Auto Detailing Tips: Wax or Sealants?

professional detailers answer

One question we are frequently asked is what’s the difference between a wax and a sealant. The truth is, while they both protect your vehicle’s paint, the choice between the two is up to personal preference, the climate in which you live, and your lifestyle. In this article, we’ll help explain the differences between these two so you can make an informed decision about which is the best option for you.

sealant or wax

Sealants

The difference between wax and sealants is similar to the difference between standard definition television and high-definition. Sealants are often favored by professional detailers due to their longevity, ease of use, and exceptionally hard and tough finish. Sealants are designed to bring out your paint’s beauty and protect it from the elements.

While wax lays on the surface, sealants adhere to the surface to create a protective coating or shell that can last six months or more. Applying sealant can protect your vehicle year-round with fewer applications than wax.

Wax

There are virtually endless varieties of wax available that each brings something unique to the table. Our preferred wax is Carnauba wax, which is typically preferred among professional detailers. Waxes applied after vehicle detailing sits on top of the paint and help to create deeper hues in the paint with a liquid-like finish. Wax provides a breathable paint protection from heat, UV rays, oxidation, environmental contaminants, and moisture.

wax coating

Our professional detailers warn you to be wary of polish waxes. With these products, rather than getting an effective two-in-one, you’re compromising on both wax and finish. The wax in polish waxes ends up acting like a lubricant, keeping the polish from being as effective as it could be and the polish’s grit keeps the wax from fully coating properly. Save yourself the trouble, time, and money and keep these two steps separate.

Choosing Wax or Sealant

When it comes to choosing wax or sealant, professional detailers recommend considering the following:

  • Where the Car is Stored
  • Climate/Environmental Dangers
  • Your Time and Commitment
  • Personal Preference

Waxes don’t offer the longevity that sealants do and because of that, you have to commit to taking the time to reapply it every six to eight weeks. Just how long a wax coating will last depends on the environment and the lifestyle of the car.

professional detailers - wax or sealant

A vehicle kept mostly in a climate-controlled garage will have its wax coating last longer. A car that faces a daily commute in hot, humid climates can expect its wax coating to wear off quicker.

The Best of Both Worlds

If you prefer the overall look of wax coatings to that of sealant but still want the longevity that sealant offers, you can use both. Apply the Carnauba wax to the surface of your vehicle after the sealant to get the rich, deep color wax provides with the protection of the sealant.