Car Wax, Polish and Sealant: What’s Best for Your Customer’s Cars and Why?

polish sample kit includes STS 3000 Polymer Paint Sealant, Cherry Wet WaxUnderstandably, there’s a lot of confusion among consumers about the attributes and intended purposes of our industry’s overwhelming variety of car waxes, polishes and sealants.

But here in the world of professional auto detailing, we know the proper uses of these complex polishing compounds. For instance, we know that a good polish product targets paint correction and is used in conjunction with either a rotary buffer or a random-orbital polisher. Depending on the condition of the paint, the professional detailer will choose the polish that he or she thinks will do the best job in correcting and “leveling down” these imperfections.

We know that buffing the vehicle with the proper polishing product and the appropriate buffing pad removes light to medium scratches, water spots, oxidation and other blemishes during this stage of the detail. Moreover, we know that polishing a vehicle’s painted surface also brings out that glossy wet look and shine depth for that showroom new look that car buffs love! Problem is, most polishes on the market today don’t offer paint protection (except Detail King’s) and in most cases, they strip away any wax protection on the paint.

The very best auto detailing outfits will typically use a polishing glaze combination product that not only repairs minor imperfections, but also deep cleans the clear layer of paint that most vehicles have today. Detail King’s Paint Correction Polishes include glaze and actually have paint protection ingredients blended into the product. That’s a unique concept compared to other polishing glazes on the market.

Then there’s our Foam Pad Glaze that will not only perform paint correction and remove light swirls in the paint, but will leave behind a half-decent layer of protection. An application of premium wax or commercial grade polymer sealant should still be applied following the polishing process for maximum protection and gloss appearance.

So the paint’s been corrected, and the minor blemishes repaired. Now it’s time to apply a protective barrier that will prevent damage to the freshly polished surface. Nothing’s going to prevent scratches or car wash swirls from occurring again, but a generous coat of Carnauba Wax goes a long way toward providing protection for the painted surface. That includes stains from bird droppings, hard water spots, tree sap and other environmental mishaps that can take a toll on any vehicle’s paint.

As an aside: Speaking of wax, it certainly comes in handy when a cute red cardinal birdie decides to leave you a present on the hood of your client’s freshly detailed Jaguar. Obviously, bird droppings should be removed from the paint as soon as possible, and special care should be used when removing it. A vehicle with no paint protection risks damage to the paint and may require major paint correction (compounding or wet sanding). Wax can be applied to the vehicle’s paint without having it polished and corrected first, but the results aren’t going to look all that great — especially if the paint was dull and full of swirls. Of course, it’s better than nothing at all.

But back to Carnauba Wax — a natural product that’s preferred by car collectors and enthusiasts alike because it creates a deep, wet-look finish — it’s breathable and will protect painted surfaces from the sun, heat, dew, rain, snow, fading and environmental contamination. Unfortunately most Carnauba Waxes on the market today will only last about two months, depending on the climate and whether the vehicle is stored indoors. Hot and humid climate conditions reduce the protection lifespan of a typical carnauba application. Using Carnauba Wax as the final coat of protection will require more frequent applications than a polymer-based paint sealant. Our Cherry Wet Wax actually lasts longer than most carnauba waxes because of the special resins and ingredients that we have blended into the product. Detail King’s Cherry Wet Wax can last upwards of 90 days or more in comfortable environmental conditions.

Synthetic Polymer Paint Sealants like our STS 3000, is not a naturally produced paint protection product like carnauba wax, but is manufactured from polymers. When applied to a painted surface, the polymer sealant cures on top of the paint and forms a hard, durable shell of invisible protection that can’t peel away or chip off. Polymer Sealants produce a high-gloss and slick-looking finish. But most paint sealants don’t have the wet look and depth produced by a quality carnauba wax. The major benefits of polymer-based paint sealants are that they are extremely durable and typically last up to six months. Detail King’s STS 3000 is considered to be one of the finest polymer-based automotive paint sealants available and will normally protect a vehicle for up to 12 months. STS 3000 is extremely easy to apply and remove, and is an excellent choice for vehicles that are constantly exposed to the elements.

Besides automobiles, we’ve discovered that boats and airplanes are perfect candidates for a good coat of polymer sealant. Detail King has been supplying private airports and jet owners with STS 3000 for years, receiving excellent customer reviews along the way.

Just keep in mind that there aren’t any miraculous automotive paint protection products out there on the market. Nothing’s going to last longer than 12 months, no matter what anyone tells you. Discard notions of using those gimmicky polishes with Teflon that you see advertised at 3:00 in the morning on TV. Fact is, in order for Teflon to be properly applied to metal, the temperature of the metal would have to be well over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and that just ain’t happening.

What it all comes down to is this: In order to maintain the maximum level of paint protection, a sealant should be applied annually or more often, depending on the quality of the product. Vehicle owners who have a quality sealant applied each year, but still demand that “bling-bling look,” should have their ride touched up with a premium-grade Carnauba Wax a few times a year.

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Comments (10)

  1. I really love vehicle paint protection from a Paint Protection Service in UK. It works by forming a permanent barrier layer on the existing paint finish of your car. It effectively seals the paint in and doesn’t allow dirt, grime and pollution to bond to it and damage it whilst providing a protective shield against UV Rays. They use several products like diamondbrite, supagard and Autoglym Lifeshine.

  2. Detailing Clay is a great, GREAT product for any of you that haven’t used it before. For all the other steps of the waxing process I’ve found the Best Car Waxes and wax products can really make or break how your paint turns out. I’ve been an auto detailer for 9 years and really focus on paint restoration and how to properly wax paint. I enjoy articles like this one on wax! Nice post!

  3. Man and Van says:

    Agree with Casey about Detailing Clay. It is a must have product for any sort of detailing job to start with.

    For beginners, paint correction is a bit complicated and should be left with the professional to be taken care of. Once corrected and preserved, one can start maintaining the looks of their rides by proper washing and applying good qulaity waxes to preseve the shine.

  4. Joe Seals says:

    This is some really good information. Thanks, I will make sure this is put to good use in my San Diego car detail shop.

  5. Rinse your car thoroughly and dry it before applying the polish. After you finish with the polish, apply a coat of wax to protect the finish. Most manufactures recommend using the polish no more than twice a year.

  6. arunjose says:

    Agree with Casey about Detailing Clay

  7. John says:

    I have also heard a lot of good things about Detailing Clay and I think you really do need to make sure that you use the best products for things like this. As they say buy cheap, buy twice!

  8. Nick V says:

    There are many clay products for auto detailing available today inclduding the new clay towels and clay wash mitts. We will be stocking new clay products with nano technology the week of March 11, 2013 check out our clay dept then.

  9. Before deciding whether to wax or polish your car, first wash your car thoroughly and make sure it is dry. Then lightly run your fingers over the paint, feeling for rough spots or elevated specks.

  10. neel patel says:

    Perfectly described which one will be good for your car and why.!!

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