Saturday, July 29, 2017

Synthetic Waxes Durability Test Update: Month 3 (end)

It has been slightly more than 3 months and the results are as follows.
Please see here for the initial post.



This was taken on July 29th 2017.

The below picture shows what were applied.





SealantsWater BeadingWater Sheeting
Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection11
Finish Kare Hi-Temp Paste Wax11
Fusso 12 Months Wax22
Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax11

It seems that the effects of most of the sealants are starting to diminish. However Fusso seems to be still working but I am not impressed.

True to most of our understanding and suspicion, there are "severe" water marks on the Fusso section.






As discussed in earlier post:
"The general idea of a hydrophobic surface is that dirty liquid will not "wet" and smear all over the surface. But if those water droplets are left to stay till dry (hard water and/or with some dirt encapsulated in them), there could potentially be water mark".

My wife drives to work every weekday and the car is park under the sky at her workplace. If it rains, the rain water plus surface dirt will bead up on the Fusso section. When the rain stops with the sun coming out, the water bead will dry up and whatever that is inside the droplet would be etched onto the car surface.

So far, I did not see any water mark on other sections. That is why I used the word "severe" earlier. As such, I do not intend to continue this evaluation. As mentioned in the initial post, to have a fair evaluation I skipped using spray wax on this particular test surface. Being a spray wax lover, I believe using spray wax would have minimized the water marks.

As a general conclusion (based on my personal observations and opinion), most sealants tends to last about 3 months in our Malaysian climate. Fusso might seem to be the strongest contender but the high water beading is also its biggest downfall. It does give the "wow" effect but in terms of protection, other sealants might be doing a better job. I think it is quite conclusive that high water beading might not be a quality one should look for in terms of protection in a tropical climate.

I strongly believe that using spray wax after every wash would not only prolong the longevity of the sealants but add to another layer of slickness and protection. So get yourself a spray wax and start spraying! Read about spray waxes here.

That's it for this comparison.
I would like to thank those who followed this comparison and provided constructive comments.
Stay tuned for more new posts.
Happy detailing.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Synthetic Waxes Durability Test Update: Month 2

It has been 2 months and the results are as follows.
Please see here for the initial post.


This was taken on June 24th 2017. The Fusso is still holding pretty strong. The difference compared to others is very obvious.

The below picture shows what were applied.





SealantsWater BeadingWater Sheeting
Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection12
Finish Kare Hi-Temp Paste Wax13
Fusso 12 Months Wax35
Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax12


That's it for this month. Let's hope the sealants can last another month.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Quick Review: Meguiar's Headlight Protectant

I got this protectant quite a while ago. It was on sale and my itchy hand "clicked" it. It was in a sealed condition on my shelf for a very long time until I decided to try it after polishing my wife's daily drive recently.




To keep things short, I was not impressed.

First off, when I open the bottle I was greeted by a familiar scent, then a familiar look, then a familiar feel. This things smells, looks, and feels like another product from Meguiar's - Ultimate Protectant.



From my experience, everything feels exactly the same. Ultimate Protectant is marketed as a product for both interior and exterior. Both of them have UV blockers.


Ingredients


To satisfy my curiosity, I searched for Safety Data Sheets (SDS) of these 2 products to compare the key ingredients. They can be found here:

Headlight Protectant
Ultimate Protectant

The key ingredients for Headlight Protectant are as follow (% by weight):
NON-HAZARDOUS INGREDIENTS: 60 - 80
POLY(DIMETHYLSILOXANE): 10 - 30
PETROLEUM DISTILLATES: 5 - 10
ACRYLIC POLYMER: 1 - 5
PROCESSED CASTOR OIL: 1 - 5
BIS(1,2,2,6,6-PENTAMETHYL-4-PIPERIDINYL) SEBACATE: 0.1 - 1.0
POLYMERIC BENZOTRIAZOLE DERIVATIVE: 0.1 - 1.0
POLYMERIC BENZOTRIAZOLE: 0.1 - 1.0

The key ingredients for Ultimate Protectant are as follow (% by weight)
NON-HAZARDOUS INGREDIENTS: 60 - 80
POLY(DIMETHYLSILOXANE): 10 - 30
PETROLEUM DISTILLATE: 5 - 10
ACRYLIC POLYMER: 1 - 5
PROCESSED CASTOR OIL: 1 - 5
CONDITIONERS: <5

Although they are not exactly the same, they are very similar. Well, it is not compulsory to declare non-hazardous ingredients in SDS. I could not find out what they are as they are trade secret (in whisper). I have a strong feeling that the non-hazardous ingredients are very similar in both products.

