Keeping your vehicle in showroom condition requires proper maintenance and protection. But with so many vehicle protection products out there, it can be overwhelming and difficult to determine which option is best for you.
Read on to discover the differences between car wax, ceramic wax, and ceramic coatings and see which option is right for you.
Traditional Car Wax
Traditional car wax is a popular choice for car enthusiasts looking to protect and maintain their vehicles’ paint jobs. It is traditionally made from carnauba wax—a natural wax found in the palm leaves of a tree in Brazil. Natural oils such as linseed oil and other components are added to the carnauba wax to create a product that improves your vehicle’s shine and paint protection.
One benefit of car wax is the fact that you can apply it yourself with relative ease. Car wax comes in spray, liquid, and paste forms—allowing users to choose the application method that works best for them.
However, while car wax is relatively easy to apply and may give your vehicle a nice shine, it can only provide a limited level of protection. Car wax is only able to protect against some levels of UV rays and minor dirt and grime and is not as effective as other vehicle paint protection options when it comes to extreme weather and damage like scuffs and scratches.
Car wax is also not a long-term solution when it comes to protecting your car. Factors such as extreme heat, degreasers, and car washes can chip away at your protective wax layer—leaving your car defenseless faster. When applied and treated properly, car wax should last between 6-8 weeks before needing to be reapplied.
Ceramic wax is a popular choice for those looking for something that’s still a little easier to apply but offers more protection than a traditional car wax. Whereas basic car wax is usually made from natural elements, ceramic wax is completely synthetic and lab-designed. It is often infused with SiO2 or Teflon—making it more resistant to water and better able to protect your vehicle for longer.
Much like car wax, ceramic wax comes in spray, liquid, and paste forms and is able to be applied at home. However, while traditional wax requires you to remove old coatings before applying a new layer, ceramic wax allows you to build layers over time for added protection and higher levels of durability. Unlike traditional car wax, consistency and accuracy in application are very important with ceramic wax. Without it, you could leave your vehicle vulnerable to potential damage or create unsightly swirl marks on your paint job.
Ceramic wax’s synthetic nature allows it to chemically bond with your car’s exterior and create a hard and hydrophobic surface. This surface is able to provide your vehicle with longer-lasting protection from elements such as UV rays, dirt, grime, chemicals, and other contaminants.
While ceramic wax is more durable than traditional car wax, it is still not a long-term solution. When applied correctly, ceramic wax can protect your clear coat anywhere from a few weeks to a few months—meaning you will still need to reapply a few times a year in order to maintain protection on your vehicle.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting, high shine, and superior protection for your car, ceramic coatings are your best option. Ceramic coatings are made from silica and titanium dioxide which create a strong bond that is hydrophobic and protects your vehicle’s paint job. These bonds are made up of microtechnology that create a thin coating and work to fill in minor cracks and imperfections on your vehicle’s exterior.
Unlike traditional or ceramic waxes, ceramic coatings come in two forms—liquid and spray—and it is always recommended to have them professionally applied. While there are DIY ceramic coatings on the market, they can be of a lower quality and difficult to apply to your vehicle effectively. Applying ceramic coatings without professional knowledge or experience can lead to poor protection or damage to your vehicle’s paint.
The resilient and strong outer layer created by ceramic coatings has a 9H hardness level, making the protection essentially as hard as solid quartz. This strong and hydrophobic layer is able to provide superior protection against elements such as extreme weather, UV rays, chemicals, scratches, and more.
Due to its chemical composition, ceramic coatings develop a semi-permanent bond with the surface of your vehicle—meaning it won’t break down or wash away with the elements. Depending on the quality or type of ceramic coating you choose, it can last up to seven years—giving your vehicle long-lasting and durable protection while maintaining that showroom shine.
While it might be tempting to try your hand at DIY’ing your vehicle’s paint protection with traditional and ceramic waxes—choosing the longest-lasting, most-effective safeguarding option will help you keep your vehicle in top shape and provide you with quality protection for years to come.
Contact your local auto detailing shop to see which ceramic coating options are available for you.
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