What is Car Paint Sealant?

Paint sealant can mean several things, depending on who you ask – but at the most basic level, it is a synthetic product designed to protect a car’s surface while providing a mirror-like shine.

Paint Sealant vs. Wax

If you haven’t been around automotive detailing much, you’ll hear words like wax, polish, sealant, coating, and more all thrown around – sometimes interchangeably. The purpose of this article isn’t to lay out a full detailing glossary, so we’ll stick to the two most common forms of protecting your paint.

Wax (when properly defined) means a substance that is at least some part natural wax. The most common is Brazilian Carnauba wax, which is derived from plant leaves. The natural wax is blended with other ingredients to create a liquid that can be applied to the surface of your car to protect against the elements and provide a great shine.

Because a sealant is chemically engineered to bond to the surface, it will last much longer than a traditional wax while providing stronger protection against paint-killers like sap, acid rain, and UV rays. Wondering what those things can do to your paint? Check out our article here.

Sealants produce a mirror-like shine, but some find that it appears “hard” or “cold.” Many enthusiasts layer a natural wax, which they feel provides a deeper, softer finish, on top of a paint sealant to get the best of both worlds.

Paint Sealant vs Wax: Which do you prefer?

Car Paint Sealant
Car Wax

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How to Use Paint Sealant

Despite being incredibly advanced chemistry, paint sealants are a breeze to apply. You can use an orbital or dual-action polisher if you have one – but a hand application will do just as well. Follow these steps to a protected surface and a mirror shine:

  • Wash your car using your preferred soap, and then dry it to avoid water spots
  • If this is a daily driver, consider using a clay bar to remove any contaminants from the surface of the paint. This will help you avoid any swirl marks from applying the sealant.
  • Apply paint sealant to an applicator pad (again, you can use a machine if you have one – but it isn’t necessary)
  • Work in sections applying the sealant in an overlapping pattern. Aim to spread it as thin as possible so it will cure evenly and quickly.
  • Once you have worked your way around the entire vehicle, grab a clean microfiber cloth and begin to buff the surface to remove any excess sealant.
  • If desired: after 1 hour, apply a second coat for more protection. This is likely an unnecessary step unless you live in the harshest of environments.

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