Is your car still wearing a single-stage paint? Many muscle cars were sent from the factory with this type of paint. In the ’80s, multi-stage paints that include a clearcoat to protect the surface were introduced. The clearcoat was a protective layer and helped paints last much longer. Walk around a car show today, and you’ll still see many cars with a single-stage paint, as that is deemed a “correct” restoration.
There really isn’t anything wrong with that single-stage paint, but it isn’t as durable as the multi-stage products. This lesser durability requires you to spend more time protecting it. The folks at Meguiar’s have been developing paint-protecting materials for many years, and that includes products for both single- and multi-stage painted surfaces.
For years, polishing the paint was the norm. This goes back-a-ways to when lacquer paints were used to cover sheetmetal. Polishing is a labor-intensive job, and not many people have the ability—or take the time—to use a high-speed buffer to bring the paint back to a quality finish.
When Carnauba wax was introduced, single-stage enamel paint was in the process of replacing the old lacquer. Applying the wax was still a labor-intensive project, as the application process required a lot of elbow grease and time to accomplish.
For many enthusiasts though, the task is cathartic. A weekend in the garage is often considered enjoyable. But, there are some who feel the idea of being in the garage all day applying a wax is not as enjoyable as sitting behind the wheel and enjoying a sunny-day drive. For those enthusiasts, Meguiar’s has stepped-up and developed a Hybrid Ceramic Wax.
I need to say upfront, this is not a wax in the traditional form. While it does have the water-shedding properties of a traditional wax, this is where the “hybrid” portion of the name enters. This product also has the durable properties of a ceramic coating.
I know what you’re thinking, “snake oil. Wax is wax, and this is probably no different.” Well, think again. According to Mike Stoops, senior global product and training specialist at Meguiar’s, “Ceramic coatings are huge in the detail world. They originated in Asia to combat the severe acid rain that falls. But, those high-end coatings are expensive. The Hybrid Ceramic Wax incorporates a ceramic property that takes a technically advanced material and makes it affordable and user-friendly.”
The Hybrid Ceramic Wax incorporates a ceramic property that takes a technically advanced material and makes it affordable and user-friendly. – Mike Stoops
This recent development in automotive-detailing technology features the use of silica-based sealants (i.e. ceramic, quartz, silicone-dioxide, or SiO2). These sealants act differently than an old-school wax, as they actually bond with the painted surface to which it’s applied. Once they’re applied and have cured, silica-based sealants are extremely resistant to water, soap, and of course, environmental pollutants. This is because they actually bond with the painted surface.
In a nutshell, sealants will deliver much-higher durability than wax. They are able to resist heat, UV rays, environmental contaminants, and harsh detergents much better than wax. That is because wax sits on the paint’s surface, it does not create the chemical bond like what is found with silica-based sealants.
“The active ingredients in the Hybrid Ceramic Wax are hydrophobic, meaning they repel water,” said Mike. That is the same principle of an old-school wax that causes the water to bead on a freshly waxed surface. Where the Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic wax differs, is with the application process. “All waxes and sealants utilize a carrier agent that distributes the actual wax or sealant,” Mike affirmed. “With an old-school wax, that carrier agent turned into the haze that you had to wipe away with a clean towel.
With the Hybrid Ceramic Wax, those carrier agents are Hydrophillic, meaning they attract water. That means the protectant doesn’t need to be applied by a rubbing motion as with a traditional wax. The product is applied to the surface, and then distributed by rinsing with a pressurized stream of water.” In other words, no polishing or hand rubbing is required with the Hybrid Ceramic Wax. You simply spray it on the surface, rinse the surface, and then dry the surface. As the carrier agents are distributed by the water, they are also distributing the actual Si02 sealant. Does that make sense?
When it comes to durability, depending on environmental conditions, you can expect several months of protection. – Mike Stoops
As Mike was explaining all this to me, I asked about how much “stuff” someone would actually need to use, and how long it will last. “Let’s talk about just the hood of a car,” said Mike, “It should take no more than three or four trigger pulls to cover a hood.” Remember, as you rinse the panel, the water will distribute the sealant. “When it comes to durability, depending on environmental conditions, you can expect several months of protection,” he added.
I thought I would give it a try. What did I have to lose? My C10 has a previously applied single-stage urethane enamel, and requires constant cleaning and waxing. While I don’t mind spending an evening giving the hauler a good cleaning, if this stuff makes it easier, I’m all for using it.
I cleaned the truck per the instructions, and as the pictures show, there was no beading or shedding of water. The truck had been waxed about three months ago, but the Florida sun can be brutal. Next, I sprayed the driver’s side of the hood with the Meguiar’s product, and did my best to not get any on the passenger’s side. After that, I sprayed the hood with water to rinse/distribute the product. Meguiar’s recommends using high pressure to rinse the product, and although I do have a pressure washer, I figured others might not, and only used my garden hose to show the results most enthusiasts could expect.
After the rinse, I did see improved water shedding, but had honestly hoped for more. With that said, I decided to actually follow the instructions on the back of the bottle. I once again rinsed the hood, and then applied the Meguiar’s Ceramic Hybrid Ceramic Wax to the passenger’s side of the hood. Once applied, I skipped the rinsing step and then wiped the passenger’s side of the hood with a clean microfiber. According to the bottle, this should be done for the initial application. I then sprayed water on the hood to see if it made a difference. It did! The water was beading like I had spent 30 minutes waxing the hood, and I had only spent 5 or 6 minutes.
I actually used the product on the rest of my truck, and I plan to keep an eye on things to see just how long it offers protection. Remember, I live in Central Florida, and the sun can shorten the lifespan of the best products, but we’ll see how things go. I will update this article periodically, and let you know how well the stuff works over the long term.
The advanced technology in Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax enables it to bond to your exterior paint, forming a coating that is relatively long-lasting and durable. All without the need for a lot of elbow grease. I was also told this simple solution has superior UV protection and is more chemical resistant than standard wax. Now, all you need is a freshly washed car, water hose, and your favorite drying towel to see immediate results.