Considering work in the automotive industry…the growth subset is car coating and paint restoration. You might want to consider working for us. We are always on the look out for quality people…and we are expanding fast. With outlets and workshops in Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Canada, Thailand and Indonesia, Sierra Glow is really on the move. Come on aboard.
Swirls are death to your car paint. They compromise your paint are are extremely insidious. Just like torturers know, a thousand cuts will lead to a very painful death…swirls are sharp, light cuts into the car’s clear coat. Over time more accumulate and they become deeper. Eventually they reach past the clear coat and into the soft car paint. This is when total compromise is reached and your car paint will start to bleed.
Most of the possible defects that can become serious start small. Once a small defect start, the blemish becomes deeper and wider from contaminants and the elements. Water goes into the grove and stays…but the water has pollutants and chemicals that continue to do damage. Again, small cuts can hurt.
So, in the image on your left each mark whether from paint scratch or a stain is a blemish that will become worse unless corrected.
What causes swirls? (1) The most common cause is a dirty cloth and you wipe your car with it. Yep! Pretty basic. Take your car to a car wash in Malaysia and watch the boys wash it. Do they use two buckets…one with clean, non soapy water to clean the cloth? Do they even rinse their cloth as they attack your car. So, a little piece, a fleck, of grit or dirt is picked up in the cloth (your car is dirty, grimey right?) and then this grit is held by the cloth and the washer continues to swirl and wash the suds into the paint. He will leave swirls in this process.
Personally I gave up washing my car in any car wash establishment years ago. All I ever got was a clean car with many complimentary swirls. So, no such wash places for my car. But, if you have to use these places, expect swirls. Although you can mitigate them…when you leave your car, speak politely to the manager. Explain to him that you really hate swirls, and you would be very unhappy to return and see new swirls on your car. This can help and it certainly won’t hurt. And, when you return to pick up your shiny car…check.
- Another swirl creating event is “polishing.” When buffers are used by inexperienced polishers, problem mount. For example, if the polisher is not an orbital polisher, and operated at high speeds you car will have two effects: swirls and aurora. If the compounds used are harsh, you will have both of these effects as well. That is why we use 6 different polishing compounds at Sierra Glow. Harsh compounds or gritty compounds are cheap compounds and should not EVER be used. However, we see them everywhere at car polishing/waxing shops. They create swirls.
What is an Aurora? You might remember this word from your earth science classes. Take a look.
On a car, we can have this same effect when a buffer is in inexperienced hands. We call it aurora or hologram. Take a look.
What a mess. When the sun shines on this car, you don’t have a shine, you have a mess. And worse, in the process of creating the holograms, the idiot is creating swirls as well. At Sierra Glow we face taking care of the aurora cars far too often. The owners are angry, and have no clue how this mess was created. When we inform them that these holograms came from the polishing/waxing job, they are amazed. And, getting rid of them is not the most difficult tasks for us, but we need to re do the buff in the proper way…gear action, orbital polishers with a non – abrasive compound will clear them up.
Holograms, aurora and swirls are not what you want on your clear coat. They can be prevented if you have your car washed carefully and with clean cloths. You can prevent swirls if you don’t wax/polish. The best solution to all of this is a good car coat, as this protects your clear coat AND your car shines with just a simple wash (with clean microfibre).
The point here is to really remember that swirls are dangerous as they are the slow, but steady nicks in your clear coat that opens the path to danger, extreme danger.
Don’t be a fool or a clown…Maybe your magic number is 4 or 5, but certainly 6 means your car paint/clear coat is finished. That is, if you choose to wax. This magic number applies to waxes you get outside, not your own. For those doing it yourself, I am assuming that you are not buffing first. So, although not recommended to wax at all, the home jobs are (with no buffing) are more acceptable and less damaging.
Most commercial waxes go through a three step process. First, they wash. Then, the buff and third, they apply the wax. Often the will buff the wax on as well. Yuk! 6 times, your car paint/clear coat will be not just damaged, but you have opened the door to oxidation. How is this possible?
