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38 comments on The Truth Behind Wild Coating Claims

  1. Kevin George says:

    Great topic and article Zach! Very good information here if you are not familiar with coatings and are looking to have a professional coating applied to your vehicle.

  2. Wes Oakes says:

    Someone finally dispelling all the junk! IMO the companies that claim these things actually really don’t make the best coatings from what I’ve seen.

  3. A vehicle, is alive. Paint, plastic, trim, metals expand and contract with the temperature and weather. The hype of 3,4,5,6,7 lifetime coatings is not possible. Coatings help but are not the end all.

    • Hi Jason, that is very true… coatings are just one step of many when it comes to caring for your vehicle. Every vehicle will need to receive regular care, including polishing and recoating, to maintain optimal levels of clarity, gloss, and protection.

  4. Chris Knandel says:

    Zach, thank you for writing this article. I have been very skeptical of advertising claims and even detailer claims made on social media. You hit the nail on the head, in the end the people that will suffer most is the detailers. I wish you continued success and hope that many leading detailers come across this information.

  5. Ron Ayotte says:

    Excellent article. Before one invests in a coating, read the fine print.

  6. Theodore Tz. says:

    Very well written. ??

  7. Derrick says:

    Awesome article Zach.
    Question about polishing a coated vehicle. So after polishing a coated vehicle, some coating is still left on the paint right? Are you topping it off with a sealant to protect what’s left of the coating? Or are you putting a second layer of the same coating? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Derrick – There is no way of knowing if there is any coating remaining after polishing. This is the reason I never recommend polishing a coating for maintenance as there is just no way to know if it has been completely removed or just degraded. Most coatings claim to be about a micron or so thick, which is thin enough that even just a fine polish would likely remove it entirely, or at least almost entirely.

      For our customers who have had their vehicle coated, but need the paint polished again, we always recommend reapplying a new coating. If they do not wish to do a coating, then we will do a sealant, but explain to them that it is most likely that they coating has been removed.

  8. Zack,
    My name is Jim Deardorff. In 2010 I received a new nanocoating from Germany Permanon. At first I was skeptical of its performance claims but, since my target market was farm tractors and combines I deceived to give it a try. First, cleaning is critical to overall performance. We hand wash, clay bar all surfaces including windows then, apply two coats by spray. Finally wipe the total surface with a microfiber cloth. Manufacturer rates performance at one year but, 6 months is more realistic unless the car is parked in a garage. The biggest benefit for Permanon is the vehicle is easier to clean. Another advantage is the ability to monitor performance by a simple water break test. When the water beads up Permanon is still working when it stops reapplication is needed. Overall I very satisfied with the Permanon product

    • Hi Jim – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Permanon product. I have never used any of their products, but we do extensive, long term testing for all of the coatings we use here in our shop, and all of them have proved to provide hydrophobic properties that exceed the 1 year mark. With that being said, it is important to understand that water beading is not an indication of protection or if a coating is in tact or not. Water beading is a product of high surface tension, and the surface tension can be altered by many things over time. So, if water beading has diminished, a true paint coating is likely still present and providing a sacrificial barrier between the elements and the surface of the paint, but the surface tension was likely lowered by use of heavy cleaners or surface contamination. This is why many of us like to use coating toppers such as GTechniq C2 to enhance hydrophobic performance, and is also a great reason why good maintenance habits are so critical to the performance of the initial coating.

  9. Juan says:

    Really awesome information thank you for sharing! I love it.

  10. nls8520 says:

    It was nice to read a real and honest take on coatings, I have no problem with a company marketing a product but I do look for and only use products that provide realistic claims.

    • Thanks for commenting! Marketing should only include realistic, factual information… to me that is common business ethics, don’t ya think? Unfortunately there are always those who will stretch the truth a bit.

  11. Andrew Prentice says:

    Zack, would this be considered wrong information to tell a customer—–“If the owner were to use a cheap mitt, beach towel, and sponge used on the wheels for the paint, it won’t take long to scratch up the coating. That’s the beauty of coatings, they take the abuse rather than the clear coat. it’s easier and cheaper to reapply the coating compared to adding more clear to a car.”

    Says to me, the coating is scratched but not the paint.

