Ask-A-Pro: Chemical Guys Water Spot Removerby Todd Cooperider
I purchased Chemical Guys Water Spot Remover a couple of weeks ago (from you folks; DI) to address some water etchings on the glass of my new 2010 Dodge Challenger as well as some ghost-like water spots/residue that were all over the paint (more visible when the paint was wet). I had heard about using CG WSR as a “spot” treatment but then I also saw examples of folks who have used it for the entire vehicle in more extensive cases like mine. When doing a test panel with my buffer, it was apparent these spots were not easily removable and would require more “cut” and several passes to address. This is where the CG WSR came in. I wanted a solution that was non-abrasive and could remove at least *most* of the spotting so I would not have to needlessly remove more clear (the paint was in otherwise decent shape other than the spotting).
I first washed the car and did a final rinse with deionized water (this was all done in my garage with the car being cool to the touch). As the car was still wet I worked on relatively small sections at a time (roughly 1’x1’ and no more than 2’x2’ areas). I would apply the WSR using a foam pad and light to moderate pressure against the paintwork. Immediately after, I would rinse the area with a sharp stream of DI water and then clean the section with my car wash solution and media (using a 5 gallon bucket). I would then do a second thorough rinse with my DI water and move on to the next section. This was my routine for doing the entire vehicle. I tried to only work the product for a short time and never let it get anywhere close to dry. I re-applied a couple of times in some isolated spots. The result was about 90-95% removal of all the ghost-like spotting and residue from the finish. The other 5%-10% was easily knocked out during my polishing steps.
Having said all of that, I have a few questions I hope you can answer:
1) Do you think my process was appropriate? Is there anything you would do differently?
2) Assuming the product is not left to dwell, is it really only reacting with the contaminants and not the paint itself?
3) Are there any downsides to using this product in regard to compromising of the clearcoat (ie. softening, removal, weakening or anything along those lines)?
I have to admit that I was a little hesitant using an acid based cleaner like this even though the product description mentioned it was safe for painted surfaces. ….but the results were quite impressive. Even with my apprehension I believe this was a better alternative to compounding the entire car since the latter would have resulted in removal of perfectly good clearcoat that had little damage and only needed light correction otherwise.
The reason for my questions above is simply to put some of my concerns to rest for using CG WSR in a similar scenario in the future (provided I follow a similar routine). Obviously, I would only use such a product if and only when the need arises again. Any input you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
….btw, I also purchased CG Citrus Wash and Clear which I used for the first time as a product stripper and it worked quite well. On top of the spotting problem, my car also had an unknown, invisible residue that was difficult to remove. I don’t know if it was a glaze/product or a contaminant, but some dwell time with the foam gun and a couple of washes with CW at the appropriate dilution seemed to take care of it. Thanks for the great products!!
Thanks for your feedback and questions Kean. That was a very thorough process you put together…want to do some writing for us? 🙂
I’m glad to hear the positive feedback on both Chemical Guys Water Spot Remover and their Citrus Wash & Clear. CG makes great products, and I’m not surprised that you found them to be as good as advertised.
To address your questions:
- I found your methodical approach to be quite appropriate…a bit on the OCD side, but we as professional detailers respect that! Should you find yourself in need of doing this process in the future you may want to back off of a few of the processes and see if you get the same results. For instance you could work a larger area at a time, or hold off on a wash of each section between applications. If you reduce your procedures and get the same results, then you could finish the process in a more timely fashion. The best way is to back off on one process at a time to find out what makes a difference and what doesn’t. Detailing is very much about processes and efficiencies, and the goal is to maximize results while minimizing time.
- The product is merely working on a chemical level between it and the mineral deposits that cause the water spots. It’s not reacting with the clear coat to “release” the mineral deposits. It’s completely safe when used as directed.
- There are no downsides relative to compromising of the clear coat. If you went straight into heavy compounding, then you’re compromising clear coat. By chemically removing the deposits, you’re actually preserving the clear coat.
Thanks again, and we appreciate your participation!Best regards, Todd Cooperider
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