Car Coating: Not “if” but “when”??

It is only a matter of “when” you will have your car coated.  Why? The evidence is in, wax is lousy and does more damage than provides protection.  Wrapping your car is an option, but expensive and the vinyl can fade and scratch easily.  The best solution, agreed to by almost all car detailers, car enthusiasts and car professionals….is car coating.  Car coating is relatively inexpensive and can really protect your paint…for years!vintage-cars


Don’t buy a car and then wait for 60 years before you apply car coating.  Buy a car and bring it in immediately.  The soon the better.






Wait, and this could be the result.  It is best not to wait.  Showing you love your car starts with applying car coating.  Once the paint goes, an old wreck is not far behind.


Let’s review.  Car Coating means that you don’t have to wax or polish your car.  Wax and polishing cut into your paint’s delicate clear coat, and over time, you will have damage to your clear coat.  Take a look at older Malaysian cars…you will see swirls, dull finishes and the worse, oxidize paint.  This is the results of those choosing the wax option.  Good for awhile, but the shine goes and the damage is left behind.  Don’t wax.

Car coating is a better strategy.  Now a thin layer of protection is added on top of the clear coat and car paint.  This protects the delicate clear coat and therefore the paint.  Fading from strong UV rays isn’t now a problem.  Since you are protecting the clear coat, you now don’t need to polish and wax…you don’t damage the clear coat with polishing and waxing your car every few months.  In fact, now you save money as you only need to wash.  That’s right, no waxing.  Keep your money in you pocket or purse.

So, the question isn’t if should car coat, but when to do it?  The answer to this question is relatively simple.  Do it as soon as possible.  Every day that your car paint is “exposed” to the elements is another day of damage.  Every time to polish and wax your car, a little damage is done.  Waiting a year after buying your car to do your car coating is a year of damage to your paint.  Obviously, don’t wait.

Many car coating companies claim to restore your car to “show room” condition.  At Sierra Glow, we simply aren’t impressed with “show room” condition.  We can do better than that.  When we see a new car straight from the showroom, we see a lot of imperfections and issues.  Swirls and fine micro scratches are abundant…as the car has been hurriedly washed and buffed with an inferior buffer…leaving “show room” condition with problems. At Sierra Glow, we want to always achieve “better than show room” condition.

Better than show room is one reason (and there are many more) you should select us.






Grime: Cosmetics & Cars

This is a second article regarding the cosmetic industry and the car detailing business.  Both are trying to take care of a surface…face or car body.  Both suffer from our environment and especially pollutants and contaminants. Skin like a car body attract these contaminants…I like to call it GRIME., but there are other words….

filth, muck, soot, crud, film, gook, gunk, smudge, smut, soil and tarnish to name a few.  To see the grime (or whatever you want to call it, look at this Air France airplane

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The plane is no longer white…but a dirty white.  You can see tons of cars on Malaysian roads (especially if they are white) that look just like this.  Yuk.  And, a good wash doesn’t clean them up.


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This GRIME is everywhere in the air, and cars, trucks and buses are one of the main causes of this grime that floats innocently until the microscopic particles land on your skin, your car on lodge in your lungs.

sooty-diesel-fumesThe problem isn’t one car with a bad engine ring that causes the oil to mix in with the gas in the piston chamber, but rather cars. Lots of cars that choke the highways every morning and evening rush.

I use to drive around on a motorcycle and I wore goggles.  Within an hour of driving around the difference of my face and my eyes was night and day…black was my face.

Have a problem getting the amount of grime and contaminants floating around in our air.  Check out your car air filter or your air conditioning filters.  These need to be checked and cleaned regularly…or your engine will run rough or your AC will not be cold enough.  Take a look at these filters…grime


Grime on a car starts slowly, and you hardly notice.  But if youcar-grime-remover clean it off, then you can really see it.  Take a look at this Land Rover…

Most cars aren’t this serious, but contaminants stick to each other and slowly seep into the paint and stick to each other. They build up.  Why do these contaminants and grime stick to your car and your body?  The answers aren’t as complex as you might image…

The above circles are photos of a car side door that was brought to Sierra Glow recently.  If you look, you can see the black marks (scars) created by the grime that has attached itself to the paint.  Instead of white, the car is gray.  We can clean it up, but it is amazing that within two years, a white car becomes gray with abundant black marks.  How does this happen so fast.

