- Polish Angel Cosmic Spritz
- 22ple VS1 Final Coat
- IGL Premier
- Feynlab Ceramic Spray Sealant
- Polish Angel High Gloss
- TAC Systems Moonlight/Gyeon CanCoat
- Gyeon Cure
- CarPro Reload
- HydroSilex Recharge
- Nanolex SiFinish
- Gtechniq Liquid Crystal C2V3
- Mothers CMX
- P & S Beadmaker (not really appropriate for coatings but what the heck)
- 22ple Finitura
Gyeon Booster *
*Gyeon Booster isn’t so much a topper or even a topcoat (like CarPro Gliss). It actually is kinda a catalyst that changes the properties of the base coating it’s applied over. As a result of this, it will need to be applied relatively soon after the base coating is applied (before it completely cures). The below is how Jeff McEachran, Gyeon U.S. National Brand Manager, describes it:
“Q2 Booster, like Q2 Bead in DuraBead, is a Fluorine based top coat designed to increase surface tension and throw the water beading characteristics through the roof. The Fluorine base of Q2 Booster is performing a chemical reaction with the Q2 Mohs underneath, and is not a true additional layer. Q2 Booster also needs to be applied before Q2 Mohs has cured, so it is best to apply them as a system and in sequence. Q2 Booster will not do much good say 6 months down the road. It can also be applied over any high quality coating.”
A little bit about toppers/boosters, all theoretical with no solid foundation in anything other than ‘what I think…’
Why use a booster/topper like those above? Dunno, but perhaps…
1. The elements that provide the durability and chemical/environmental protection of a base coating do not provide/are not compatible with the more entertaining aspects folks associate with a ‘good’ LSP.
Things like slickness, exciting water behavior, beading, added gloss. In other words, the base coating provides the functional aspects, the booster the aesthetic aspects. Gyeon Mohs, Gtechniq CSL for example are some pretty tough customers but the visible water behavior is visually not that entertaining, hence the Skin topcoat in the Mohs-based Syncro kit and the ‘preferred’ CSL +EXOV4 application combo.
On their own, Mohs and CSL are more hydrophillic as opposed to hydrophobic and that’s just not as visually entertaining as when topped with a more hydrophobic top layer. While Skin and EXO are ‘kinda coatings’ like CarPro Gliss, Feynlab Topcoat and TAC Topcoat, the concept of topping a coating via dedicated ‘topcoat’ or booster is, to me, kinda the same. The base coating, for whatever reason, can’t encompass all characteristics people recognize as ‘quality’ behavior of an LSP.
2. Sacrificial layer or protecting the protection. Better to contaminate a top layer than the more expensive base coating.
3. Revenue generation. More products needed to maintain the base coating benefits, real or perceived. “You spent all this money on getting it coated, what’s a little bit more?” Kinda akin to changing oil every 3500 miles instead of following mfg recommendations of up to 10k intervals. Better safe than sorry?
4. Just following directions. Most mfgs reccomend some kinda maintenance topper, necessity of it being irrelevant. Again, better safe than sorry?
There’s plenty of well-respected coating aficionados who coat and let it ride…with excellent results so topping is definitely not necessary in all cases. May as well throw ‘personal preference’ on the list as well.
Look at Glassparency, the latest trend in glass coatings. If I’m not mistaken (and I certainly could be) they require maintenance/refresh every 3 months to stay viable…planned topping?
I dunno, really…interesting topic but at the end of the day, gotta do what works best *for you*. If that involves toppers/boosters then so be it. If not, no harm, no foul. Variety is the spice of life.
- Van 1: Kamikaze Miyabi x 2, ISM x 1, Infinity Wax x 1, Overcoat applied 02/08/2018.
- Van 3: Feynlab Ceramic + TopCoat applied 02/02/2018
- Van 9: Cquartz & Gyeon Cure applied 01/2017; wash, decon, CanCoat + IGL Premier refresh 10/2017. Clean up, go over w/ Gyeon CanCoat + SPS Graphene Detailer (passenger side)
- Van 10: Gloss Shop Ceramic V1 applied 03/2017
- Van 11: 22ple HPC + VS1 Final Coat applied March 2017; refresh 01/2017 w/ 22ple glass coat clay, 22ple Finitura & 22ple VS1 Final Coat
- Van 12: Gyeon One + Gyeon Cure applied to hood 02/12/2018; Gyeon One removed and Nanolex Si3D + SiFinish applied 03/08/2018 to body, McKees V2 to roof.
- Van 13: Gyeon Syncro applied 01/26/2018
- Van 14: The Gloss Shop Ceramic Coating V2, applied 03/14/2018
- Van 15: Gtechniq CSL + C2v3 applied 02/2017; wash, decon, CanCoat + Kamikaze Overcoat refresh 10/2017.
- Van 17: Gyeon Prime + CanCoat + IGL Premier applied 11/2017; hood buffed clean, HydroSilex Recharge, Kamikaze OVercoat & 22ple VS1 Final Coat applied in 1/3 sections, 02/03/2018
- Van 18 Hood: IGL Quartz + Premier (passenger side) and 22ple HPC + Finitura + VS1 Final Coat (driver side) applied 12/2017
- Ranger 6: Gyeon Mohs + Cure applied 02/2017; wash, decon Gyeon CanCoat refresh 10/2017.
- Ranger 7: Gloss Shop Ceramic Coating V2 applied 10/2017.
- Ranger 9: Pearl Nano applied 03/2017.
- Black Honda CR-V: 22ple HPC + VS1 applied April 2017.
- White 2017 Ford F150: Gyeon Mohs + Gyeon Booster applied 11/2017.
- Crystal Red 2017 Ford Explorer: 22ple HPC + Finitura applied 11/2017.
- Silver Ice 2015 Chevrolet Cruze, McKees Paint Coating V1, applied July 2016
- Soul Red 2015 Mazda CX-3, McKees Paint Coating V1, applied August 2016
- 2014 Tuxedo Black Metallic Ford Focus: Gyeon Prime + Cure applied April 2017; CanCoat refresh 11/2017.
- Black 2007 Ford Focus: Kamikaze Miyabi + ISM + Overcoat applied 10/2017.
- Mint Green Toyota Camry: Gyeon Prime + Cure applied April 2017.
- Aegean Blue 2016 Honda Civic: Kamikaze Miyabi + ISM + Infinity Wax + Overcoat applied 10/2016.
- Black 2017 Honda Accord: Kamikaze Miyabi + ISM + Infinity Wax + Overcoat applied 9/2017
- Black 2014 Corvette: Kamikaze Miyabi + ISM + Infinity Wax + Overcoat applied 08/2017
- Lunar Silver 2018 Honda HR-V; Gyeon Primer + Gyeon One + Gyeon CanCoat, applied 02/09/2018
- Crystal Black Pearl 2016 Acura MDX: Kamikaze Miyabi x 1, ISM x 1, Overcoat, applied 06/23/2018
- Race Red 2019 Ford F250 Super Duty – Cquartz UK 3.0 x 2, Gliss V2 x 1, applied 01/08/2019
- Van 8: Race Red 2018 Ford Transit E150 – 22ple VXPRO2 +Finitura+ VS1, Feb 2019
- Connect3: Race Red 2019 Ford Transit Connect – Kamikaze Miyabi + Zipang + Overcoat, Feb 2019
- Van 7: Race Red 2018 Ford Transit E150 – Gtechniq CSL x 1 + EXOV4 x 2, February 2019
- 2016 Aegean Blue Metallic Honda Civic – Kamikaze Zipang + Kamikaze Miyabi + Kamikaze Zipang + Kamikaze Infinity Wax, June 23, 2019
- 2017 Crystal Black Pearl Honda Accord – SPS Graphene, May 18, 2019
- 2016 Agate Grey Metallic Porsche Cayman – Kamikaze Zipang + Kamikaze Miyabi + Kamikaze Zipang + Kamikaze Infinity Wax + Kamikaze Overcoat, September 8, 2019
Thoughts/observations on the individual coatings:
Applied in January 2017 to a 2016 Ford Transit Extended Van. It’s a solid product, especially given the generally low cost. Application is easy, the looks are good. Finished application is not especially slick, so I topped it with Gyeon Cure. It has remained nice looking, resisted permanent water spotting. A solid, middle of the pack product that likely won’t disappoint. Nothing extremely notable about it to me, however.
Wolfgang Uber Ceramic:
Applied in Spring 2016 to 2 of our personal cars, a 2016 black metallic WRX (daily driver all year long, garaged at night, likely 17K miles a year) and 2004 black Corvette (Spring/Summer/Fall usage, stored in winter, maybe 7500 miles a year, does see rain). Being stored thru the winter, the Corvette made it to Spring of 2017 in good shape with the WG Uber; the WRX, however, had completely failed on the vertical panels. Even decon and slight clay could not restore coating properties. IMO, this product, wheil looking good and easy to apply, is just not durable and given the relatively high cost, not among the best choices for me, all things considered.
McKees 37 Paint Coating V1
For the cost, this one surprised me. Used it on a friend’s car that gets occasional washing, daily driven, about 5000 miles year-round. Nice looks, easy maintenance when combined with another SiO2 add-on like or Gyeon Wetcoat or Cure. It’s still doing nicely after application in Summer 2016, generally maintained with Gyeon Wetcoat on occasion. On its own, maybe it wouldn’t last as long but I cant say for sure
McKees 37 Paint Coating V2
OK, pretty good for the cost, I guess. Actually, I liked V1 a bit better. V2 flashes quicker and is tackier on removal.
It’s nice, easy to use and has some good initial water behavior. Good glossy looks, I’d place it a bit below Cquartz. It just really didn’t do much for me.
