In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics of waxes, sealants and coatings as protective materials for your vehicle’s paint and exterior. Also responsible for bringing that desirable shine to your car’s appearance, these materials are all similar in some ways – but also have some important differences in what they bring to your vehicle.
At Kram’s Mobile Detailing Services, our mobile detailing solutions include an array of protective elements, including each of these products as needed – and we come to you to apply them, saving you time and money. In today’s part two, we’ll go over sealants and coatings in detail, plus offer you information on a couple related alternatives.
Sealant Basics and Types
Sealants are liquid compounds meant to bond to the car’s paint and keep it protected. They’re usually synthetic and appear in liquid or cream format. One note with sealants: Before they’re applied, it’s important to ensure all waxes have been removed and the paint has been cleaned with an alcohol wipe – this is to ensure a quality bond is created between the sealant and the paint.
There are two broad sealant types available:
- Synthetic sealant: Similar in some ways to carnauba wax, which we detailed in part one, synthetic sealant contains related compounds that bring a fantastic shine and longer-lasting performance. Sealants will range in price from about $15 to $60.
- Cleaning sealants: These are similar products, but containing additional micro abrasives that are meant to get rid of annoying swirl marks on the paint. However, cleaning sealants are often applied by hand and may not be strong enough to remove all your scratches, so we generally recommend synthetic sealant.
Generally speaking, the term “coating” refers to nano coatings, which are similar in purpose to glass coatings or ceramic coatings. All of these create a thin layer of glass around the paint, providing excellent protection and shine. These options are considered permanent because they are directly attached to the car’s paint surface, though they can be removed using a buffer or DA polisher. Nano coatings often last up to five years, protecting the surface from not only scratches but also bird droppings, UV rays and bug splatters.
There are a couple popular products available today that provide some of the same qualities as waxes, sealants and coatings:
- Clear bra: This is a transparent film used over the top of a vehicle’s paint, generally made from urethane. It protects the car from heavy scratch and rock chip risks. However, clear bra is extremely expensive and can still be damaged by sap or acid, plus might not be as visually appealing as other protective types. It’s always available, however.
- Vinyl wraps: A popular choice today is using a vinyl wrap, which provides a similar purpose to clear bra but with thinner, more versatile options. Vinyl wraps are often used to change the color of a vehicle without repainting it, though in these cases it won’t provide the same level of protection as clear bra. Vinyl wraps can be costly as well.