What is a Automotive Wax? An automotive wax product is one formulated to be used on a painted surface to enhance appearance and provide some depth and shine. This is done by smoothing out the surface and hiding imperfections. NOTE: When we speak of waxes from this point on we can, and do include “paint sealants” too which are nothing more than an evolution of automotive wax technology. What Are the Ingredients in Waxes? Contrary to what some salesmen might like you to think, waxes are simply basic chemistry, no magic, no razzle-dazzle, just a combination of ingredients to make a product that performs a function. They include the following: water, solvents, oils, silicone fluids, wax, color and at times fragrance that are held in suspension by emulsifiers. It is the combination of these ingredients that gives a wax it’s form (whether paste; creme or liquid), shine, durability and depth. A properly formulated wax will provide shine to a painted surface and some temporary protection. The protection is obtained by creating a buffer surface between the paint and the environment. Waxes in themselves, and the silicone in the formulation, will resist many environmental contaminants only for a period of time, not like the sales would have you believe for 1,2 or 3 years without a re-application. How Long Will They Last? The length of time a wax/sealant lasts depends on what the formulator was trying to do. But a standard wax will last about 30 to 45 days tops. On the other hand, what we call a paint sealant can last up to 6 months, under the best conditions. It is the inclusion of what are called, “amino-functional” silicone fluids that give us a paint sealant, rather than a wax. The standard wax product contains silicone fluids which are not as durable as the amino-functional silicone which will be explained later. What is the Best Wax? According to most chemists, when it comes to a wax/sealant product there is no advantage between pastes, cremes or liquids. Which form a product comes in has to do with what the formulator is trying to achieve, which is usually dictated by the sales department. Often form has to do with cost; ease of application; ease of removal; emulsification ease; protection; gloss. There is really no difference between hard pastes, cremes or liquids when you are speaking about a true automotive wax/sealant. Given the formula has a high percentage of wax, the form does not effect the product’s performance. (there is normally no more than 15% to 20% wax content in a product). However, there are some spray waxes and “fast” waxes on the market that do have a very small quantity of wax and silicone in them and as a result these products offer very little in the way of protection and durability. Most retail, off-the-shelf products have very little wax in them and are loaded with what we call “fillers” to fill the bottle, diamacetaneous earth. This is evidenced by the large amount of powdery residue left on the car when it dries. Understanding Paint Sealants! Ever since the term paint sealant was coined there has been a great deal of misinformation disseminated on the subject. Some, intentionally by many of the manufacturers and/or marketers of paint sealant protection products. It Began with Polyglycoat One of the first big names in the paint sealant field was a product marketed under the name of Polyglycoat, a paint sealant that producers claimed to have fantastic protective properties, better than anything else on the market. Their impact on the market was so great that many of the “BIG” names in automotive chemical products followed suit and produced their own versions of paint sealants.