I arrived at Rich's house at 9:00am and the car was standing there, barely two weeks out of the showroom. It was excellent condition and glistening like a rockstar from afar. I would like to add that Rich was a fantastic person and his family was very warm and cordial! Secondly, since the car was in Sonoma, part of the Northern California's wine hub, I couldn't have wished for a prettier place to work at.
The first step to applying Opti-Coat is always inspecting the car for any defects. I gently cleaned a tiny spot on the hood and noticed very fine swirls on the surface. After carefully washing the entire car I recognized that these extremely fine swirls were all over the car. These swirls were a sore thumb in my eyes and I couldn't stand leaving such a beautiful car with these minute defects everywhere!
A gentle 'plastic bag' inspection also indicated slight bumps here and there which meant one thing - clay bar treatment! The car was spot clayed on various locations to ensure that no above surface contaminants were on the surface before moving forward with the next step. I was surprised to find the clay bar picking up relatively decent amount of contaminants. Lesson to learn here - always clay the car before coating or waxing or at least do a 'plastic bag' test to make sure the car doesn't need claying.
Remember the very fine swirl marks mentioned above? I wanted the car to go beyond its showroom condition to a show car finish. For that I needed to bring out the big guns and take this one extra step and make this a two-step polishing process. The car was polished intensely but gently using Menzerna Super Finish along with a Hydrotech Tangerine pad, softened out, to bring the car to a pristine shine by removing all fine swirls and scratches. Alongside, the windshield, plastics and panoramic roof were all polished with suitable polishing systems. However, the Menzerna Super Finish left an oily residue that had to be removed to ensure proper bonding of Opti-Coat to the clear coat. The entire car was then given an IPA solution wipe down to remove all residue, exposing the bare paint.
I wasn't quite satisfied with the result despite the car being reflective like a mirror. I used a finishing pad with an extremely light cut, Optimum Primer Polish and the PC 7424XP polisher at lower speed(4-5) to take the gloss to a whole new level. However, another reason why I specifically used the Optimum Primer Polish was because it is water-based and its residue acts as a catalyst for Opti-Coat Pro cross-linking.
The clock struck about 3:30 pm. Finally, I was ready to start coating the entire car. It was quite a spiritually gratifying experience to see the car right now in its 'birth' condition with no protection nor any defects. It would never be as exposed any more. With a smile and a sigh, I started coating the car one small section at a time. The applicator pad glided easily over the slick finish with the coating flashing and wiping it with a fresh microfiber finishing towel to remove any high spots. As I finished one side of the car and took a sip of water from my bottle, I backed up a distance and stood awed at how the car had started to look like a wrapped candy and as if someone had placed an invisibility cloak on the paint. Back and forth went the applicator pad and soon the entire car was coated with Opti-Coat, Opti-Glass and Opti-Lens. The cross-linking of the coating was evident 15-20 minutes after the car was done. I felt bonded and connected with the car. At the end the surface was still a bit tacky but I could feel the coating leveling in. I had to stop myself from touching the car again.
At about 5:00 pm, with the car completely coated with Opti-Glass, Opti-Coat and Opti-Lens, I had the opportunity to stand back and marvel at sight. It was a something to behold!
The car was left in the garage to let the coating cure and level overnight. I can't wait to Opti-Coat my next car. It was such a blast! A shout out to Rich and his family, the owners of the car, who chose me to service their car!