This is a nice product, decent if not-so-entertaining water behavior. Has always looked clean despite never having been washed since application. Beading has fallen off a bit but it still looks clean, shiny and to a non-ocd person, would look freshly washed. Seems to resist marring better than some of the others. Have topped with CanCoat which adds more gloss, slickness and entertaining water behavior, something Mohs alone can lack. Topped with Gyeon Booster improves gloss slightly and more significantly, water behavior. The Flourine-based product is a bit $$ though on top of Mohs, especially now that Syncro is out. The Mohs + Booster combo is a consumer approximation of pro only Gyeon Durabead.
Had high hopes for this one. The Skin component adds to what the Mohs base layer lacked, i.e. slickness and water behavior. Very easy to apply, nice gloss. At 4 months and 8k miles in, with no maintenance whatsoever it’s still slick, stays reasonably clean. If you’re a fan of well-defined beads that move around a surface like little drops of mercury, this is the product for you. Slickest coating I have used to date as well. Skin is a silicone based topcoat and the Mohs + Skin is a consumer-ish version of pro-only Gyeon Duraflex. Unfortunately the wonderful characteristics of the Skin topcoat faded after about 6-7 months, not good. If Gyeon sold Skin seperately for occasional refreshing, this would be one of the most entertaining products out there.
The results were nice, but application was the stickiest once it hit the paint that I’ve ever used. Forgiving with respect to the amount of time you have to buff off missed high spots but very arduous removing/buffing. This was topped with CanCoat soon after application, it’s performing quite well. Maintenance on this car is weekly washes…using Dawn or Joy dish soap to wash. I can’t control what happens after the cars leave me. Holding up nicely regardless.
Water behavior, appearance and self-cleaning are on par with a ‘full fledged’ coating product and in the right situation, a product like this might even be a preferred solution for a vehicle/owner who is somewhat less OCD-ish or unwilling to invest the time and cost in a full correction/coating job for their vehicle. Maintained via wash with Gyeon Bathe+ on a somewhat regular basis, or post-wash with Gyeon WetCoat and I’ll bet the longevity exceeds the claimed 6 months. Add Gyeon Cure on occasion and it’ll likely stretch longer according to some accounts I’ve read.
I could also see this as being an economical and effective product to use for those who do not wish to spend the time and money prepping and applying more ‘complete’ coating solution. Prep and perhaps a light polish once a year, a CanCoat application or two over that year and you’re getting the protection, self-cleaning and appearance properties of a coating without the more significant investment of time and money a more ‘semi-permanent’ coating would involve, especially for the casual DIY’er. In fact, given the low cost of CanCoat, I can see it being a viable replacement for a sealant if you like or want the look, feel, protection and self-cleaning properties of a coating. It’s actually much easier to apply than most sealants (for me anyway) as well.
Base Coat/Top Coat system. I did a bright red Ford Ranger in this, never been washed since application in Feb/March 2017. Gotta kinda jump thru some hoops to get this stuff, did not excel in self-cleaning but was decent. Given the pricing (not outrageous, but in the 22ple HPC range for Base/Top 50ml), not something I’d be interesting in using again. It’s a nice product but not notable enough to continue with when easier, equal performing choices are available. Will say that their glass coating IS nice, worked better for me than Gyeon View or Kamikaze Intenso.
Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light
I really wanted to like this; I like the name, the packaging and the company and upon initial application (topped with Liquid Crystal C2V3) it darkened the bright red paint of the 2014 Ford E250 van I used it on. Nice, deep, rich gloss, easy application. Unfortunately, once released into the wild it was prone to water spotting (easily removed) and was probably the worst of all I tried in self-cleaning abilities. Oddly enough, about 3 months in it started keeping itself cleaner with no outside intervention except for Mother Nature and her rain. Have seen evidence that if topped with EXO, it’s a whole ‘nuther animal, with incredible hydrophobic properties which would significantly aid in self cleaning abilities. I topped this with Gyeon CanCoat after about 20k miles and it’s doing much, much better now. Kept the ‘richness’ of the underlying CSL and the CanCoat improved the self cleaning dramatically.
The Gloss Shop Ceramic Coating V1
I’d put it in the same class as Cquartz as far as performance goes. Longevity began to drop off as far as self-cleaning goes, but not to Gtechniq CSL levels. It’s good and I’ll bet if topped with an SiO2 booster, would amp up performance. The looks on a metallic burgundy paint in the sun was fantastic, really brought out the metallic.
The Gloss Shop Ceramic Coating V2
At the end of the day, I’m thinking that if The Gloss Shop Ceramic coating V2 has ‘legs’ and the durability, self cleaning and hydrophobic effects hold up over the long term, it’s a solid choice at a very competitive price. It has a ‘substantial’ feel to it during application and leaves a pleasing feel to the paint after application; the look is deep and pleasing without being retina-burning in terms of some coatings, hard-gloss look. Again, if it holds up and reaches near the durability claimed, they really have something special here at an unbelievable low cost. Given the suggestion of 1-coat only (a’ la Kamikaze ISM) a 50ml bottle would easily cover two somewhat large vehicles, including Trim, knocking it down to a cost of $25 per vehicle for a solid, good looking and (hopefully) well performing Ceramic Coating. Being an American-made, America- developed product that gives high performance at a low cost would certainly make it stand out and even stand above some more mainstream coatings.
This was a favorite and for a while, I thought it was gonna unseat the Kamikaze as my favorite. Incredible gloss, most of any I used, the hard, candy gloss appearance. Great self-cleaning abilities, even 12 months after application with no washing/topping or anything. Application is bizarrely easy, very forgiving. It flashes much like a wax or sealant when time to remove so less guesswork there. I applied at the end of March 2017 to a 2016 Ford Transit Extended van, bright red, and it immediately gave that cliché’d Molten Glass look to the paint.
The one downside with the HPC is that while they recommend multiple layers, they also recommend 24hrs curing between layers; that can be kinda inconvenient.
It was so nice that I used it on the 2017 black Honda Acccord Coupe I traded in the WRX on. Applied around July 4 to the Accord, it sure looked like a winner…until I pulled it in the garage next to the recently completed Corvette (Kamikaze Miyabi x2, ISM x1, Infinity Wax and Overcoat). The Accord with the 22ple HPC still looked glossy and nice, with a mirror finish that looked a foot deep. Unfortunately, the Corvette with the Kamikaze looked glossy and nice, with a mirror finish that looked a MILE deep. Goodbye 22ple, hello Kamikaze on the black Accord.
I gave this a shot on the Corvette in between removing 2016’s WG Uber and applying the Kamikaze. It was crazy forgiving in application, long window between apply/remove and left a sharp glossy finish that was quite nice. Unfortunately, the self-cleaning and water behavior was poor, leaving significant water spots after a rainstorm. Again, easily removed with wash but still…not in Kamikaze league in that respect.
Feynlab Ceramic + TopCoat
Very nice, look can best be described as ‘brilliant’ gloss. Doing ‘OK’ after about 6 months, 6k un-maintained miles. Very easy to apply, strong chemical odor. Kinda reminiscent of the old ‘Zaino look’ if you’re familiar with that. Average at unmaintained self-cleaning abilities.
Got a sample, have it sitting on the hood of a fleet vehicle next to 22ple HPC and so far, no differences can be noted. Nice to apply, though…a very ‘rich’ feeling during application. Nice gloss, good self-cleaning. Really irrelevant unless you’re an authorized installer as they don’t sell to public. Longer term, 22ple HPC outdid it easily.
Hadda get this one from the UK as the SiShield available in the US which I believe is a more consumer-ish version of Si3D. It’s nice, generally good self cleaning but nothing extremely notable.
Kamikaze Miyabi + Kamikaze Zipang
After waiting 9+ months since release, finally got a chance to give Zipang a try, albeit it on a new 2019 Race Red Ford Transit Connect. Not the most entertaining vehicle to work on but in the middle of a NE Ohio Winter, gotta take what you can get. End of the day, likely the best prepped and protected Fleet vehicle in NE Ohio…for whatever that’s worth.
Not a pro by any means, just a hobbyist who has developed a fascination with polishing paint and trying coatings so that’s the perspective I’m coming from. Have had Kamikaze on one of our personal cars since October 2016 (Miyabi + ISM + Overcoat, still doing quite well, albeit only 16k miles traveled in that time) and another done in Miyabi + ISM + Overcoat in July 2017; this one is still doing well but it’s a NE Ohio daily driver, about 36k miles since application so its had a much harder life. Regardless, couldn’t expect much more out of a coating given the use and abuse this vehicle receives….and it’s black to boot.
With the success I’ve had with the Kamikaze line, I was very eager to try their flagship product, Zipang. I’ve run through a boxload of coatings , probably 20-25 of ‘em since October 2016, looking for something that worked better for me than Kamikaze and I shoulda just quit when I was ahead; the Kamikaze stuff just plain works. The allure of Zipang was just too much to resist any longer, hence the use of the boring, functional Transit van…yet a vehicle that will also give me daily access and ‘observability’ in arguably the worst conditions (Fleet Use) a vehicle can be subject to. Well, aside from my daily driver that is…15 to 18k miles a year on 4 of the worst freeways in NE Ohio can take a toll…I’m hoping Zipang can help with that a bit more. I like clean cars…I like clean, black cars…I don’t like cleaning black cars and so far the Miyabi + ISM combo has been excellent in meeting that goal, best I’ve used but always looking for more.
This current ‘rolling test panel’ Transit Van was fully done with Miyabi as a base and Zipang on top, finished with Overcoat. Given the excessive amount of paint/panels that needed to be covered I actually succumbed to practicality in this case and went with just the Miyabi + Zipang as opposed to the ‘all in’ ultimate combo of Zipang + Miyabi + Zipang. I did have some leftovers despite likely applying Zipang a bit heavy so I pulled out another vehicle, prepped and corrected the hood and applied Zipang + Miyabi + Zipang on it. Unfortunately the driver of that van blew his transmission outta the bottom of the truck 4 days after application so the truck likely sat outside the dealer. It’s quite probable that compromised the entire thing as it was a cold, cold weekend and beginning of the next week. When we get the truck back I’ll try some stuff with it but guessing the events that transpired have gooned up the ability to do any reasonably effective testing on that.