I am not saying if this is right or wrong. I am saying that this is how marketing works!


Performance


Well since there is no yellowing in my wife's daily drive headlight, this would be more of a protection and prevention.

I followed the instructions and applied. I used a typical yellow round applicator pad.







It goes on oily. Then I wiped off with a towel as per instructed. After that, the surface felt "dressed" and oily.

And the best (worst) thing is that it washed off after a single wash.


Conclusion


If you just polished your yellowed headlight and looking for something to protect it, go for a proper clear coat instead of this. This is a short term solution and you might have to reapply it after every single wash or worse still after raining.

If you are looking for something to prevent your headlight from yellowing, skip it too. A proper sealant would do a better job. If you are a fan of spray wax (like me), who use spray wax after every wash, spray wax would be much better than this headlight protectant. It is more convenient too. Spray waxing the whole car is fun :p.

Happy detailing.
Disclaimer: 
Headlight Protectant does not add more shine to your headlight.
All the above are just my personal opinion.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Synthetic Waxes Durability Test Update: Week 5

Please see here for the initial post.

This was the behavior of the sealants last weekend (May 20th).


The below picture shows what were applied.




SealantsWater BeadingWater Sheeting
Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection12
Finish Kare Hi-Temp Paste Wax14
Fusso 12 Months Wax55
Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax13


As can be seen, Fusso 12 Months Wax is still beading water very well after 5 weeks of application with several washes in between using Meguiar's Ultimate Wash & Wax and Gold Class. As for the others, although they are not beading water, they are still sheeting water quite well. Kudos to all manufacturers.

Again, I want to stress that the above rating is very subjective and not absolute.

I received some questions about water beading and water sheeting - which is better?
Not a straight forward answer but here is my take on it.

If water beads up it shows that the surface is hydrophobic (hydro for water and phobia for scared/ disliked) and because of the own surface tension of water, it will not "wet" the surface and beads up. The general idea of a hydrophobic surface is that dirty liquid will not "wet" and smear all over the surface. But if those water droplets are left to stay till dry (hard water and/or with some dirt encapsulated in them), there could potentially be water mark. If the car is moved before the water droplets dry off, then it should be good.

In my opinion sealants protects the paint by being a sacrificial barrier. They prevent dirt from sticking directly onto the paint. Be it hydrophobic or slick. A slick surface that sheets away water and dirt is as good as a surface that beads water. It is just that a surface that beads water gives a Wow effect. And this is where the marketing gimmick works :)

I am more into durability than gloss and deep shine. That is why I only have synthetic waxes or sealants but the wowing effect is irresistible. Having my car parked directly under the sky in my office every weekday, maybe it is not such a good idea.

Opinions? Please share them :)

That's all for this post. Next post will be on the next month on this durability series.
Happy detailing.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Synthetic Waxes Durability Test Update: Week 2

Please see here for the initial post.

I did not intend to publish an update so soon but what I saw today struck me by surprise. This made me very eager to share the initial results.

It was just after 2 weeks since my wife's daily drive had been sealed. Today, I decided to give it a wash. There were a few days of rain and many days of sunshine in between. Since I would not be using any spray wax on the test panel, I decided to go with Meguiar's Ultimate Wash & Wax.

See My Car Wash Shampoos for more on this shampoo

So without further ado, here is a quick update.
Camera, action!
Play the video in full screen to have a better view. I recommend using YouTube to slow down the playback speed.




This is just after the car has been rinsed clean.

Just to refresh your memory, here is what were applied.


Some close up shots below.

Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection

Finish Kare Hi-Temp Paste Wax

Fusso 12 Months Wax

Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax

It seems that most of the sealants do not bead water very well after just 2 weeks in our hot and humid climate except for Fusso 12 Months Wax. However, most of them are sheeting water just fine. In order to help quantify the behavior, I have tabularized them with a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being the best.



SealantsWater BeadingWater Sheeting
Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection34
Finish Kare Hi-Temp Paste Wax34
Fusso 12 Months Wax55
Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax13



Being a first time user of Fusso 12 Months wax, I was really surprised by its hydrophobic properties. Water just would not wet the surface and will just bead up. Looks like we are in for a wonderful ride.
I just wanted to stress that the above rating is very subjective. Again, there is no absolute right or wrong in car detailing.

