The detailing industry has changed rapidly over the past several years. One of the most notable changes is the popularity of nano coating products. Consumers are always interested in products that make their lives easier, and a coating can do just that. A paint coating will make vehicles easier to clean, keep them looking better for longer periods of time, and will reduce the time spent on maintenance as there is no need to use traditional waxes or sealants several times a year after a coating is applied. Best of all, these benefits can last for years rather than just weeks or months. Sounds great, right?
But wait, there’s more!
… or is there?
Due to the large market for coating products, there is a tremendous amount of competition among brands to sell their products and make a name for themselves in the industry. To complicate things even further, it seems like there are new companies flooding the market with even more products every day, and they all claim to be the best. Unfortunately, some companies and some detailers have resorted to unethical methods to help sell their products and/or services. These methods often involve “stretching the truth”, to put it lightly, in order to gain sales. What these businesses fail to realize is that while these false claims may end up resulting in more sales in the short term, they will ultimately have a negative effect on the entire coating industry in the long term, so let’s clear up some of the nonsense to help consumers and detailers better understand what coatings can actually do for them.
You’ll never have to wash your car again!
This should just sound fishy from the beginning, yet many consumers still fall for this claim and are forced to pay for it later when their car is dull, faded and covered water spots, bug splatter, bird bombs, etc.
As I mentioned before, nano coatings do provide a more durable layer of protection, and do not require as much maintenance as an uncoated vehicle, but this does not mean the car is maintenance free. Actually, many of the best coating features rely on the fact that the car is kept clean and is properly washed on a regular basis. We recommend our customers wash their vehicles at least twice a month, and more frequently if the vehicle is particularly dirty.
Hardness – What does it really mean?
Many companies like to dwell on the hardness rating, such as 9H. Some even include it in their product’s name to draw attention to it. What most of them are not advertising is what 9H actually means. The test used to determine the film hardness that is advertised for every coating I have seen to date is known as the “Pencil Hardness Test”. As I understand it, this test consists of a variety of standardized grading pencils that range from soft to hard depending on the composition of the pencil. Using a pencil, a line is made on the surface that is being tested, and if no scratch is visible, the test is repeated with a harder pencil until the surface is scratched. A coating with a hardness of 9H does not show a scratch with the hardest pencil.
This is far different than the MOHS Mineral Hardness scale in which minerals are rated on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is the softest and 10 is the hardest. In the past, I have seen detailers advertising products with a 9H MOHS hardness, however this is simply not feasible. If a coating had a mineral hardness of 9H, the only substance that would be able to scratch the surface would be one with a hardness of 10H or greater. For reference, a diamond, one of the hardest substances on earth, is rated at 10H. With that in mind, if a coating was truly 9H mineral hardness, it would not be possible to scratch the car with a key and you certainly would not be able to make swirl marks with a dirty towel (unless you’re smashing up diamonds and sprinkling them onto your towels).
Once a coating is applied, it can be scratched and swirled just the same as bare paint, so do not read too far into the hardness claims that are listed with any particular coating. In my opinion, they are nothing more than marketing hype.
Never Polish Your Car Again!
Say goodbye to swirls and scratches! … I wish. You know what they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Unfortunately, this is another completely false claim that is being used to lure customers in. While paint coatings may theoretically provide some small amount of resistance to fine marring, they are certainly not scratch proof or swirl proof, and improper washing and drying will absolutely lead to swirls and scratches on a coated vehicle. We typically recommend having a coated vehicle polished and re-coated every 2-3 years or so to maintain the highest gloss and clarity. A well maintained vehicle should only require very light polishing, never true correction, regardless of what type of protection has been applied.
No need for clear bra, nano coatings resists rock chips!
Again, I wish! Paint coatings are far too thin to have any chance of holding up against an impact. On the other hand, if you’ve ever held a piece of clear bra, it is a pretty hefty layer of material. Clear bra and paint coatings serve entirely different roles in the paint protection market, and one cannot replace the other, but they do complement each other quite nicely.
Clear bra is the best choice for providing protection against flying debris and small impacts. Paint coatings provide protection from environmental contamination. We actually recommend applying a paint coating on top of a clear bra so you can experience the benefits of both worlds. A base layer for rock chip protection covered with a coating for added beauty and easier maintenance.
Hopefully it is easy to see that these types of claims are doing nothing but harming the detailing industry. Detailers trust manufacturers, and customers trust their detailers, to provide factual information about the products and services they offer. When false information is spread, it creates expectations which no product will ever live up to. If a customer has spent good money to have their vehicle corrected and coated with a miracle coating that ensures they never have to wash or polish their car again because it will remain spotless and scratch free, they are certain to be let down quickly. This single event may not seem important, but imagine 100 customers all left with a bad opinion of paint coatings because the product did not live up to the claims that were sold to them. These unhappy customers will share their bad experiences with friends, family, and some will take to the internet to post about it where thousands of other vehicle owners will read about it. Eventually those 100 unsatisfied people will turn into 100 times that, which ultimately benefits no one.
Whether it is a paint coating, paint correction, or even a tire shine – make sure you’re aware of the abilities of the products you use, and be honest and open when discussing the abilities of those products with your customers.