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February 12, 2010

13

My perspective on current paint protectants

by Kenneth Tang

Why are some waxes so easy to use, but gets washed off after a few rain showers, and why are some so bloody difficult to remove, but lasts so much longer. Is there a trend? A compromise?

Time for some WSI (Wax n Sealant Investigation)…

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Let’s talk car wax. To the average joe, waxing a car is equivalent to making a car shiny.

“ Hey Joe! Let’s toss the ‘ol pigskin around the park”
“I can’t man, I gotta wax the car. Got a hot date tonight!”

*Sorry for the non-halal dialogue, pigskin refers to American football*

I guess this is also the reason that many OTC(Over-The-Counter) car waxes have some form of cleaners in them, this makes life easier for the average joe.

Let’s take Meguair’s NXT2.0 for example, what is technically a synthetic sealant is named Tech Wax and contains cleaners strong enough to remove ingrained dirt from the paint.

This is just my own hypothesis but I’m guessing that Meguiar’s realize that most people do not know the difference between a wax and a polish. Hence, NXT Tech Wax 2.0 is the go-to product to making a car shiny.

Let’s say I have a product that will outlast and give far better protection than NXT 2.0 but it has to be applied on a perfectly clean surface, i.e. free of bonded contaminants, ingrained dirt and polishing oils. I then put this product up for sale at any auto parts/hardware store. I will also give this super durable product ultra-fancy packaging boasting claims of extreme durability and protection. With big bold statements such as “Will outlast Meguiar’s NXT 2.0!”

And just to get people to buy it, I name it something-something-wax. Chances are, people will buy it if it is competitively priced against NXT 2.0. However, they were expecting it to shine up the car as well as protect the paint. So they give their own cars a good hose down, wash with a bucket and sponge, dry with an old chamois lying around and apply my super-out-of-this-universe-product. I will expect them to face difficulties buffing off the product because of over-application or because the paint wasn’t prepped. Even if they did manage to buff it off, it wouldn’t last because it doesn’t have a clean paint to bond to. So, it will not live up to its claims of outlasting NXT 2.0. The product doesn’t sell well after a while and it eventually passes its shelf life and is thrown into the garbage bin.

I’m just trying to illustrate the term wax from an average Joe’s point of view.

Now let’s talk about paint protectants. I started my detailing hobby mostly using Meguair’s products, the original NXT Tech Wax blew me away at that time, as I slowly researched into it, I too found that its durability is not really up there. So I bought and tried several different paint protectants ’till today and here is my current perspective on today’s car waxes and sealants.

There are many different types of paint protectants out there, even a spray detailer will add some form of protection to the paint.

Several properties differentiate a paint protectant from another.

These are:
-Ease of use
-Durability
-Protection
-Filling ability/shine/gloss
– Cleaning ability

I will be focusing on the first three properties, which are ease of use, durability and protection. It seems that there is a trend of compromise between these three properties.

I shall call it the Triangle Dilemma.

Allow me to illustrate with my poor Microsoft paint skills, we have a triangle scale; on each end is the three aforementioned properties.

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After using certain products and listening to experiences from other detailers, I came to my own conclusion below.

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The first triangle shows most OTC car waxes/sealants. Think Meguiar’s NXT2.0, its ease of use is simply great. If you applied a bit too thickly, it still comes off with ease. If applied properly, comes off like butter.
However durability is not really there, and by durability I mean water repellency after a few weeks/months.
Protection is mediocre to good. This product category is suitable for the average Joe as they can easily use these products to shine up their ride and have some decent protection on the paint. No fuss, no mess, no hard rubbing, simple and easy.

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The second triangle actually illustrates a specific product I have been using, Duragloss #105 Total Performance Polish.

Its ease of use is lacking a little compared to NXT 2.0 because if you applied DG105 the same as you did with NXT 2.0, you might have difficulty buffing off. It has to be applied so thin that it is almost invisible. Once you know this, then application and removal is a breeze.

