BMW Frozen Paint: Overview and Cleaning – /DRIVE CLEAN


LARRY KOSILLA: What’s
up, guys? Larry here from AMMO. A few weeks ago, I went to the
Jacob Javits Center and the New York Auto Show. And I walked in the door, and
the first thing that hit me in the face was BMW’s brand-new
paint scheme called “frozen paint.” Now, I’m walking
around the show and I’m thinking to myself, well, how
do I take care of it? Do I use the same products,
the same methods, same techniques, all that stuff? So what better place to visit
than right here, BMW’s North American headquarters
in New Jersey. I’m hoping to get all the
answers to my questions coming up today on this episode
of Drive Clean. [MUSIC PLAYING] LARRY KOSILLA: Good
to see you again. MATTHEW RUSSELL:
Welcome to BMW. Good to have you. LARRY KOSILLA: I saw you
at the auto show. And the one thing I was
looking are these matte-finish paint. So tell me a little
bit more about it. MATTHEW RUSSELL: Yeah, the
frozen paints actually come from our overall BMW design
group that you’re familiar with in Munich. This is what they did
in their spare time. All the way to the very, very
top of our design group, they put these paints
on their cars. And they test drove them. And these paints were many
years in development. I actually brought one of the
cars from the New York show for you to see. It’s the frozen blue M3 coupe. You’re going to have a lot of
fun looking at it up close, the way the frozen paint absorbs
light, the way it shows the contours of the car. It makes the M3, which dates
back now to 2008 in its current generation, it makes
it look like an all new car once again. LARRY KOSILLA: I like it. Let’s go back and
check them out. MATTHEW RUSSELL: So here’s the
M3 from the New York show. LARRY KOSILLA: Wow. MATTHEW RUSSELL: You ought
to recognize it. LARRY KOSILLA: This thing
looks amazing. MATTHEW RUSSELL: So I brought
the car out to you from the New York auto show, Larry. But I wanted to bring you to the
guy that I believe is the absolute authority on BMW paint
and body repair in the United States. He’s the only guy that I would
trust on one of my cars if it needed some real work. So with that set up, Walter
Malec, Larry. LARRY KOSILLA: Hey, man. Nice to meet you. WALTER MALEC: Welcome. MATTHEW RUSSELL: I’m going
to leave you in really good hands here. If you have more questions,
let me know. I’m around. But this is the authority,
as far as I’m concerned. LARRY KOSILLA: I
appreciate it. WALTER MALEC: The first thing
I’d like to do is maybe take a step back. You were discussing frozen
finish with Matt a little bit earlier. I’d like to take you at least
15 to 20 years back in refinish technology. LARRY KOSILLA: I think
that’s a good idea. WALTER MALEC: Single stage
included the clear coat and the color coat all mixed
together in one. So at the end of the day, that
finish had to not only protect the vehicle from outside
influences like stone chips, bird droppings, things of that
nature, but it also had to give you the color and the
appearance that you were looking as a customer. And anybody that knows single
stage remembers with a red vehicle if you put a little bit
of polish on a rag and hit the paint a little bit, rubbed
a little bit, it came off red, right? With a clear coat finish, which
we introduced in the mid ’90s, that clear coat
high gloss finish reflects a lot of light. That’s how gloss is measured, by
how much light it reflects. So when you look at it, the
appearance of– let’s say we go to an auto shop and the
cars are all polished and waxed just perfect. The gloss level’s very high. All car manufacturers more or
less took a look at that in the early ’90s, started to
develop limited vehicles with clear coat. And then by the mid ’90s
it was commonplace. Every car, more or less,
has it today. Some of those clear coats are
applied in a different manner, some in powder form. Some cars have powder
clear coats. Some manufacturers use that. Some use a 2K solvent
clear coat. But at the end of the day, they
all provide that hold out, that gloss, that high level
of gloss, that luster. And customers enjoy that because
it’s much easier to take care of. You don’t have to worry about
rubbing through the finish. If we take a step further and we
look at vehicles today that we’re producing with the frozen
finish, the gloss level is not so high. It can be perceived as matte or
satin finish by customers. And we actually have some
additives that we put into the clear coat that reduce
the gloss level. And when I say reduce the
