The word on nano coat­ing

When rolling up on a car, the first thing you no­tice is the paint­work and the state of it

NZ Performance Car - - Product Feature - WORDS: JADEN MARTIN PHO­TOS: SUP­PLIED

Which isn’t al­ways good, of­ten far from it af­ter tak­ing a good ham­mer­ing from the stel­lar New Zealand weather system. Not only are our weather con­di­tions de­bat­able at the best of times, but burning hot sum­mers, fol­lowed by never-end­ing rain, and con­stant ex­po­sure to dust and all sorts of other abra­sive el­e­ments take their toll. You’ll see this quite a bit on cars pro­duced in cer­tain re­gions in the north­ern-hemi­sphere that have a dif­fer­ent cli­mates to ours af­ter they’ve been driv­ing here for a few years — se­ri­ously, the sun is no­to­ri­ously harsh. Good thing for your wal­let that sur­face pro­tec­tant can be ap­plied to your car to not only make wash­ing it a hell of a lot eas­ier, but also help ex­tend your paint­works life­time. This ap­plies whether your car is a brand-new fresh-off-the-dealer’s-lot pur­chase, seen a few laps around the lo­cal cir­cuit, or rolled fresh straight out the booth — what­ever your car’s his­tory, a pro­tec­tive coat­ing is the way to go. Tra­di­tional waxes and so­lu­tions can wear off quickly dur­ing sim­ple wash­ing rou­tines, which will lead to early dam­age. The likes of a nano coat­ing layer pro­vides con­sis­tent hy­dropho­bic prop­er­ties and adds a level of scratch re­sis­tancy to pro­tect clear coat. One com­pany of­fer­ing this coat­ing is Luxxio — founded by three lo­cal lads who wanted to of­fer an ef­fec­tive, af­ford­able car­care op­tion with­out the fake sales pitches that plague the in­dus­try.

We sat down with Luxxio’s Kris Kollen to find out how the process of nano coat­ing a ve­hi­cle works.

Assess the si­t­u­a­tion

This is one of the most cru­cial steps in the process. As Kris ex­plains, “It’s im­por­tant for us to un­der­stand the client’s ex­pec­ta­tions and work to­gether to de­velop a re­sult that they will be happy with. Nano coat­ing is not a deep scratch and dam­age fixer, although it will cer­tainly help re­duce their ap­pear­ance, and we try to ed­u­cate the client as to the best so­lu­tion for their ve­hi­cle’s con­di­tion, at the best pos­si­ble cost to them.”

First clean

In the prac­ti­cal stage of the process, the first step is for the ve­hi­cle to be cleaned thor­oughly. For Luxxio, this process in­volves us­ing its own line of clean­ing prod­ucts to re­move any con­tam­i­nants that may cause dam­age to the paint’s sur­face in the next step. A clay cloth will be used to fur­ther de­con­tam­i­nate the car, re­mov­ing any smaller traces of dust and dirt.

Cut and pol­ish

The most time-in­ten­sive por­tion of the process, cut­ting and pol­ish­ing, is the ground­work for the fi­nal re­sult and plays a piv­otal role in achiev­ing a qual­ity fin­ish. The team at Luxxio uses fresh pads to en­sure that the con­tact sur­face is free of abra­sive con­tam­i­nants, and con­ducts a spot test to see how the paint sur­face re­acts to the work. This is im­por­tant, as paint qual­ity varies be­tween dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers, model ranges, and man­u­fac­ture years. Paint sur­faces can range from very hard — as you’ll find it on some Euro­pean ve­hi­cles, which are there­fore much harder to buff — to very soft, such as you’ll find on some Ja­panese ve­hi­cles, which scratch more eas­ily.

