Applying car ceramic coating in the desert – Gtechniq Crystal Serum and EXO v4

This is a historical description, as the coating was applied in December 2022.  I have previously tried and install following coatings:

Meguiar’s Hybrid Paint Coating – my first one. Declared longevity was one year with a proper maintenance. However, I used Autoglym super resin polish as part of the prep. As I learned later the polish which lasts up to six weeks and it masks the scratches with resin.  The hybrid paint coating had to bond to the resin, instead of the clear coat. Its important to read what kind of polish are you using. Ceramic coating should have nothing in between the clear coat.  No wonder that it failed quickly (within 2 months) despite regular maintenance.

Subsequently I applied Adam’s Graphene Ceramic Coating™ Advanced (twice at beginning and mid-2022).  Despite spending hours preparing the car it appears that the coating fades withing few months.  Claying the car doesn’t return the hydrophobicity.

When a car is parked outside in Kuwait the sun radiation temperature can reach 80 C (176F) and I think it maybe a contributing factor towards loss of protection so quickly.

In September 2022 I bought an after market hood protector from China, as the hood was getting a lot of stones chips damage in Kuwait.  A typical car insurance in Kuwait includes one windshield replacement a year free or a half price. This is indication how bad are the roads, but also lack of maintaining distance between the cars by the drivers while driving and absence of mud flaps on most of the cars.

Nissan Service was selling the hood protector at $1,600 USD.  Australian companies were demanding to at least $1,000 USD in shipping cost. A colleague who traveled home to Oz was too lazy to bring it with him. I ended up buying one from China for about $450 USD with shipping included.

Prior installing the hood (bonnet) protector on my Nissan Patrol Y62, I purchased Dupli-Color ANS0607 Brilliant Silver Nissan Exact-Match to touch pain the stone chip, followed by the ceramic coating. The reason why I want to apply ceramic coating is that the bonnet protector from China arrived not as advertised.  The seller was advertising it on Ebay he slipped in a picture of genuine hood protector among with his. To protect  the hood paint from any possible rubbing the protector I thought to apply a ceramic coating.  I wanted to try something new, as Adam’s and Meguiar’s ceramic coating didnt last long.

By December after being pumped with enthusiastic videos I decided to try “Gtechniq” ceramic coating.  It’s recommended to apply Serum Light, followed by EXO v4 Ultra Durable coating. The manufacturer says that Serum Light lasts up to five years and the topper EXO v4 up to 2 years.

Quite recently I discovered that Amazon and many other distributors stopped sending liquids abroad (for example EXO V4 or even AT-205), so had to find an alternative route to get the coating ouside of the UK or the USA. If you know the reason for this change please let me know in the comments.

 To ensure the result I purchased all prep materials from “Gtechniq “: Gwash, W6 Iron and Fallout remover, W7 Tar and Glue remover, PW panel wipe.

How much does Gtechniq ceramic coating (Serum Light + EXOV4) self-application cost? Around $300 USD in the Middle East.

 Here are the steps taken for Gtechniq ceramic coating application in the desert:

1. Touch up paint: Washed the car. Clayed bar the hood. Panel wiped with diluted isopropyl alcohol. Touch up painted with Dupli-Color and week no touch time.

2. Preparation for coating: Washed the car. Applied tar and glue remover. Applied Iron remover.  Clayed bar the car.  Washed the car. Hand polished with Sonax profline perfect finish and final car polish. Washed the car and panel wiped with diluted isopropyl alcohol.

3.  Coating application. Applied Gtechniq Serum Light.  Wait time is one hour. So by the time I finished last panel it was time to apply EXO v4 from Gtechniq.

 Previously I have been using Nissan touch up pen but most recently there had been a lot of restrictions put in place and any liquids – flammable or not almost impossible to get to Kuwait.

As the result I decided to try “Dupli-Color ANS0607 Brilliant Silver Nissan Exact-Match”. It costs the same and here is what “exact” match looks like:

Dupli-Color ANS0607 Brilliant Silver Nissan Exact-Match – no match at all
Here you can see how bad are the  roads in Kuwait – this is just after three years. Particularly after any rain there are a lot of loose stones on the road.

 The biggest discovery and disappointment was that the colour didn’t match. Native Nissan touch main matches perfectly but “Dupli-colour” is a miss.

After the touch up pain I left the paint to dry for a week.  After more washing, claying I did some hand polishing with Sonax profline (perfect finish and ultimate cut – equivalent of P1000 grit and finer)… This was a long day. Polishing by hand with two different cuts is a time consuming and laborious exercise, particularly with an awkward access (roof).

Some more washing, panel wiping and my Nissan Patrol Y62 was ready for “Gtechniq” Crystal Serum.  One thing I really like is “Gtechniq” AP1 Lint-free Applicator Pad. It’s really very comfortable applicator for the ceramic coating. I bought 10 of them all together and it was just enough for applying Serum Light and EXO v4 (50ml bottle each).

GTechniq -Crystal Serum Light application hood close up

Gtechniq Serum Ultra application was easy and comfortable, as you need to remove it immediately after applying on an area roughly 2ft by 2ft (60cm x 60cm).   I bought ten microfiber towels and used four of them for the entire car application.  Gtechniq coating should not be applied on trims, rubber and hard plastics.  I only applied it on the painted surfaces.  

It took over an hour to do Serum Light and it was time to follow up with EXO V4. This time you need to wait for 1 to 2 minutes before buffing the coating off.  Gtechniq recommends applying two coats.  50ml was just enough to do the two coatings.

GTechniq – EVO V4 ceramic coating application in hot dry environment of the Middle East (Kuwait)
GTechniq – EVO V4 ceramic coating application in hot dry environment of the Middle East (Kuwait)
GTechniq – EVO V4 ceramic coating application in hot dry environment of the Middle East (Kuwait)

I found that EXOv4 is quite difficult to remove. Almost immediate wipe works better, otherwise you will quickly end up having high spots.  I left the car for one week before driving it and two weeks prior first wash.

During first wash hydrophobicity was O.K. – not as crazy as Adam’s Advanced Graphene coating.  And four months later – there is nothing left from the coating. This is despite weekly hand washes with pH neutral shampoo and applying ceramic sealants and parking car in the shade.

Sometimes I look at neighbor’s BWM Series 5. It’s the same age as mine, but the only attention it gets is daily spray with water by security and drying it with an old rag. This service cost 1,500 USD a year and very common in the Middle East.

Neighbor’s car same age and the paint just pealing off

The car paint starts pealing off but it still looks fairly presentable and you have excellent relationship with the security.

Its could be that I just got used to how my car looks like and unable to attain further perfection but I doubt it.  For now I stick with the weekly car wash, followed by a detailed spray and a coat of  Meguiar’s ultimate wax.