So what do I expect out of Zipang given the products description and what have I seen so far (applied about a month ago)?
* “With Zipang Coat, the chemistry provides even higher levels of gloss and brilliance than their ISM / ISM Pro coatings”
Although I’ve only previously used ISM Coat (and not the more recently released V2.0) the look certainly does tend to be a bit glossier than ISM used on top of Miyabi. The previous version of ISM was a deep rich look, more of a glow as opposed to the outright sharper gloss of Miyabi alone. Zipang doesn’t lose much of the ‘richness’ in favor of brilliance and gloss (if any) but the surface does have a bit more of a distinct gloss vs. Miyabi + ISM while still maintaining the depth. It’s a very classy look
* “…it offers semi self-healing characteristics, meaning that the appearance of small swirls or imperfections in the coating surface will reduce when exposed to heat.”
About 2 weeks of sitting indoors not being driven later, I finally decided to give this a test. While curing the vehicle was indoors where the temperature is generally raised to about 65 degrees F during the day, but will drop down to around 50 degrees F at night; hopefully that didn’t affect the curing too much. Anyway, while I have seen many videos of testing self healing by lightly abrading the paint using a scouring pad or a fine, metal bristle brush, I don’t often run into those kinds of things during the normal usage of a vehicle so I went a different way, trying something that indeed ‘might happen’ to my paint. I found a terry cloth shop rag hanging on a fence, snapped it a few times to remove any large debris, and then proceeded to ‘dry’ a masked off, 6”x6” section of the paint with it. Not grinding it in, not just lightly touching the surface but with the normal pressure one would use when drying a car….and it definitely swirled up the surface quite nicely. If’n I had to guess, and this is certainly a guess, it looks like swirls that something like a polish would remove relatively easily in just a few passes…my version of ‘wash induced marring’ but perhaps a bit more severe given the dirty shop rag I used. Definitely not ‘medium polish needed’ severe but enough that one wouldn’t be happy with the marks on black paint.
After looking about to find the ‘activating temperature’ of the healing effect, it appears that 75 degrees C (160-170 degrees F) is the ticket. Despite having purchased a heat gun and point-n-shoot infrared thermometer specifically for this, I first gave a section a go using water heated to that temperature. Fortunately Keuirg coffee makers are set to 192 degrees F at factory so by the time I got back to the vehicle I had a nice mug of water in the appropriate temperature range. Unfortunately I had foolishly chosen an inconspicuous test section on a vertical panel and that fact, combined with the excellent hydrophobic tendencies of Kamikaze Coatings, meant that the hot water didn’t have much contact time with the panel; oops. It certainly had a slight effect on the swirls but the limited contact time with the hot water necessitated another approach.
With the heat gun and the infrared thermometer, I heated the section up to 160-170 degrees F and at that point the swirls diminished and, in the cases of the very light marring in the outlying areas of the section, nearly disappeared completely. I’d guess (‘cuz lacking extensive experience with this kinda stuff, a guess is the best I can do) about 85% of the swirls were nearly gone and the others were greatly diminished. When considering the products description of “…the appearance of small swirls or imperfections in the coating surface will reduce when exposed to heat” I’d say they’re spot on with their description.
Heat gun, light and thermometer
Swirls from dirty cotton drying towel
Zipang after heat application
To be sure, if someone runs a shopping cart into your paint or even bangs it with a recently ‘bedazzled’ rhinestone purse while at the local Piggly Wiggly, Zipang will likely not make it disappear completely. Given the relatively thin layer of Zipang, the specifics of which I know nothing about, it can only realistically be expected to ‘heal’ so much. But for what I’m looking for, it’ll certainly be a step up and a worthwhile investment when I re-do our cars this Spring/Summer.
An interesting follow up note to the above is that when I went over the paint with a variety of Scangrip lights this morning (Wednesday), the leftover marring that did not completely ‘resolve’ is even more diminished after sitting for about 5 days in a temperature range that drops down to 45 degrees F at night, including a somewhat chilly weekend where indoor temps were probably a consistent 40-45 degrees F from Friday night thru Monday morning. Odd, but somewhat pleasing. I couldn’t even hazard a guess as to what/why.
* “Durability is rated at 5+ years. Zipang Coat also provides a darkening effect to the paint (blacks will be deeper black, richer reds, etc), and has the ability to lightly fill small imperfections in the paint.”
As I had corrected the paint prior to application, can’t really comment on any filling abilities but the added durability is definitely another plus, especially in conjunction with the ability to diminish light swirls.
Durability is often an approximation but given my past experience with Kamikaze, they’re not making outrageous claims based upon assumptions that a car will never leave the garage on all but the most perfect of weather days. To wit:
So, given the above, and having seen the general lifespan of Miyabi + ISM (24-36 months if I recall) meet expectations and, for the most part, exceed them, the added longevity of Zipang is a definite plus; of course, this remains to be seen but I have no reason to expect it not to live up to expectations.
As for application, Zipang was a bit different as recommendations are to apply evenly in a single direction, no cross hatch to insure complete coverage so you have to pay a bit more attention to make sure everything is covered. It was ready for removal in 3-5 minutes at around 68 degrees F, a little tacky on removal (as noted in product description) but nothing special or in any way troublesome. Definitely a short nap towel deal, however, and I used 300gsm/350gsm for initial removal and leveling and then a final buff with a 400-450gsm. Just for grins on one door jamb I did do cross hatch in a small area and in addition to getting some texture in the application, the crosshatch pass seemed to dry out the applied coating prematurely making for a somewhat draggy applicator feel. Any small ridges left by the texture of the microfiber applicator were easily leveled during removal though so no harm, no foul.
It`s a somewhat `thick` product on application, much like ISM Coat, almost a thin, syrup type of deal. Regardless it all went well, a relatively easy product to use. The look is ISM-ish, the Zipang toned down a bit of the overt reflectivity of Miyabi and gave the surface a deeper richness while still maintaining nice gloss. It looks `rich`…very classy. The Overcoat will lend a nice touch of gloss. I waited about 2hrs after the Miyabi base layer to apply Zipang and then went over with Overcoat about 18hrs later.
While I woulda loved to do the `ultimate` application of Zipang + Miyabi + Zipang, even my fiscal alarm went off at the prospect of using that much product on a fleet vehicle regardless of curiosity. While generally, if ISM Coat is any indicator, you can likely get 2 layers outta 30ml of Zipang, (same with Miyabi), because of the roof and no windows of this van that wasn`t gonna happen. So I skipped the `ultimate Zipang/Miyabi/Zipang sandwich` and went with the middle ground of a base coat of Miyabi + Zipang on top….topped with Overcoat of course. I would expect that when I re-do my daily driver, a black 2017 Honda Accord Coupe, the ‘ultimate’ application will only require 30ml of Zipang and 30ml of Miyabi with about 15ml of Miyabi left over to use as the base for our other ‘daily driver’. Another plus to Zipang (as well as ISM) is the ability to use it as a trim coating as well…it’s the best trim coating I have found.
All things considered, given the cost of Zipang, is it worth it? I can only speak for myself but for my particular situation the answer is “Yes”. Taking into account my preferred maintenance, vehicle usage patterns and desire for the look that Kamikaze provides (in addition to the unmatched self-cleaning abilities in my experience) the initial cost of Zipang will diminish over the expected lifespan of the products in relation to the current Miyabi + ISM + Overcoat regimen. On my daily driver, even with its somewhat extreme usage pattern, I’ll likely gain an extra year (at least) due to the increased longevity and overall appearance will ratchet up a notch given Zipang’s ability to reduce light swirls. On our other lesser used cars, I will likely gain increased appearance and even more significant longevity improvements. So I guess, the amortization of initial cost (if I’m using that term correctly) will even out with the bonus of less of my time expended and decreased obvious marring due Zipang’s abilities to somewhat self-correct. And, I can do it myself which is unique for coatings that can reduce swirling without the need for being an Authorized Installer.
At the end of the day, Zipang is a very easy to use product, if I can do it anyone can, and it has definite long term advantages for my situation. As with anything, ‘your mileage will vary’ and ya just never know how something is truly gonna work for you until you give it a go. Kamikaze has yet to disappoint me with any of their offerings and I see no reason to believe Zipang will not continue that trend.
As for the specific technical specifications for Zipang (hardness, water contact angle, etc), I have no idea…nor do I care. Hardness is grossly overrated when discussing coatings (IMO) water contact angle makes nice beads and all but beading is kinda irrelevant to me as well as long as the paint stays clean, an area in which Kamikaze excels. YMMV.
Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light + EXOV4
While I gave CSL + C2V3 a go back in Winter 2017, it was a bit of a letdown as far as self cleaning goes. It improved somewhat about a month or 2 after application, likely when the C2V3 wore off. The CSL had such a nice look but, on its own, the water behavior is somewhat ‘less than entertaining’. About 8 months after application I dropped Gyeon CanCoat on it and it was very much transformed; the self-cleaning improved substantially and the CanCoat added a bit of nice, candy-type gloss to the richness of the base CSL. Still, I really like Gtechniq as far as branding and packaging and ‘Crystal Serum (Light)’ has to be one of my favorite coating names out there, not to mention the look of CSL is so nice that I hadda give it a try again, with EXOV4 on top which will hopefully improve the water behavior and self-cleaning aspects.
At 60 degrees F, I`m doing 4` x 6` sections (panel van) and it`s amazing how light a touch removes the CSL; VERY forgiving. Used 300gsm for initial wipe, then 420gsm or so for final buff. Single coat took about 1.5hrs on 2018 Ford Transit 150 van. Used about 25ml.
