Introduction to Opti-Coat
About two years ago I began hearing rumors of a great new technology that was going to forever change how we look at paint protection. The sources talked about things like a “permanent coating,” never needing to wax again, how paint would readily shed away dirt and oil, how the product would offer better scratch and mar resistance, better UV resistance, how it wouldn’t oxidize, and would yield much better gloss retention. To be honest, I laughed at the idea myself, having worked for a company that applied those car care packages hocked by new-car dealers like a carney at the circus. I immediately thought that this miraculous new product was just another one of those gimmick paint sealants that need regular re-application to keep the warranty valid…boy was I wrong!
Enter Optimum Opti-Coat!
It was a dark and stormy night in 2004, when, in a laboratory hidden deep underground, a mad scientist obsessed with polymer technology started developing and testing Opti-Coat…Ok, so maybe it wasn’t really an underground laboratory, and that mad scientist was actually David Ghodoussi from Optimum Polymer Technologies, but that development and testing continued on for another 3+ years before Optimum was ready to unleash this amazing new product in 2008. However, this was no ordinary product release and unless you had been following along on the Optimum forum during the late stages of development, you probably would never have even heard of Opti-Coat. There was no marketing for this product, it was not being offered to the general public, and there was no information about it on Optimum’s web page. In fact, it was only available to approved professional detailers who signed a waiver acknowledging they understood the application process and risks.
As pro detailers began getting their hands on Opti-Coat and testing it for themselves, word quickly spread across the detailing network like wildfire! Although I had seen a few posts shortly after its release, I wasn’t ready to jump on the bandwagon. It wasn’t until I started to see rave reviews about the product by other very reputable pro detailers, those who I’ve come to know very well and who’s opinion I held in high regard, that my interest was piqued. In June of 2010, I ordered up my first syringe of Opti-Coat and applied it to my car. After 15 months of having this fantastic product on my car I can honestly say it has far surpassed my expectations!
Where can I order it?
After all that build-up, I’m sorry to say that because of it’s very nature, Opti-Coat is still only available to professional detailers. Opti-Coat is a permanent coating and it is not applied like a traditional wax or sealant. Once it’s cured the only way to remove Opti-Coat is by polishing, sanding, or with the use of paint removers. Because of its impervious property, IPA, Prep-Sol, Detergents, degreasers, or other chemical cleaners will not affect the coating. While the application process is very similar to Opti-Seal, when applying Opti-Coat you must ensure that it levels out before it cures (and it cures fast), because once it sets, it’s not coming off. Obviously this could pose a significant liability in the hands of the general public, which is why it’s only available to pro detailers.
Enter Optimum Opti-Coat 2.0
As more and more pro detailers posted their experiences with Opti-Coat, the general public car/detailing enthusiast became increasingly frustrated that they could not obtain the product. Well, the great folks over at Optimum Polymer Technologies were listening the entire time and they spent the next 3 years secretly tweaking the formula. The changes would make application easier and more user friendly for the consumer market. In Spring of 2011 Optimum officially released the consumer version of the coating! (drumroll, please……) It is called Opti-Coat 2.0 and, as promised, it is available to the general public!
Opti-Coat 2.0 has all the same exceptional qualities of the pro version (now named Opti-Guard), but it cures more slowly, thereby giving the user more time to level out any areas where the product might have been applied too heavily.
So what is Opti-Coat 2.0 and what’s so special about it?
Opti-Coat is a one component moisture cure clear coat much like a one-component moisture cure isocyanates paint. Once it is applied, just like other clear coats, there is no need to add boosters or other maintenance products to replenish it.
Opti-Coat vs. Urethane clears
- Much better scratch and Mar resistance
- Much better release properties (readily sheds dirt and oil)
- Much better UV resistance (no yellowing over time)
- Much better gloss retention
- Does not oxidize (will continue to bead water and release dirt for years).
David Ghodoussi, CEO
Optimum Polymer Technologies, Inc
I can say that this product has been a blessing for me and my clients! Since I have a full-time career and only detail on the weekends, I’m often left with very little time to care for my own vehicle. Now that my vehicle is coated with Opti-Coat it stays cleaner longer, attracts less dust, shows reduced marring, makes washing and drying a snap, and best of all it frees up more time for doing other things in my life. I no longer need to spend half a day washing and waxing my car every week, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I simply just don’t have the time anymore. I also applied Opti-Coat to my wife’s car. Her busy schedule doesn’t afford me much more than a few washes a year and I wanted to preserve the look and life of her paint as much as possible. The time-saving feature of Opti-Coat is truly a benefit and a strong selling point for many of my clients.
