Product review: Airglide Ultimate Shield paint protection

Airglide Ultimate ShieldDisclosure: I received free review sample of Airglide’s Ultimate Shield car pack and interior pack for this review.

At this time of year, finding enough time and motivation to clean your car can be difficult. If you’re not at work, it’s usually either dark, raining or frozen.

So when Airglide got in touch and offered to let me try their Ultimate Shield paint protection product, I was tempted.

Airglide was a new name to me. The company says that its background is in the aviation industry, where its product is used to protect finished surfaces and reduce dirt and ice buildup. This should reduce maintenance time and aerodynamic drag.

The firm says that its products work well on road vehicles too, and is marketing the Ultimate Shield kit as a two-part DIY paint protection system. This is the product I tried.

The basic idea is that the two-part coating forms a sealed, polished finish. This should protect your paintwork, make it easier to clean and give a long-lasting shine. Water should bead off and dry without leaving smears or water marks.

That’s the theory — so did it work for me?

The plan

With all due respect to Airglide, there are plenty of polish products that provide a really good showroom shine. So I wasn’t particularly interested in that aspect. What I wanted to find out was whether applying Airglide to my car would help prevent dirt build up and make it easier to keep the car clean and shiny.

In order to try and test this, what I did was to treat some of the car with Airglide and leave some parts untreated.

For the record, the areas I treated were:

  • Half the bonnet
  • Offside passenger window and door
  • Nearside front alloy wheel

Although the protection is meant to last up to two years, my initial plan for this review was to do a few hundred miles in winter road conditions and then see if I could detect any difference in dirt build up and ease of cleaning.

Applying Airglide Ultimate Shield

The kit contains a selection of microfibre cloths and pads, along with the two bottles of product:

  • Stage 1 – Polarising Solution
  • Stage 2 – Nano Surface Protectant

The idea is that the Stage 1 solution cleans you paintwork and provides a base coat with negative polarity.

Stage 2 then provides a positive polarity which causes the two layers to bond together and form a sealed, protective coating.

Applying each liquid is like any other polish. Rub evenly onto the surface, allow to dry to a haze and then buff to a shine with a clean cloth. This product does provide a deep shine and a very smooth finish to the paintwork. Nice.

The only comment I have is that the instructions don’t give any guidance about how to prepare the car. The Stage 1 instructions refer to the product as a “dry clean” and suggest you should rub in to lift dirt from the surface. This is indeed how dry (waterless wash) cleaning products work, but this didn’t seem like a normal dry cleaning product.

Before applying any kind of polish, I’d normally want to make sure the car was clean and dry first, so that’s what I did — a thorough wash and dry before I applied Airglide.

Applying the polish:

Airglide stage 1 applied
For both stage 1 and 2, the process is to apply with a pad and then allow them to dry to a haze.

You then use a dry cloth to polish the surface to a shine:

Airglide - polishing to a shine
After polishing — the shine was good and the surface certainly felt unusually smooth to the touch.

Does it work?

After I applied the treatment, I soon noticed that water beaded off the sections I had treated with Airglide better than it did elsewhere on the car. But how do you measure whether a car is easier to clean?

Dirty car before washing
The car was dirty enough to provide a credible test, I think.

After giving it some thought, I decided to give the car a quick wash down with shampoo and then rinse it off. But I didn’t dry it or polish it.

I was unsure what to expect, but there was a difference between the treated and untreated sections of bodywork and glass.

  • On the areas where I had applied Airglide protection, the water beaded off after I had rinsed the car and the area dried with far fewer water marks than I’d normally expect without wiping it dry.
  • On the areas where I had not applied Airglide, the effect was as you’d expect. The car took longer to dry and did not dry as nicely — the watermarks on the paintwork and glass were noticeably worse.

It’s not easy to photograph, but I think this picture shows the difference. The section on the left was treated with Airglide, the section on the right was not:

Water drying on bonnet after Airglide treatment
The water drying on the bonnet after washing. I applied Airglide to the left-hand side but not to the right. There’s a clear difference in the way the water is drying.

My verdict

I’m not an expert on paint protection systems. There may be other systems that work as well or better than Airglide.

But what I can say is that Airglide does make a noticeable difference to car paintwork and glass. It provides a smooth, deep shine that cleans more easily and dries well, with less effort than usual.

Whether it’s worth £54 for an Ultimate Single Car pack is a personal choice. But I’m sufficiently convinced by this product that when the weather improves a little, I’m going to apply Airglide to the whole car.

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