IN THE DIY CAR CARE WORLD, THERE’S A LOT OF CONFUSION OVER NATURAL CARNAUBA WAX, POLYMER WAXES AND POLYMER SEALANTS. ALL OF THESE PRODUCTS CAN ENHANCE THE REFLECTIVE QUALITIES OF YOUR CAR’S PAINT WHILE ADDING SOME PROTECTION, BUT THAT’S WHERE THE SIMILARITIES END.

Natural paste waxes made from a blend of Carnauba (Brazil Wax or Palm Wax) and paraffin waxes. They can supplement the cleaning process, provide a deep, glowing shine and some hydrophobic protection, but these natural wax blends fade quickly. Natural waxes can also attract dust, dirt and embedded contaminants. It’s a lot of work for a short term benefit, but the deep glow of a quality Carnauba wax job is hard to beat. We recommend Carnauba wax the day before a car show, but that’s about it. Be sure to stay away from crevices, edges, badges, and rubber and plastic surfaces to avoid that white “chalky” residue and build-up.

Carnauba and Paraffin is also added to many spray waxes, quick detail sprays and waterless wash & wax products. The results aren’t quite as good as the paste wax process, and the visual effect only lasts a few days, at best. Expect a 30% application time savings, but not a show-car glow or lasting results.

WHAT ABOUT THE WATER BASED WAX OPTIONS AT THE MECHANICAL WASH TUNNELS?

These tend to only fill the scratches left behind by the process itself, and what protection they do provide, fades very rapidly. I advise car owners to avoid the mechanical cloth and brush wash tunnels entirely. Nothing beats proper hand washing if you want great results without scratching or damaging your paint, but choose the touch-less wash tunnels in a pinch. Professional auto detailing services are always the best option. The Pros clean, polish and protect every area of your car,… including door jams, engine bay, interior, wheel wells, wheels and glass. Moreover, the pros use products and processes that clean without scratching or damaging the paint.

POLYMER BASED WAXES AND POLISHES OUTPERFORM NATURAL WAXES IN DURABILITY.

Polymer based waxes actually form a crystalline structure that loosely bonds to the clear coat, which qualifies them as a weak sealant. Both natural waxes and polymer waxes can reduce the visibility of fine scratches and swirl marks, but the polymer waxes bond better and last longer. Both natural and polymer wax products actually remove oxidation and contaminants, IF they are removed via a dry polishing process with a clean microfiber cloth. Some polymer waxes and polishes can be used to prepare the clear coat for a semi-permanent paint sealant. Natural waxes should be removed before any polymer sealant is applied, but they can be applied over a paint sealant.

SEALANTS ARE APPLIED BY PROFESSIONALS BECAUSE THEY START TO CHEMICALLY CURE VERY QUICKLY AND MUST BE “LEVELED” BEFORE THE INITIAL CURING PROCESS STARTS.

Think of a sealant as semi-permanent layer of protection that tightly bonds to the clear coat. If not leveled properly and quickly at the right temperature, the sealant can leave a blotchy or foggy appearance. Sealants can’t physically harm your paint, and most can be applied to glass and plastic surfaces as well, but improperly applied, they can produce inconsistent results. The goal is to lock-in the deep gloss by leveling the sealant as it starts to cure. Proper preparation, humidity, temperature and timing are all factors.

If the paint is properly prepared and the product properly applied, liquid paint sealants can enhance the gloss of your paint while adding an additional layer of protection that will last for 6-12 months, or more. Natural waxes fade quickly, but they can produce a deep gloss. Polymer waxes and polishes also produce a deep gloss that lasts longer than natural waxes, but not as long as a true paint sealant.

Auto detailing services like My Car Butler, in South central Pennsylvania, are experts at paint sealant preparation and application. They perform a variety of paint repair and paint correction services, as well as interior detailing and vehicle preparation for resale. www.mycarbutler.net