CarPro CQuartz UK vs GTechniq Crystal Lacquer

Battle of the silica based nano coatings: CarPro CQuartz UK vs GTechniq Crystal Lacquer.

Disclaimer: Any conclusions that I reach in this article must be read with the caveats in mind that 1) I am not a seasoned pro as far as car detailing is concerned; 2) the two cars I tried these products on have very different paint—my 2005 Ford Explorer has very hard silver paint with lots of metallic flake and my wife’s 2014 Hyundai Tucson has very soft pitch black paint with almost no flake.

Prep Work

Both cars were properly prepped for application of the products (the Ford with CQuartz and the Hyundai with GTechniq respectively) with a thorough degreasing wash using Dawn dish soap, multi-step paint correction/compounding/polishing with dual action polisher, and final wipedown with CarPro Eraser and isopropyl alcohol.

CarPro CQuartz UK On Ford Explorer

As I applied CQuartz to the Ford I thought it was tedious and a bit finicky. Not difficult by any means, but you have to pay attention to ensure complete coverage (especially on the light paint) and also to make sure any excess product is completely buffed off to avoid streaks when the product cures. After application it is recommended to wait an hour before applying a coat of CarPro Reload (an easy mist on/wipe off procedure) for best protection.

It took me about two hours total. After the CQuartz was applied I was in no way super impressed by the level of gloss and slickness to the paint (in all fairness, the final result is much more dependent on the quality of your polishing than anything else). It looked good, but I didn’t think the CQuartz added much visually. The application of CarPro Reload changed this noticeably; the paint became much slicker and gave it a glassy look.

GTechniq Crystal Lacquer On Hyundai Tucson

If I thought the CQuartz was finicky, I wasn’t at all prepared for the level of difficulty I encountered with GTechniq Crystal Lacquer. The product applies easily enough with the included cotton pad applicators, but it flashes very quickly and it is important to spread it out and buff off excess residue quickly and completely in order to avoid visible streaks, particularly on darker paint colors. As if that wasn’t enough, the complete process includes two layers of Gtechniq EXO to be applied no less than 3 hours and no more than 12 hours after the Crystal Lacquer. EXO is even more finicky than the Crystal Lacquer and extreme care must be taken to avoid streaks that can only be removed by physically buffing them out and reapplying the product.

From start to finish this was a 10-hour+ project, not including the time it took to correct mistakes I didn’t catch until I pulled the car out of the garage and inspected it in daylight the next day. Similar to the CQuartz, the results weren’t mindblowing after the Crystal Lacquer alone, but after EXO the transformation was nothing less than stunning; the black got blacker, the entire car took on a glass-like sparkle, and slickness was very impressive.

Comparison Between CarPro CQuartz and GTechniq Crystal Lacquer

Application: CarPro CQuartz wins, hands down. While both require more finesse and care than a tradition wax or sealant, GTechniq Crystal Lacquer + EXO gives new meaning to the word “finicky”, with severe penalties for not paying attention.

Results: GTechniq may be harder to work with, but the results make it worth it. While the before/after with CQuartz was noticeable, it was nothing compared to the stunning difference (at least on black paint) I got with the GTechniq/EXO combo.

Cost: GTechniq/EXO is a fair bit more costly than than CQuartz/Reload.

Protection/durability: Both products claim 2+ years durability, protecting against water spots, the effects of harmful pollutants, and even minor scratches. Obviously I’m not able to report on these claims yet.

Final Thoughts

Is it worth it? Final judgment on that will have to wait until I see how these coatings perform and hold up, but if the marketing claims are true, then the answer is a firm “maybe”. It all depends on how much time and money you are willing to put into your daily driver, and how important it is for you to preserve perfect or near-perfect paint. If you are happy to run your car through an automated car wash (aka “motorized paint flogging machine” or “automated swirl installer”) once or twice a month, I wouldn’t bother. These products are not for you. If you want to preserve that new-car look for as long as possible and are willing to, and capable of, making the (considerable) effort, give it a try.

For the sake of full transparency, when saying “I” while discussing the prep and application on the Hyundai, I really mean “she”, as in Marianne, my wife, who did 90% of the work and 100% of the mistakes.

Winter Prep Ford Explorer Day 5

Fifth and final day.

