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Protecting Car Paint: Wax vs. Sealant

Whether you are detailing a classic muscle car or maintaining a commuter car, you want to preserve your vehicle’s paint. When it comes to preserving your car’s appearance, you have a choice to make: wax or sealant. Both will keep your vehicle shining, but which is better for car paint? The terms wax and sealant are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two distinct products. Here is a comparison.


Car waxes are semi-solid pastes made with Carnauba wax from the Brazilian Tree of Life, which secretes the wax to coat its leaves. This natural coating provides the plant protection from the extreme dampness and humidity of the region. The same properties that protect this tree also protect your vehicle from UV rays, heat, and oxidation. It also repels water, moisture, and other environmental contaminants.

The best car waxes contain 1/3 Carnauba wax mixed with oils or solvents to make it smoother and easier to apply. Carnauba-based waxes protect up to three months and give a deep, glossy shine that appears to sink straight into the paint, resulting in a warm and reflective glow. This wet, glossy shine is a favorite of auto enthusiasts and show car owners.


Whereas waxes are made with all-natural Carnauba wax, paint sealants are made of completely synthetic polymers. Tens of thousands of particles link together to form a liquid that, when applied to your vehicle, creates a hard shell over the paint. Unlike wax that seems to melt into the paint, sealants create a hard plastic look on the surface of the vehicle. Sealants produce a glossy, slick appearance and can last from six to 12 months.

Paint sealants are extremely easy to apply because of their liquid form, and they provide the same protection from the elements as waxes do. Because sealants are usually easier to apply and tend to last longer between coats, this option is quite popular with everyday drivers.

Which is Better?

Deciding which product is better for your vehicle really boils down to personal preference because both products offer the same level of protection. Some people decide both is best. If you want the long-lasting protective shield and the deep glossy shine, you can apply both. Just start with a coat of paint sealant, and then apply a couple of coats of wax over it – you can have the best of both worlds. Whatever your choice, the paint on your car will be well protected, last longer and shine brighter.