I’ve used CarPro’s CQuartz finest ceramic coatings on my exterior, interior, and wheels now…and needless to say, I’m a true believer in the product. I still need to do write-ups on the interior/leather coating, as well as their wheels & trim specific coating…but before I went head-over-heels with the true ceramic coating experience, I started out by dipping my toes in the water with the CarPro Reload spray. Reload is meant to help extend the life of your CQuartz application, but after speaking with several detailers it can also be used without the coating applied as a thinner, less permanent layer of protection – almost like CQuartz Lite. The Reload spray is intended to last 6 months and help maintain your CQuartz application, but it can be used standalone and achieve some pretty impressive results. I gave the Reload spray a shot on my car a few months before I did the full-blown CQuartz application and was very impressed, and in this post I’ll give you some installation pointers as well as a video on how easy the wheels were to clean afterwards, even with tons of brake dust built up.
I had my factory Rotor wheels off the car anyway while I was doing a photoshoot of the tire stickers on my track wheels, so this was the perfect opportunity. I got the wheels super clean using Sonax and a pressure washer, including the barrels themselves. You could definitely apply the coating while the wheels are still on the car, but the nice part about having them off is that you can get the inside of the barrels too, which will help keep that area cleaner between washes since it is so hard to reach.
I then used a wheel polish I had lying around to get the machined part of the faces looking good. As you can see above, they had some discoloration from brake dust that regular cleaning wasn’t really able to get to. It’s important to get the faces as clean as possible, both so the product will bond to the surface better, and also because the product produces a thin layer on top of the wheels, so any dirt/defects you miss will be stuck underneath the product.
Once the wheels are cleaned to your liking, use CarPro Eraser (or similar product) to remove any leftover wax/polish/cleaner so that the wheels are able to accept the coating. Spray the product liberally into your CLEAN microfiber (or directly on wheels themselves), and massage into the surface in a circular motion. The product will flash/get hazy, but keep massaging in until you it’s nearly gone…then hit with a second (clean) microfiber to remove any residue after it has sat for a few minutes.
Do the same process for all four wheels, including the inner barrels, then try to avoid driving for a little while for the product to fully cure. The product should add some extra shine to the wheels, so it is more than just a layer of protection but also a layer of gloss, too. I know my factory wheels have never looked so good!
I filmed a quick video to show you how well the product works. The OEM brake pads on the TTRS are among the worst I’ve ever experienced in terms of producing brake dust, but the Reload does great against it. Normally the brake dust is caked on pretty badly and requires use of heavy chemicals, a pressure washer, or both to remove…but with Reload, you can just spray and wipe without putting any pressure at all on them whatsoever. What’s impressive is that before I even started to wipe down the wheels with a spray detailer, they were already cleaner than they’d normally be after so much driving – not only does the Reload spray make it easier to wash, but less dust & debris is able to cling on to the wheel in the first place. In other words, the spray helps repel some (but certainly not all) grime in itself, and the remaining grime that does stick to the wheel comes off a lot easier. After repeated washes and use, the product continued to outperform my expectations.
The TL;DR is that if you want to try a ceramic coating, CarPro Reload achieves 80% of the results of CQuartz with only 20% of the effort. Many users may find the spray by itself is all they need, but if you get hooked on the powers of ceramic coatings then you can graduate up to CQuartz down the road…
Eventually I did end up doing a full coating of the wheels using CQuartz to the wheels when I did the rest of my car, but honestly the Reload spray works nearly as well and is much easier to apply. If you skip the full ceramic coating and just do the Reload spray, then I’d suggest reapplying more often just to keep a good base down; CQuartz says the product lasts about 6 months, but I’d aim for reapplying every 4 months to be on the safe side…but given how much time you save during washes, spraying this on once every four months is well worth it.