It’s understandable where the confusion comes from. Similar questions arise for all terms in the detailing world. It also doesn’t help matters when manufacturers decide to slap on terms and use words like wax, polish, sealant, and coating all on the same product. Essentially, waxes and sealants are made for the same purpose only they accomplish their job for different use cases. Formulas and variation are used as coatings to beautify, lubricate, laminate, and insulate. And in detailing, they are used to protect. The chemical and physical properties of waxes differ and vary. As a result, the term wax has been erroneously and carelessly used over the years, nowhere more than in the detailing business.
Various Kinds of Waxes
There are a number of waxes available that can be used to formulate a good automobile wax…
- Carnauba Wax is a plant-based, vegetable wax. Carnauba wax is the preferred wax of car enthusiasts and collectors and is commonly agreed to be the ultimate wax base for many car wax formulations
- Beeswax is a durable wax found in honeycombs and used in car wax formulas to provide a protective barrier
- Paraffin Wax (or petroleum wax) is a soft colorless solid derived from petroleum
- Montan Wax is aged and hardened carnauba wax. The advantage is that it has a much higher breakdown temperature and puts a much more durable shell of protection on your paint surface.
- Hybrid Synthetic/Polymer Paint Sealants are a variety of based paint sealants on the market. They come in a variety of application types, in liquid or spray-on application.
Most waxes will provide protection and shine for no more than 60 days, under the best conditions.
What is the Best Wax?
There s no real advantage of one form over the other. The question is what are you trying to achieve… ease of application, low-cost protection, or gloss? There also is no difference between hard pastes, creams, or liquids, if you are talking about true car waxes. If the formula has a high percentage of wax, the form does not affect the product.
Sealant vs. Wax
Let’s take a closer look…Clearly, on a basic level, these products are coatings for your car’s paint. True, they aren’t 100% exactly the same but both have the same intended purpose which is to protecting your car exterior from nature and getting a deep, wet-look shine. These days most car wax products contain a mixture of ingredients. Obviously, you want excellent protection and gloss-enhancing properties. Car waxes and paint sealants will both protect your car’s paint from sun exposure, moisture, and pollution. Sealants may have wax in their formulation but because of the other ingredients, they are more than just a wax. If wax has some of these other ingredients in its formulation then it is properly not a wax, but a paint sealant. A paint sealant for the detailer is any product that forms some sort of cross-linking film over the surface of the paint that forms a durable barrier on the surface that will last for a considerable length of time.
A paint sealant is a fully synthetic product that is comprised of polymers that chemically bond onto the paint surface. When they ‘flash’ it provides a stronger layer of protection than car wax and will last longer than car wax. Poly means many and mer means unit. So any chemical that consists of endless repeating units is a polymer. Most of the thickeners used in detail products are polymers.
What is a Resin?
A legend in the world of car care, used to remove minor scuffs and scratches and to restore gloss to all types of paintwork. The famous bottle can be found in garages all over the world and has been lovingly applied to everything from hyper cars and priceless classics to family cars. Resin is a semi-solid complex amorphous mix of organic compounds, animal, vegetable, or synthetic.
Silicone Fluids are polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) silicone (dimethicone) compounds that provide superior protection against water and moisture penetration. They are used as an additive for car exterior polishes and waxes. Almost all waxes and sealants have some type of silicone fluids in them to provide shine and durability. There are amino-functional silicones. Their cross-linking capabilities is what makes a paint sealant more durable than a wax. Typically, waxes only include standard silicon fluids. Therefore they are not as durable as a paint sealant.
What is Teflon?
Teflon coating also known as anti-rust coating, is done on the surface of the car. This protects the car’s painted finish and offers a brilliant shine, doing away with the problem of corrosion and wear and tear in high as well as low temperatures, keeping the vehicle like new for a long time.
Can Wax be Put Over a Sealant?
Yes if you have allowed the sealant to air dry for a few hours to let the cross-linking molecules form. But why do it? The only possible reason would be to fill the spider scratches and possibly increase the depth of the shine on a black or dark car.
So Which is Best a Wax or a Sealant?
If you are linking for durability, then a sealant must be your choice. The best waxes will last maybe 50-60 days tops. A paint sealant will last up to six months under the best conditions. A paint sealant goes on faster, comes off easier, and last longer. There is more value for the motorist and it is easier for the detailer to use. So in conclusion a paint sealant is a better product to use than wax in most instances.
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Bailey’s Car Wash & Detailing
Bailey’s is a local and family owned car wash providing a range of washing and detailing options for our customers! Since 2002, we have been providing outstanding services to the Greater Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky area. Our experience, customer service, and overall value is what sets Bailey’s apart from our competition.
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