Buffing or Polishing you car with high speed buffers (that’s how you get the shine) will take off a minuscule layer of the clear coat each time. The buffing will also create hairline, microscopic cuts into the clear coat. After just 3 waxes with this method, you can start the see the damage and your car will only shine with wax. When after 2 month, the wax is gone, your car simply will not shine. After 6 such treatments (maybe earlier), your clear coat has been severely damaged and most of it will be gone. Now your paint is exposed to the elements of Asian weather: acidic rain, pollution and intense UV light. With no protection, the paint will start to oxidize and oxidation is the beginning of the end.
Many car owners are not aware of the importance of the “clear coat.” This is a thin layer that almost all car manufacturers apply to the already dipped car.
Towards the end of this video, you can see the clear coat being applied after the dip. This clear coat is incredibly important to make your car shine and to protect your car paint from all the environmental elements that will be thrown at it over its lifetime. Without the clear coat, your paint not only is exposed but will be ruined quickly.
You can see this for yourself by looking at most trucks and vans. Many of these vehicles don’t have a clear coat, so you can see the lack of shine and the damage. Vans generally will be painted every year or two and the manufacturers know that names, logos, phone numbers are going on, so easier to apply these directly on the paint. Check out a van and you will see the dull. This is oxidation.
FYI: The next blog is about oxidation.
Back to the clear coat. This coat needs to be protected at all costs for losing it brings damage. That is why we are always harping on this issue, don’t wax, don’t polish. Use car coating as this is a thin chemical layer that PROTECTS THE CLEAR COAT! Protecting the clear coat means protecting your investment and protecting you shine. Our car coating is simply the best as it is a one layer coating that adheres definitively to the clear coat and will remain for 5 years. The only maintenance required is to wash your car, and after each wash, your car will shine and shine. And, the real beauty of our car coating, you WILL NEVER HAVE TO WAX AGAIN.
So, you will save your investment, save your time, never hurt your clear coat and when you sell the car, you will get a better return. Join the Sierra Glow Revolution!
Basic logic and rational thinking are not always easy especially when history, culture or habits are involved. More importantly, many stay in the dark because they simply don’t know. When cars replaced horse drawn carriages, there were many who rejected the car. Too noisy and dangerous when compared to the known safety of the horse. Many of these people didn’t jump on the “car bandwagon” for many, many years even after Henry Ford began mass production.
When electricity was invented and the light bulb started lighting homes, there were many who simply rejected this invention. They preferred the candle light. When home furnaces replaced pot belly stoves for heating a home, many said no. And even when indoor plumbing came replacing the well and the outdoor toilet, believe me, many were not quick to accept.
The notion one would reject these 19 and 20 century developments seem absurd and outright silly today. Who would want to go outside to use the toilet? To make my point more modern, who would like to use a slide rule or an abacus when you have a calculator or a computer.
When it comes to you car, are you really still waxing? Maybe more than 95% or even more of all car owners still wax. Is it because they don’t know about car coating? or Is it that they are following in the history, culture and habits taught to them by their parents. Car paint must be waxed, right? Many believe: there is no alternative to wax…wax is it!!!
At Sierra Glow, we meet a lot of our first time customers who only recently learned or heard about car coating. When they explored this, they discovered that Sierra Glow has a lot of favorable reviews and our prices seemed more reasonable. But, they had only heard about Sierra Glow and car coating quite recently (within the year). So, it is obvious to us that we have a lot of work to do to explain what car coating is and why you shouldn’t wax or polish.
Car Coating is cheaper, last longer (5 years), protects your car paint and clear coat and is environmentally friendly.
Expensive:Wax and polish can cost between RM 200 and 400 per wax. I have a friend who confided in me that she recently paid RM 900 for a polish and wax. Really? I still can’t believe that. But wax only last 2 to 3 months…so you do the math. 5 years, one time fee compared to wax charges x 4 (per year) x 5 years. Doesn’t make economic sense.Wax if you want to waste your money….
No Real Protection: Wax really offers no real protection against water marks, UV rays and oxidation or bird poo. It is wax not a protective, hard covering. So, even though it shines, it will not protect your clear coat. Also, since most wax companies will “buff” your car before applying, there is actual damage to the sensitive and thin layer of clear coat each time a polish with machine polisher are used. Be careful about wax companies using these polishers in the process of waxing your car…damage and swirls are often the result. The photo shows swirls left on this blue car caused by waxing only 4 times! These scratches or swirls let UV light attack the paint and this will result in oxidation. Don’t wax.