So, what do you guys think?

That's all for this post. Stay tuned for more updates.
Happy detailing.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Synthetic Waxes Durability Test: Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection vs. Finish Kare Hi-Temp Paste Wax vs. Fusso 12 Months Wax vs. Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax

autoglym extra gloss protection, finish kare hi-temp paste wax, fusso 12 months wax, meguiar's ultimate paste wax

I have been wanting to do a formal comparison on the durability of these synthetic waxes. I had been using Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection, Finish Kare Hi-Temp Paste Wax and Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax for quite some time. Fusso 12 Months Wax is kind of a new addition. I bought it a few months ago but never really used it. Generally, I already have an idea on the durability of these waxes except for the one from Fusso. However; just to be fair; I decided to test all of them on a same test panel on a same car with the same orientation to get an unbiased result.


I gave my wife's daily drive a full wash, clay, compound, and polish treatment last week. The rear hood was "reserved" as a test panel. This panel was finished off with Meguiar's Ultimate Polish prior to applying the waxes. I did not use an IPA to wipe the panels as all of the waxes are oil based and there is no need for the panel to be stripped of the oils.

I did not tape up the panel as this is still my wife's daily drive and I do not want any part of the panel to go unprotected. I did not want to surprise my wife with a zebra crossing pattern! However, individual applicator pads are used for each wax. There could be some "cross contamination" so take this with a pinch of salt.

The plan is to see durability of these waxes. The car will still go through regular washes except that I would not be using any spray wax on this test panel.


There was some overlapping in the application...


Fast forward a week (today) it rained when I was about to do some inspection... Haha!


The car has yet to be washed. It seems that the entire test area is still beading water quite well.
Some closer shots below.




There entire surface is still slick to the touch. Let see how it will be in another few months time. I will be posting updates from time to time.

That's it for today.
Happy detailing.

Update:
Week 2 results
Week 5 results
Month 2 results
Month 3 results

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Glass Care

Water marks on glass could be rather annoying. Since glass is much harder than paint or clear coat on paint for that matter, removing water marks should be easier.


Good Glass Cleaner


Regular car shampoo should do a good job in cleaning all the glass in your regular wash. In fact some shampoos have some "wax" that will help windscreen repels rain droplets. However, if there is already water spots or marks on the glass, regular car shampoo might not do the trick. Then it is time to move on to more serious glass cleaners.

Get a glass cleaner that is meant for automotive. Try to avoid household glass cleaners as some of them might contain ammonia and acid that could be harmful to both your health and your car. Regular household glass gleaner with "colored" liquids could even stain your car.



What I have in my arsenal is Meguiar's Glass Cleaner and Stoner Invisible Glass. Both of these cleaners are colorless and contain no ammonia and acid. The material safety data sheets could be found here and here, These two glass cleaners contain alcohols. Alcohols are common in glass cleaners. They help in removing oil and give fast drying "evaporating" results. So a little bit if caution here. Try not to get them on your car paint as they would strip away wax and and sealant because of the alcohol content. Right, end of chemistry class. 

These two products smell the same. I could not confirm if they are the exact same product but if they are, the Stoner would be a better buy because of the lower price.

They claimed that they would not create streak marks. However, from my experience, they do streak no matter how many times I wipe with clean towels. The streak marks will become more apparent when the glass are fogged up in cold rainy weather. One other observation besides streak marks is that glass tends to fogged up easily after cleaning with these cleaners. I could not really confirm but it does feel that way.



Polish the Glass


Usually places like front and rear windshields tend to have more stubborn water spots due to their angles. If glass cleaners do not remove the water spots, then it is time to bring out the big guns -  compounds and polishes.

As usual, before any compounding it is wise to clay the surface. I follow the same routine for glass as well. I just do not want any contaminants to "clog up" my polishing pads. As I mentioned earlier, glass is much harder than paint. So we could use a more abrasive cutting pads.

One could use elbow grease or electric power. I chose electric power. I used my DA. Read about my hands-on with it here.



I so happened to have an Autoglym Car Glass Polish lying around.




Let see what the manufacturer has to say:

"Car Glass Polish is specially formulated to increase visibility through your windscreen for safer driving.

The easy to use, deep cleaning solution removes traffic film, grease, wax, nicotine, insects and water deposits.

Suitable for use on interior and exterior glass. If your windows are perspex, acrylic or plastic use Fast Glass instead."