Today I tied up all the loose ends. I polished the windshield and rear window with a small (3-inch) Griot’s Garage DA polisher with a glass polishing pad attached. I started out with CarPro Ceriglass polish on the pad, but quickly switched to Griot’s Garage’s own brand of glass polish since the Ceriglass was so totally bitchin’ hard to remove. I treated both windows with CarPro FlyBy30 glass coating.

I treated all exterior rubber trim/seals with Wolfgang Exterior Trim Sealant, sprayed some Meguiar’s Plastic & Vinyl Coating on the wheel wells/liners to black them out and finished off by dressing up the tires with Optimum Opti-Bond Tire Gel.

Closing arguments:

My car is shiny and well prepped for the winter season. But was it worth all the work? Let’s just say it’s going to be a looong time before I do anything like this again. I think I have Marianne’s car scheduled for something similar this weekend.

Winter Prep Ford Explorer Day 4

Unenthusiastically trudging along…

Started the day repairing some rock chips in the paint with a touch-up kit from DrColorchip. It’s not as easy as they make it look in the videos, and it’s also quite time consuming. After a while I decided that I can live with a few tiny chips in my paint. I took care of about six that were really obvious and that was it.

I then wiped down the car (again) with isopropyl alcohol to get rid of all residue from the polishing before coating the paint with CarPro CQuartz UK Edition. From the manufacturer’s website:

This coating is not some special edition gimmick. This is the easiest to apply coating on the market while matching or raising the already high standards of gloss and scratch resistance found in CQuartz.

The exclusive new 70% SiO2 with 99.9% purity formula made for hot or cold temp environment applications. CQUK is based on the same technology as the original Cquartz with some interesting tweaks. Current glass coating products had 20% of SiO2 in the product however CQUK has 70% SiO2 with 99.9% purity. This is the first ever nano silica coat which has this concentration! The pure percentage ensures the most transparent glass coat film over the surface. This guarantees long lasting coating with extreme strength resistance and water-repellency. Once the liquid meets the open air it cures and forms a ceramic quartz hard coating on the surface with extreme hydrophobicity.

I’ve researched these newfangled next-gen paint coatings for quite some time. They’re supposed to act almost like a sacrificial (2 years+) layer of clear coat on top of the factory clear coat, giving great protection, gloss, and slickness. I decided on CQuartz because it had many great user reviews and seemed like the most idiot proof of the offerings out there. I coated the hood with no issues at all, but the result, frankly, was a bit underwhelming. After all the hype maybe my expectations were too high. The paint looks nice and all. It’s glossy, but no more so than the un-coated panels, and it’s not even very slick, certainly nothing like what I can get from a good carnauba wax.

Oh well, it is what it is. Maybe it needs to cure or something. It’s been one of those days. I’ll do the rest of the car for tomorrow.

Update 10-15-15:

So I went through my phone and found some video clips of me applying the paint coating. It’s not much, but you get the general idea how it’s done. I know I mumble a lot; pay attention and maybe you’ll learn something. Or not.

Winter Prep Ford Explorer Day 3

Compounding and polishing 1-0-1

Yesterday I did the hood of the car according to my original three-step plan (actually four): 1. Attacking RIDS (Random Isolated Deep Scratches) with a specialty fast-cutting Flash Pad from CarPro and Menzerna FG 400 compound; 2. general compounding with the same Menzerna FG 400 on a white Lake Country CCS foam pad; 3. CarPro Reflect polish on a gray Lake Country CCS (all steps so far using the Flex 3401 dual action polisher); and finally 4. glossing it all out with Menzerna SF 4500 ultra-fine polish on a Lake Country Gold jewelling pad.

That was the plan. And I abandoned it pretty fast. Because I’m not that much of a fucking masochist.

I ended up doing a two-step, and even single-step with lighter polishes/finer pads on most of the car using the Harbor Freight DA polisher, only using the Flex with the Flash Pad where I found unacceptable RIDS, and on horizontal surfaces.


Rather than bore you to death with the details, I made a video diary of Day 3. It’s really not that informative (OK, it’s not informative at all), but it does give you an indication of my work ethics and dedication to perfection. Forgive the quality; it’s shot on a low-end smart phone and I spent all day today (today being 10-13-15) editing and putting it together with a trial version of Adobe Premiere Pro. And I do not know how to use Adobe Premiere Pro. A big thanks to all the people who post Adobe Premiere Pro tutorials on YouTube; I couldn’t have done it without you!

Winter Prep Ford Explorer Day 2

Compound, polish, and more polish.

