A few weeks ago, I received some TopCoat F11 to review, and just now had time to give it a shot.
My wife had the “good car” so I resorted to trying it out on my old, 2006 Cobalt. I figured if it made this look good, it could make anything look good.
Check out the video to see what happened!
Washing your car on a fairly regular cadence is a good way to protect its paint and keep it looking new longer. That’s something most autophiles agree on— once you go beyond the washing part, however, all bets are off.
Traditionalists stand by the old wax-and-polish method, but in recent years, a slew of new products have arrived to challenge the old ways. F11 Topcoat is one such contender. As you can see in the video, I recently had the opportunity to try it out on my own vehicles and was pleasantly surprised with the results.
What Is TopCoat F11?
You’re probably familiar with some of the instant detailing products that compete with TopCoat. Unlike the popular Mother’s Instant Detailer and many other one-step detailing solutions, TopCoat offers additional paint protection along with the shine. This makes it more similar to a ceramic coating than a simple spray detailer and explains the higher cost — a single bottle of TopCoat is upwards of $60, the Polish and Seal kit goes for around $80 on Amazon.
Unlike waxes and polishes, which only clean and nourish your car’s paint for a short time and then need to be reapplied, TopCoat has a sealing action that offers prolonged protection. The protectant layer sheds dirt and grime much easier than your factory paint, which means water will bead up and roll off your paint, and you’ll have to wash your car less frequently. When you do wash it, the work will be quicker and easier, and when you’re done, you’ll get the mirror-like shine we all want from our car’s paint.
TopCoat vs. Ceramic
So, why spend the extra money? If TopCoat offers the three to six months of protection that the company’s advertising suggests, it’s a tremendous value compared to a professional ceramic job. For a car the size of my test subject Chevy Cobalt, the amount of product in the bottle should be enough to reapply at least 10 times. Assuming the treatment lasts three months, that’s two and a half years of protection for under $100. A ceramic treatment and the associated touch-ups would probably land you at somewhere around 12 to 20 times that number. Yikes!
Is there any downside to TopCoat as compared to ceramic? Well, you’ve got to apply it yourself. That might be a bigger issue for some people than others. If you’re experienced with detailing cars, the procedure won’t throw you for any loops — I’ll go through the entire thing below, and it’s as simple as you could ask for. However, for those who are less experienced or who don’t have a place to work, there is a chance you’ll see diminished results. If all else fails, pay a detailer to apply some TopCoat for you, and you’ll still have saved thousands compared to a ceramic job.
The Application Process
Because TopCoat is a sealant, you need to have your car’s paint as clean as possible before applying it. TopCoat recommends avoiding any washes or waxes that include silicone because they will make it more difficult for the TopCoat product to seal.
If you don’t get the car clean, you risk trapping dirt and other small particles in the sealant, so you won’t be able to clean them off. Wash and dry your car thoroughly before applying the product. A good once-over with a clay bar will remove small imperfections and help the paint look its best after the TopCoat is applied. Remove any other coatings or substances in place on the paint before you are ready to apply.
With your paint clean, either spray the TopCoat F11 directly onto the car’s finish or onto a clean microfiber towel. Buff the product into the paint and then follow up by buffing with a second or third clean, dry microfiber towel. The product is water-based, so you won’t be able to get a good buff with the same towel used to apply. It’s a little bit of an arm workout, but nothing for those of us who remember the days of paste Carnuba wax.
I applied TopCoat to my blue-grey Cobalt. The paint on this car has seen better days, but the difference after applying TopCoat is very noticeable. As you can see in the video, paint that was dull and boring now looks much newer and shines the way you’d expect a more recent car with a good wax job on it would.
In the short time since applying the TopCoat, I do notice that water beads up and rolls off the paint without leaving any streaks or blemishes. Instead of scrubbing away with a soapy sponge, I can run a clean microfiber rag over bits of dirt that I find on the car and they quickly slough off. I basically spot-treat the car now because it’s rarely ever all dirty at one time. I can just grab a microfiber towel and make it look new in a matter of minutes.
The convenience of this product is my favorite thing about it, and forum users appear to have had similarly positive outcomes using it on a multitude of vehicles. I would never have taken the plunge on a ceramic job for my aging Cobalt, but the lower price point of the TopCoat F11 means this will pay for itself in a few washes. Plus, I no longer have to but carwash detergent or wax. TopCoat actually recommends only washing the car with clean water and a sponge when you do wash it.
Time will tell how well the protection holds up, but as for now, the shine has brought some life back to my old Chevy, and life with fewer carwashes is a bit less stressful. If you’re in the market for a quick, effective detailing solution, consider giving TopCoat F11 a try!