Continuing from where we left off. In Part 2 we will cover Polymer Sealants and what they are, we will later go into depth on how Ceramic Coating works and what Ceramic Coating really is and we will finally cover Paint Protection Films, how they work and why they are used on cars.
If you just tuned in, in Part 1 of this topic we covered the introduction to 'How to protect the paint on your car?' the theme started by explaining why it is important to use exterior auto detailing products, specifically paint protection items and we have covered what Carnauba Wax is, also known as Car Wax in the automotive industry.
To see Part 1 of the topic, click here if you are interested in learning more about the above-mentioned things.
What is Polymer Sealant?
Unlike Carnauba Wax, Polymer Sealant, also known as Car Sealant or Car Paint Sealant, usually has no natural elements in itself but is instead made out of different synthetic compounds and is composed of polymers, hence its name, that chemically bond onto the painted surface, namely the clear coat layer of the car's paint.
The bond is stronger and the protective layer itself is stronger than what Car Wax would produce. Straight-up without much explanation needed, a Polymer Sealant is usually just a better Car Wax, or Carnauba Wax, whichever term you prefer.
That being said, we are using the word 'usually' quite often here. The intention is not to mislead you, but to caution you instead. Namely, the exterior auto detailing market is saturated with all kinds of paint protection products and more are popping up left and right each and every day.
They all have grandiose and sometimes, straight-up, plain ridiculous claims and it is hard for the average car enthusiast to know what product to pick confidently and no one can blame you. That is how marketing works. Everyone wants a piece of this pie and some will use dirty tactics to achieve their goals.
At least there are people like us that will buy, test, and review those products so you do not have to and share our knowledge from working in the industry to help you close those gaps that you need to care for your vehicle in the most effective and safest way possible.
A sealant's job, like its cousin Car Wax, is twofold - to protect the car's paint and to enhance its appearance. Sealants perform excellently in both areas, the protection part being done a tad bit better than wax. As for the appearance, people often say that using quality Car Wax will enhance the color more than using a Polymer Sealant.
They claim that Wax will give a deeper glossy glow that a sealant simply cannot achieve. Well, the short answer is - maybe. We've seen both outperform each other depending on the manufacturer, but to be honest. It took a high-quality LED lamp, a keen eye, and the opinion of multiple people to come to such conclusions.
The difference might not even be visible to the untrained eye, that is, if you do not know what to look for. We would personally say both do the same job regarding the appearance enhancement effect.
The other reason we are using the word 'usually' is because today you will find all types of mixtures such as Ceramic Wax, Ceramic Sealant, Protective Polymer Wax, and similar terms as if someone took all those related words, shuffled them up and whatever came out would be a new hot product. Well, some might be, but most of it is, in our opinion marketing, so be cautioned.
When working with any type of paint protection you need two prerequisites - a clean, decontaminated vehicle ( at least on the outside ) and not working in direct sunlight or sometimes even outside, depending on what product you are using.
For Car Waxes and Polymer Sealants, it is ok working outside because the application and curing process is reasonably fast and things like wind, flying particles, leaves, and bird droppings will not ruin the procedure if you are in the middle of it.
When working with Ceramic Coating, or with Paint Protection Film, that is a different story. Some Polymer Sealant manufacturers claim that their product can be worked with even in sunlight, while the car's paint is relatively high. The boiling point of Polymer Sealant is much higher than that of Car Wax, but I would still advise looking for shade or doing the procedure in a garage. If you are unable to do that for any reason, Polymer Sealant is probably the product you should go for.
Polymer Sealants are usually in liquid form while Carnauba Wax usually comes in the form of a paste. The application process though is pretty much the same as Car Wax. You can check it in Part 1 of this article for more details on the procedure.
For all products, we will give a short and clear summary listing all their features and grading them from F ( bad ) to A ( great ) compared to their competition.
So to summarize, here are some notes about Polymer Sealant:
will last you about 6-8 months ... C
medium resistance to the elements ... B
no resistance to damage ... F
relatively cheap cost ... B
very simple to apply yourself ... A
almost no resistance to chemicals & degreasers ... F
Average grade: C
The average grade is higher than that of Carnauba Wax due to rounding up, but it is very close. The main practical difference between a Wax and a Sealant is that the Sealant resists high temperature much better than wax does and if properly applied, the Car Sealant will last several months while Car Wax will last several weeks.
The faults are pretty much the same as both of them will wash off easily with regular car shampoos. Sometimes even strong jets of water from a car washer can do the trick and both Car Wax and Car Sealant offer virtually no resistance against scratching, swirl marks, and similar damage.
The average grade though reflects the difference between Wax and Sealant.
Science and numerous breakthroughs in technology allowed us to create something that is cheap to manufacture yet gives better results. Nature has its own way of creating amazing things, but targeted manmade objects usually outrank those.
The price is usually a small bit higher than the price of Car Wax, it is simple to work with, you won't need the training to get good results, and ultimately when it comes to your cars paint - there really are not many reasons why you should not use a Polymer Sealant, but there are many reasons why you should.
This was a long one again! You would think that since both Car Wax and Polymer Sealants are similar in performance that this blog post would be quite short. But hey, I guess there is always something to say about a topic when you are keen on teaching others something that you thoroughly enjoy!
We will cut it here and continue tomorrow in Part 3 of the article where we will cover Ceramic Coatings finally and we will see what its strengths are compared to Carnauba Wax and Polymer Sealants and how they are different. You can click here to go straight to Part 3. See you there!