Environment: Wax companies play down the fact that their is oil within the wax compounds, and many of the compounds used in wax has negative impact on our environment. Since we have to repeated wax to have a car maintain its shine, these compounds are entering our eco system. Make sense to eliminate this…Don’t wax.
There are many reasons why car coating outshines (excuse the pun) waxing and polishing. But, the proof is your own eyes. Come to Sierra Glow or spend some time looking at our facebook pages or websites to see what we can do. It is nothing short of amazing, but to us, it is an everyday event.
Car paint can have a lot of problems. From water marks to swirls, from orange peel to blistering, there are literally hundreds of issues Sierra Glow faces in our car detailing business. We see all kinds of car paint issues. The most common blemishes are two: water marks and swirls. This post will focus on swirls.
What are swirls? These are marks made either by a rotary polisher, sponge, cloth when either washing or waxing your car. If there is a small (even microscopic particle) on your cloth or sponge, it can be sharp and actual cut the clear cur. If you have made a circular motion, you will leave a swirl. If you are waxing or polishing your car, you often make circular motions to buff to to make the paint shine. What happens when their is a gritty particle embedded in the cloth.
Most swirls are caused by polishing or waxing your car. Yes, damage is happening at an incredible rate in car wash business in Malaysia. The washers are not well trained, they don’t use two buckets to wash…they don’t understand the importance of washing from top to bottom. They use dirty cloths. I have even seen these car washers wash the wheels and then proceed to wash the hood of the car. What a disaster!
I use to go to a car wash place at Hartamas in KL. Wow, Don’t go there. My car had so many swirls after just a few washings.
The key to dealing with swirls is the ability to identify them, to actually see them. Seeing swirls is not easy, it is a learned skill. A bright lift or sun is important for beginners. With a bright light or the sun, you can move your head in angle that puts the sun or the light directly as a reflection on the paint. By looking at the edge of this light, you can see the swirl.
If you have swirls, get rid of them as these are razor thin cuts promote oxidation and discolouration. These cuts have opened your clear coat and your paint to COMPROMISE. This means, the paint problem can grow and become increasingly serious.
If you would like to learn how to identify the swirls, to see them clearly, watch the video.
Great Car Coating is the final outcome of the work at Sierra Glow. But, before we get to call our car coat “Great” we have to buff the car paint to a mirror – finish shine. Even a new car will not really have a mirror finish shine. Often we find minor to major blemishes on new car paint. Before Sierra Glow puts on the car coating, we must put on a shine that is blinding!
To do this is no easy task. It has taken us a long time to perfect our work. Our polishers are highly trained and the best in Penang. But, they have some help. Two important trade secrets are:
Sierra Glow only uses Gear Action Orbital Polishers by Compact Tools. These polishers are far from ordinary. They buff at a speed and in a motion that will not overheat the car paint. This is important for two reasons. One, if the car paint gets to hot, many problems can be the result…especially the burn and the wave. These are permanent marks made into the paint. Also we will not get the dreaded “halo” that many of the amateur car wax companies create for car owners. These halos are awful. Second, because the heat is low, we are able to work gently on the blemish while we do no damage to the clear coat. Many car detailers rev up their rotary polisher and create halos, excess heat and wipe off the clear coat. This is NOT the way to car detail. At Sierra Glow we have the best in polishers.
Second, we have great compounds. Actually we have 6 different compounds and we even sometimes blend two or three of our compounds to make a special formula. Why six? Paint comes in various hardness. Yes, some paint like on the Proton are quite soft, so a abrasive polish would be terrible and give really bad results. Other car paints like the BMW has a harder paint. So, we match what we need to do with the type of paint we are dealing with…a use the correct polish. And, of course, as we are almost finish and we want to really buff out the mirror finish, we have to use one of our finishing compounds.
That’s why I always say that polishing is an art and a science. But, you need even more than that, you need “feel.” It is really amazing how much our professionals use their hands and their sensitive fingers to measure the smoothness and the gloss. They can feel when they have achieved success. Really.
It is just amazing how some guys walk around with such great clothes, fantastic shoes, even stylish hat…but drive a dull, lifeless looking car. Yeah, I am talking to you.
