I highly recommend you also read an excellent article about coatings by Zach McGovern called The Truth Behind Wild Coating Claims. That article goes into greater depth some of the issues I will be discussing here.
It has been nearly a year since I applied Optimum Gloss-Coat to a Jeep Wrangler. For those that do not know Optimum Gloss-Coat would fall under that entry-level coating category. A minimum of one year of protection up to about 2 years of durability is the common expectation of this product when applied to painted surfaces.
I originally performed a multiple step detail on the Jeep Wrangler that was assaulted on a daily basis from a sprinkler. After cleaning, polishing, etc. my last step was applying Optimum Gloss Coat, which was applied in an effort to address a sprinkler problem that I was not sure could be 100% avoided. Check out the video below, which will detail how the paint looked before and after the detail.
The customer was very happy to report that removal of water spots were a breeze once he noticed his jeep was hit with hard water.
The owner of the jeep had recently confessed that over time he has not been on top of his car care maintenance as usual. Shortly after that conversation, he told me after washing his jeep there were water spots that he could not remove. After this call, I decided to test the extent of damage with the blessing of the vehicle’s owner. After spot cleaning, I used a clay bar to remove the mineral deposits that have bonded but have yet to etch into the paint. I was hoping that was the extent of the damage, however, some water spots did penetrate through the coating and clear coat in addition to some swirls being introduced as well. These defects will, unfortunately, require polishing to remove.
Looking at the clay bar, seeing no contamination, was an indicator to me that the coating was still intact.
If you look at any form of protection carnauba, polymer, or coating as a sacrificial barrier your satisfaction will generally be high. Overall, coatings generally are stronger and more durable than sealants and waxes, but at the same time, you want to avoid neglect and poor car wash techniques. Just like other protection products, maintenance is key if you want the product to perform as advertised, which was shown with this one specific customer. I am also happy to inform you that the customer has found a way to keep the sprinkler from spraying his jeep.