“What is the best way to care for my vehicle or vessel, especially after it is ceramic coated?”
A lot of people tend to over complicate cleaning the exterior of their vehicle once its been coated. Although it is human nature to want to care for something once you’ve invested time and money into it. Spending more time on something like this is counter intuitive. With the right knowledge, less is more in this case. After we coat a vehicle we give crash course over products and methods to care for your vehicle exactly how we would here at the shop. Here is that crash course!
Firstly, one of the biggest things is learning how to use and trust the no-rinse system. No-rinse and a waterless system are two different products. There are many different brands of no-rinse washes, but we use Optimum No-Rinse or CARPRO EcH2O. No-rinse washes are exactly how they sound – there is not a rinse before the wash, and no rinse before you dry. The two products I mentioned above are pH neutral chemicals that will neutralize your water, making water spots irrelevant.
So how does this system work and why is this better than traditional washing techniques? Most of your scratches come from when you dry your car. The reason for that is because when you wash your car with regular soap and water, your soap acts as your lubricant and helps reduce the friction between the mitt and the surface. When you spray the soap off, the only thing you have left to help lubricate the surface is the water, and that’s what you’re trying to get off the paint. No-rinse is formulated to go on the surface dry giving the lubricant the surface needs to reduce the friction. While the no-rinse is sitting on your vehicle, it’s breaking down the dirt so it’s not a factor in scratching your paint when you dry it off. Drying is where no-rinse takes the upper hand over traditional washing. When you dry the car you also have your lubricant going off the vehicle. Not only does this save time but it keeps your vehicles surface at a neutral state and ensures the health of any protection you have on your vehicle coated or not. You can use a traditional sponge to wash your vehicle with no rinse but we prefer using the big red sponge by optimum.
Drying Pro Tip #1: Do you find yourself pushing the water around the first couple panels when you first start drying? Try a waffle weave drying towel! This is a special microfiber used to dry water. How does it compare to a rubber shammy? A rubber shammy has one job and that is to absorb water. Waffle weave drying towels not only absorb water, but they also pick up any dirt or particles you have left behind on the surface. This is key because with a rubber shammy, those particles are trapped and are left dragging along the surface as you move the shammy across the car to get it dry.
Drying Pro Tip #2: A lot of people are now using drying aids. One that we use in the shop is Opti-Seal. Backing up to when the car is still wet and you have not dried the surface, spray one or two sprays of Opti-Seal on a surface and then use your microfiber towel to dry off the no rinse and the Opti-Seal. Think of polymers like oil vs the water your trying to get off. The polymers will reject the water and push it around into a group the direction your towel is moving. With this, you are essentially herding sheep (water) with your Opti-Seal and your drying towel. By pushing around the polymers with your dry towel, the water then begins to separate itself from clinging to the car and absorbs into the only thing that will take the water (dry towel).
Using this method as a drying aid will not only enhance longevity of your protection, but it also adds more slickness to reduce the tension between the dry towel and the surface. It also allows you to skip the quick detailer step after your wash to get those micro water spots off. You will notice that Opti-Seal will look dark and streaky on the surface. After you dry it off if there still any streaks simply take a microfiber and wipe it off. There is no rush on getting this product off or any risk of missing a spot and letting it sit.