The New Way to Protect Your Paint in the Winter
Wheels.ca had the opportunity to evaluate the two biggest ceramic paint coating companies in the business: Arctic Coating and Ceramic Pro. These two companies are innovating the longevity of the automotive shell, and here’s how:
Have you heard of the new paint protection products on the market? Often when a new product comes out, people are hesitant to try it because it hasn’t been around long enough to know what the long term effects will be. That reluctance is amplified at the thought of applying a product on your vehicle – one of your most expensive purchases. Wheels.ca decided to take the gamble for you by getting a closer look at two paint protection products that are getting a lot of attention: Ceramic Pro and Arctic Coating.
Ceramic Pro is a slick, chemical resistant coating made of ceramic and glass; much stronger than the standard clear coat on a car. The product warranties against bird droppings, tree sap, and it is chemical resistant so it protects against stains as well. It helps with cleaning in case you drive through road paint or your vehicle is vandalized. Ceramic Pro is resistant to scratches, micro abrasion (rubbing), road abrasion caused by sand and salt in the air being kicked up by vehicles ahead of you. It does not provide impact protection from stones, but it can work with products that do.
To evaluate Ceramic Pro and challenge its claims, we sent a dark blue, 2012 Audi Q5 to the Ceramic Pro Canada corporate team at Elegant Motoring and Auto Spa located in Etobicoke. This company is the official provider of the Ceramic Pro product in Canada and they allowed us to experience their step by step process, first-hand.
∙ Step 1: Before applying Ceramic Pro on the paint, Ceramic Pro Canada says your installer should “always get the paint ready.” The first part in doing so is giving the vehicle a thorough, but gentle, wash. Ceramic Pro Canada uses the 2 bucket method wash with grit guards and a soap that is designed to strip waxes and sealants off of the paint. Afterwards, they clean the paint to rid major dirt and debris. They remove micro-contaminants using a clay lubricant and clay bar. You’ll see in the picture below, the untreated side of the hood (left) beside the side of the hood that has already been treated (right). The darkening on the untreated side of the hood is from industrial pollution, iron contaminants, as well as organic contaminants – all of which make the paint on your vehicle duller within even the first year of owning it.
After the Audi was freed from major and micro contamination, Ceramic Pro Canada put it under high-powered lights to inspect the paint condition. As you can see from the picture above, this vehicle has seen better days and has a fair amount of swirls and scratches in its original clear coat. Prior to applying the coating, your Ceramic Protection provider should make sure that the majority of these defects are buffed out so that they don’t get locked in with the Ceramic Pro coating.
∙ Step 2: To fix these defects they use a process known as paint correction. Paint correction removes the defects from the clear coat by thinning it and exposing a fresh layer. It’s like a non-abrasive exfoliation for cars. Ceramic Pro Canada used a combination of rotary and orbital polishers combined with special polishing agents and polishing pads to achieve defect removal.
We took a photo (see below) after the two-step paint correction process. The results were spectacular. A professional paint correction revitalized the paint and made this 2012 Audi look years younger. Now it was ready to accept a Ceramic Pro paint protection package. This 2012 Audi received the Gold Package, which starts at $1500.00 (CAD) and includes a lifetime warranty. Ceramic Pro Canada offers packages that start as low as $599.00 (CAD) which have shorter warrantees. The warranty is transferrable if the owner decides to sell the vehicle.
∙ Step 3: The Ceramic Pro Gold Package is a combination of 4 layers of Ceramic Pro 9H (9H is a reference to the level of hardness) our flagship product, Ceramic Pro Light which is the top coat. Ceramic Pro Rain which adds hydrophobicity on the windshield. This means that once this is applied, any water that hits the paint will repel. The Pro Gold package also includes Ceramic Pro Rims and Calipers on the wheels to protect them from brake dust and make them easy to clean. This package has a lifetime warranty. It takes about a day to apply Ceramic Pro, so we had to leave the Audi overnight at Elegant Motoring and Auto Spa.
When the entire Ceramic Pro application process is completed and you pick up your vehicle, the product needs to cure for 3 days before driving in order for it to fully settle. Immediately we noticed that the Audi looked brand new, even though it’s a 2012. Even beside other freshly washed and waxed vehicles – it had more of a noticeable shine to it. The coating was especially evident in the rain, when water completely repelled off of it. Ceramic Pro Canada says Ceramic Pro will make a noticeable difference on the condition of the paint and rims going forward.
