Some background on the automotive paints. At the beginning of the automotive industry a car was painted with varnish-like product, the coating was sanded and then the varnish was reapplied and refinished to establish several layers of coating. It was not uncommon for the coating process to take 40 days, between 1920s and 1940s the car manufacturers started using spray equipment to shorten that process with alkyd resins to one week. Alkyd enamel paints were degraded by oxidization in sunlight, which caused colors to fade slowly.
In 1950-70s majority of the car manufacturers where using thermoplastic acrylic lacquer which gave them excellent appearance. However, these lacquer topcoats did have one significant drawback: the y had weak exterior durability. After about one to two years’ exposure the coatings would begin to degrade, and aggressive waxing was needed to bring back the shine. In 1980s consumers were expecting the car to last at least 7 years, so they want to look the car the same it did when they first saw it in the showroom.
One thing you need to understand than in the typical automotive assembly plant, the painting operation takes up to half of the space of the car plant, account for about 30-50% of the capital cost of the assembly plant, use 70% of the energy. To dry 200 µm film on car surface is not significant, it must be realized that paint drying includes heating of the paint and underlying car body. So, the car manufacturers always seeking how to make the painting cheaper – manufacturing costs and energy.
I bought my Nissan Patrol 2014 as a used 6-year-old car. The best protection you can have for a new car in Kuwait is a film applied directly to the new car. Typically, you take a new car from the dealership directly to a company which applies films. Mainly this is done to preserve clear coat and avoid polishing.
Apart from scorching sun (radiation temperature in Kuwait is as high as 80 C or 176F) the main road hazards are loose rocks causing a lot of paint chips and unconsidered people at the car parks which are crashing their door again neighboring cars. For a protection film to last after application on your car you need to avoid having any air trapped during application. This is achieved by quality preparation and pristine paint condition (i.e. no existing chips). The trapped air will expand and contract, causing the air bubbles to form and film will look ugly in one year
So, film is not a good option for me. I love shinning effect the waxes have filling in imperfections in the clear coat and base coat. However, modern waxes or resin polishes are polymers. It means 6 months a year in Kuwait harsh desert environment they are broken down by the sun in a couple of days on my daily driver.
Before I read everything, I need to know, I bought Adams polishes graphene ceramic coating advanced kit. I will tell you my personal experience with the Adams Polishes Advance Graphene Coating Kit in desert and an unexpected benefit I discovered.
Adams polishes have a shop in Kuwait. As with most of the things in Kuwait, I found it much cheaper to purchase it directly from the USA website than in Kuwait, including the delivery. For example, advance graphene coating kit with delivery costs 221 USD vs. 83 KD (274 USD) in Kuwait. If you purchase more products, you save more as the shipping price goes up insignificantly.
Only if you buy big heavy items, it is cheaper to buy them in Kuwait. For example, one gallon of Adam’s Car Wash Shampoo ($39.99 and extra $60.00 in shipping cost) vs. 15 KWD (50 USD).
The coating was applied on February 6, 2022. Typically to apply the coating following steps are advised:
- Wash your car. Avoid using shampoo with any additives and pH neutral ones. You need to have a good aggressive shampoo which will lift and remove remains of existing waxes, polishes and clean contaminants.
- Apply Iron Remover. This is to remove any brake dust and iron deposits on the cars clear coat.
- Wash the car down with water.
- Clay bar the car. This is to provide the best chance for the ceramic coating (polymer) to bond to the car’s clear coat.
- Polish the car (only if absolutely necessary). Save your clear coat! This is entirely to improve visual appearance.
- Wash the car. This is to remove any clay residue and lifted contaminants.
- Apply surface prep. Typically this some sort of diluted isopropyl alcohol.
- Shake the graphene ceramic coating and apply it.
I did all steps, except the “polishing”. There are two reasons for it. First of all is to preserve the clear coat. This is why I apply the coating to begin with. A new car’s clear coat is 1.8-2.8 mils (46-71 micrometers). The ceramic coating is 0.08-0.16 mils (2-4 micrometers). To give you an example, copy paper is 5mil thick, typical photo paper is 10 mil thick.
Air in the desert always has suspended sand it, acting as a sand paper, particularly at speed. So, the clear coat is lost naturally due to oxidation and the sand polishing. Although the air is very dry and there is literally no corrosion, I am opposed to remove the clear coat further, as it will lead to dull paint due to the oxidation.
Secondly, each polishing removes 5-10 micrometers, at least. So, after 5 polishes there is no protection left. Ceramic coating adds only 2-4. What is the point to remove the clear coat which last 10 years and add thinner layer of ceramic coating which lasts only couple of years, at best?
Thirdly, as ceramic coating is so thin, it provides very little to no protection against UVB.
If you decide to polish your car, not every polish is equally suitable. The polish I previously used is Autoglym “SuperResin polish”. This is not a traditional polish. Its very lightly abrasive but it contains a lot of fillers and a light sealant. What it means, that its fills the gaps in the clear coat, by masking the imperfections. While this is great news for auto enthusiasts, its not suitable for ceramic coating preparation.