Never have so few worked so hard and had so little to show for the effort. Churchill said it about the Nazis after The Battle Of The Bulge, and it holds true for me as well. I just spent eight hours polishing out the paint on my car, and I ain’t even half done yet. It blows my mind that some people choose car detailing as a full-time career; it’s really hard fucking work and once you hit middle age your body will be broken. I am middle-aged and my body is pre-broken anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

Right now I’m totally shot; I’ll have to update the post later. Pictures and even video to follow.

I’m in pain. And I’m hungry.

Short Update: Here are some pics from today to hold you over until I get time to do a proper write-up.

Short update 2: A quick video clip of me cleaning the gunk out of polishing pads.

Products used today:

  • Harbor Freight dual action polisher. If there’s a sale and you have a coupon, you can pick this up for about $50 dollars. It’s an absolute steal even at full price and quality seems to be more than good enough for the amateur enthusiast/masochist.
  • Flex 3401 dual action polisher. This one is not cheap (but Marianne only wants the best). It’s powerful (due to forced rotation), hard to handle (due to forced rotation) and extremely heavy; I’d estimate about 68 lbs. That’s why my back hurts.
  • Various buffing/polishing pads from Lake Country and CarPro.
  • CarPro Fixer heavy compound. This gets the job done rather well, but is a total bitch to work with; it takes more muscle and time to remove the residue from the paint than the actual compounding, so I switched to…
  • Menzerna FG 400 with a fairly aggressive pad for the first step. I also used a very fast-cutting CarPro Flash Pad that also finishes nicely for spot corrections where I found deeper scratches.
  • CarPro Reflect with a medium fine polishing pad.
  • Menzerna SF 4500 with a very soft foam pad to finish off and bring out the gloss.
  • Of course the job isn’t done until the clean-up is done, so I washed the pads with a Grit Guard Universal Pad Washer. Pretty expensive for a hobbyist with only two cars to take care of, but, again, Marianne is a snob and wants all the fancy toys. Marianne also shot a video of me laboring with the pad washer. I’ll try to get it uploaded so you can see it in action. It’s a time saver for sure.
  • Buncha general purpose short nap microfiber towels from all over the place.
  • CarPro Eraser and isopropyl alcohol to help remove polish residue.

I think I could have done a decent enough job with two steps, or even one given that the paint was nice to begin with, but taking the easy way out is for girlie men. John Wayne said that.

Oh yeah, I tried to take some before-and-after close-ups of the paint to show the difference, but my camera just won’t pick up such small details in the light silver paint with lots of metallic, but trust me, it’s smoooth.

I think this will have to suffice as today’s entry. As always, no links are monetized. This blog had 36 unique visits yesterday, so I might want to rethink that policy. I could be leaving some serious beer money on the table. EDIT: I rethought that policy. Any and all links on OGNDY can now potentially be a source of beer money for me. Happy clicking!

It’s past midnight. Do you know where your children are?

Winter Prep Ford Explorer Day 1

Paint Decontamination

I decided to do a full-blown winter prep on my 2005 Ford Explorer with roughly 81,000 miles on the odometer. It’s in decent shape, not a beauty by any means; it has a few flaws, dings, scratches and nicks, even a gouge or two in the plastic trim, but it’s mechanically very sound and has no rust (any more). I spent a couple thousand fixing a slight rust problem in both rear door jambs (common on this model) and repainted the roof due to peeling clear coat (also common on this model – apparently 2005 wasn’t really a good year for the Ford Explorer). I also did  a full undercarriage rust treatment this spring (I actually did it myself).

From 10 feet or more away the car looks very nice. I’m not one of those guys that compensates for a small penis (not that mine is small, mind you) with a macho car; I’m quite happy driving around in a geezer-mobile so long as it looks halfway decent and is reliable. I am also quite comfortable not having car payments to worry about. The Ford Explorer is in my opinion one of the best buys for the money in its class.

Of course it needs to maintained. I’ve had my share of clunkers in my life time that just disintegrated beneath me from lack of basic upkeep. I don’t want that to happen to my current ride (in fact I have committed to keeping it until 2020 at which time I’ll reevaluate), so I do stuff like spring- and winter preps. Basically getting under the car evaluating the state of the union and do what needs to be done (thanks to Powdermilk Biscuits, Heaven, they’re tasty!); decontaminating the paint, taking care of scratches to the best of my ability and doing a general polish if needed, and also applying a fresh coat of some kind of durable sealant.

