Reflections Detailing of Utah

FRS new car prep and opti coat or opti guard paint coating

I get many questions regarding new cars, I thought I would create an article about a new car prep.  Since this car also was going to get Optimums Opti coat  I’ll explain the benefit of that coating.

When the client contacted me prior to shipment of the car we talked about what he was wanting, his concerns, and his desires.  It was established the very first thing he needed to do was contact the salesman and the maintenance manager and mandate no dealership prep will be done to this car.  Yes he needed to mandate with a high level of furver that they were to not wash, dress, or try and improve the image of this car after transport.  The only thing he wanted done was removal of shipping wrap off the car.  In retrospect we should have told them not to do even that!  I even suggested to send a very clear message that if any “detailing” was done to the car he would either reject the car, or the dealership would pay for the proper detailing.  You have to be VERY clear with the dealership or they will courtesy wash and clean the car, and in the process will very likely add swirls and a mess of products to the car.  If the delivery dealership was not so far from me, I would have requested that the shipping wrap stayed on and no one touch the car, however it had to be driven to me for this detail.

Once it arrived we walked around the car inspecting it, and to our surprise the marring was light.  You could see where they used a poor quality rag and/or dirty one to wipe down the areas they removed the shipping wrap.  This marring was primarily isolated to the areas where the wrapping was located in transport.  I was confident that no major correction of the paint was needed.  However, that said many of the final polishes the assembly line uses before shipping often contain products that can conceal the marring.   The only true way to know the absolute real condition was to strong wash the paint and look at it again in quality lighting.


You can see in the pre-rinse the water has some slight hydrophobic properties with the paint.  Not much but some.  The paint felt “tacky” and a bit grabby as I washed the paint.  The shipping wrap has some adhesive that will be left behind.

I used a strong wash that consists of 3 parts to clean the paint.  The first part is sprayed on and allowed to dwell, it helps remove any fall out or rail dust from the train transport.  The second part neutralizes the first part and continues to remove any organic materials on the paint such as waxes and cheap sealants.  The final step is a dwelling of a high quality shampoo on the paint that neutralizes the 2nd step.

Here is the first part allowed to dwell on the paint.

the second part is spread around on the paint and creates a flat look, the hydrophobic properties are gone!

A quick rinse and then for the foam bath that is allowed to dwell, I love to use my foam cannon to lay on a thick creamy layer of shampoo.  This increases the dwell time the cleaners have to work on the paint surface.  This helps eliminate the chance of marring the paint.  During the wash process is when some marring can happen, using techniques to reduce the marring is key!  While this was dwelling on the surface, I cleaned up the rims with a similar process to the paint, as the client also wanted the Opti coat 2.0 coating on the rims.  This coating will greatly help in the removal of brake dust on the rims, as a blast of water will knock off most of the debris.

You can see here that the oils on the paint surface from either the factory polishes or the shipping wax is emulsified and back into solution for easy removal.

While in the above photo it might appear to be dry, its not, but rather the water is stuck to the paint in a giant sheet.  This is what I wanted, a surface that is void of oils or material that help increase the hydrophobic nature of paint surface.  I’m now very confident that any products used to hide, or hinder my ability to make a proper assessment of the paint are gone.  I have a superior surface for assessment.  The remaining photos show how the water is behaving on the paint now that the surface is super clean.

I pulled the car into the shop, and under my ceiling full of high output and high color rendering lighting I could assess the paint properly.  I walked around with a hand held light source to aid in the process, marking the areas that need attention.  The use of painters tape helps as it won’t leave a gummy mess of adhesive on the paint.  This process can take a fair amount of time as you need to change the angles of the light striking paint to see some of the fine marring.  Sometimes the marring is hard to see by just glancing a light off the paint, this inspection step needs a sharp eye and patience.

This is the type of marring I found, light straight line marring most likely from the dirty shop rag used to wipe down the paint.  It could also be marring that the assembly line inflicted to the paint, but could easily be hidden by the polish that I needed to remove.  These are not deep so removal of them would only take a fine polishing.

