This is the second part of a four part article series by Marc Harris and Jacob Bunyan of Auto Lavish. In this series they will make a case against coatings, sealants, and waxes, to help you find out what form of protection is best for your needs! To view all of the articles in this series click here.
Carnauba wax is old technology. I’m not talking about pre-dating the internet old, I’m talking about older than World War One old. President Teddy Roosevelt probably used the stuff on his wooden rifle stocks before Henry Ford ever produced his first car (waxes were popular to use on wooden furniture prior to urethane) . Do you really think that there hasn’t been anything better to come out in the last one-hundred years that you need to use this stuff?
It isn’t especially easy to use depending on which wax you choose. High carnauba content waxes are known to have problems like re-hazing (after you wipe off the hazed residue, the wax hazes again), sweating (sweat-like marks that can occur in hot weather on dark colored vehicles), and difficulty of removal (taking way too much elbow grease to remove residue which puts your paint at risk). Carnauba wax lovers have come up with lots of interesting ways of making application easier. Using nearly freezing cold distilled water directly after application, using a light water-based quick detailer spritz after application, using a pre-wax product, or using a layer of sealant first on the paint are all popular methods. In other words, application is so easy, no one can do it right, right away.
Lets be honest and admit that if it was only about application ease, we’d all use wax. The problem is, protection is short-lived which means you have to go through applying AGAIN in the near future. Kind of like having a dentist appointment every other month isn’t it?
As a final slap in the face, carnauba has a melting temperature of around 180-185 degrees. For those with dark colored cars in warmer climate areas, this is about the same temperature your paint surface can get to on a hot day in direct sun. Who wants to use their vehicle’s finish as a betting tool as to how well semi-melted wax protects versus fully hardened wax?
Put. Down. The. Wax. Leave that stuff for the history buffs and gummy bears (yes it’s a real ingredient in them), and order a bottle of a good synthetic sealant. These polymer-based products are much easier to use, last longer, and are slicker. While some argue over which $100+ wax works best to put the user in a euphoric zen-state, the sane people are debating on which $25-40 bottle of sealant they should purchase and enjoy. As a bonus, sealants are great to apply with a machine on low speed to make their application lightning fast and more even resulting in a more even film of protection and increased slickness (as shown on the BMW 7-series below).