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Car detailing enthusiasts want to give their car the utmost paint protection. So, should you wax your car before applying paint sealant?

Category: Car Ownership Advice


Many car detailing enthusiasts agree that the best car paint protection you can give your vehicle is a ceramic coating. Some might even suggest installing a paint protection film before having the car ceramic coated to make the 'armour' even tougher. But detailing fans who only go as far as waxes and sealants, like to ponder another question - should I wax before I seal?

Frankly, there's no right or wrong answer here. So, instead, we're going to highlight the pros and cons of each method, as we believe that it's up to the individual car owner to decide.

Yes, wax before you seal!

Waxing and sealing after washing gives your car a few sacrificial layers to protect its paintwork
Personally, this is what I would do. Call it crazy or even stupid, but I feel that my car needs every advantage it can get.

Like car detailing enthusiasts, I do not have a ceramic coat on my vehicle. I've always preferred spending time grooming it, as I love being able to stand back and admire my handiwork. Both waxes and sealants are sacrificial layers meant to protect the clear coat. Waxes, especially natural ones, have a way of making paint look warm and glossy.

Sealants, on the other hand, do not really add as much gloss as car wax does (my personal take). But they are usually far hardier and able to protect the surface for longer.

So, by combining the two, I'll get the best of both worlds - a warm glow, plus an extra protective layer atop it. The downside to this isn't just the time and effort required to finish detailing my car. It's also the fact that I won't be able to use my car for even longer. With two coatings, the total curing time can easily be twice as long as usual!
 
 
No, don't bother!

With a properly polished paintwork, sealant on its own can provide a sufficiently tough protective layer
This is what pragmatic car detailers would say! Applying a sealant after your coat of wax has cured just increases the downtime. You could be using your car, but now you're stuck at home or will need to commute.

As long as you have been meticulous about prepping and polishing your paint, the sealant can be the last step product (LSP) in your car detailing routine. One might even argue that spending more time polishing your paintwork is better than spending additional time applying wax, which isn't as tough as a sealant anyway!

I admit that this method makes more sense. Waxes and sealants do not create the wet and shiny look that car detailing fans are after. It's the polishing process that delivers this.
 
 
What's the 'best' way then?

At the end of the day, the toughest protection layer for your car's paintwork is a ceramic coating
As mentioned in the beginning, the best or hardiest protection for paintwork at the moment is a ceramic coating. You could also consider a paint protection film.

The only reason why I'm not a fan of either of these isn't because they're costly. Not all ceramic coatings or paint films are prohibitively expensive.

I've always preferred the warmer gloss of a wax, as opposed to the 'cold and hard' shine of a ceramic coating. Besides, having to work longer on grooming my car means I can spend more time with it.

Whichever path you choose, just remember to practise good detailing techniques, such as claying your car if the surface is rough and polishing the paint before applying a wax or sealant.
 
 
Here are some related articles that you might be interested in

Curing time - why it matters in car detailing

Keeping your car clean this circuit breaker period

How drivers can stay safe from the coronavirus outbreak
 
 
Want to get a ceramic coating for the ultimate protection for your car's paintwork? Check out these highly recommended detailing experts!
Torque The article first appeared in the July 2020 issue of Torque. Log on to their website to subscribe.
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