As mentioned above, since glass is much harder than paint, I would normally use a microfiber polishing pad rather than my usual go to CCS pads.




Microfiber pads have thinner foam that would translate to more "polishing" power.

As usual, the pad needs to be primed (see here for more info on priming). Then spread the product using a low speed, say speed 2.




Once spread, turn up the speed all the way to 6 and start polishing in overlapping pattern in a small section, maybe 1/4 of the windscreen.




Half-way done.

Unlike Meguiar's Ultimate Polish, Autoglym Car Glass Polish does not turn clear after several passes. So, after a few passes, stop and wipe off to inspect.

NOTE: In is important not to let the product dry up else, it would be very hard to buff off.



Autoglym Car Glass Polish tends to be very dusty when buffed off. I guess it would be the case as with other glass polishes.

As for correction power, Autoglym Car Glass Polish is somewhat mild. Very stubborn mark like wiper "curve trail" would not go away. Normal water spots are no problem for it.

Actually, I do not think we need a special dedicated glass polish to do the job. Any regular car polish or compound could do the job. I guess the latter would be better as it is more aggressive and could get the job done faster.

I would highly suggest following the steps recommended by Larry from AMMO NYC here.

Once polishing is done, follow-up with an IPA (isopropyl alcohol) wipe. I diluted my 99.7% IPA in a 1 to 1 ratio with water. One could seal up the glass with any coating after that. However, I prefer not to put anything on my front windshield in fear that it would affect my wipers performance and fear of smearing. It is just personal preference.

As usual, the above are just my opinions. Choose a method that might work for you and happy detailing.



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Fireball Premium Easy Coat Review - Laziness with a great cost



I was eager to try this out after reading many praises on various forums. Before I got this, I thought that it could be something similar to CarPro Reload but when I finally got it, I found out that the application method is very different. In fact it is way too easy. This is a plus point for lazy people (oops, busy people). I am a big fan of spray wax. This is literary high-speed spray wax.


Product Detail 


Let's see what the manufacturer claimed

"Fireball's Premium Easy Coat has to be the easiest way to apply a Superhydrophobic coating to ANY surface.

Simply spray unto a wet surface, leave up to 30 seconds (no longer!) and blast off with water - it's that easy.

Premium Easy Coat has been designed to be used whether your car has a pre-existing coating or none at all. 

Premium Easy Coat can be used on all surfaces and not just paint, plastic trim and even your home windows

High quality nano technology coating comparable to similar higher priced Gyeon coatings.

Supplied with spray trigger for 500ml."

So, nothing was mentioned about the active ingredients but from the application method it seems to be some kind of SiO2 coating that might be similar to Permanon. I could be wrong.

This so-called coating came in a 500ml bottle with a spray trigger provided separately. This is good packaging method for mail order which I did as there would be less chance of spillage during delivery. It cost me about RM70 including postage.


The content is a yellow liquid that has a pleasant scent. No harsh chemical smell.


One thing I that make me felt uneasy is the lack of security seal. Maybe Fireball could improve on that.


Product in Action


Applying the product is very easy. Wash the car, rinse, and apply on when wet.


Due to the warning of "no longer than 30 seconds", I sprayed the coating section by section and rinsed off from top to bottom.

Once "blasted" off, I could see water "running off" easily from the surface.


Beading looks nice too though not as tight as normal wax or sealant.



Looks good.


Great Laziness Comes at Great Cost!


High Consumption


So, my first attempt in using this Easy Coat costed me 2/3 of a brand new bottle to cover the entire car.



Unlike normal spray wax where 2-3 sprays per panel would suffice as it would be spread by a towel, I had to do multiple sprays per panel to ensure even coverage. And since it was so easy to spray, I might have overdid it. I am not sure if it would work if I use a towel to "spread" it after spraying.


Disco Windscreen Wipers


Avoid spraying this on the front windscreen. This caused my wipers to judder like it is a disco party every time I turn them on. I am using PIAA Aero Vogue silicone wiper. Yup those so called high end ones :-p that should not judder. I had to polish to windscreen to stop the juddering.


The Dark Side


There is another major issue about this product that I could not really confirm it. After a week of washing, I noticed that there are dark stains on the top-facing surfaces and "bleeding marks" on the side surfaces. There is one day of heavy rain during that week and I was caught in it while on the road.

See below for the "bleeding marks". The marks are more obvious through the naked eyes than through the camera.




