It’s 1990, it’s a bright, sunny day. You’re in your driveway cleaning up your vehicle. You think, hmm I should put a coat of wax on this puppy and make it shine real good. Fast forward to 2019. Car wax isn’t the best/only protection for your vehicle. New technologies are allowing for longer, more durable types of protection; sealants and ceramic coatings. In this post, I will break down the difference between a wax, sealant and a ceramic coating into three tiers.
First and fore most, the goal of all these products is to protect the clear coat of your car. When your car is painted, there’s three layers; the primer layer (which is laid on top of the metal panel), the base coat – which is the color of your car, then the clear coat. What we want to protect is the clear coat of your car. That’s because the clear coat is extremely thin. Over time, the sun’s harmful UV rays, bird droppings, dirt and grime all eat away at your vehicles clear coat, making it thinner and thinner.
The most common form of protection is a traditional carnauba wax. We will call this the first tier of protection. Carnauba is also known as Brazilian wax. It provides an extremely glossy finish. Traditional carnauba waxes are extremely heat sensitive and break down quickly when the sun is shining on them. A carnauba wax is going to give the vehicle one to two months’ worth of protection when properly cared for. Kleen Whips Auto Detailing does not use a traditional carnauba wax, we use a silica based wax that increases the longevity of protection.
The second tier of protection is a polymer sealant. Paint sealants are kind of the anti-carnauba. They last a lot longer, they are easy to apply, and there’s nothing natural about them. This is surface science at its best. A paint sealant is made of polymers, which are composed of tens of thousands of synthetic particles that are linked together. When a sealant bonds to your vehicle’s paint, it forms a rigid shell. Paint sealants sit on top of the paint like a transparent chain metal suit. A selling point of a paint sealant is the durability. A premium paint sealant can last up to 9 months, sometimes longer. By “last”, I mean that water will continue to bead and the paint will remain protected from UV rays and contamination.
The third and final tier of protection is a ceramic coating, or a high solid coating. A ceramic coating is a layer-able, clear, nano ceramic coating. When fully cured, this technology forms a permanent, yet flexible glass shield on whatever surface it is applied too. A ceramic coating protects against acid rain, bird droppings, road dirt, etc. However, a ceramic coating is not bullet proof. A professionally installed ceramic coating normally comes with a manufacturer and installer warranty. At Kleen Whips Auto Detailing, we use IGL Coatings which is a leading manufacturer of low and zero VOC high solid coatings. Before any coating can be installed, a glass like finish needs to be obtained on your vehicle. This means, many hours of paint correction must take place before installation. Having a ceramic coating installed is a long term investment for your vehicle. Kleen Whips Auto Detailing does not recommend a ceramic coating for all vehicles. If you put a coating on your vehicle, you don’t need to put a sealant or a wax on top of the coating. Ceramic coatings can be applied to almost any surface including glass, shoes, purses, and even industrial equipment.
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Till next time!