gloss level, it doesn’t reflect as much light. LARRY KOSILLA: So it actually
absorbs the light? WALTER MALEC: It’s absorbing
the light, exactly. LARRY KOSILLA: So the old school
would be single stage. You rub it, comes off
on your hand, right? Comes off on the towel. Then you get the clear
coat, protects it. And you want to make extra
shine, you can polish, compound, all that stuff. That’s 99% of the cars today. And you guys came up with
the frozen paint. So instead of it actually
reflecting or bouncing off the clear coat, it’s actually
absorbing it. WALTER MALEC: A large percentage
of that light is absorbed, exactly. To the average customer,
it looks like a lower gloss level. But the additives that we put
into the clear coat are actually helping absorb
that light. LARRY KOSILLA: But it’s
just as protective? WALTER MALEC: Absolutely meets
all the same standards, yes. So for stone chipping and
corrosion resistance, environmental fallout, things
like bird droppings, tree sap, things of that nature,
yes, absolutely meets the same standards. LARRY KOSILLA: So I’m getting
a ton of emails. And they’re all asking me, what
happens when the frozen paint gets scratched? Or if they want to do a little
touch up or they want to buff it or polish it, what
do you say? WALTER MALEC: I’m glad
that you asked. We get those questions
all the time, too. Come over here. I have a few props I wanted to
show you and talk about a few different strategies
that we have. People ask about, oh, I have
a light minor scuff in my frozen finish. Can I polish it out? So what we did here is we
refinished a hood with frozen black and cured it properly. And then the next day, we
actually put a scratch in the outer surface. Used a mild polishing compound
and a yellow wool pad on a rotary polishing machine. And we basically buffed the
scratch out as you would with a traditional gloss
clear coat. And what do you notice
that happened here? LARRY KOSILLA: It’s
really shiny. It looks great, but
it’s kind of– WALTER MALEC: Very shiny. Exactly. And that’s exactly what will
happen with a frozen finish if you try to polish anything,
any type of surface imperfection. Any type of paint defect– a
scratch, a gouge, or something like that– can’t be polished
away from the surface. LARRY KOSILLA: If I want to
touch something up– so I got a little nick here from driving
and a rock hit me. And I want to just touch it
up, what do you think? WALTER MALEC: Touching up a
frozen finish is possible, just like any paint finish. But I just want to clarify
one thing. When we touch up the finish
on a vehicle, any vehicle, whether it’s frozen finish or
not, the idea of the touch up is to protect the substrate, so
to protect the metal from corroding, from rusting. That’s the purpose
of touch up. It also provides some cosmetic
improvement, but that’s really not the goal of the touch up. A lot of people are under the
impression that a touch up is to hide the scratch or
repair the scratch. And really, that’s
not the case. The idea of a touch up is
really just to prevent corrosion from happening
from underneath. LARRY KOSILLA: So really it’s
about protection and then looking good afterwards. WALTER MALEC: Exactly. With that said, when we have a
frozen finish, we know right off the top if we want it
perfect– and a lot of our customers are very picky
about their finish– if they want it perfect and we
want to restore it to the original condition, it would
have to be refinished. So in that case, we have
training programs that we offer for the dealers. And what I wanted to do is more
or less explain to you some of the differences. So we put together this panel. And this is referred to
as a letdown panel. And it looks like three
different colors. Actually, it’s not. The ground color or the base
coat color is the same. And what we’ve done here– I put this together just to show
you some examples of how these finishes are treated
during a repair. So what a painter would have
to do is mix up the repair material and spray it. And what we’ve done here is
we’ve mixed the frozen clear with slow hardener
and slow thinner. It’s a two-component product. So we have to activate it. So slow hardener, slow thinner,
and apply it. We’ve baked it, let it dry. And then here what we
did was use normal hardener, normal thinner. Same exact temperature, same
exact ground coat, just different hardener selection. And notice what’s
happening here. The gloss level is increasing,
right? LARRY KOSILLA: Of
course, yeah. This one’s even more. WALTER MALEC: Right. What we’re talking about here is
