NOTE: This article was written in 2005 and the information is dated from then. It is still mostly accurate, even though the product suggestions are dated. There are even more synthetics on the market than back then, so definitely review more current information as well.
Are you still using a carnauba to wax your car? Why? If you ask any detailer about why they use one wax or another they will tell you all about how ‘wet’ it makes the paint look or how ‘deep’ the reflections are. The fact is that waxes achieve that by using greasy oils. Anything covered in oil is going to look like wet paint. It’s the nature of the product. And deep reflections are more a product of proper polishing and prep work and not as much a result of which brand of wax you are using.
Let’s look at what wax really offers you. Wax offers you between 4 to 6 weeks of protection from UV rays that cause paint fading. If you live in a hot climate then you can expect 4 weeks or less. Wax is wax and heat will cause it to melt and evaporate. What kind of protection is that?
That ‘wet look’ appearance is due to oils in the wax. Those oils also attract dust. We all know how nice it is to have a perfect looking car and then 5 minutes later have it covered in dust. Those oils don’t stay around forever, so your car is only a wet paint looking dust magnet for as long as the oils don’t evaporate. Give it a couple days and your car will look shiny, but not as wet anymore.
Prices for wax are also out of this world. One of the best waxes I have ever used is only $15 bucks at any Harley Davidson shop. It is called S100 and it is amazing. It competes with waxes that cost 5 times as much. You may not believe me, but some waxes out there break the bank at over $2000 a jar. Want proof? Check this puppy out. What a deal, eh? On sale for a mere $2184 bucks. A few years ago I had an Autopia member send me a chunk of this wax. He has a Ferrari dealership in his back yard, so I’m sure it wasn’t a hardship to purchase this wax. He wasn’t impressed with it and he sent it to me to compare it to other waxes that I used at the time. Compared to my $15 S100 I wouldn’t pay more than $30 bucks for Zymol Vintage. It was really under impressive and not worth anywhere near $2000 bucks. I keep it around for some customers who want to say that they have this wax on the car for shows, but other than that I wouldn’t suggest it. I don’t even use it on my own cars, so that tells you something. Pinnacle Souveran also claims to have a high amount of Brazilian White Carnauba in it, but you don’t see them slapping on a house payment sized price tag on their wax. Souveran is, by the way, a great wax… but also not worth $70 bucks when compared to S100 and other lower priced products.
I’m not a wax hater by any means. I have loads of wax myself. I have at least a dozen different waxes on my shelf that get used on customer cars. When someone comes to me for a detail and request certain products by name to be used, I want to be prepared. However, for my own cars I have found a much much better product than wax. I’m talking about sealants.
Sealants are not new technology. They become more popular in the last 20 years, but they have been around much longer than that. It has only been in the last half dozen years that polymer technology has really started to wow the detailing community. There are some names that auto enthusiasts are familiar with like Klasse, Zaino, Meguiar’s and others, but recently some remarkable advances in polymer sealants have brought us products like Blackfire, 4* Ultimate Paint Protection, and Wolfgang. Recently this technology was put back on the shelf in the form of Meguiar’s NXT and Eagle One Nanowax. Sealants offer outstanding durability at over 6 weeks for most products. 10 to 12 weeks is average for most sealants while some will last for much longer. These products bond to the paint like super glue and don’t evaporate with a little heat. They aren’t greasy oily products that attract dust either. Some of them actually have anti-static properties to them that repel dust instead of attracting it.
It is worth it to explore sealant technology and see how it compares to your favorite waxes. Most sealants are priced competitively and aren’t that much more expensive than a good carnauba. Not to mention that you won’t be out in your garage waxing every weekend just to keep it looking good. Wolfgang is a very durable sealant that looks as good or better than any wax I’ve ever used. For anyone that says their carnauba is the only product to produce ‘deep’ or ‘wet’ looking finishes, take a look at these pictures and reevaluate your stand on car care products. Sealants have a lot to offer and I truly believe they are the way of the future. Why use a greasy carnauba that is fragile and creates so much work when you can use a sealant that looks this good and protects for much longer without the dust attraction?
If you need some more convincing, take a look at these pictures of my car with Wolfgang sealant on it and you tell me that your waxes look better. I believe that many waxes may look as good as a sealant, but I’ve never found one that looked better or protected better. Many waxes don’t even come close to these kinds of looks. Take my word for it and explore some sealants the next time you look for car care products. You will not be disappointed.