Wow…a little goes a loooong way. Can do even larger sections than CSL but I`m gonna keep it to the 4` x 6` or similar. EXO needs to sit a minute or two, a bit longer than CSL otherwise kinda `smeary` on removal but still very, very easy to use. Have to pay a bit more attention to avoid pushing coating to another panel when leveling/removing. Using same 300gsm for initial leveling followed by a 350gsm for final buff. Plusher towel not as good fro final buff with EXO for me, leaves some lint. Could be environment I`m doing it in though. Nice slick finish somewhat like the Gliss V2…not Gyeon Syncro slick. Used about 25ml for TWO coats. Started doing larger sections towards on the 2nd coat, no issues.
Used Autofibre coating saver terry/microfiber applicators for both, flipping sides half way thru each coat with no dragging on applicator at any point.
Would be nice if this stuff ends up staying as clean as 22ple & Kamikaze as it`s very quick & easy to apply (even w/ 3 coats) and considering I can get a full van done with 30ml of CSL and 30ml of EXO, I`d be under $100 per vehicle. We`ll see how it goes this summer. It`s a very nice look as well, CSL gives it a nice deep, rich base (darkens slightly) and the EXO adds some reflective gloss.
It might sound a bit corny or goofy, but the word that kept popping into my head when using CSL was `dreamy`. It just goes on so smoothly and removal requires the lightest touch of any I have used; felt like I could just drag a 300gsm with only the weight of the towel and it would come off cleanly. It was really cool. I don’t remember it being that nice when I used it in Winter 2017.
The EXOV4 went on and off nicely, kinda like CQUK 3 with a little more wait time. At about 60 degrees, was working some pretty big sections with no issues, stretched it out pretty far. All things considered, a little of both went a long way but I think the microfiber/terry Coating Saver applicators helped…really like those things.
Really pleased with the look and feel of the CSL& EXO combo; not blatantly, `in your face` but a tad more sharpness than the Kami Combo on the vehicle sitting next to it. Would be nice if it works in the same `fire and forget` manner of 22ple over the long haul.
05/01/2019 – CSL/EXO Update: Have to say that while I like the look of this combo, it has proven to be only slightly above average as far as self cleaning and water behavior go. Have a few thousand miles on the vehicle and it lags behind year-old Kamikaze as far as keeping itself clean w/ no maintenance as well as trailing 22ple HPC in that area. A completely irrelevant point if you’re going to wash your car frequently but still worth mentioning as keeping a reasonably good appearance w/ the least amount of effort is one of my top priorities when looking for a coating/combo. Will continue to watch but at about 2500k miles in, it hasn’t changed my mind about what works best *for me*.
CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0 & Gliss V2
Wanted to give the ‘newish’ CQ UK 3.0 a try, figrd may as well make it an all CarPro affair as well, never having used Essence or Eraser so added those to the mix.
Truck was a brand new, Race Red Ford F250 so prep work wasn’t too bad. Used the Flex 3401& Essence w CarPro Gloss pads to finish it out, let it sit for about 20hrs after that for Essence to set up/cure and then wiped it down with Eraser, well…just because I wanted to try Eraser actually. I enjoyed Eraser, more so than Gyeon Prep. I think I’ll use it more going forward.
Anyway, was wanting to get 2 layers of CQ UK 3 and 1 layer of Gliss V2 down in 8hrs. As the instructions for layering CQ UK 3 noted a 2nd layer could be applied within 1hr of first, otherwise a 24hr wait was suggested, broke truck into front and back halfs. Did 1 layer on front (which took about 45 minutes) then second layer on front, then same for back half.
CQ UK 3 went on nicely, not really grabby or anything on removal, was able to work in panel-sized sections so it went pretty quickly. Used 300gsm or so for initial removal followed by a 350 or 400gsm for final wipe.
Waited about 4-5hrs after last bit of CQ UK 3 was applied and went at it with the Gliss. Had to work in smaller sections as Gliss flashes kinda quick but was fun to apply, little easier to keep track of than Gyeon Booster which flashes crazy-quick. Left a nicely slick surface, not as slick as the Skin topcoat in Gyeon Syncro but a nice finish nonetheless.
Truck cured for 24hrs and then went off to plow snow.
Fast forward a month or 2 and truck has seen some hard, albeit relatively infrequent, use including having muck and gravel dust slurry dripping down it’s side. Did hose it down and was gonna wash it but apparently someone had similar ideas and ran it through a soap/rinse touchless wash, saving me the trouble.
Regardless, it looks good and is staying relatively clean with little effort. It’s a nice, glossy look, still feels nice to the touch and as shown in pic, retains its excellent looking beads. Whether you’re a fan of beading or not, still fun to look at up close.
It’s a very nice combo and I hope it does well. Easy to use, visually entertaining and reasonably priced. It’s still early and only time will tell but I currently prefer the CQ UK 3 + Gliss V2 combo to Gtechniq CSL + EXOV4. It seems to be staying a bit cleaner on it’s own, has a bit more visual brightness to the gloss which works well on the red paint and just has something to it that seems to work better for me than CSL + EXO…so far anyway.
So far, I’ll stick with 22ple’s HPC offering. Maybe the VXPRO2 will excel in longevity but so far it appears that HPC is more to my liking. Application was very, very easy (as is HPC) but the excellent self-cleaning of HPC is only matched (but not exceeded) by the highest-level 22ple consumer offering, VXPRO2. HPC also seems to have a very slight advantage in outright gloss to my eyes. It’s certainly an excellent product and the equal of HPC but, as of yet, does not exceed HPC in any fashion…except the additional $20 in cost.
Specific page for this here: SPS Graphene Coating
Ease of Application
- 22ple HPC & Kamikaze Miyabi (tie)
- Kamikaze ISM
- Gtechniq CSL
Kinda irrelevant as all are among the easiest I have applied. If I can do it successfully, trust me…anyone can.
So what did I find out after hundreds of hours and no small amount of $’s? Well, regardless of what I found out, it’s a very personal and subjective conclusion based upon my needs, wants, environment and maintenance habits. With that in mind…
I’m an admitted Kamikaze Junkie and it took me a long and costly journey to get to my final choices but my top 3 products are:
1. Kamikaze Collection
1. Kamikaze Miyabi + Zipang, maintained with Overcoat.
Still too recent for me to have any long-term, real-world info yet but I expect the increased longevity and swirl reduction (limited self healing) properties of the Zipang will result in a greater lifespan w better overall appearance.
All while maintaining the excellent self-cleaning characteristics of the Kamikaze line. Only time will tell…
10/02/2019 Zipang is doing well, can check personal cars below for updates on Honda Civic (applied 05/2019) and Cayman (applied 09/2019)
2. Kamikaze Miyabi x 2, Kamikaze ISM x 1, coat of Kamikaze Infinity Wax every now and again, maintained with Kamikaze Overcoat
It’s what was on my personal cars before Zipang and PPF entered my life. It’s more of a deep, warm, fluid gloss as opposed to a hard, sharp gloss…deeper than 22ple that holds #2 position. I use the Infinity Wax to give it a very subtle, but pleasing to me look…kinda a ‘relaxed high gloss’.
Proven longevity in varying NE Ohio use:
- Car 1 (Honda Civic) is about 5-7k miles a year, no freeway, sits outside from April thru November but only really driven daily November thru April, short trips, no freeway. At 34 months, 17k miles this combo was still performing at about 85% ‘as applied’. Barring any unforeseen incidents, pretty sure this one would made it to 48 months easy, likely longer.
- Car 2 (Honda Accord) is year round daily driver, generally always garaged, 22k miles a year, 95% freeway. At 22 months, 40k miles this one was done, mostly on vertical panels.
The above is a nice illustration of the varying longevity one will get out of a coating. Exact same coating combo, pretty much the same maintenance routine, far different outcomes. Unfortunately, in my climate the worst thing you can do to a car w/ respect to LSP longevity and performance is, well…drive the wheels off of it.
While I’ve gone ‘all-in’ on the Kamikaze, alone or in combination, the product ‘Collection’ allows you to somewhat tailor the final appearance to your specific desires with no degradation in performance.
Zipang – Much like ISM Coat, the gloss is more relaxed as opposed to a hard, sharp look. Longevity is up a bit from ISM and the ‘limited self healing’ properties are a bonus. Layering options are as follows:
- Good: 1 layer of Zipang Coat
- Better: Base layer of Kamikaze Miyabi Coat, topped with Zipang Coat
Miyabi – 2 layers: a hard, sharp, reflective gloss
ISM – Single layer: A deeper, warmer wax like glow. Really has a great effect on metallic’s, very polarizing and almost floating the metallic somewhat within the finish. Any leftover is a great rubber/plastic/trim coating.
Infinity Wax: ‘Adds a subtle, relaxed high gloss’ character to the surface
Overcoat: Best Booster/maint product I have found. Initially seems pricey but single 250ml bottle lasted me about 8 months, washing 3 vehicles every week/every other week and using as a drying aid after wash. Overkill, but makes drying so much easier and I’m kinda lazy.
I’ve tried most of the Kamikaze the products available in the US (and have even had some shipped over from UK that I couldn’t get here). Each product has maintained the “Under Promise, Over Deliver” philosophy of the CEO Kai Morita, who I met and talked with at an Open House last year. Guy is like a crazy, mad scientist who was more interested in hearing the benefits his products gave me as opposed trying to sell me on anything. Marketing-wise, they fly under the radar, avoiding ridiculous claims of hardness and such.
If interested, you can get a bit more about their Theory here:
For effectiveness, looks, philosophy and support from US vendor (Esoteric Car Care in New Albany, OH) I just couldn’t find anything else that came close.