My mother always insisted that my shoes be polished (and my underwear clean). She was really insistent on this. She said shiny shoes state how much you care about yourself. Dirty shoes are worn by people who don’t care. Mom said, “son, always care.”
For women, I think the equivalent is the purse or handbag. Those that our scruffy, just aren’t taken out in public. A handbag that is dirty or ripped are either repaired, left in the closet or used for storage….
One more example, please bear with me, so I can really make this point. We just wouldn’t ask our guest to come to our house and sit on our leather couch… Yuk, what animals, vermin and insects are under those seats. This type of couch is for the flop house, drug house or boy’s fraternity house.
What does furniture, hand bags and shoes have to do with car detailing? Everything. You are what you drive…
The car detailing business is growing leaps and bounds year after year because of the notion, what you drive is who you are…or something like that. In the US, car detailing is a $ 9 billion USD business a year. Scratched and banged up cars…dead beat person? This is fairly common thinking among the younger generation.
So, many of us are really taking care of our cars. I have been trying to do a study of various Asian cultures and how well they take care of their cars. The Thais seem to be pretty fanatical about their cars…just look at the chrome and lights on a Thai Toot-Toot. Now, compare that with a Malaysian taxi. But, when traveling in Jakarta, Bangkok or in KL…I see well maintained cars and lots of dirty, shabby, dull cars. Not sure who is more aware of my mom’s thinking: you are what you drive.
The “you are what you drive” thought is not about money, bling or status. It is in taking care of the basics. Like how much does polishing your shoes take…pennies will do. Shoes don’t have to be 4 figures to be clean, neat and stylish. Here is how to repair a broken down shoe…doesn’t cost much. The point of the below video is to demonstrated that good looking old shoes are within everyone’s budget…
Leather seats also can be repaired by professionals or DIY. If DIY, it is a lot cheaper. Watch this and learn how…
The saying: “A stitch in time saves nine” is profoundly true when it comes to car detailing. Making your car tires look good…it isn’t hard, just you need to focus on it. Just like polishing shoes, car tires should look clean and nice. Look at the difference.
One just has to notice and take the time to clean up the tires, seats, scratches, water marks and wash you car once a week.
But, what to do with the paint. Paint gets dull and loses life and shine really quickly. The acid in the rain, the pollutants that cover the paint and the grit, grime and dirt sticks on top. Because you car builds up all kinds of static charge as it knifes through the air, the positive charges attract all the negative charged dirt, grime and grit. That is why the pollutants need to be washed off regularly.
Now, for the finale. Sierra Glow is the car detailing experts for car paint in Malaysia. No one does it better. Our professional Paint Restoration Engineers are more knowledgeable and trained. And, with our Blue Flame Treatment, we have the latest technique to really solve clear coat and paint issues because we take the time to PREPARE the car paint surface for the Blue Flame. The real kicker is that we focus exclusively on the paint and glass. That is what we do. We leave the leather work, the carpet and other car detailing issues to others, so we can concentrate on making your car paint shine. Because we focus on this, we have mastered the art of paint restoration. It is simple: No one does it better.
Bring your car in for a free evaluation.
Oxidation is your car paint’s enemy. It can attack when your car is sleeping or wide awake on the open road. Oxidation works quickly when you have a car paint blemish. Just like when your skin has a cut or a boil, damage from infection can result. When your car paint has a blemish, a cut, a tear, a wound, a pimple, a rough patch, a stone chip, a hairline fracture, a burn (well, you get the idea), oxidation will be the result, guaranteed. Unlike your own body, your car paint has no real defenses EXCEPT car coating. The best way for this BMW to stay like this….car coating by Sierra Glow!!!
The damage below the cut can be rude and quick or can be slow and methodological. Think of these blemish like a cancer…your car paint has 3 to 6 months to live….or may last for 2. With surgery, radiation and chemo…well, you might heal the problem. The point is this: a car paint blemish is big trouble and your car needs production. This post describes the technical causes of oxidation and what you can do about it
Oxidation, any chemical reaction in which an atom of an element loses one or more of its electrons to an atom of a different element.
Familiar examples of oxidation include the burning of coal, which is rapid oxidation; and the rusting of iron, which is slow oxidation.