Perhaps it is better to ask, why does it happen so slowly.  Yeah, really, this is the effect of two years.  One thing that brings this on faster and more seriously is poor washing.  Just like your face, don’t give your face a deep scrub…don’t get into the skin and work off the dead skin and pull out the contaminants, your face will pay a price.  Likewise, sloppy washing of your car really brings on the grime fast.  Suppose you leave residue of the shampoo on your car…it isn’t wipe off.  Just image how fast the grime will stick to a car with soap/shampoo residue.

Watch the two videos below of the ladies trying to deep wash their face.  The results of a clean face is clean and vibrant skin.  Likewise, wash your car carefully and thoroughly to prevent the grime buildup.


Twin Enemies: Grit and Grime

Your car shine is attacked by our rough and tough environment every day.  The assault on our skin, buildings, bridges and cars is a daily event.  Add in UV rays, acid rain, bird poo, tree sap and we have a real cocktail of potential disaster to your car shine.  Putting this all together, all the elements, we can boil these multiple of trouble into grit and grime.  Grit is abrasive and grime is oily….and they stick to your car paint, your clear coat in a thin layer of sooty mess.
The problem with grit and grime is that they stick to your car and just rinsing your car with water is essential to start to get the grit and grime off.  Soap is the best solution to it, but this is when we have to be very careful as how and when we wash can radically effect the outcome either in a positive or negative way.
Understanding the difference is important to the outcomes of your wash.
dirt ingrained on the surface of something, especially clothing, a building, or the skin.
dirt, soot, or other filthy matter, especially adhering to or embedded in a surface.  Think oily and sooty.



abrasive1 (1) particles or granules, as of sand or other small, coarse impurities found in the air, food, water, etc.

Think small, sharp, hard, chunky and sandy.


Because of grit and grime that sits on your car surface, one has to really consider how to properly wash your car.  If you just spray on some water and start scrubbing without clearing the grit first….the embedded grit, you will find yourself creating microscopic to visible swirl or marks.  All of these scratches damage your clear coat, but the deeper ones or visible ones are more damaging than the microscopic scratches. All scratches, over time become more serious.  A small scratch now becomes a collection point for the grit and grime that will start attacking your car the day after you finish washing it.

Take a look at the small swirls caused by not clearing the grit from the car BEFORE washing and rubbing with a cloth or sponge (better to use microfibre).

348sThe error is leaving on the grit while you wash of the grime.  Grit has to be cleared.  Before you start moving your soap and water filled microfibre over the car ….please clear the grit from your car. One of the best ways to determine if your car is ready to be washed…that is, you have rinsed off the grit, is to use your hand to softly feel your paint.  When using your wet hand on your wet and rinsed car, your hand should feel “the grit.”  If it does, you have not soaked and rinsed the car surface enough…do it some more until your wet hand feels a relatively smooth car surface.

Another important issue when washing your car…use two buckets.  One for soap and one to really rinse your cloth.  This is really important as your cloth will pick up embedded grime…and this could damage/scratch your car.  To prevent this…rinse your cloth often.

Another tip (an essential washing strategy) wash from top to bottom.  The sides of your car have a lot more grime and grit on it then the top.  If you wash bottom to top, your cloth will carry the grime and grit to the top and your car will suffer from scratch damages. So, never do this.

Check out these articles on our website to learn more about washing…

Washing Your Car

Car Coating Maintenance: Microfiber







Frustrated: Malaysian Car Wash Blues

I am really agitated and frustrated.  Can’t find a decent car wash!  have two simple requests whebrush washn I wash my car.  These are not complex, actually they are just basic.

  1. Get the car really clean (no soap residue left).
  2. Don’t do any damage (no swirls or marks)

And I am not a fussy type, but I seldom get either.

Look at this photo…washing the roof with a brush…really?

I understand that we all can’t wash our cars ourselves.  Too busy, no place to do it are the two main reasons most of us don’t wash our cars ourselves.  I have written before here about how to wash your car.  But, if you don’t go read this, the main idea is to use two buckets, ph balanced soap (not dish soap or floor cleaner) and wash your cloth often to get rid of the residue and grime and grit that will collect in the micro fibre (don’t use sponges or towels).  After washing, really, really rinse off the soap, and wipe dry with clean cloth. Better to read the post highlighted above.

But we all don’t have the time or place.  So, we have to wash our car so we take it to a car wash.

If you want to punish yourself and your car…go here.mqdefault Slap, slap and another slap.  Don’t expect your car to be very clean or to not suffer.  Yeah, these places are fast and convenient, but run your hand on the paint surface after you wash…feel sticky?

