Primer on Wax, Sealant and Coatings for Vehicle Detailing, Part 1

wax sealant coatings vehicle detailing

There are several aspects of auto detailing that bring protective qualities to the vehicle being detailed, and a great example here are elements like waxes, sealants and coatings. Used to protect the paint and exterior of the vehicle, these materials accomplish this task while also bringing a glossy shine that makes the car look brand new.

At Kram’s Mobile Detailing Service, we’re proud to offer a full array of protective materials as part of our mobile detailing services. We come to you to provide these services, saving you gas, time and hassle in the process. For those new to the detailing process, terms like wax, sealant and coating may all sound like the same thing – but in reality, they’re related-but-different materials that perform differing functions. This two-part blog will dig into the basics on each of these and what they do for your vehicle.

Basic Definitions

Here are the simple ways of defining what each of these materials is:

  • Wax: Vehicle wax is available in several formats and styles, offered in both liquid or paste form. The primary ingredient will be synthetic wax, which will be blended to some degree with other substances depending on the precise product. Wax is meant to protect paint and increase the exterior shine of the vehicle. Of the three products listed here, wax lasts for the shortest period of time.
  • Sealant: The next tier up from wax is sealant, which is made from man-made polymers, resins and various synthetic ingredients. Sealant’s purpose is to increase both durability and shine on the paint surface, and will last longer than wax.
  • Coating: The most permanent of these materials, however, is coating, which bonds directly to paint to create a durable protective barrier. Many coating products will last several years at a time without any need for replacement.

Wax Information

There are several types of wax and lots of information out there about it. As we noted, it creates a barrier between the paint’s clear coat and the elements, plus smooths out the paint’s surface by filling in lighter scratches. It also reduces friction between outside elements and your paint, making scratches less likely to begin with.

There are a few distinct wax types out there:

  • Spray wax: The cheapest and shortest-lasting type, spray wax is applied during the drying process and needs to be re-applied often.
  • Carnauba wax: This is a versatile wax type applied using a pad, bringing great protection and shine. The price of this type ranges widely based on its quality, which will also speak to how long it lasts.
  • Synthetic wax: This is a product similar to carnauba wax, but one that lasts a bit longer due to polymers involved in its makeup. Carnauba wax, however, is known to bring a bit more depth and shine.
  • Cleaner wax: This is a product that not only protects the surface, but also polishes and cleans it in the same stroke. It’s made of a blend of chemical and mechanical cleaners. It should only generally be used for dirty or poorly-conditioned vehicles – brand new vehicles should choose another option.

For more on waxes, sealants and coatings, or to learn about any of our mobile detailing or window tinting services, speak to the staff at Kram’s Mobile Detailing Service today.