temperature range, hardener selection, application
methods. If you were to spray one of
these panels and I were to spray one with the same
temperature, same guns, we may get two different results. So it’s very critical for a
painter to create one of these letdown panels. So when he goes to the vehicle,
he can match it up. And he knows what hardener
selection, what fluid tip size he used, and what temperature
range it was when he applied it. So he can match it to that
finish, so he knows exactly how to do the repair. And this isn’t new
to painters out there in the body industry. With many tri-coats and pearls, this is common practice. So we have to do the same
application process evaluation prior to actually doing
the repair. So it’s time consuming. Takes a little preparation
prior to refinishing the vehicle. The key message is this– that
if a customer has damage to the frozen finish, it’s
important to have a trained technician repair their
frozen finish. In fact, why don’t we take a
walk over to the paint shop? And I’ll show you
an application of that frozen finish. LARRY KOSILLA: Let’s
check it out. WALTER MALEC: Let’s go. LARRY KOSILLA: Wow. So what’s going on in here? WALTER MALEC: This is our
paint training center. So right now, Jose is over there
prepping a few panels, getting ready for our advanced
color system training that we’ll have this week. Actually starts tomorrow, so
he’s getting a lot of the things ready. A lot of what we do is
right in here in the paint mixing room. Well, this is our paint
mixing system. And we have two retrieval
systems in here, so we can conduct a paint training class
at any given time and run two classes simultaneously. But we can mix paint for any
vehicle as long as there’s a formula for it, not
just BMW vehicles. Ready? LARRY KOSILLA: I’m
ready to do this. [MUSIC PLAYING] LARRY KOSILLA: I geeked out
and got to paint my first frozen hood. But I’m a detail guy, so
let’s get out there and clean that M3. Now, in the first episode, we
talked about how to wash a car, and specifically the
Audi R8 Blackbird. And as I suspected, I got
a ton of emails about matte-finish paints. Although the wash techniques
are somewhat similar, there are a few major differences we
need to cover before we move on to the other detailing
tricks covered in the upcoming episodes. To start off, I’m pretreating
the grill and the front bumper with a citrus bug remover to
loosen embedded insects. Let it sit for a minute
or two, then begin the paint wash process. The reason it’s good to presoak
bugs is that you can’t be too aggressive
with the paint. Think about it. Any extra rubbing or increased
pressure can cause the finish to flatten out and increase
its light reflection, obviously defeating the purpose
of the frozen paint and its light-absorbing
qualities. Next, heavily rinse the paint,
top to bottom as always. Notice I’m standing on water
grates that catch runoff water and dispose of it properly. Be sure to check your local town
regulations about this runoff water. Personally, I’d rather
have a dirty car than dirty drinking water. So be heads-up on that. Now that the majority of the
dirt is rinsed off, use the two-bucket method with or
without the foam gun. As always, work in straight
lines top to bottom. But remember, don’t use
a hard sponge here. It’s not only more likely to
scratch the paint, but to ruin your matte finish. Why? Because if you scratch the
paint, you can’t polish or compound it out. When you’re done, rinse the
soap off and dry with compressed air, a spin around
the block, or a gentle drying towel. Then you’re good to go. Remember these tips. Don’t buff, polish, compound,
or use any abrasive products on the finish. These products create a
reflective surface by leveling the clear coat until it’s
flat and smooth, acting like a mirror. Likewise, avoid waxes, glazes,
sealants, or any product with silicones or what
we call fillers. All these products are designed
to add depth and shine because they fill up the
imperfections in the paint to create a flat reflective
surface, defeating the purpose of having matte-finish paint. This BMW M3 with the frozen
paint package is obviously gorgeous. And today we learned about what
frozen paint is, what do you do when it gets scratched,
and of course, how to properly clean and maintain it. But at the end of the day, it
doesn’t really matter whether you have frozen paint
or regular paint. The purpose of these cars is
to get out and drive them. That’s it for me, guys. Thanks for watching Drive
Clean right here on the Drive Channel. [MUSIC PLAYING]