2. 22ple HPC
It’s the glossiest out of the bottle, great self cleaning, ‘molten glass’ is a nice way to describe it. Have had it on a fleet vehicle at work since 03/17 and still looks and performs as applied. Great stuff, bizarrely easy application. Only downside is sketchy mfg support and 24hrs between layers if doing multi layer.
Links to prods/videos and stuff:
Kamikaze International: https://www.kamikaze-collection.com/
Kamikaze US Distributor: http://www.esotericcarcare.com
Esoteric YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/EsotericAutoDetail
Miyabi video: https://youtu.be/GbfopTju_es
ISM Video: https://youtu.be/T08GLf2XkyY
Overcoat video: https://youtu.be/ivh7XP8UKB8
Water sheeting off daily driver, Kamikaze applied 10/2016: https://youtu.be/bDVr2q7CfN8
General Coating Info, kinda Gyon Mohs centric but a good overview of coatings: https://youtu.be/B6F6MWnxnIU
22ple HPC: https://www.detailedimage.com/22ple-M57/HPC-High-Performance-Coating-P1114/30-ml-S1/
Gyeon Syncro can be purchased at most big car care sites: Autogeek, Autopia, Detailed Image, Esoteric
Gyeon Syncro Video: https://youtu.be/98NoaubSqVs
Main Website: https://www.kamikaze-collection.com/
Kamikaze US Vendor: https://www.esotericcarcare.com/
Kamikaze is hand-made and packaged in Japan, small batches so out-of-stock periodically can be an issue of you’re a pro. The 4 core protection products (Miyabi Coat, ISM Coat, Infinity Wax & Overcoat) can be combined or used in a stand-alone fashion. The use of single products or layering multiple products allows you to tailor the final appearance to your personal needs. Overcoat, as a stand-alone or maintenance product on top of coatings is the best topper/booster I have used; to be honest, nothing else really comes close in my experience. Self cleaning and water behavior are excellent. Polish Angel Cosmic Spritz is a very good maintenance product as well, great water behavior and a sharper, more brilliant shine than Overcoat, it’s fun to use at times to give a different appearance to the paint. It’s just slightly behind Overcoat in self cleaning but is easier to apply to a dry surface after washing. I find using Overcoat as a drying aid with a Rag Company Platinum Pluffle makes drying easier and eliminates the chance of streaking.
Why I Like Kamikaze:
We`ve had it (Miyabi/ISM/Overcoat and added Infinity and Stance in Spring 2017) on 3 of our daily drivers, the oldest application being 10/2016 and our auto usage habits, local environmental conditions and maintenance routines haven`t fazed it one bit since application. It just always looks great to my eye, holds up, protects and keeps itself clean with minimal effort. It made it thru daily use in the NE Ohio winter without any noticeable degradation whatsoever and a good summer rainstorm is akin to a free car wash with this stuff; self-cleaning is simply without compare.
Does that make it the best consumer level coating in all the land? Really can`t answer that because there are so many individual and somewhat subjective variables involved in a statement such as that…but I can say that for ME, yes, it is the best coating in my world. The stuff just plain works.
Additionally, the U.S. vendor has been an invaluable help to me since I first discovered the Kamikaze line, providing advice, technical information and product support to this somewhat occasionally inept hobbyist. Despite the fact that I`m sure they have far more lucrative interests to pursue than what goes on in my little garage in NE Ohio, they have repeatedly gone above and beyond to insure my success with their products. That too, for me, is of great importance.
Another intangible aspect to Kamikaze is that I had the opportunity to meet the inventor of the product line at an event in June 2017 and spoke with him for a bit; the enthusiasm and genuine interest he showed in my happiness and success with his creations was infectious and was indicative of being a true enthusiast. While that`s not gonna help protect my paintwork from road salt this coming winter, it just adds a little something to the overall `experience`. Like I mentioned, a lot of what goes into `my` best is subjective…but important.
Since this is all somewhat of a hobby for me, with the added benefit of incredible protection and appearance, at the end of the day it has to be fun too. The whole Kamikaze `experience` has been just too much fun for me to continue to look for the next greatest `thing`…every time I look at the cars I find some new nuance, smile and am reminded of all of the enjoyment that went into it.
Kamikaze offers a few different coatings, can be used stand-alone or in combos.
- Miyabi: Stupid easy to use, more of a sharp reflective gloss, 2 layers get ya about 18-24 months. Can generally apply to 1 or 2 panels before leveling/buffing off.
- ISM 1.0: Easy to use, more of a deeper, wax like glow. A 1 layer coating, doesn’t layer well on top of itself. Really accentuates metallics, very polarizing effect on them. 24-36 months expected longevity. A bonus to ISM is that it’s the best trim coating around. Generally use 15-20ml on paint, do the trim w the rest. Best to apply to single panel and then level/buff.
- ISM 2.0: Pretty much same properties as ISM 1.0 but a bit greater durability and a candy-gloss. More of a PIA to apply, not crazy difficult but need to work in smaller sections, not by panels.
- Zipang: Candy gloss, limited ability to reduce light scratches/marring. Don’t like to refer to it as ‘self healing’ as that can lead to unfulfilled and unrealistic expectations. Applies pretty much like ISM 1.0 but wanna take a bit more care for even, consistent application…no cross hatch application so gotta be a bit more conscientious but still overall very easy. Rated up to 5 years but I’m only 1 year in on my first application of it (Fleet Vehicle at work).
You can up the durability/longevity a bit by using in combos.
- Miyabi x 2, ISM X 1: First combo I used. On my daily driver it saw 24 months, 49k miles. On my wifes daily driver it was at 85% ‘as applied’ 36 months in but only 17k miles.
- Miyabi x 1, Zipang x 1: Kinda the ‘Ultimate’ combo, it is on 2 of our 4 cars. Others are done in STEK ppf (Corvette) and SPS Graphene (my heavily abused daily driver).
If’n ya need more info, call the folks at Esoteric; great bunch of folks who are always willing to help. They’re a bit smarter than me w regards to this stuff…OK, *immeasurably* smarter than me 😆
And Overcoat is THE best maint product I’ve used. A little goes a VERY long way and it’s got crazy good self cleaning/hydrophobic properties.
And yes, I probably put way too much thought into It but that`s what hobbies are for, no?
Website: They don’t have one
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/22ple/
US Vendor: https://www.detailedimage.com/22ple-M57/
Misc reviews and such:
Why I like 22ple HPC
22ple is kinda an enigma of a company. Their HPC is fantastic as is their VS1 Final Coat topper/booster but they don’t do much marketing or even have a website. I have had occasional success contacting them via Facebook Messenger with questions but otherwise manufacturer support is non-existent.
22ple HPC is *the* easiest coating to apply that I’ve tried. It actually hazes up a bit when ready to remove so that helps. You can cover large sections with its 5-10 minute (sometimes longer in lower temps) ‘window’ between application and removal. A note about applicators: the recommended 22ple applicator is junk, actually it’s a real joke. Use a traditional block/microsuede cloth approach. It has a very gloss, molten-glass type of gloss. I applied to a brand new fleet vehicle in March of 2017, 35k miles or so ago. I gave it a quick wash/decon after the first 20k miles or so, applied some 22ple Finitura and VS1 Final Coat and it’s still doing great. This vehicle has seen maybe 1 or 2 touchless soap/rinse only tunnel washes and 1 hand wash since application. A heavy rainstorm still leaves this looking great and it maintains its cleanliness very, very well. It doesn’t have the depth or complexity of gloss that Kamikaze does but it’s a great choice as well.
- Highly hydrophobic – dirt, oils & grime are repelled
- Self-healing properties help keep paintwork ‘as new’ for longer
- Sunshine or warm water will activate self-leveling (semi self-healing)
- Produces an optically clear, candy-gloss shine
- Durability of 2-3 years
- Can be used on both painted surfaces and plastic trim
- Non-solvent based
- Durability: 18-24 months
- Water contact angle: 95 degrees
- pH tolerance: 2-11
- Thickness layer: 1-2 microns
- Hardness: 8-9H (pencil scale)
- Coverage: 30ml = 2-3 cars
- Non-solvent based
- Durability: 24-36 months
- Water contact angle: 105 degrees
- pH tolerance: 2-11
- Thickness layer: 2 microns
- Hardness: 3-4H (pencil scale)
- Initial curing time: 5-30 mins depending on ambient air temperature
- Full curing time: 7 days
- Coverage: 30ml = 1-2 cars
Kamikaze Infinity Wax
- Carnauba content: 53.7%
- Ceramic coating content: 39.2%
- Durability: 12-24 months
- Water contact angle: 110-120 degrees
- pH tolerance: 2-11
- Coverage: 50g = 2-4 cars
- Water based, VOC-free
- Does not contain wax, polymers or PTFE
- Composition: hard resin & water-based siloxane
- Water contact angle: 110 degrees
- Durability: 3-6 months
- pH tolerance: 2-11
- Thickness layer: 1 micron
- Hardness: N/A
- Coverage: 100ml = 5-10 cars
Kamikaze Miyabi/ISM + Overcoat @ 37K miles
More Kamikaze Beads:
Video: Kamikaze Miyabi and ISM at 37k miles
Video: Gtechniq CSL and EXOV4
In general, I’ve found that window coatings kinda fall into 2 categories w/ regards to performance characteristics. Some have extremely good water behavior but not so great in dry weather, some are good in dry but not so great water behavior in the rain. Why would it matter how a coating behaved in dry weather? Some of the extremely hydrophobic glass coatings I have used did not do so well in dry weather with regards to debris hits on windshields, such as bugs. Instead of a small ‘splat’ they would leave a somewhat persistent 1″ to 2″ streak that, depending on your location and climate, could get extremely irritating during bug season. It seems as if some of the less durable/long-lasting products don’t exhibit this behavior.
