Car wax in its present form has been on the market for quite some time. At first,waxes were crumbly chunks of carnauba with only petroleum distillates to aide in application. Now, waxes can be found in any size, type, price or market in the world. However, most have not improved in relation to the rapid advancement of polymer formulation. Unfortunately, the lack of improvement is to blame upon consumers for choosing the cheapest product first out of habit. Thankfully, the paint protection market has exploded with a wide array of quality offerings. Therefore, I will attempt to explain further to maximize your buying power.
What is a Wax? Furthermore what does it do?
As a general rule a wax is a mostly plant based product such as carnauba or montan. Wax in it`s raw form is completely unusable and must be altered for the end user experience. By the end of manufacturing, the plant component is merely an ingredient in a concoction of various silicones & distillates.
Wax has been to key car-guy products its whole life but an unfortunate trend began to develop. No matter the formulation, quality or price, performance is limited. A more natural or boutique wax will only last a few weeks at best. A more chemical (silicone) based product withers away around 3 months in a best-case scenario.This led to a demand for a better performing product, the Sealant.
Thus begins a grey area. There remain many products labeled as waxes which are really sealants, and to a lesser degree for sealants. Regardless, a sealant is generally defined as a non-carnauba based product intended for the same purpose as a wax. Sealants can easily double and in some cases quadruple in longevity compared to their older cousin along with a higher price.
Unfortunately, the gap in quality and longevity can be overwhelming in the sealant category. Some easily hold up to the projected date while others fail miserably.
Fraud and Deception
Warning: The consumer must especially be aware of outlandish claims for sealants bought over the counter and especially at a dealership.The dealership offered coatings & sealants do work for a time but often are little more than a scam sold to the unwitting consumer on their monthly note. Sealants & Coatings lasting greater than a year generally must be applied by a professional.
Coatings are a rather recent chemical marvel of various methods, techniques and companies. Overall, they offer unmatched protection, looks, & environmental resistance compared to sealants. The average durability of readily available coatings is
1-2 years, though approved installer coatings often warranty for 5+ years.
Coatings are wonderful products and are truly the future of paint protection. However, the U.S. market is currently flooded by start-ups and re-bottlers of various coatings at different levels, which requires thorough vetting of whatever coating company utilized.
Why have a coating installed?
Coatings excel in every way compared to waxes & sealants but possibly their best characteristic would be the "self-cleaning" effect. This is not to say your car will never get dirty again but cleaning becomes much easier with less marring/scratching of your painted surface. The gloss provided from coatings is sustained much longer than any conventional method. The consumer has a greater feeling of satisfaction by driving a cleaner vehicle each day.