Sometimes a spray-on sealant is the way to go and I have to say, these products have come a long way in just a few years. In the past, I’ve found spray coatings and sealants weren’t worth the hassle of using them. It seemed like I was always battling streaks and smudges.
When TOC Supplies sent me this bottle to test out, I wasn’t too excited about it – I expected more of the same. Then I tried it on a CLS 63 that I polished a few weeks ago as a standalone sealant and it worked great. It was super easy to apply and left no streaks behind.
I later followed that up with a layer of Defend applied on top of the Gtechniq ceramic coating on my 4runner since the bottle claimed it would play nice with it. Again, I was half expecting to have problems with it. I’m happy to report that it worked great and provided an extra layer of protection on my ceramic coating. I love this stuff!
Detailer’s Pro Series Max Wax (Now branded as McKee’s 37 Trademark Carnauba Paste Wax)
Wax is dead, right? Not so fast. As long as there are garage-kept, fairweather-driven cars owned by enthusiasts that love the satisfaction of a fresh buff, products like carnauba wax aren’t going anywhere.
I’ve had this same tub of wax from DP for years now. On its own, it’ll protect your paint for a few weeks (and look amazing). But I find it works best as a topper for your favorite paint sealant.
Not only will it boost the lifespan of your sealant, but it also adds a deep, warm glow that only carnauba wax can do. A coat of this wax before a car show is sure to wow the crowds. It’s also a great way to spend some time if you’re in need of some garage therapy.
I have a couple of paint sealants that I jump back and forth to. These products have both proven to be great options for different reasons. You can top either of them with carnauba or spray wax if you wish, but it’s not necessary.
Jescar Powerlock+ is currently very popular, and I can see why. It’s incredibly easy to use and wipes off effortlessly. As with any paint sealant, a thin layer will go a long way. The thicker you apply it, the more it’ll fight you when trying to buff off the excess.
Wolfgang Deep Gloss 3.0 is a long time favorite in the community because it offers the protection of a sealant and the appearance of a carnauba wax. This is what I use on my MR2. I’ve gone so far as to let the product haze on the car overnight, and it still buffed off in the morning without any trouble. I’ve also found that on a garage-kept vehicle, it lasts WAY longer than it’s supposed to. I’m talking multiple years on the MR2. Water beading is very tight, I would dare to say even similar to a ceramic coating. Only in terms of appearance though.
Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light and ExoV4
CSL is Gtechniq’s “prosumer” version of their accredited-detailer-only coating, Crystal Serum Ultra. It offers 3-5 years of scratch and chemical resistance. For a coating, I’d say it’s fairly easy to apply, but you still need to know what you’re doing. If for some reason you wish to remove it, you’ll need to break out the compound. Crystal Serum is meant to be topped with at least one layer of Exo.
ExoV4 is applied as a 2nd coat on top of Crystal Serum and provides extra hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties and some more gloss. The application can be a bit tricky because the Crystal Serum tends to want to do its job by rejecting the coating being wiped on top. The idea here is to spread it around and work it in as well as you can, then buff off the extra. This process takes a bit longer than CSL.
I’ve had these coatings on my 4runner and Harley Davidson for years. So many years that I’ve actually reapplied it to the 4runner already because it was near the end of its lifespan. Because the Harley is garage kept and only ridden in good weather, the original application is still going strong 6+ years later.
CSL and Exo still remain as my ceramic coatings of choice due to their longevity, appearance, and ease of application.
At the same time I ceramic coated my 4runner, I chose to try the other coatings that Gtechniq offers for different surfaces. I might not believe that ceramic coatings are always the answer for your paint, but I’m 100% sold on coatings for wheels.
I applied C5 to my matte black Method Race Wheels after about a year of using nothing more than spray wax on them. The difference in protection was huge. They bead water like freshly waxed paint, and brake dust no longer sticks to them.
Much like Crystal Serum Light, I’ve already used C5 throughout an entire lifespan and had to reapply it again. I now have a few years on the 2nd application and I still love it. I can count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve had to use a wheel cleaner on these wheels. Every other time, all they require is soap to get them clean.
Despite being driven in the winter every year and having towed a camper trailer across Canada and back, my Method wheels still look brand new. At one point during the road trip, the front wheels turned purple from 30+ days of brake dust being baked on. It all washed off when I got home (and man, was I happy).
Trim Restoration and Protection
Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer
You can have the shiniest paint in the world, but if it doesn’t contrast properly with the rest of the vehicle, something is still going to seem “off”. Restoring any faded black trim is a great way to make your vehicle look new again. Gtechniq recommends wiping your trim with a damp towel to test it out. If it looks noticeably darker, then their C4 product will work well. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to step up to a heavier restoration product like Solution Finish.
Gtechniq C4 does a much better job of restoring your black trim than the parts store products. On top of that, it offers ceramic coating type protection to the surface afterward. The trim on my 4runner was really faded when I bought it. A year and a half after application, it still looked like fresh, black plastic.