The element whose atoms lose electrons during oxidation is said to be oxidized. The other element, whose atoms gain electrons, is called the oxidizing agent. The oxidizing agent is said to be reduced, and the process of gaining electrons is called reduction. Oxidation and reduction always occur simultaneously, and therefore chemists often use the term oxidation-reduction (or redox) when referring to this type of reaction.
If you really don’t know what oxidation is let’s look at some car paint oxidation examples….
Pretty bad cases are used for demonstration and information purposes, but the reality is that most cars who owners use wax and polish will end up like this…5, 10 or in 15 years. It is inevitable if one uses wax. Each time you wax, you are covering a car paint blemish, but you are not solving the problem. You put a band aid or plaster on the problem, but water, grit, soot, sun, acid rain…all sneak under the band aid and continue to aggravate the problem.
At Sierra Glow, we really don’t like waxing your car. As it only covers up the underlying problems that are going on with your car. You need to be able to see the blemishes and not do anything that compromises the integrity of the car paint. Polishing and Waxing, by definition, interfere with the integrity of the car paint as at minimum, the car paint is slowly warn down by the abrasive rubbing required in the process. Want your car paint to last, and to shine, and prevent oxidation, car coating by Sierra Glow is your best solution.
Other benefits of our car coating besides eliminating the oxidation process: you will see water sheeting, lotus effect and hydrophobia…but really all you want is SHINE. And shine is what you will get with Sierra Glow.
The long awaited Part 3 is about polishing compounds. Sierra Glow doesn’t use off the shelf compounds, in fact, our guiding light, Mr. Sato-san designs them. You might ask, how do you design a polishing compounds. First, you need to be a chemical engineer. Then, you really need to know car paints and the chemical engineering of those paints. Our polishing compounds are unlike all others in terms of quality and engineering standards. Just the fact that we have 6 different compounds in our arsenal of tricks to create the shine that is known as Sierraglow!
History of Paint, Polish and Compounds
As car paints have evolved and developed, polishing compounds too have made equal strides in their development. Automotive paints started to improve with thinner, more durable and harder than the paints used 30 years ago. Only after 1990, urethane paints started to replace the lacquer paints. These paints applied had larger molecules, and took a long time to dry. Because of the size of the paint molecules, it was difficult to use spray guns, and a lot of the spray came out heavy or thin. Hence, the surface needed to be towel buffed and a silicate mineral was applied to smooth the rough and uneven spots. As this paint was soft (considered to be no more than 1H), the buffing was fairly easy.
But, there were other problems with the car paint industry forty years ago, as the polishing process generated powders that caused health problems such a respiratory diseases and pneumoconiosis. Once aware of this problem, the car paint industry developed completely different Standards of Procedures (SOP). The new SOP included enclosed painting and polishing booths. These completely enclosed booths controlled dust, and painters used masks while working. Large and efficient air filtration systems were installed. At the same time, the paint was changed from the large molecules lacquer paints to urethane which also generated much less powder.
With the increase in paint hardness and with urethane paints, paint hardness was improved as well as paints became thinner and had more gloss. The polishing industry began using rotary buffers and Buflex and Aburalon pads were used to make surface smoother and increase the gloss/shine.
In Europe, compounds made of aluminum oxide, for only final polish, equivalent to 1500 to 2000 grit, are produced now. The goal is to be able to remove swirl marks and surface paint scratches from the newer hard paint applied by car manufacturers today.
This can be done today with improved polishing compounds and gear action orbital buffers. The polishing compounds we use are able to crash scratches and smooth the surface without damaging paints.
Conventional polish method is to polish paints using compounds made by garnetmand froth silicates. At Sierra Glow, we do not polish paints but crash scratches with specially formulated compounds. Many car detailers in Malaysia are unable to match Sierra Glow polishing effect as they use conventional polishing compounds. If a 10 deep micron scratch is removed by using conventional silicate compounds, 8 to 10 deep micron and must be polished. That is, they must polish to the depth of the scratch or swirl.
At Sierra Glow, we polish with our compounds, we can crash 10 micron scratch by just polishing 1 micron deep! This is a whole new level of polishing as we do not need to go so deep as the method involves a “crash” of the swirl lines. Let me explain:
Polishing Mechanics at Sierra Glow
New urethane paints have new characteristics, and one of these changes results in a structure modification at the temperature above 55 degree C.