I tried washing the car with my favorite waterless wash but the stains just would not wash off. I had to use a conventional wash to remove those stains. Luckily no polishing was needed. Phew! I am not sure if this is an isolated case but I do not see this issue when using normal spray wax.

Also, I have seen some discussions about how coated cars tend to get worse watermarks compared to non-coated cars. If you are interested, see this well-written post on Wetshine here. It is a pity the author stopped writing before posting the results but if you scroll through the comments, the author replied that:

"So far the updates for coating test is all still cannot resist the effects of waterspotting". 

"Short update. More watermarks on coating than collinite wax. Will most likely conclude that coatings are not suitable for malaysian weather. It is not because they do not last but the fact that it is more prone to waaterspot etchings defeats their selling point of being ‘best paint protection system in the market today’."

Anyhow this is inconclusive. I am not sure if I would be doing any more test on this product but if I do, I will update this post.


Pros & Cons

Pros:
- easy to apply
- great water sheeting

Cons:
- not that cost effective
- causes wipers to judder if applied on windscreen
- tends to cause dark stains and "bleeding" marks (inconclusive)

As always, the above is just my opinion based on my personal experience. Results might vary under different weather conditions. There is no absolute right or absolute wrong in car care.

That's it for this post.
Happy detailing.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Steam Cleaning Leather Seats

From my earlier post about interior care, I shared how I usually clean leather seats. There is another way of cleaning leather seat. That is using steam. If the leather in your car is extremely delicate like in older cars, this could be a less aggressive method as no chemical or detergent is needed to clean the leather.

Steam is actually the gaseous state of water or H2O. Ice is solid and water is liquid. In simple terms, steam is very hot water. As we all know hot water has lower surface tension that allows it "mix" with oil and grease. When mixed it is able to "carry" them away when washing. This might not be a very good scientific explanation but I hope I could get the point across. It is just like washing greasy dishes with hot water eases the washing. In fact, adding soap to water also lowers the surface tension. However newer detergents have other chemicals that help the cleaning process even better. Of course some harsh detergents could damage the surface that we are cleaning. If you feel that chemical based cleaners could harm your leather you could try steaming them.

To start off, we would need something that could give us steam. No, boiling kettle won't do.
If you happened to have a multipurpose home steam cleaner, it would be the best tool.


Yes something like the one shown above. However, if you feel that this a little too bulky, you could use a compact steam cleaner like the picture below.


If you do not have any of these, then a garment steamer could also work.


If you have none, then go get yourself any of these ;-)

Each of these has their pros and cons. The multipurpose steam cleaner, although bulky could generate dryer steam. When these steam cleaners generate steam, the steam that shoots out is not 100% steam (4 steam word in a sentence). There are some water droplets within them. Dryer steam has less water droplets compared to wet steam. So, steamed surface will not be "that" wet and will dry faster. I hope that make sense. Garment steamer is likely less powerful and might take a longer time to get the job done compared to those actual steam cleaners. On a steam cleaner, there is a pump that "shoots" the steam out but on a garment steamer, steam is released naturally.

Done with the tools. Let's get to work.

STOP! The leather seats should be thoroughly vacuumed before steam cleaning. Yes, see my earlier post.

Since I am cleaning leather, wet steam should be fine. So, I went with the compact steam cleaner. If I were to clean fabric upholstery, dry steam should be more proper to prevent over-wetting.

With the steam cleaner turned on and with the proper cleaner "head" attached, move the head in a straight line to clean a small section. Then quickly use a microfiber towel to wipe off the wet surface, lifting away dirt and grime that are "floated out" by the steam. Try not to let the surface dry before wiping off. The idea is to lift away dirt that is suspended on the hot wet surface. Do the same, section by section on the entire seat.






The microfiber towel should pick up all the dirt.


The picture below shows half a seat that has been cleaned.


See the difference. The body oil, sweat, grease has been lifted off.

Continue with the back rest and the entire seat and then on all other seats.


A cleaned leather should look matt and feel soft.


Once all the surfaces are cleaned and dry, protect them with leather care products. See my earlier post on complete interior care here.

Look at how dirty the cleaner head is after finishing all the seats. The microfiber attachment is supposed to be white.



Steam could be use to clean all interior surfaces. Just avoid areas with buttons and electronics components. Steam can also be used to clean engine bay but that is for another post.

That's all for this post.
Happy detailing.