I always enjoy using and testing new paint coatings, and the latest and greatest from Gtechniq certainly caught my attention.
Crystal Serum Light (CSL) is the newest paint coating from Gtechniq that is available to all consumers, not just professional installers. Crystal Serum Light shares many of the same features that are packed into the professional grade Crystal Serum, but CSL was formulated to be easier to use at the cost of sacrificing some durability. Gtechniq estimates an impressive 3-5 year lifespan for Crystal Serum Light, which is more than several other industry leading coatings. This product is also said to greatly exceed the performance of the Gtechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer coating that has been on the market for quite some time.
Application was very straight forward. Just add a small amount of product onto the supplied applicator pad and spread a thin, even layer onto your working area. I found it best to split panels into sections, working in relatively small areas (i.e. half of a door or a quarter of a hood). Once you have spread the product onto a section, immediately wipe it away using light pressure and a clean microfiber towel. Reapply product to your applicator as needed, and repeat this process of spreading the coating, then removing the residue until the entire car has been covered. Remember to flip to a clean portion of your towel regularly, and change towels when needed. Inspect your results as you work to ensure you are completely removing the coating residue as it will be very difficult to remove if left to cure. I find it best to inspect for coating residue with bright, but diffuse ambient light. Spot lights/ swirl inspection lights are not the proper tool in this case. If you have a shady area, or are working on a cloudy day, move the vehicle outside to inspect it for any high spots that need to be taken care of right away. More detailed instructions are available here.
Before application, remember to thoroughly clean and decontaminate the paint. If there are defects in the paint, be sure to do a proper paint correction to produce a swirl free finish. Then remove any residual oils with an IPA mixture or Gtechniq Panel Wipe. Always work on a cool, clean, dry vehicle and never in direct sunlight when using the coating.
The end result was an incredibly glossy vehicle. CSL noticeably darkened the paint on this Range Rover, and I was extremely impressed with how slick the vehicle was after applying the coating. Typically, silica based coatings are not known for being slick to the touch, but this is definitely the slickest feeling coating that I have ever used. In fact, when we were taking the photo that was used in the beginning of this article, the bottle wanted to slide right off the hood even though the panel is almost flat.
My initial impressions of any coating are always based on of a few key points: Price, Ease of use, and Gloss. This coating is competitively priced relative to other consumer coatings, so that is great to see. I was very pleased with the ease of application, and the final appearance of this coating was excellent. Durability is obviously not something I can comment on at this point, but I hope to apply this product to various test panels/vehicles for long term testing so I can evaluate the durability and compare it to other products on the market. If the coating can live up to the 3+ year durability claims, then this is one great product!