The word on nano coating
When rolling up on a car, the first thing you notice is the paintwork and the state of it
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.”
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.
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.
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.