We sent the Audi in exactly one month ago and the results are impressive. In 6 months, we will give our readers a full update as to how this paint protection held up throughout the winter and over a long period of time.
“I really wanted a dark vehicle, but I find that as much as I like the dark colour, it’s difficult to keep clean and subtle scratches are much more noticeable. I am impressed by the product and the team who took care of my Q5. They went above and beyond to detail it and they buffed the paint out to look brand new. 6 Months later, this product keeps my vehicle noticeably cleaner, and I still have yet to find even a hair-line scratch on it. Great service and a great product. I would definitely do this on another vehicle.” – David, Audi Q5 Owner.
Arctic Coating is a two-part nano-ceramic coating that was developed in Oslo, Norway. It is applied over automotive paint and exterior surfaces to protect against harsh weather, salt, strong chemicals, and other harmful things. It’s made from a proprietary Si02 formula that is durable, chemical resistant, extremely glossy, and easy to maintain. Arctic Coating is not a wax or sealant. Once cured, millions of silica molecules chemically bond together over the surface applied, leaving behind a fine layer of glass. The coating acts as a sacrificial barrier between the clear coat and the environment, which prevents larger sized molecules from penetrating. This product can only be purchased and applied by an Arctic Coating Canada certified installer. Arctic Coating Canada says that their installers are among the best paint enhancement specialists who have received specialized business training in addition to the application training.
To evaluate Arctic Coating and challenge its claims, we sent a black, 2003 BMW M3 Convertible to the Arctic Coating Canada team at DetailNPlasti and Perfection AutoSpa located in Woodbridge. This company is the official provider of Arctic Coating in Canada and they allowed us to experience their step by step process, first-hand.
∙ Step 1: Before applying Arctic Coating on the paint, Arctic Coating Canada says your first step should always be an in-depth detail, which is why they begin with one of their top-of-the-line auto details followed by a foam bath with fallout removal. They also take a clay bar to the vehicle paint to remove any micro-contaminants, which John at Arctic Coating Canada tells me is one of the most important aspects of the process. AC then does a meticulous hand wash and forced warm air dry to complete the first step. Once that is done, they give the wheels and the wheel wells a detail of their own.
∙ Step 2: Arctic Coating’s second step is their “paint protection process.” They take a high-speed machine polisher to achieve medium to light scratch and swirl removal.
∙ Step 3: The third step consists of an oil and wax removal of the exterior in order to prepare the surface for its Arctic Coating.
∙ Step 4: It’s Arctic Coating time! This Nano-ceramic paint protection process starts with a 1 layer base coat on the exterior surface which includes not only the paint, but also headlights, side mirror housing, tail lights, and even the windshield.
Arctic Base: The base coat is what creates a protective barrier between the clear coat and the outer elements. It has a hardness of 9H at the pencil test scale due to its Si02 process formula. This layer bonds with the paint and can only be removed by wear and tear over time. No chemicals will damage the coating.
Arctic Top: The top coat also has Si02 properties, but is designed to add slick mirror-like gloss, colour depth, and incredible water repellency. An application of this top coat causes liquids to bead up and roll off the surface; taking away loose contaminants with it.
∙ Step 5: Step 5 involves an infrared curing process which accelerates the cure time and helps to achieve maximum coating hardness.
This two-step, Nano-ceramic paint protection for automotive surfaces has rendered waxes and synthetic sealants obsolete. Arctic Coating’s extremely durable liquid glass barrier protects automotive paint work from the daily exposure of harsh environments. It’s chemical resistant and protects from bird droppings, tree sap, acid rain, road salt, road paint and more. It protects the paint on your vehicle from fading because it is temperature and corrosion resistant. It enhances gloss and depth, while leaving clear coated surfaces slick to the touch. AC offers light scratch resistance as the glass barrier slightly increases the hardness of the surface, it substantially reduces time and effort required to perform carwash and drying, and it lasts up to 48 months with correct maintenance.
“My M3 actually shines bright like a diamond for long periods of time ever since we put Arctic Coating on it. John explained the entire process in detail which made me feel comfortable about the fact that I was putting a new permanent product on my vehicle. It’s important that you trust the person who is touching your car.”- Michael, BMW M3 Owner.
For Certified Canadian Detailers see Website: Arcticcoating.com