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In America, we have these kind of do it yourself car washes.  They are not too bad, the soap is a little sticky, but you have a nice spray clean, and if you run it long enough 2 to 3 minutes it does a reasonable job clearing the soap residue. The problem with this car wash it is on a timer so for a good clean you need to soap for 5 minutes…then use cloth and 2 buckets to clean and wipe, then put money in again to wash and rinse off the soap.  So, you need to run it twice, more money.  But, you can do a good job.  Problem with this is that can’t find this in Malaysia.

If you wash here in Malaysia, we use labour.  What is the training or the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) at these places.  Unfortunately, it the SOP is FAST.  So no real cleaning of the cloth.  A lot of suds…even the famous SNOW WASH is everywhere…so soap isn’t a problem….but when they wipe, it is with a cloth (usually not microfibre) and they really rub fast without taking the time to clean the cloth.  What have I seen at the car washes I have gone (usually with regret and only once)?

  1. only one washing cloth and never rinsing/cleaning it
  2. no rinsing car thoroughly before starting wash.images (32)
  3. washing from bottom to top or middle, top, then bottom (yikes, please, top to bottom only)
  4. rinsing soap off with water, then sun dry (soap residue will dry on paint as well)
  5. no microfibre,  towels or a sponge
  6. never using their hands to judge their work

this list goes on and on.

You sclean-car-windoweldom see this…a clean microfibre cloth.




And after washing, before you drive away, take a real good look.  If you have the experience I have, you will probably see something like this.  Now, please hold on, this is for illustration, it is never this bad, but faint swirls can be seen.  Next wash, a few more, and so on until the end of the year, you might have something like THIS.

I ask all readers of this…if you have found a great car wash, that does it right, can you please let us know.  I will investigate and if your recommendation is correct, I can drive tons of business to this car wash…as so many of us are looking for a great wash.  Thanks in advance.


Car Coating: How we became “the best”

Many car coating companies just can’t understand why Sierra Glow is so damn popular.  Maybe they fail to understand the customer and their “baby.” While they tout their coating hardness, market their 15 layers or bang on their finish with lighters and keys while using chemical/science words like nano, titanium, diamond, granite, ceramic and MOHS hardness scale, Sierra Glow never oversells or over promise, we just deliver.

We will not tell you that our coating will stop a speeding bullet or stand up to a juvenile with a key.  We don’t tell you this because it simply isn’t true.  We don’t tell you that the coating will protect even against the dreaded watermark, because again, it will not.  No coating on the planet will.  Whether it is a key or a stone flying off the back of a lorry, you car coat from xxxx company (fill in the blank) WILL NOT escape damage.  It is simple physics, a stone traveling at x speed hits a car travel in the opposite direction at 100 kph will not be a tap but a knock out. At Sierra Glow, no false promises, no bombastic and unimaginable craziness. Only the facts and the truth.

So, how do we continue to be number 1 car coating company in Malaysia?  The answer to our success is of course a superior product, but our superior car coating has to be matched with fantastic and intensive labour in PREPARING your car for the coating.  This is where you need professionals who not only know what they are doing, but also the company must have the right values.  The right values include taking the time to really prepare the car to receive the car coating.  If you shortchange this, the 10 critical steps to prepare your car, the car coat just can’t really do the job it was designed to do.  Makes sense.

This video explains our 10 steps to a mirror sharp finish.

Car Coating Hyperbole

Hyperbole means exaggeration!  It is a good word to know as you hear hyperbole all the time, and smart people recognize hyperbole quickly.  It is not just a little exaggeration but overkill!  If I say my phone bill is more than my rent….that would be hyperbole!  If I say “my car coating is harder than a diamond and it can’t be hurt with a stone chip” would be not just hyperbole, an exaggeration, an overkill, but a lie!  Don’t be suckered with the common hyperbole of the car coating, car detailing industry.

What others in the car coating industry say has little meaning to me…usually I could care less what our competitors are doing.  I prefer just to do the best we can, concentrate on our work and success will come.  We have been successful.  But, so many customers come in and want to know and they ask; “how hard is your coating?”  Is it 7H or 9H?  

empty-promisesOne can tell pretty easily that the “hardness” issue is the new hyperbole, exaggeration.  “Will it stop stone chips?”  “Of course, the salesman promises.

“Will your car coating take a door?”   “No problem” comes the easy answer.

“Will your coating prevent damage from key thugs?”  “Our coating has tested harder than steel, so no problem.”

We hear these questions and some customers seem to believe this hyperbole.  I think the reason they believe it is that so many car coating/car detailing companies are saying it.  If a lot of people say it, “must be true!!!”