Keep in mind that just because it did or didn’t do well for me is not and indication of universal results by any means. I used all of these on my daily driver which sees a 75 mile freeway commute each day, year round in NE Ohio. My wipers get a lot of use, both in the rain and in drier conditions due to the amount of crap that hits the windshield in freeway driving. YMMV.
This has become a favorite as it is just as good in dry as it is in wet. In heavy rain, water begins moving off the windshield at about 30-35mph and it also deals with lighter, misty stuff nicely as well. Application is very easy and as it’s available in 15ml kits, also very cost effective if not doing a whole bunch of glass. I applied to my daily driver in early March, 2019 and it’s doing very well. It’s been a dirty, goo-filled Spring here in NE Ohio so I’ve used my wipers more than normal and it hasn’t seemed to degrade the coating whatsoever.
I first gave this a try back in June 2017 when it was not widely available in the U.S. Being a Kamikaze junkie, I had some sent over from the UK so I could give it a try and the water behavior was absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, so were the little streaks when bugs/debris hit the windshield in dry weather. The version I rec’d was a blue liquid in a little 30ml bottle. It was kinda a bummer.
Fast forward to October 2018 when it became available in the U.S., this time in a 100ml bottle. Despite the fact that there is no way I needed 100ml of a glass coating, I ordered it and gave it a try anyway. Any of the deficiencies noted above in the ‘blue version’ had been remedied, I guess they updated it a bit. It’s a great glass coating but, as mentioned, not many folks need 100ml of glass coating @ $139 so it takes a hit as far as cost/benefit. It had good longevity, lasting pretty well through the winter until I polished off and went with the Gtechniq G1. Since it made it thru the winter, where wipers are used a lot to clear slush, snow and other road goo, longevity and durability is pretty impressive.
Gyeon View is a nice compromise of wet and dry weather performance. It does very well in wet and has no issues w/ debris hits in the dry. Longevity is decent but I get the feeling it’s not quite as ‘tough’ overall as G1 or Intenso…but is by no means a bad choice. Durability is good, lasted for me up to 9 months but on daily driver fell off a bit at around the 6-month mark. Still nicely functional, but lost some of its pizzazz over the last three months on my daily driver in NE Ohio.
H2GO is a very nice product, performs excellent in both wet and dry. Not so much a coating, it requires more frequent applications…like a sealant. Application is about as hard as cleaning your windows so even if more frequent application is required, no big deal. If you don’t wanna go long term, it’s a great choice…or at least it was for me.
Like the H2GO, it’s not gonna get you great longevity but will last longer than H2GO, maybe about 3 to 6 months depending on usage conditions, most notably wiper use. A bit more involved application than H2GO but still very, very easy and economical as well. Does very well in both wet and dry.
It was OK but I’d slot it in below Gyeon View from the experience I had with it. Seemed a little weaker in small-drop, light rain. The kit is one of the most complete I’ve used, however, including everything you’d need. It’s a 2-part deal so a bit of mixing is required but they include pipettes, applicators, bottles and such so don’t need to grab anything else. As mentioned, it was ‘OK’ but given the somewhat higher cost of the kit, it’s a bit much for my tastes regarding cost/performance. It is a 60ml kit, though, so that kinda plays into it and the fact that IGL recently became available at some of the bigger online sites means discounts are now available. It just really didn’t stand out to me but was a solid product, just not remarkable.
Polish Angel Rain 9H
This one was a real non-starter for me. Used the kit, polished first with the Cristal Polish, then applied the Rain 9H component. I could barely tell there was anything on the gloss when it rained. Shame, ‘cuz generally I love Polish Angel stuff but not this. It didn’t last long on my windshield because it really didn’t seem to do much. Guess I could screwed up the install but it’s not rocket surgery so I dunno.
Griots Garage Glass Sealant
First glass product I used outside of Rain-X. It did OK, nothing spectacular but the hazing/holograms I got around lights at night were too irritating to continue using it.
Gtechnic C5 Wheel Armour
Polish Angel SuperSport PTFE
2004 Black Corvette (gone)
2016 Crystal Black Silica Subaru WRX (gone)
2016 Aegean Blue Honda Civic
Update – 04/13/2019 – Kamikaze
They say ya never forget your first time although probably in reference to something other than the first car you used your favorite coating on…but still, gotta take what you can get, no?
Anyway, Kamikaze Miyabi + ISM, applied 10/2016 (albeit only 17k miles ago but car does sit outside 24/7 for about 9 months outta the year) and maintained since then with Overcoat and occasional bit of Infinity Wax.
Stripped another winter off with Gyeon Foam and Gyeon Tar, a wash with Kamikaze Anti-Aging shampoo, and a coat of Infinity Wax.
Albeit a lowly Honda Civic, still a nice way to spend the first warm Saturday of Spring.
Still plenty of life left in the coating, gonna let it ride for another year.
June 2019: Kamikaze Zipang + Miyabi + Zipang
The ‘Ultimate’ Zipang combo…
Took about a year but finally got around to doing Zipang-Miyabi-Zipang on one of our cars. Originally was gonna let this one go for another year, figure coating was still 75% ‘as new’ with regards to performance and looks but a few things switched up so it became a ‘may as well use it on this one’ type of deal.
Went on nicely, especially the Miyabi on top of the Zipang layer, almost sealant like in application and removal.
As temps in garage climbed into low 80`s by the 3rd layer (Zipang), could not move quite as quickly w regards to apply/remove.
Seems to be a bit more `overtly` glossy than the Miyabi/ISM combo but that`s probably all I my head. Nothing looks better than a car when ya just finish it. Especially under florescent lights in a garage at night. Through the lens of a cell-phone camera. Optimum conditions for it looking better than reality.
Anyway, will let it sit inside for at least 36hr; car doesnt really go many places in Summer so could be sitting in there for a while. Pondered letting it go on it`s own but it would be near unholy for me not to slather Overcoat upon it so it`ll get that.
The Miyabi/ISM I polished off was applied in October, 2016 (17K miles ago) and was still doing very well, i really didnt plan to redo until next year. With its limited use and new place in the garage, I figure the Miyabi/Zipang will still be doing well for a few years, likely 4 at least.
We`ll see what happens going forward with it. Such a nice color of blue too.
07/07/2019 – First Wash
Gyeon Foam, Kamikaze Anti-Aging Shampoo
Video: Water sheeting
Update: 08/13/2019 – The End?
Well, after 3 years and likely 50+ paint, glass, trim & tire coatings and numerous coating toppers/boosters I do believe I’m ?done? chasing rainbows. This is it, the culmination of all the ‘best for me’ products I have found over the past 3 years wrapped up in/on one car. Given the previous performance of the Miyabi/ISM combo (was still performing 85% ‘as applied’ when I removed it to go to Miyabi/Zipang) and the usage of this car (maybe 5-7k miles a year, 90% local, limited freeway) I expect that this will be a long term solution (4-5 years), barring any unfortunate incidents.
While I don’t presume to claim that what I’ve landed on is ‘The Best’ (as I really don’t think there is a universal ‘Best’ of anything) these products are the best for me given our climate, our vehicle usage & maintenance routines. Most importantly, the specific little things/characteristics of these choices best meet MY needs for functionality, appearance and longevity.
As a hobbyist, I really have no consistent access to pro-only stuff and I’m fine with that; I can’t imagine a professional product would give me any significant benefits over my choices given my specific needs and wants…although I’m sure opinions will vary on that point.
While there may not be a best coating, there is probably a ‘best for you’; tough to declare ultimate superiority of anything when so many subjective considerations are in play.
Wife’s winter/rainy day driver…the 2016 Aegean Blue Metallic Honda Civic. Hey, gotta use what you can get to work with…and despite being a somewhat nondescript vehicle, the color and metallic content is really pleasing to my eye.
Wheels: Kamikaze Stance x 2, Polish Angel SuperSport
Tires: Tuff Shine Tire Coating
Glass: Gtechniq G1
Exterior Trim: Kamikaze Zipang
Interior: Polish Angel Intimate & Snowcake
Will maintain going forward with Gyeon Foam or Gtechnic W4 Citrus Foam, Kamikaze Anti-Aging Shampoo and Overcoat.
Jury still out on the PA Intimate & Snowcake, first time I used yesterday. Fun, nice…time will tell.
That takes care of our cars for the foreseeable future; dunno what`s next. Guess just washing every now and again.
“Find something you like and use it often.”
I’m really diggin’ the bit of extra brilliance and gloss Zipang lent the paint as opposed to the warmer glow of ISM, personal preference. The addition of Infinity Wax certainly adds a nice, smoothly slick feel to the surface, even under a layer or two of Overcoat. Also adds a touch more ‘soft gloss’ but to be honest, that might be all in my head. Regardless, since most of my time is spent living inside of my mind, to the exclusion of the inconveniences of reality at times, whether it’s real or perceived is of no actual consequence. I think it’s there, so, well…it’s there.
2017 Crystal Black Pearl Honda Accord Coupe
05/01/2019: Looks like it’s time for my coating to go…
At about 21 months & 40K hard, daily driver miles it looks like the Kamikaze Miyabi x 2, ISM x 1 is about done. Applied July 2017.
While the car got the Gyeon Tar, Gyeon Iron Spring cleanup, it appears as if life is nearly over for this combo.
Things I`ve noticed recently:
- The coating, even when topped with Kamikaze Overcoat or Polish Angel Cosmic Spritz is just not as lively w/ regards to water behavior. I don`t really get it but the toppers are less effective on top of a tired coating. Dunno why but it is what it is.
- While I still get some beading when it gets rained on, the sheeting is reduced significantly.
- It does not shed things like pollen as well as it used to so leaving it outside for a day or two, followed by a rain leaves more spots and instead of the rain washing things off, I think it contributes (along with the pollen on the car) to `clog` the coating much quicker.