The con­di­tion of the sur­face on ar­rival and the type of sur­face pre­sented will de­ter­mine the ap­proach. For more scratched and/or harder paint, a rotary pol­isher will be used, while a Ru­pes dual-ac­tion pol­isher will be used for a bet­ter fin­ish on less scratched and/or softer paint. This process cuts the sur­face of the clear coat back to a de­sired level to re­move scratches and ox­i­da­tion (the be­gin­ning stages of paint fade and clear-coat peel) and will bring the paint back to its best pos­si­ble con­di­tion be­fore it un­der­goes the next clean­ing stage.

Sec­ond clean

The sur­face will be cleaned once again to re­move any residue from the com­pounds that were ap­plied dur­ing the cut and pol­ish stage, this time us­ing a cleaner that tar­gets the pol­ish di­rectly and dis­solves it, leav­ing it ready to be wiped away — it is im­per­a­tive this is done with a brand-new cloth to avoid fur­ther scratch­ing, as the sur­face’s new high shine will be es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble. It’ll then be given a con­ven­tional wash, with­out sham­poo or clean­ers, to fur­ther rinse away con­tam­i­nants, be­fore the re­main­ing wa­ter residue gets re­moved with a com­pressed air­line.

Nano ap­pli­ca­tion and buff­ing

Two trained pro­fes­sion­als will ap­ply the coat­ing. The first will sec­tion the de­sired area into man­age­able por­tions to cre­ate an even coat­ing — at­tack­ing the sur­face in smaller por­tions means that the nano coat­ing can be ap­plied evenly, cre­at­ing a smoother sur­face to en­sure max­i­mum hy­dropho­bic abil­ity. The coat­ing will be slowly ap­plied in even strokes, with the en­tirety of the se­lected por­tion cov­ered with a spe­cial­ized sponge and cloth. It is im­por­tant that a trained pro­fes­sional, like one of the Luxxio team, con­ducts the ap­pli­ca­tion, as, if it is ap­plied in­cor­rectly, the re­sult will be harder to buff, and you may end up with a hazed sur­face.

To fur­ther pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing as the prod­uct dries, the buff­ing process will be con­ducted si­mul­ta­ne­ously by the sec­ond trained pro­fes­sional, who will buff with one spe­cial mi­crofi­bre cloth and wipe away with an­other. De­pend­ing on what was de­cided with the client at the as­sess­ment stage, an ad­di­tional layer may be ap­plied for a two-layer pro­tec­tion. This sim­ply re­peats the process over the first layer. Most ve­hi­cles will only have one layer ap­plied, but, for the best pos­si­ble fin­ish and pro­tec­tion, Luxxio rec­om­mends two lay­ers.

On­go­ing care

To en­sure that the coat­ing has set cor­rectly, the ve­hi­cle should be stored in a shel­tered area and kept away from wa­ter for a min­i­mum of 24 hours — it is rec­om­mended that the ve­hi­cle be stored in a shel­tered en­vi­ron­ment when not in use dur­ing the first 21 days to aid the dry­ing and hard­en­ing process. Within the first seven days, it is cru­cial that the sur­face is not washed. Af­ter this pe­riod, light wash­ing with­out chem­i­cals can be con­ducted. Once 21 days have passed, the nano coat­ing will have had enough time to fully set and harden. From here, your ve­hi­cle can be eas­ily cleaned us­ing pres­sur­ized wa­ter, as any con­tam­i­nant will be washed off. How­ever, for mud and thick dust, it is rec­om­mended a pH-neu­tral sham­poo be used as an ex­tra lu­bri­cant.

While many brands lock you into their own prod­ucts for war­ranty pur­poses, Luxxio says that any sham­poo is fine, as long as it is of suit­able pH level (pH12 to pH4 [pure wa­ter is pH7]). The com­pany rec­om­mends wash­ing the ve­hi­cle at least once a month to pro­long the life of the coat­ing. By us­ing the pro­vided Speedy Coat­ing Main­te­nance Kit you will add an ex­tra pro­tec­tive film that in­cludes UV pro­tec­tion, hy­per wa­ter re­pel­lency, and shine.

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