More marring from a different angle on a different location of the paint.

here is some more, while slight its best to move it before you apply the coating to the paint surface as you will “trap” under the coating the marring.

After some testing of various polishes and pad combos, as well as some different techniques I settled on a combo that would yield the greatest gloss to the paint.  I was thinking the car would only need spot work for the marring, my attention to detail took over and I polished nearly the entire car.  The results were well worth the effort!

You can see the clarity of the reflections in the paint, crisp and clean.  Many owners think the “wax” is what creates the reflections, not so much.  Polishing is credited with nearly 90% of the look a car has, the “wax” is the make-up that protects the finish the polishing created.  You can put lip stick on a pig and its still a pig-  you can put the most expensive wax in the world on a poorly polished surface and it can’t improve the appearance like proper paint polishing creates.  Now remember this is a brand new car, the dealership only took off the shipping wrapping, they were told not to wash it!  This car was Au Natural as it can get, yet it needed polishing to bring out the greatest effects.  The LSP or last step process is just the make up for the surface, however polishing is the surface surgery that alters the appearance.

Polishes have carriers in them to help lubricate and transport the polishing media that abrades the paint.  These carriers can be left behind and may interfere with either waxes or in this case the Opti Coat 2.o.  These carriers don’t interfere as much with a true wax as they do for coatings and sealants.  You must have a super clean surface for the coatings to bond to.  In this step below I clean and remove any possible carriers from the polishing.  You can use several methods, this is a newer product I was trying out….CarPros Eraser.  I have used Isopropyl Alcohols before, in various dilutions but wanted to see how this stacked up.  I like it!

Still at this point there is no LSP or coating on the paint surface but you can clearly see a very high level of gloss and clarity.  There is an “orange peel” effect to modern paints that you can see in the overhead light reflections on the paint (the more distorted area).  All cars have this effect unless its sanded flat.

Here is the Opti Coat 2.0!  After hours of prep its time for the coating to be applied, the make up for the car.  This coating is super durable, it increases the thickness of your car’s paint, it increases the hardness of paint (to 8-9H on the Mohs scale), and creates a very nice crystal look to the car.  The coating adds a thickness of around 2um of film build up, the benefits of that are many towel scratches and minor scratches are less than that deep so if you get some marring over time it can be polished out……..get this…..without actually polishing the clear coat its self!  Now marring deeper than that still won’t go as deep into the paint due to the thickness build up of the coating.  The only way to really remove this coating is to polish it off, this is tough stuff!  The durability is like nothing out there…..I’ve had it on my car for over 28 months and its still going strong.  I’ve tried to remove it with super strong cleaners, strong All purpose cleaners, and nothing removes it.  In fact, it’s good to give it a strong wash every few months to help ensure normal environmental fall out is cleaned off.  I’ve seen it where the coating seems to be “wearing down”, give it a strong wash which removes the fall out and it starts acting like it was its first wash.  Now let me not over state anything, lets keep it real, this is not a forever coating or a coating that you can abuse and expect it will be fine.  It’s a coating not a layer of diamonds on your paint, if you allow crap to build up on the paint, you allow bug guts to sit for many days on the paint, run it through the flogging of a car wash, or go tromping through the bushes the coating will become abused and you can’t expect it to not alter is properties.  NO small print here that is real world common sense expectations.

Now here is the finished product, a high gloss and highly protected FRS.  It doesn’t get any better than this.  The remaining photos are all after shots and I won’t continue to try and educate you, the reader, as its likely you will be in a trance after this point 🙂

If you have any question please ask!


Reflections Detailing of Utah


Here is a video a good friend of mine made about Opti Guard coating.  He has a few other videos of how it behaves after a year, just search on his youtube page.

In this video you can see the hood of the car there is no protection to the paint, the water lays on the  paint surface.  On the bumper was a test section for the client to test the coating in a Canadian winter……..the client drove many 100’s of miles back to the installer to have the whole car done for the next season!

This is a quick video I made on the properties of this coating, and the benefits it has for the paint surface.  The coating has been on my car for over 28months at this point of the video (12.3.12).