A True Test:

Recently I said to one customer who was telling me that XXX can stop stone chips and protect against a key thug:  Did you ask the salesman to let you try a key on the Honda?  I mean, if it really works, it must work...Can I try  with this key? If the salesman lets you do this, I will shoot myself.

Technical Explanation about Car Coating Hardness

Pencil Hardness Test is perhaps the silliest test to give a car coat.  What does it have to do with pencils. Other tests would be much more important that a pencil hardness test:.Other tests are abrasion, reverse impact resistance, direct impact resistance, cross-hatch adhesion, oxidation, gloss retention, UV resistance, yellowing, blistering, drying times, chemical/solvent resistance (using both the rubbing and spot/time tests), salt spray resistance, humidity resistance, acid and caustic resistance, the VOC and HAP contents, and so on.  What about these tests?

Just think about it, if my coating yellows, blisters and is made up of VOC…why would I want THAT on my car.

Let’s look at the pencil hardness test


pencil hard2:

The idea of the test is to take a pencil 2B, 5H or 7H, put it into one of these machines and run the pencil over the surface.  If it scratches the surface, then reduce the pencil “hardness” accordingly.  When it doesn’t scratch, you have the hardness!  Right???

What if it isn’t a pencil but a knife, and the knife isn’t rolled back and forth lightly in one of these machines, but stabbed or slashed at my car…with violent force!

Will the coating protect against the knife or the key applied with force…not just a little weight that is rolled gently over the coating.  So, don’t shoot me folks, the pencil hardness test is a joke as the likelihood of someone rubbing a 9H pencil gently on top of your car coating is a nonsense test.

You can see how weak and ridiculous the test is,  Think the stone chip flying off the truck at 90 will be so gentle as this pencil point rolling gently on the paper.  Get real,  click to play

Finally Point about Car Coating

Car coating is better than wax!  Second, when dealing with any car coating company, read the guarantee!  The XXX company will not guarantee it (in writing) against stone chips.  If they do, I might even give them a try, but they won’t.  They might not mention it or they will most likely exclude damage done by stone chips.  If fact, before you go for a visit, check out their guarantee.  If it reads like a lawyer document and gives you a quick headache, avoid that shop!

Protect your Investment

Car Paint Enemies

This article will help you with three main car paint problems: water marks, sap and minor scratches.  All
three of these are big problems for car paint thru damage to the clear coat.  If you park your car outside during the day under the hot sun, water marks and sap become enemies to be on the look out for.  One can’t leave rain water on top of your car under the sun…or water marks will be the result.  If you park under trees, sap can drop down or bird poop can ploop on your car…these can cause more damage than water.  And, scratches from fingers, car doors or other acts of carelessness, scratches can occur. All this occurs to the clear coat first…then if it becomes deeper will damage the car paint. Washing your car with a dirty cloth (please, two bucket washing only) or washing at your local car wash becomes the primary source of car paint scratches and swirls.  Here, you will find out howwater marks 2 to deal with each problem.  I have referenced key articles that you can click on for even greater knowledge on how to deal with each of these problems.  Enjoy and learn.

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What is Clear Coat?

No, it isn’t a rain coat. The very top layer of car paint is a thin layer of clear coat.  This clear coat is incredible important to protect the car’s paint but also to allow the car paint to shine. However, the clear coat is easily damaged.
clearcoat graphicsThe clear coat is very, very thin.Your fingernail is enough to scratch it (look around your door handles).

Even washing your car can damage the clear coat.  Using a dirty cloth when washing will leave marks.These marks are a problem as dirt and grit from daily driving will sit in them.  When we wash, the marks become bigger.  And, when we wax or polish, large swirls and even deeper marks are the result.  These marks are often covered up with the wax, but when the wax goes, the swirls and surface scratches remain.
Not only can you see the marks and swirls, but these marks dull the reflectiveness and the shiclear coat 1ne of the car.  In no time, a few years a most, your car loses it shine and will start to oxidize.  Oxidation occurs from UV light seeps in past the clear coat and reduces the reflection of the paint.  Notice all the older cars that used to be white (now gray) or red (now pink) or black (now dull) driving on the roads.

If you don’t protect the clear coat, this is what will happen to your car.  It is only a matter of time, one to three years later you car just will not have the shine.

The solution to this is simple, protect the clear coat.  Not with wax or polish as this harms the clear coat, but with a glass coating.  And since this is your “baby” choose the best car coating,  Sierraglow.