- It just doesn`t look as alive as it used to.
- Compared to my wife`s daily driver (also Miyabi x 2, ISM x 1, applied October 2016 but only 17k mostly local miles ago) it`s easy to see the relative `lifeless-ness` of my car compared to hers. Her car has sat outside pretty much 24/7 since October 2016 but merely sitting outside, often covered with leaves and other `nature garbage`, doesn`t seem to be much of a detriment to the coating as it is doing so well, gonna let that one ride another year; no reason to re-do.
Guess it`s time to start prepping my car for a re-do, starting with Dr Colorchip`g the numerous chips that 40k freeway miles have inflicted. Honda paint must be somewhat brittle as even my 2016 Subaru WRX had less road rash despite the same general time and miles put on along the same daily commute.
FWIW, the expected general longevity of the combo of Miyabi and ISM is generally thought to be 24-36 months, which I would guess in average use would be 24-36k miles so although it didn`t quite make it 2 years on my daily, it did meet what could be accepted as reasonable mileage.
Pondering the longevity of my wife’s cars October 2016 application vs my July 2017 application of the same combo, I’ll offer up the following, completely un-scientific observations:
While I`d say my car got more washing, probably 3 washes for every 2 hers got, neither really got washed overly much…maybe every 10-14 days. Hers just didnt get washed as often because, to my eye, it didn’t need it. It`s Honda Aegean Blue Metallic which certainly generally looks `acceptable` more of the time than my black car.
Given what I`ve seen since coating her car in 10/2016, sitting outside (even over winter) really didn`t have much of a detrimental effect on the coating. Stupid car just always seems to look clean…its not fair!
My car, in addition to driving, occasionally falls victim to my curiosity and gets run thru the local touchless soap/rinse tunnel 7 straight days to see what effect it has on something.
But yes, in the region I live in, just sitting outside seems to have little effect on the coating. I`d guess Arizona might experience totally different outcomes.
Regardless, will be doing/re-doing my car with the recently released SPS Graphene Coating. To read more about that, can follow the link to this page: SPS Graphene Coating
Was originally going to use the Miyabi/Zipang combo on this car but switched up those plans due to:
- After starting to work the paint of this car, the chips and gouges from 40k miles of freeway driving began to depress me. Short of repainting the hood and front clip, there’s not enough touch-up paint in all the kingdom to make it look good again. I really kinda lost my enthusiasm for the car after seeing this.
- The opportunity to try the SPS Graphene arose and at that point, while I usually am kinda reluctant to try new things on *my* car, I figr’d to give it a go…nothing to lose, everything to gain. Fortunately, the Graphene coating has been so nice (albeit only 6 weeks in) that it really kinda renewed my interest in the car.
04/17/2019 Something new…
While I am a certifiable ‘coating junkie’ I wanted to try something new (?better?) on wife’s new summer toy. So when we picked up her 2019 Corvette from dealer, it was taken to Esoteric Fine Auto Finishing to be completely wrapped in STEK Dynoshield PPF. They coated over the film w Kamikaze Film Surface Coat and then topped with Polish Angel Cosmic Spritz.
The STEK film has a hydrophobic layer ‘built in’ and has some self-healing properties as well.
They also did all exterior glass in Gyeon View, pulled the wheels and coated them and the calipers with Kamikaze Stance Rim coat, topped with Polish Angel SuperSport PTFE sealant.
I’ll be maintaining this going forward with Gyeon Foam, Kamikaze Anti-Aging shampoo and occasional applications of Cosmic Spritz. Also picked up BigBoi Buddi & BlowR Pro units for touchless drying. We’ll see how life with PPF goes…
For more about that entire adventure, can see this page: 2019 Corvette, The Adventure Begins…
07/07/2019 – Wash & Water
Gyeon Foam + CarPro Reset
Video: Water Sheeting
2016 Agate Grey Metallic Porsche Cayman S
09/08/2019 – Kamikaze Zipang + Miyabi + Zipang + Infinity Wax + Overcoat
This car just kinda fell into our lap, was looking for info on a future purchase of a Cayman and it came in on a lease return, CPO & fair price so we bought it. Can read more about that adventure here: 2016 Porsche Cayman
10/16/2019 – 2019 Winter Coatings
Quick Update on Winter 2019 Coatings
Race Red 2019 Ford F250 Super Duty – Cquartz UK 3.0 x 2, Gliss V2 x 1, applied 01/08/2019 – Now at 7k miles. Still looks very nice, albeit lower miles than other vehicles. This truck generally sits in warehouse every night so that helps. Has been hand-washed once in early June but that’s about it. It still has a very nice gloss, beads well and stays nicely clean w/ little intervention. As this is company ‘construction’ vehicle, it doesn’t see the usage other vehicles do but when it is used, it’s a hard day. This has had a variety of things running down the side (wet concrete slurry, other chemicals, muck from cleaning out pools that have turned into ponds…stuff like that). Would I use this combo again: Yes, without a doubt…it’s done well.
Race Red 2018 Ford Transit E150 – 22ple VXPRO2 + Finitura+ VS1, Feb 2019 – Now at 18k miles. This vehicle has likely seen no maintenance, tunnel wash or otherwise, since being sent out into the world soon after it was coated. Unfortunately, 22ple kinda let me down with their highest-priced consumer product; it just didn’t stay very clean, was prone to environmental ‘staining’ from sitting outside, definitely did far worse than their HPC product which has just been great in theses situations since I first used it in March of 2017. Worthwhile to note that Detailed Image, the 22ple vendor, no longer offers this product (or their entry-level ‘Signature’ coating) and is now just showing the not-yet-released 22ple Insanity coating along with the HPC offering. In my experience 22ple has been among the best I’ve used at staying clean w/ little intervention although visibly entertaining water behavior has always been just average, a worthwhile trade off for me. And I still really have no idea what Finitura brings to the table long-term. Even if available, I wouldn’t use this coating again…HPC has done far better.
Race Red 2019 Ford Transit Connect – Kamikaze Miyabi + Zipang + Overcoat, Feb 2019 – Now at 16k miles. I chose poorly with regards to the vehicle I used this on, thinking I would be able to watch it closely over the course of the Summer. The Tech assigned to this vehicle rarely came to the shop so I was only able to see the vehicle 3 or 4 times over the course of the Summer and never got a chance to look closely at it. This guy apparently lives in a rural area and 2 of the times I did see the vehicle, it was covered stem-to-stern in bird bombs, like he parked it each night under a Tetradactyl nest. Last time I saw it he must run it thru the local touchless tunnel wash as the gloss was good and it looked great but I wasn’t able to look closely. I think he mentioned cleaning it off with a bath towel once so it’ll be interesting to see what it looks like ‘nose-to-paint’ in a few weeks when most of the seasonal folks are done for the year. Self-cleaning appears to be on-par with my other Kamikaze experiences from a distance but up close will be the true test. I’ve had the Miyabi-Zipang combo on one of my personal cars since late Spring 2019 and it’s performing as expected despite not getting washed much but getting a close look at this particular vehicle in a few weeks will be more indicative of how it holds up in a truly ‘industrial’ setting. Since this is what I choose for my personal cars, obviously I’d use this combo again and might do another new vehicle this Winter with it.
Race Red 2018 Ford Transit E150 – Gtechniq CSL x 1 + EXOV4 x 2, February 2019 – Now at 15.5k miles. Overall, it’s OK but in my mind a bit of a letdown given all the reports of how amazing this combo is. Water behavior has diminished significantly since initially coated and it stays reasonably clean but nothing near 22ple or Kamikaze. This vehicle has seen the local touchless soap-rinse tunnel wash 2 or 3 times this season but that’s about it. Dunno if EXO V4 requires more maintenance to keep it doing well but was kinda disappointed with this combo as far as ‘fire and forget’ goes. Bummer because CSL is one of the most enjoyable applications I have done, silky smooth on application and removal. Would I use this combo again…probably not but I am looking for some other possible combos with CSL as a base cuz it seems to be a pretty tough customer.
On a Gtechniq side note, I had first used CLS in January 2017, topped with C2V3. The self-cleaning characteristics of that combo were terrible, (easily removed) water spots after each rain. A couple of months in, after the C2V3 wore off most likely, it started doing better in that respect and then just for giggles, I topped it with CanCoat at the end of the season and it proved to be a very, very nice combo. Saw the van this morning and the richness of the CSL was still present and while the candy-ness of the CanCoat has worn away the vehicle still looks very good. I think this Tech is one who takes a bit more pride in his vehicle and runs thru the local soap/rinse touchless wash more often than others but regardless, I’m kinda impressed on how good the vehicle looks overall. CSL is more of a ‘sheeter’ and beading is not that great but it keeps itself looking pretty good, all things considered.
11/15/2019 – Getting ready for winter
It’s about that time to put some things away for the winter and give other things one final go-over before subjecting them to the road-gruel that NE Ohio offers up in the Dark Months. Took some time to finally wash the winter-driver Honda Civic (Zipang-Myabi-Zipang-Infinity Wax-Overcoat) one last time. Been kinda ignoring this one for a bit now, other more entertaining things to do recently, so it’s pretty much just sat outside not getting any attention for the past 2 months or so. Rain, sun, leaves, tree sap, foam and water spray from washing other cars…its all sat on the paint for a bit lately. As I was getting ready to wash it, I looked a bit more closely at it and was kinda wondering if I let it go too long. Was covered with water spots and dirt, the water spots coming from both rain and ill-aimed hoses while washing other cars. Especially on the darker plastic, it appeared that perhaps laziness was gonna catch up to me…
Fortunately, a little foam, a little soap and a bucket wash took care of any concerns…
No harm no foul…good to go!
December 30, 2019 – Coating with no real prep
Coating w/ no prep 😮
Bored today, decided to coat the front half of the truck w/ no prep aside from a wipedown.