    Could you possibly add to the write up going over your procedures of Removing coatings to re-correct the paint. Such as MF cutting pads becoming embedded with coating particles that will marr the paint, unless you blow them out or use new ones each panel. How when you compound the coating, you never really know when its totally removed etc….. Basically the issues with coating after the fact for you as a professional. Its about time most detailers start seeing cars that were previously coated and they are stained or needing correction badly. Thanks in advance

    • Hi Andrew – that is correct, somewhat. Coatings are very thin. Most claim to be just 1-1.5 microns thick. Most scratches will be deeper than this, though light marring and light swirl marks may not. This means that light defects may reside just in the coating layer, and more common scratches may penetrate the coating and damage the actual clear coat. This is not all bad news though because since the coating provided additional thickness, even if a scratch had penetrated into the clear coat, it is not as deep as it would have been if there was no coating in the first place. This means that next time you correct the vehicle and reapply a new coating, you are removing less paint due to the added thickness of the coating on the surface, therefore preserving paint over time compared to an uncoated car.

      As far as removing a coating, there is no way to know for sure if what you have done has truly removed the coating. We have corrected many vehicles that have had nanocoatings applied to them, and the correction process is no different than an uncoated vehicle… do your test spot, determine what needs to be done to remove the defects, and proceed with the process you determine.

      With that being said, based on my conversations with several companies, most coating manufacturers will agree that as long as a vehicle has been properly cleaned, polished, and wiped with alcohol/solvent, then a new coating will have no trouble adhering to the surface.

      Some cars only need light polishing prior to recoating to enhance gloss – this is what I do to my personal car every 2-3 years and consists of a good wash, clay & chemical decon, light polish with something like M205 on a white pad, alcohol wipe, and recoat. The process takes me just a few hours to do on my smaller car. Other cars may need a full blown correction if they have not maintained it properly and have considerable swirls and scratches in the paint.

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  12. Steve K says:


    One of the best articles I have read. I’m a fan of coatings but I’m also aware of limitations. With more and more “coatings” coming out, I can’t imagine what new ways of marketing will follow.

    Thanks again, very educational.

  13. Steve K says:

    Sorry…darn auto correct Zach

  14. Kevin D. Hannum says:


    Absolutely great article, great info! Thank you for setting the record straight about these coatings claims that some are using to get sales! I agree with you about giving out bad info, claims to, for example,100 people and those 100 tell 100, and it keeps going down the line! I feel that the industry has come a long way in the past 10 years, mostly all for the positive. And, it’s because of people like you, that keeps this industry honest and continually evolving! Keep up the GREAT work you do, the GREAT articles you write! HAPPY THANKSGIVING BROTHER!!!

  15. Finally,someone with a brain in their head is speaking the truth .It is refreshing to have somebody other than myself in the business dispelling the myths about coatings.I tell my customers often if you have to add a layer of clear to the car why would the manufacturers bother to apply one at the factory.

  16. Don Pavlica says:

    Nice article but I’m a little confused. In a previous article you , if my memory is right, you were elated over 3 to 4 years of protection with HPC coatings. Now it appears as though you have dampened the flame. Can u please clear this up.
    Appreciate it

    • Hi Don – thanks for taking the time to comment. You’re correct, coatings like 22ple HPC and GTechniq Crystal Serum Light claim durability exceeding 3 years. I did not mention otherwise in this article. You will notice in the first paragraph of this article I mentioned ” Best of all, these benefits can last for years rather than just weeks or months.”

      Later in the article I mentioned that we personally recommend that vehicles receive a light polish and recoat every 2-3 years, but that is due to the fact that daily driven vehicles will almost always benefit from a light polish once and a while to maintain the deepest gloss. This does not mean the coating has failed or is worn away after this time, it is just our recommendation on how to keep the vehicle looking its best. Of course if you feel your vehicle still looks perfect after this amount of time, there is no benefit to polishing, but in our experience this is rarely the case for most cars.

      Let me know if I can help explain something better.

  17. Allan says:

    How often can or should I wax my car with one of these coatings. Is 5 or more times a year in the ball park?

    • Hi Allan – you should not wax your car at all with one of these coatings. It technically would not hurt anything if you did, but you will be covering up many of the beneficial and superior properties of the coating by applying a wax on top of it. If you would like to apply additional protection to the coating, I would recommend a silica based spray sealant such as CarPro Reload, 22ple VS1, or GTechniq C2 V3 as all of these have similar surface properties as the base coating. These can be applied as frequently or infrequently as you desire.

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