Therefore our method is that uneven paint is crashed by utilizing buffers and our special compounds by polishing and make the surface smooth before surface temperature increases above 55 degree C. When surface temperature increase over 60 degree C, paint molecular structure get loosened and become difficult to polish and paint get burnt.
We want the paint to get warm, but not hot…and it is a very fine line to maintain the warm but not hot. We do this with our specially formulated compounds and by using gear action polishers. That why we warn our customers and fans not to go to any car detailer if they are not using a gear action polisher. Our polishers are made by Compact Tools, but more amazing (and unknown to many) is that our Sifu, Mr. Sato, was the consultant/advisor to Compact Tools on designing these highly special polishing buffers. Wow.
To summarize: paint has changed and now paints are harder, thinner and glossier. This has required car detailers and car coating companies to adapt to the new paints. Sierra Glow is the leader by changing their SOP to do the best job. We have 6 polishing compounds in our arsenal of tricks, as paints are not the same. BMW is harder than Proton, for example. So, we use our compounds for the different issues we are presented. Finally, because we know paints, we have the ability to “crash” a swirl or a scratch by working on the blemish with our Compact Tool, gear action polishers which does not overheat the paint. Overheating paint is a disaster, and it is our polishing compounds and buffers that allow us to do the best polishing job for our customer’s cars.
Most car owners, unfortunately, are not really tuned into car detailing. What is car detailing? What does it involve? How often do I need to detail my car? At Sierraglow, we get a lot of questions “Do I need car detailing?
While there are not hard and fast rules as to the timing for detailing your car, car detailing should be done on all cars and even new cars. It is better to have detailing done than just let the environment, weather and car washers do their damage month after month, year after year. In short, cars must go through car detailing when it is time, when there are problems.
The two dirty car photos are extremes, but the microscopic dust and dirt attaches to the car. If you let it build up, the mess and damage becomes severe.
Perhaps it is easiest to describe car detailing by describing what it is NOT. So, washing your car is not car detailing. Vacuuming is not car detailing, and rubbing some wax on your car is not car detailing, and oh, using Window Cleaner on your windscreen and mirrors is not car detailing. While these activities will make your car look nice and clean…they are not car detailing. Although all of the above may be involved in professional car detailing services. So, what is the differences?
Car Detaling is much more than washing or waxing your car. When you buy a new car, believe it or not, your car paint actually isn’t in that great a shape. There are many imperfections in the paint surface. Their will be rough spots and areas where the clear coat is not so smooth. We call these “porous imperfections” and a good detailer can take care of these car paint issues.
As a car ages, and within a year, paint can take a heavy beating. You would be amazed at how our environment wears down our car paint. Each day a layer of microscopic particles, dusts, chemicals, pollutants sit on top of the car paint. You might think that these particles would just blow off, but your car builds up an incredible amount of static electricity. This huge body of metal (your car) thrusting through the wind creates the friction to electrify your car statically, so that these particles are attracted just like an magnet. The results, the particles are attracted and sit on your car. see video on static electricity. This is a 5 minute video…and the static electricity only starts 2:18, but it’s Mr. Bean, so laugh and feel uncomfortable for the whole thing…enjoy
Now, throw on top of these particles WATER! This is similar to having dry dusty ground. When it rains, the ground turns muddy. On a microscopic level, this is what happens to you car. If you have made the mistake of waxing your car instead of using a car coating material, then the dust, water and mud become embedded into the wax. Everytime you wash your car, this mixture is being wiped around with the result of small sharp cuts into the clear coat…
If you move your cloth in a circular motion, you will put razor thin swirls into your clear coat. These swirls or cuts into the clear coat have now compromised your paint structure, and these hairline scratches will collect more dirt and grit between you washes. Each month, more damages will be caused from the compromised clear coat. The below photos show swirls and surface scratches into the clear coat. Many of these are caused by polishing, as the buffers/polishers were simply rotary type (not gear action) and buffers by those without the required experience. See earlier here.
Although some of these photos are extremes, your car if it does not have car coating, most probably has these swirls and marks. If your car has been polished by a buffer, the swirls are most likely covered up by the wax on top, but once the wax melts and runs off, the swirls can be easily see.
Swirls and marks if they are not so deep can be reduced or even eliminated, and in the next post, I will write about this process…This is the end of Part 1, next week Part 2.