Wiped down w/ heavy and then light application of IGL Pre-Clean then just started to coat. Obviously defects abound, truck was last *correctly* prepped and coated with Gyeon Mohs in Autumn 2016.
Kinda weird as the coating applicator slid across the obviously contaminated surface, could feel the ‘baggie test’ contamination. Appeared as if the solvents in the coating loosened up some grime that the Panel Wipe didn’t get, applicator was slightly dirty.
Pretty familiar w/ how this coating performs so will be obvious to me if lifespan/performance is degraded significantly or just turns out to be an appearance thing (Garbage In, Garbage Out).
Not gonna mention the specific coating as if someone comes and finds this in the future, don’t wanna give any poor impressions of coating due to lack of prep. Reading Comprehension sometimes lags behind results and specifics of application.
Polish Angel Master Sealant + Rapidwaxx
Polish Angel Diver Glass Cleaner
Polish Angel Palladium Metal Polish
Question – Answer
Q: Michael Rodent can you give us a brief conclusion? Have the technology evolved ? Are ceramic coating today worth it? Is the shine getting closer to Carnuba wax level as they claim ? When the coating is all scratched up, how easy is it to remove and correct without removing too much clear in the process ? How do you maintain it in between car washes !?
What are some of the brands today ?
A: Well, as shown by the extensive notes I keep, I don’t really excel at ‘brief’ but I’ll give it a go…
A brief conclusion: Coatings work very well for me; I like clean cars but I don’t like cleaning cars and coatings help tremendously in that area. Pick the right coating and the amount of maintenance you’ll end up doing should be decreased. You’ll still need to touch the surface with a traditional wash but you’ll be safer if you miss something that would otherwise goon up your paint (bird droppings, water spots, etc) as in *most* cases the coating will protect the paint from permanent damage until you can get around to dealing with it. And if it does start ‘eating into something’ it will have to eat through the coating first before getting down to the clearcoat; same concept goes for things which would otherwise stain the clearcoat…they usually stain the coating and then stop there. Think ‘sacrificial layer’.
Has the technology evolved: Dunno, really as I’ve only been messing around w/ coatings since Spring 2016. In that time many new coatings have come out but very few have been different enough for me to give them a try. Graphens is/is gonna be a new buzzword in coatings. I have a graphene coating on my daily driver, applied 05/2019 and it’s doing very, very well. Can read more about that here: SPS Graphene . Self-healing coatings are generally limited to pro-only installs except for one or 2. I have Kamikaze Zipang on 2 of my cars now; while it’s certainly not a suit of armor by any means, it does work to a limited degree, some pics/details here: Kamikaze Zipang
Are Ceramic Coatings today worth it: To me, a definite yes. They make my life easier, keep my cars looking cleaner w/ less effort and protect far better than waxes or sealants.
Is the shine getting closer to Carnuba wax level as they claim: While the majority of coatings give a candy-gloss appearance, there are some that stand out a bit more based upon the visual properties they lend to the surface. Feynab Ceramic is a coating I’ve used that comes very, very close to a sealant look…very bright, very brilliant. Kamikaze ISM 1.0 is noted for its warmer, wax-like glow if you wanna go that way. You can also add things on top of coatings as long as they are synergistic in nature, i.e. ‘coating friendly’. Kamikaze has Infinity Wax which “…Utilizing 53.7% high grade Carnauba Wax, and 39.2% Japanese glass coating” which I may do once or twice a year, partly just for the enjoyment of waxing a car and partly as it lends a little depth and a ‘relaxed high gloss’ look, all the while not diminishing the performance of the underlying coating. Polish Angel has released a “High Gloss Paste Wax’ which is also synergistic for use on coatings…it’s on my list to try next Spring cuz Polish Angel stuff is just luscious.
When the coating is scratched up, how easy to remove/correct: Most of the coatings I have used will come off during the course of normal paint correction, generally with a medium polish and a light cutting pad. Some tougher ones may need a compound/something more aggressive but for the most part, not so tough to remove. There are a few coatings, mostly pro-only, that likely require wet-sanding to remove, Gtechniq Crystal Serum and maybe Kamikaze Enrei being the only ones I’ve heard about that are that tenacious.
I began one Spring with Wolfgang Uber Ceramic on wife’s car, polished that off mid-summer and applied Feynlab Ceramic and then polished that off at the end of Summer and went all-out with Kamikaze on it. Given all of that, in addition to 2 heavy compounding corrections previously, there was no indication I was getting near to being dangerous, even on edges where there is usually less clearcoat. Definitely a YMMV thing though, better safe than sorry!
How do you maintain it in between car washes: I just let it ride until it needs a wash. And when I wash it, just use a ‘pure’ shampoo w/ no waxes, gloss enhancers or other stuff. Don’t wanna ‘clog’ up the surface of the coating with lesser performing chemicals that make up ‘Wash and Wax’ products. You can periodically add a coating friendly booster/topper if you like, it adds some gloss/hydrophobic behavior/protection, generally every 2 months or so. Again, you wanna keep it synergistic with coating properties so as not to take a step backwards. If you wanna remove light dust between washes, there are ’pure’ products out there that can help with that, things like Poorboys World Spray & Wipe Waterless Wash and similar.
What are some brands today: Well, actually far too numerous to list…it seems like someone brings out a new coating or 2 every week. Many are ‘white label’ stuff I suspect, somebody re-branding an existing product. As for myself, bearing in mind I have no access to pro-only products, I have used the following:
Kamikaze ISM 1.0
Kamikaze ISM 2.0
CarPro Cquartz Classic/TiO2
CarPro Cquartz UK 3.0
CarPro Gliss V2
McKees 37 Paint Coating V1
McKees 37 Paint Coating V2
Gyeon Can Coat
Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light
The Gloss Shop Ceramic Coating V1
The Gloss Shop Ceramic Coating V2
Wolfgang Uber Ceramic
My preferences are for products from the Kamikaze Collection cuz they just seem to work best for me. I first used their coatings in October of 2016 and then spent the next 3 years trying the above products to find something that ‘beat’ their performance…and I couldn’t. How did I determine how they would perform in a real-world situation as opposed to static test panels? Well, I work for a seasonal swimming pool service company that runs a fleet of vans, about 20-24 of ‘em. It gets a bit slow in the winter and since we buy 3 or 4 new vehicles each Winter, I started prepping, correcting and coating them and then watching how they did; have been doing this since Fall of 2016. I also pulled older vehicles outta the line and did the same to them. So every day I come to work I can watch/see how the coatings are performing in real-world situations, albeit kinda tough situations. The vehicles sole maintenance during the April thru November period is getting rained on, w/ an occasional touchless tunnel wash, soap and rinse only. Kinda an expensive enterprise for me but only way to know for sure how things work in real life. Curiosity has its price and it’s worth it to me; I’m in a place where I can prep/polish/correct a car and then coat it with what I have found to the *best coating FOR ME* and then I’m set for 3-5 years, barring an exceptional circumstance/damage to paint.
To be sure, I’ve never used a truly bad coating, it’s just that some did things a little better that met my specific needs so that’s how I found ‘my’ coating. And since buying the Cayman and coating it (details of that process here: Cayman Detail ) I’m able to spend far more time driving it than cleaning it. Drove that thing through 250 mile road trip, mostly pouring rain, and when I got home and looked at it, it was still clean and shiny enough that I felt no need to wash it immediately (except for windshield). And since buying the Cayman, I MUCH prefer driving to cleaning. I LOVE Agate Grey Metallic, no more black cars for me!
Worthwhile to note that I am not a pro, just a guy tripping over cords in my garage who wanted to find the easiest way to have a clean car with minimal effort. I have no scientific evidence to back up my finding, only the 2 eyeballs in my head that spend WAY too much time staring at the cars I’ve done. As with anything, YMMV.
See, told ya I’m not too good at ‘brief’ 😆
Q: Budget Plan so I’ve used beadmaker on previous uncoated vehicles and got incredible gloss. However I’ve read in some of your posts that it tends to hinder certain characteristics of the coating? What exactly does it hinder I’m curious. I prob will mimic what you do and use the PA gloss spritz for a change instead of cosmic. As far as rinseless wash. I’ve read ONR is off limits for kamikaze. How about Wolfgang Uber rinsless. Any experience with these?
A: Generally you dont wanna put anything ‘lesser’ on top of the coating. It won’t hurt it but the surface will take on the characteristics of what’s on top as opposed to those of the coating.
With hydrophobics/self cleaning being one of the greatest benefits of the coating, covering them up is kinda a step backwards. Things like Cosmic and Overcoat are coating-compatable formulations that not only maintain but often also enhance the coating/surface in a synergistic way.
Same theory w things like ONR and Uber Rinseless which contain polymers/gloss enhancers that will mask the inherent properties of the coating. I think McKees 37 914 is a ‘pure’ rinseless if you’re looking for one. Dunno for sure as I’m not a waterless/rinseless guy.
That’s the theory anyway and it makes sense if you want to completely optimize all the good aspects of the coating.
Will the coating fail if you put something like Beadmaker in top? My guess is not in the least bit, longevity of the Beadmaker will be reduced but the probably no other ill effects aside from decreased surface behavior.
While I’ll occasionally look into doing something for fun/sake of appearance for the most part I don’t stray far from what I’ve found works best for ‘me’; after 3 years and probably more than 250k miles of watching various coatings to find what I like I’m just trying not to muck it up at this point!
Other ramblings on related topics:
- SPS Graphene Coating
- Life with Paint Protection Film: My first 6 months living with a full PPF wrap (STEK DynoShield)
- Buying a new 2019 Corvette and having it wrapped in PPF.
- Buying a 2016 Porsche Cayman and protecting it.
- Spending a day at Esoteric Detailing learning how to do things better.
- Kamikaze Collection Overview