Most importantly, I feel Opti-Coat is revolutionary for both consumers and the detailing community. By offering this product to our clients we are, in a sense, offering a renewable clear coat, but with much better properties. I’ve been using this information to help sell Opti-Coat to my clients for a while, but it is especially important for clients with new cars sporting very thin OEM paint (80-90 microns). Even though this is a permanent coating, I really don’t try to sell it as such. Instead, I educate the customer about the product and highlight the benefits, including that future polishing will remove less OEM paint, since the majority of light swirling and marring will be in the coating. I also like to explain that Opti-Coat offers increased UV protection to replenish the small amount potentially removed during polishing.
Application and Paint Prep
Prior to application of the coating you will want to get the paint corrected to your desired level of finish. Once you coat the paint you shouldn’t do any aggressive polishing because of the possibility that you will compromise the coating, so get it looking good before you apply! You should consider washing, claying, and/or polishing to remove any unsightly swirling or marring. Once you have the vehicle looking up to snuff, ensure all polishing oils are removed. There are several ways to do this but I utilize a foam cannon mixed with a solution of Optimum Power Clean and Chemical Guy’s Citrus Wash. First, I rinse the car really well, then I spray it down with the foam cannon and leave it to dwell for a few minutes. Next, I wash the car using the 2BM and Chemical Guy’s Citrus Wash as my soap, mixed at the paint prep ratio. Rinse and dry the vehicle. Finally, once the vehicle is dry I do an IPA (isopropyl alcohol, 15% mixture) wipe-down to ensure that absolutely all oils are removed. (Note: If you’re using Optimum’s latest polishes, all that is needed after polishing is to wipe the panel down with some water and a soft MF towel…Although, I’ll usually give the car a wash anyway).
What surfaces can I apply the coating to?
- Painted Surfaces
- Plastic trim
Note: Optimum does not officially recommend Opti-Coat 2.0 on glass surfaces. Basically, it can interfere with clarity or slightly blur your view if it doesn’t even out or if you’re left with high spots. However, if the application is done properly there should be no issue and I’ve successfully applied it to the glass on numerous vehicles.
Now that you’ve got the car all prepped, please see the below video for my method on application.
Here is another video showing what you have to look forward to once your car is coated with Opti-Coat!
Tips / Closing Thoughts
Although I love Opti-Coat 2.0, this product is not for everyone; for those of you out there who like to wax/seal your car often, you might want to skip Opti-Coat. If you aren’t sure of your skills in removing defects through polishing, this may not be your optimal solution. However, if you do want it applied to your car I suggest finding a reputable detailer with application experience.
- If you give application a shot on your own, you may find high spots in the paint after the coating has cured. You can simply level these areas off by polishing with Poli-Seal or Optimum Finish, or you can re-polish the entire panel and try applying the coating again. For an example of what high spots look like, please see the photos below.
- Opti-Coat 2.0 cannot be layered as it will not bond to itself. If you want to reapply the coating you will need to perform a light/moderate polishign of the paint for it to adhere properly, much like sanding a surface before it’s painted.
- Opti-Coat 2.0 comes in a 20cc syringe. This should be enough to coat 2 mid-size cars. On average I use 6-8cc of product to coat all paint, trim, glass, and wheels of a car that is about the size of a Camry or and Accord.
- I suggest wearing nitrile or latex gloves as well as eye protection during the use of this product.
- The most common question I’m asked is, “can I top it with another wax, sealant, or detail spray?” While the answer is yes, it really defeats the purpose of the coating as the paint will temporarily take on the properties of whatever product you use. I also say “temporarily” because waxes and sealants aren’t able to bond to the coating like they can to well-prepped paint. While they may improve the overall look and feel of the paint for a short time, the durability of these additional products will be reduced significantly.
Examples of high spots after improper Opti-Coat 2.0 application:
In conclusion, although it may not be for everyone, I love Opti-Coat for my family cars and for the majority of my clients!