We get asked all the time about what the difference is between a wax and a sealant. When it comes down to it they both protect your vehicles paint, but that’s the easy answer. It’s not that simple. The choice between wax and sealant really comes down to personal preference, lifestyle, and climate. To really understand what’s best for you and your vehicle, we’ll give you a run down so that you have an understanding of both types of products.
Products labeled “wax” can vary drastically from man made polymers, to combination polish waxes all the way to the holy grail of natural waxes, Carnauba wax. While the science behind waxes has developed over the years, detailers, collectors, and enthusiasts, will agree that natural Carnauba wax is the preferred wax for their cars. Carnauba comes from the Brazilian Tree of Life palm and the results can be described as “bringing life” to a finish. Waxes sit on top of your paint to create deeper hues and a liquid wet finish that provides a natural breathable protection for paint from UV rays, heat, moisture, oxidation and environmental contaminants.
You might think to yourself that the combination polish waxes would be another excellent choice and would help you eliminate a step in polishing and protecting your finish; however, these products tend to be a compromise. The wax acts as a lubricant and basically doesn’t allow the polish to be as effective and the grit of the polish doesn’t allow the wax to coat as well. This is why we recommend a proper wash and polish to remove surface contaminants before any protective measures are taken. As we’ll discuss in the next paragraph, when you choose wax, you are choosing an option that may require a bit more of a time commitment.
Lifestyle comes in to the wax versus sealant debate when we discuss longevity. Some cherish the time spent with their vehicles, applying and buffing wax to a brilliant luster, while others would rather live in the fast lane and drive. Wax is for that slower pace of life, traditionalists who love the look of wax and are willing to put in the time to every 6-8 weeks. The durability of a wax job depends on things like where the car is stored and what the climate is like. A car stored in a a climate controlled garage will extend the life of the finish, whereas daily commutes in hot, humid climates will likely mean a shorter life span to the finish, requiring more frequent application to maintain the protective wax finish.
Sealants have become the sweetheart of professional details because of their ease of use, longevity, and the hard as glass finish. We like to call it the difference between standard definition and high definition televisions. Sealants are your HD option. There is nothing natural about paint sealants, these are man-made marvels of science and technology that bring out the beauty of the paint and protect it from anything nature can throw at it. Unlike wax that lays on the surface, a sealant will adhere to the surface creating a protective shell that will last 6 months or longer.
Wax lovers will tell you that the look of sealants doesn’t have the same richness, but we love the glass-like finish of a sealant; it’s a personal preference. If you want speed and protection this might be the best route for you. Sealants are as close to instant gratification as it gets for detailing. The liquid application can easily be done by hand with a microfiber cloth or with a polisher. Applying sealant will require fewer applications to provide year-round protection for your vehicle.
Looking for the best of both worlds?
If you love the deep rich color of a waxed finish but don’t have the time to reapply every couple weeks, you could always double down. Applying a Caraunaba wax over a sealant will provide you with the longevity and protection of the sealant and the rich deep color of the Caraunaba wax.You can have the best of both worlds without risking damage to your vehicles finish when you’re short on time.
Ready to make a decision?
Check out our different options:
Fiberglass & Gel Coat