This is Day One of this years’ Winter Prep. I know the undercarriage is in good shape since I went full Macintosh in May with a full scrubdown/degrease/pressure wash followed by rust converter treatment for some light surface rust spots and sprayed everything (including cavities and internal frame) with Noxudol 300 Under Body Coating and Noxudol 700 Cavity Wax using an air compressor and a spray gun. I may, just for the heck of it, soak everything underneath with Fluid Film for some extra peace of mind once we get closer to snow-and-salt season—it’s a one-hour job.

So I started out with paint decontamination, which basically means cleaning the paint really, really well so that when time comes to apply a sealant, it sticks to bare-naked paint for best adhesion, protection and longevity. This is what the car looked like after the decon. (Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures during the process, will try to do better in the future). It looks pretty much the same as before because it was already clean and you can’t really tell the difference from pictures. But whereas the paint was slick before, there is now some drag to it, because all the waxes, sealants etc. that I in my OCDness have put on it since the last decon are now removed. The paint is completely unprotected at this stage.

I started off by doing the wheels and wheel wells. It’s just a best practices thing for me when I wash my car. Hot water (yeah, I have hot water in an outdoor spigot due to a lucky plumbing accident), Dawn dish soap, brushes and elbow grease.

I then rinsed off the entire car and foamed it up with a foam cannon attached to a pressure washer, again using Dawn dish soap (yeah, I know you normally shouldn’t use dish soap on your car because it can strip the wax, but that’s kind of what I want to achieve here). Rinsed it off and went at it with a traditional two-bucket method, a microfiber noodle mitt and, again, lots of Dawn in the bucket. After rinsing off there was amazingly still decent water beading on the paint.

Now I moved on to tar- and iron decontamination using TRIX from CarPro. This product is supposed to dissolve tar and embedded iron particles in the paint that normal wash doesn’t get. Either my paint didn’t have any tar and iron contaminants, or the product didn’t work very well. I couldn’t see any chemical reaction on the paint from dissolving particles (should be pretty easy to spot on light silver paint). I’m guessing my paint was so well maintained that this step was unnecessary. I just wasted $15 and added an hour to the job removing dirt that wasn’t there (I did see some iron dissolve on the rims, but there are other products that do it better). Well, better safe than sorry.

Next was a good “claying” using Nanoskin Autoscrub sponge fine grade, the next generation of above-surface decontamination technology. Used Chemical Guys Clay Lube (no free link to Chemical Guys since I don’t like them as a company, but they do have some decent products) as lubrication for this process. The Nanoskin sponge replaces the clay bar that would normally be used. It may have picked up some minor particles (I could feel the paint smoothen out slightly as I worked the surface), but not so much that I couldn’t have done without. Again, abundance of caution and whatnot. I’m not at all sure I like the new-school sponge better than the old-school clay. Sure, it’s faster and easier, but you can’t see if you actually lift any dirt off the paint like you can with clay. Whatevs.

Rinse off, towel dry, blow out any standing water from cracks and crevices, mirrors, emblems, wheels and door jambs with Marianne’s Metro Vac Master Blaster and call it a day. Tomorrow starts with taping off trim, inspecting paint to identify any areas that need extra attention, and formulate a plan of attack with regards to compound/polish, pad, and machine combinations.

I can’t believe I started this. Why can’t I be one of those guys who runs his car through an automated car wash twice a month and be happy with it? I also promised I’d do the whole thing for Marianne’s car as well. At no cost to her, I might add. My back hurts. And my head.

All in all I put six hours into it today and I’m pretty confident that nobody could have done it better. Faster? Sure.  Better? Nope. The main ingredients of my efforts of Day 1 are pictured below.

A houswife's and a auto detailer's best friend.

The housewife’s and the auto detailer’s best friend.


While heavily muscled, this guy doesn’t have a dick at all. He probably drives a Hummer.

Confessions Of A Neophyte Car Detailing Hobbyist — Super Quick & Superficial Product Review

My experience level is: I have watched weeks worth of YouTube videos, read volumes of how-tos and articles, read a lot on the boards (but haven’t participated actively very much). I’d say I know more than enough to get myself in trouble, but not enough to really know what I’m doing beyond the basics.

