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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Teflon Coating For Your Bike – A How to Guide

Teflon Coating For Your Bike – A How to Guide

Teflon coating, we must have heard this a lot of times, how is it done and what change could it bring, to answer these questions, we take a step by step look at the whole process as it is done on a Yamaha Fazer. First of all, Teflon as you have heard is basically a new age material that’s been used in everything from frying pans to space shuttles. It’s been making its way into paints and other surfaces as a protective agent in recent times. The name was coined by the world’s second largest chemical company, DuPont who is the inventor of certain symbolic products like Kevlar, Lycra and Neoprene.
In India, dealers of DuPont undertake Teflon coating for bikes and cars, DuPont is the main supplier of this chemical which can only be obtained by a dealer. It’s basically a whitish liquid that looks a bit like starch. Even though it is done all over the country, prices aren’t cheap, a litre of this chemical would set you back by nearly 4,500 Rupees. For coating a bike though, you wouldn’t need that kind of quantity.
The price for getting your bike Teflon coated varies from city to city typically around 450-600 Rupees; we managed to get the Yamaha Fazer coated for about 550 Rupees, and that included polishing of the non painted areas like the mudguards and the insides of the fairing. So on other smaller bikes; you could get it done for less than that. It doesn’t matter if your bike is new or old, as long as it is polished before Teflon is coated, the bike can really shine.
Here’s the whole process, done by a DuPont authorized centre, step by step:

Washing

This is the first step, the painted areas and the plastic parts like mudguards, speedometer etc are washed with a mild shampoo to make them free of dirt and dust, the surfaces are then wiped and dried. This is done so that the paint remains free of dust particles once the coating is applied. A soft cloth is used to make sure no unwanted scratches are also caused so as to ensure maximum quality.

Polishing

This step involves the application of polish on the painted surfaces. Typical car waxes and polishes are used in this step and in this case, 3M Car Wax. This is done so that once the paint has maximum possible shine and gloss before it is coated with Teflon.
This process can make dull paints look significantly brighter. Older bikes would have a much better appearance once this step is done. Differences are noticeable on shades like black which visibly fade easily and are the hardest to maintain.

Teflon Coating

This is the final step in the process, this was when I finally got to see the tiny bottle of prized liquid, Teflon. It has a particularly pungent smell to it when it is applied onto the paint. This smell however, disappears once it has dried. A soft cotton cloth is used to apply this liquid onto all the painted areas over the bike. It is then left to dry for a few minutes.
When the drops of Teflon dry up, it bonds to the surface, this is when the people start to use another piece of dry cotton to massage it onto the surface and turn It into another layer of a transparent, shiny coating. This can be quite laborious as a lot of effort is required; which is why at some centers polishing equipment is used. Once signs of the drops have disappeared, it is wiped once again with a clean cloth to make it free of any residue or dust.
The polishing of other plastic parts is done using a typical liquid car-dashboard polish. This brings out the shine in the non shiny parts and can leave the bike looking better than what it was when it came out of the showroom.
For the Fazer, the results were amazing, the paint had a really vibrant gloss and it looked much like a mirror. It looked much better than what it was like when it was new.

Differences:

  • Even though the bike was brand new, just having run 1,200Km, the paint became much more glossy and shiny. It actually looked better than what it was like in the showroom.
  • The new coating is claimed to offer minor scratch resistance, one hard swipe of the finger-nails across the surface can prove that. The paint surface seems to have become a little bit more slippery and tough.

Things to remember:

  • Once the coating is done, it is advised by the centers not to use soap or other detergents on the paint as this can reduce the thickness of the coating. They recommend the use of Ph-neutral shampoo which is essentially car-shampoo that you can buy from any car-accessories stores.
  • Teflon coating can recover faded paints but it has its limits. It cannot completely remove scratches, the swirl marks on the surface is reduced considerably after the entire process. If you simply want to recover faded paint, just use car waxes made by 3M, Formula1, Prestone, or any other major brand. Scratches can also be taken care of by using Scratch Out, from Formula 1 which is a liquid rubbing compound.
  • The whole process takes just around 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the bike.
  • Be sure to bargain with the dealer as they can be quite inconsiderate. The dealer initially quoted 750 Rupees for the job, which I promptly refused, a few minutes of bargaining and the price was brought down to just 550.
  • The dealer has also given us a guarantee of one year that the paint would not fade as long as the instructions are followed.
There you go, the Teflon coating process, explained! :)

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