Can a total car-cleaning idiot ceramic-coat a car?
Which way round does a sponge go?
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It's fair to say that I'm hardly the last word in car-cleaning expertise. When I owned a car it'd get taken to the local hand car wash to have most of its bumper paint removed with a pressure washer by a gang of teenagers, and now I live in a world of press cars they usually arrive sparkling and don't need much cleaning for photos.
When you're running a long-term test car such as my Volkswagen Touareg, it has plenty of time to get grubby over the course of six months in my sticky mitts. I've banged on about how great the Touareg's brown paint is, but it's been made even browner during lockdown after accumulating inches of pollen dust and mud from the local National Trust car parks.
So I've rather reluctantly decided to clean it – and I seem to remember something about needing two buckets?
Can we keep the Touareg shiny for longer?
For the past couple of years we've been told that ceramic coating products are a way of keeping our cars cleaner for longer. The idea is that you clean your car as best as possible, then have a professional give it a glass-like ceramic coating which should make future washing as straightforward as hosing it down. This is, however, quite a bit of effort.
Ceramic coating specialists Gtechniq have a new product called Easy Coat which doesn't require the usual amount of elbow grease to apply – you can simply spray it onto your pride and joy with a hose. Being lazy, this sounded great. So I grabbed some Easy Coat and drove the Touareg down to Lucy's mansion, where we set about giving it a new lease of shiny-brown life.
Now, Gtechniq's Easy Coat might make it easier to get a ceramic coating on your car, but it isn't magic – you still need to start with a clean, polished car. We set about the Touareg with two buckets (one for clean water, one for rinsing of dirty sponges), some shampoo and the one sponge Lucy owned which hadn't been used to scrape barnacles from the hull of the family brigantine.
The cleaner your car, the better the overall result when you come to ceramic-coat it
You need to have a clean car to help the ceramic particles form a bond with the car's paint – and any foreign objects will stop this happening – thus nullifying the point of coating the car in the first place.
This is where we discovered that a Touareg is BIG, and as you can see in the timelapse above, it dries annoyingly quickly even in dim sunlight, even when we were cleaning it in sections. We eventually got to a stage where we could polish the car and prepare it for coating.
On with the Easy Coat
This is what's in the box. You unscrew the white cap on the bottle, thread on the red spray attachment with the see-through tube attached and connect it to your hose. We didn't need to use the yellow adapter.
The Gtechniq Easy Coat comes with everything you need to attach it to your hose. You get an adapter to ensure it'll fit onto your hose, and a spray nozzle which will let you spray either unfettered hose water onto your car for rinsing, or hose water with the ceramic coating mixed into the stream.
Once you've screwed the spray nozzle onto the top of the bottle, it's a simple case of attaching your hose then spraying the product onto a wet car. Then you turn a tap on the Easy Coat bottle to turn off the flow of ceramic coating, leaving you free to rinse the car down with water.
A quick dry later, and the Touareg was done – successfully ceramic coated. We gave it a half hour to fully dry, then chucked some water on it. The beading was pretty good (see the sexy slow-mo reel below), but the real test came when I drove 60 miles home (through a few muddy puddles), and gave it a quick rinse with a bucket of water at home. The muck shifted straight off – without so much as a rub with a sponge. If this is the future of lazy car washing, then count me in.
Gtechniq says the Easy Coat won't last as long as a professionally applied coating – so expect to reapply it every three months or so. But given it took about five minutes to apply after washing the car, that's no hardship.
The end result