I am the fleet manager of exactly two cars: a 2005 silver Ford Explorer and a black 2014 Hyundai Tucson, but I’m only the boss of the Ford. My friends1 think I’m taking it a bit too far, but our cars look much better than theirs, so there’s that.

This is a list of some of the car detailing products I’ve accumulated and tried in the ~18 months since my awakening. Here we go!

CATEGORY 1: Products that I like very much and will probably buy again. There is plenty of overlap between products in this category.

  • Garry Dean Infinite Use Detail Juice waterless/rinseless wash
  • Chemical Guys Eco-Smart waterless wash
  • Chemical Guys V07 quick detailer
  • Adam’s Detail Spray
  • Blackfire Wet Diamond Polymer Spray quick detailer
  • Adam’s H20 Guard & Gloss drying aid and sealant/gloss enhancer
  • Optimum Opti-Seal paint sealant
  • GTechniq C2 V3 Liquid Crystal paint sealant
  • Nanoskin Rain glass sealant
  • Optimum Opti-Bond tire gel
  • Stoner Invisible Glass glass cleaner
  • Chemical Guys Black On Black vinyl and trim dressing aerosol
  • Chemical Guys Mr Pink car soap
  • Chemical Guys NonSense all purpose cleaner (APC)
  • Stoner Trim Shine vinyl/rubber/trim dressing
  • Adam’s Deep Wheel Cleaner

CATEGORY 2: Products that I like and may buy again. There’s plenty of overlap here as well, both within the category and with Category 1.

  • Optimum ONR rinseless/waterless wash
  • CarPro Perl Plastic & Rubber Protectant
  • Diamondite Perfect Vision glass cleaner
  • Menzerna Endless Shine quick detailer
  • Chemical Guys Afterwash drying aid and sealant
  • RainX 2-1 Foaming Glass Cleaner
  • Chemical Guys Glossworx car soap
  • Meguiar’s Plastic And Vinyl Coating aerosol
  • GTechniq Silo Seal paint sealant (discontinued, sadly)
  • Chemical Guys Inner Clean interior APC
  • Chemical Guys Silk Shine Dressing interior dressing gel

CATEGORY 3: Decent enough products but too much overlap with stuff in categories 1 & 2 that I think might be better. Also stuff that I’m just not sure about but don’t hate. I probably won’t ever buy any of these products again.

  • Ultima Wash And Wax waterless wash
  • Duragloss Rinseless Wash
  • CarPro Hydrofoam car soap and sealer
  • Sonax Polymer NetShield paint sealant
  • Griot’s Garage Spray Wax
  • Griot’s Garage Speed Shine
  • Meguiar’s Last Touch spray detailer
  • Meguiar’s X-Press Spray Wax
  • Chemical Guys InstaWax + spray wax
  • Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer detail spray
  • Sonax High Speed Wax spray wax
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Quick Detailer
  • DoDo Juice Red Mist detail spray
  • Turtle Wax Jet Black detail spray
  • Chemical Guys X-Treme Body Was & Wax car soap
  • Meguiar’s Hyper Dressing vinyl/plastic/rubber dressing (almost went in cat. 4)
  • Chemical Guys Bug And Tar Wash car soap
  • Chemical Guys Grime Reaper all purpose cleaner/degreaser
  • Chemical Guys Blue Guard II vinyl/rubber dressing

CATEGORY 4: Stuff I didn’t like and won’t buy again either because I thought it was a bad product, severely over-hyped or over-priced.

  • Flash Brown Royal Wheel & Tire Cleaner
  • Optimum ONR Wash & Wax waterless wash
  • Garry Dean Juice Boost paint sealant/waterless wash additive (specific to the Garry Dean line of products)
  • CarPro Spotless water spot remover

The list is not exhaustive. I have plenty of other products that haven’t been included, either because I haven’t had a chance to use them yet, or have used them so little that I can’t form an educated and informed opinion. These include glazes, polishes and compounds; lots of interior detailing stuff including leather care products; paint coatings, and also paste waxes. Quite a few tire dressings didn’t make it because they were so junky and I don’t even remember their names.

Final thoughts:

  • I have too much time on my hands and need to get a hobby.
  • I need to learn better self control when it comes to clicking the “add to cart” and “place order” buttons.
  • I may have to mark promotional emails from AutoGeek as spam, because this is getting expensive.
  • My kids will never go to college.2

  1. I don’t have any friends, but if I did, this statement would be true.
  2. I don’t have any kids, but if I did, this statement would be true.