What will happen if you use Autoglym “Super Resin” polish it will fill the gaps and when you apply ceramic coating it will bond the fillers in the polish rather than car’s clear coat. Meaning that the longevity of the ceramic coating will be reduced. This could partially explain why my Meguiar’s Hybrid paint coating only lasted couple of months despite using “Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wash and Wax” and undiluted M799 Hybrid Ceramic Booster after each weekly wash.
This time I bought Adams Ceramic Coating in the advanced kit version, which includes the light:
In my personal experience, for one off application the light is not required. You need to have a trained eye to make sense of it. The using light could be quite misleading as the coating looks quite ugly under it. Its easy to be confused whether you overapplied. So here you go, I saved you 6 USD on the light (including Easter discount).
Time required to prepare a car for Adams graphene ceramic coating application:
- Wash your car. 45-60 minutes.
- Apply Iron Remover. 30 minutes (including the water wash after). Tip here is do not let the iron remover to dry up. This happening very quickly in the desert. So do one panel at the time.
- Clay bar the car. This was the most time consuming, as Nissan Patrol is full size SUV. It took me about three hours.
- Polish the car (only if absolutely necessary). I skipped this step and save myself some clear coat and time.
- Wash the car. After claying the car, I washed it again with a strip wash. 45-60 minutes.
- Apply surface prep. 30 minutes, one panel at a time.
- Shake the graphene ceramic coating and apply it. 2 hours.
All together ceramic coating time preparation and application: 8 hours end to end to apply Adams advance ceramic coating on the SUV in the desert. I skipped the glass surfaces. This is mainly because the glass is very porous and it will sponge a lot of ceramic coating.
This is first day after applying the Adams ceramic coating in the desert:
High spots while applying Adams ceramic coating:
A high spot is un-levelled ceramic coating (a polymer) which was allowed to cure. I was applying my ceramic coating well into the night after all preparations. There are no garages in Kuwait, so all was done outside. As the results I missed three high spots. The advantage with a silver car that those are not very visible, unless you are a car enthusiast.
If the ceramic coating was allowed to cure, one way to remove is simply with a cleaner wax. If there is still time (less than a 6 hours), you can apply some more of the ceramic coating to dilute the coating and level it.
How to apply Adams advanced graphene ceramic coating in layers (coats)? Adam’s says that one coat is plenty. This is a do-it-yourself job with imperfect lighting and silver car (very hard to see coating), in the dry desert condition the coating cures very quickly. Assuming that the advanced graphene coating lasts over a year, there is no reason for me to keep the remaining ceramic coating in the opened bottle, I went for the two coats. 60ml bottle is just sufficient to cover the Nissan Patrol twice, excluding wheels and glass surfaces.
This the first coat once applied I saw an oil, rainbow like appearance less than after a minute. There is no need to rush and remove it at this stage. The best time is when the coating is slightly grabby or tacky feel when you are removing it. At this stage the rainbow appearance starts to fade.
The amount of “surface prep” coming with the kit is very low. Especially for desert /dry environment. Purchase extra. It does not need to be from Adam’s any ceramic surface prep or diluted isopropyl alcohol will do the job.
Prepare many towels for drying cleaning, wiping and so on. Preparation is everything with the coating or waxes.
I let to sit car in the shade for a week before washing it for the first time (it was quite dusty by then):
I am not selling paint correction or ceramic coating products or their application.
What are the benefits or applying ceramic coating and, in the desert environment, specifically?
Number one. Ceramic coating helped to fill the light swirl marks – nail scratches at the handles, washing with a water only and a dirty rag by the previous owner’s driver. In Kuwait its quite typical to have a driver (salaries are less than $1,000 USD a month for a non-living in driver). They wash the cars every day. This partially explains highest water consumption in the world of nearly 500 liters per day, vs. 250 liters on average in the world. Absolute majority of drivers are not provided with shampoo, microfiber clothes or anything, really. Just water and old towel. Water in Kuwait is mainly from reverse osmosis or distillation, which means very low dissolved salts content, leading to very few marks on the car but old towels leave swirly marks. So, the Adams graphene coating helped me to fill those imperfections.
Number two. The car is a little bit easier to clean and less prone to dust accumulation. So it looks relatively clean after one week.
I skip the notion that ceramic coating is “investment” to protect your car. In Kuwait, like in the USA the cars are not kept longer than 7-10 years. Re-sell value of a ten-year-old car will be close to zero anyway. Ceramic coatings provide literally no additional protection from UV rays in comparison with waxes.
I did the coating for myself and by mistake. I thought it will protect the car or reduce amount of stone chips. I was wrong. It doesn’t and I like to wash and wax my car weekly anyway.
Ceramic coatings make more sense in the areas where you have rain and only if applied yourself. If anybody wants to charge you several hundred dollars for applying one-hundred-dollar ceramic coating its simply waste of your money.