Waxes, Sealants, Ceramics – what Exterior Protection product is for you?
Spring, hoorah. Another year of salted roads & varied weather complete. What does that mean? For us, more time to spend on Exterior Protection & less on intensive Pre-Washing
We’ve all heard about exterior protection, but in our day and age it’s a rather sparse subject. In short, products in this category aren’t magic shields that will give you protection against your local door scratcher, but they do offer something just as valuable: Gloss Enhancement & Element Repellency – this is where the vague term ‘protection’ comes from.
What do we mean by Element Repellency? Most Exterior Protection products will create a bond with the paintwork, ultimately giving it a light barrier against minor elements of the world. Take rain for example: the most visually active confirmation of protection. A non-protected car will simply have its water sheet, further giving said water a hard time to dissipate off the vehicle’s surface. This same principle applies to general road grime and dirt from above – it’ll stick to the vehicle’s surface with ease. A protected vehicle, one with a bond (whether it be from a Wax, Sealant or Coating) will give this grime a harder time at sticking to the paintwork. Instead, it will help repel the grime as it does with water such as rain. Visually, this can be seen in the form of water beading. However, grime can still stick – where you’ll notice the biggest difference is when you come to wash your vehicle; the protected vehicle will rinse with ease as if the grime is already loose on the surface, compared to the battle of a non-protected car where you’ll likely find yourself using harsher dilutions and/or chemicals to combat the caked-on grime. Not all of the protectants work is visible on the other hand; UV rays are known to cause damage to paintwork if the surface is not cared for properly (granted this is over an extensive duration), so a good protectant will also shield the paintwork from these harmful rays & heat in general, ultimately preserving its life!
We have decades of experience using & producing all kinds of Exterior Protection products, from Waxes to Sealants to Coatings. But what type of protection is for you? Let’s break these down…
The most traditional, yet the most vast. Waxes out of all Exterior Protection products will produce the deepest gloss to your vehicle. These can come in a variety of forms such as Paste, Spray & Liquid – all of which we do. Within those categories you have Synthetic and Natural Waxes. Why so many? They offer different results & useability!
Who is it for? People who enjoy the car care process! If you like to keep your paintwork on the top of its game and are not shy about spending time doing so a few times a year, a Wax is for you.
Types of Wax
The benefits and the appearance of a wax can vary type-to-type. Take Paste Waxes , often formed from Natural Carnauba. The gloss from these kinds of wax is typically unmatched, but at what cost? Durability & useability… You’ll be lucky to get more than 4 months protection from a wax like this, even with the hard labour you put into applying it! We’re talking elbow grease throughout the application & buffing process, partnered with long cure times. So, what’s the alternative? Synthetic Waxes are a contender! Far longer durability typically up to 12 months, but at the sacrifice of the deep shine a Natural Carnauba Wax could offer.
Spray Waxes on the other hand often pair as a quick detailer and drying aid – take Citrus Bling for example. These are great to use when drying your vehicle as not only will it assist with the drying process, it’ll help top-up any existing layers of wax. However, used solely on its own you’ll see around 4 weeks protection and a slight increase in gloss. The ease of use of these products is attractive to a range of customers since no prior experience is necessary and it’s quick!
Finally, Liquid Waxes such as our own Indulgence Cream Wax . We would class these as a hybrid wax: no cure time, effortless application and high-quality carnauba (meaning you get that carnauba shine we all admire!). Our love for these comes down to the ease of use and the flexibility, for instance it can typically be applied via a machine polisher & there’s no cure time – perfect for quick yet enhanced work. The drawback however is its durability; you’d be looking at 1-2 months less than your typical Paste Wax, so around 3 months on average depending on your cleaning regime and products used.
Along come Sealants… Man made products that generally offer greater useability and a longer durability.
Your traditional types of Sealant are very similar to Paste Waxes; it will protect your vehicle from general grime, moisture, contaminants, UV rays and so on, but with the benefit of lasting anywhere from 6 months to a year! The application of your typical Sealant is also similar to the likes of Paste Waxes but with less product resistance, meaning you can apply and buff with ease. The look of a Sealant is very different however – you’ll typically find the glossiness is flatter, resembling something like glass compared to the deep, warm shine a wax can give. For some, this trade-off is worth the convenience of not having to reapply the product several times in a year.
In recent years, spray on lance sealants like Snow Seal have come to market offering the properties of your traditional sealant but through a spray & rinse process. Like a Spray Wax, this task is no burden and one you can implement it into a maintenance wash once per month (hence the word month). Sadly, something as attractive sounding as this has a limited durability of only a few months, so a regular top-up will be required.
Developed from nanotechnologies used for space shuttles due to their heat insulation and anti-corrosion properties, Ceramics have been one of the world’s latest crazes, but also one with a lot of misconceptions
The most well known type of Ceramic in the car care industry is Ceramic Coatings. The reason? Their extended durability: you can achieve up to 6 years of protection with certain ceramic coatings if applied & maintained correctly. For those who care about their car but haven’t the time to maintain their panels, Ceramic Coatings could be an excellent choice. Like the other Exterior Protection products, this forms protection to the surface to enable easier maintenance & an enhanced shine. Additionally, they aren’t restricted to paint surfaces and can be used to protect almost any surface of your vehicle!
What’s the trade-off?
For a high-grade Ceramic Coating, one with exceptional durability, it can be costly just for the product itself. Then there’s the preparation beforehand: simply put, the surface should be as perfect as can be before application. Most consumers will hire a detailer to prepare and apply the coating as the process start to finish can be rather cumbersome. However, in addition to the application itself, there are trade-offs with the maintenance and the appearance it gives.
Appearance wise, this is a man-made product and will not rival traditional Carnauba Waxes. Granted, the gloss a Ceramic will give you is a mirror-finish, it lacks the hue and depth the Brazilian leaves offer. Read more on Waxes Vs Ceramics here .
Then there’s maintenance. Ceramic Coatings can clog over time causing ineffectiveness and lifespan shortening. Although the coating will help repel general grime, you will be expected to keep on top of its cleanliness for the best results. If a panel becomes clogged, or even damaged, decontamination and polishing will have to take place resulting in the reapplication of the Ceramic Coating. The same applies to Waxes and Sealants, but this rule is less emphasised due to their shorter lifespan.
So, every product has its place and meets a target audience. What is the one for you? Let us know in the comments below.
We fuel your car care passion and offer you the ability to enhance the appearance of your vehicle, so you feel pride in the results that you can effortlessly achieve. ValetPRO is a trusted brand of choice for trade, retailers, professional detailers and car enthusiasts worldwide. Discover more at https://www.valetpro.global/