Its durability is simply great, putting Zaino Z2 aside; this baby outlasts many liquid sealants on the market(EDIT: I may have drawn the durability line a little bit too far >.<). Here comes the compromise, the protection factor. Although it will still repel water strongly, you will notice that water spots can still accumulate and etch into the paint surface. High surface tension is not an absolute indicator of protection. Even so, I use this product most often now because of those two properties that it excels in, ease of use and durability.

The third triangle illustrates many paste waxes on the market.

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Think Meguiar’s M16 professional paste wax. Its user-friendliness is definitely incomparable to many liquid waxes out there, but it is easy to use once you get the hang of it. I assume that protection is better than sealants because there is a thicker physical layer on the paint surface. That means any contaminants have to etch through a thicker layer of protection before reaching the clearcoat.

However, the compromise is in its durability. A paste wax does not bond to the paint like a sealant does. It basically just ‘sits’ on top of the paint, instead of grabbing on to the clearcoat with razor sharp claws like a sealant does(cross-linking?). I must remind you that these are just my ASSUMPTIONS, there may be truth in them, but I cannot guarantee them, so do read what I say with some critical-ism.

Now the last triangle is what interests me the most and is uncharted territory for me.

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This triangle illustrate paint coatings. You’ve probably heard of stuff like Nano Coating, Glass Coating, Quartz Coating, etc. etc.
These stuff are finicky to use and application has to be done right to achieve maximum product performance.

An example is Pompanazzi Real Quartz Coating. A detailer once showed me a tiny bottle that was used to store the coating, the product inside has dried up and I was shocked when I saw what was inside the bottle. The liquid coating has actually solidified and creates a rattling sound when the bottle is shaken. Your normal liquid sealant will probably dry up into a dry paste or turn powdery. But this stuff was solid, I didn’t feel it, but I could see it was as solid as plastic.

Now I am only speculating the durability and protection factor on the triangle but I am pretty sure it is not like your average paint sealant. Its ease of use however is terrible, it is very oily during application and takes days to cure and harden! Thanks to DrayFX from http://www.drayfx.blogspot.com/ for this information. You can view his write-up about the Pompanazzi HERE. This is why I rated it very low on the ease of use scale.

Other paint coatings that I’m aware of include G’Zox Real Glass Coating, Hi-Mohs Coat, Nanolex and G|Techniq.

That pretty much sums up about what I think about current paint protectants. As a product increases its ease of use, it will have to compromise in either durability and/or protection and vice versa.

I wonder how soon it will be until we can have a paint protectant that ignores the Triangle Dilemma and excels in ease of use, durability and protection.

What do you think about the waxes and sealants that you are using at the moment?

p.s. Thanks to vx55 for his ideas and input on this topic!

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13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Matias
    Feb 16 2010

    Hi Kenneth good article. In which of those triangles would be collinite 476s in? Is the same as NXT 2.0?

    Keep up with the good work!

    Greetings from Argentina

    Reply
  2. Hi Matias,

    Many thanks for your kind words. For Collinite 476s, I would probably rate it the same as Meguiar's #16. Its ease of use is not as easy as NXT 2.0.

    So it would probably fit the third triangle, extending a little bit more on durability.

    🙂

    Reply
  3. Izso
    Feb 26 2010

    Ummm… I didn't know how to use my Soft 99 sealant thingy so I don't use it.

    I just wash, polish, wax with NXT2.0 and I'm done. Guessing I'm doing it wrong though. LOL

    Reply
  4. @Izso,
    No no no, it's correct the way you use it.
    Which Soft99 sealant?

    Reply
  5. Izso
    Mar 2 2010

    Got many types meh? O_O

    I think it's called fusso.

    Reply
  6. Haha sorry, they have many cleaner waxes but sealant only the Fusso range I think, excluding the paste stuff.

    If yours is just a sealant, not the Fusso Powerful Cleaner & Sealant, you can apply it on top of NXT 2.0 after it has cured. Preferably the next day, or at least 1 hour. Longer the better.

    Reply
  7. The Chemist
    Apr 1 2011

    Ken: One comment I’d like to make from a chemist who has formulated automotive appearance products for nearly 30 years; keep in mind that just because a product is difficult to use (either apply or remove) does not automatically push it into a good protective or durable product catagory. A poorly formulated product (and there are many of them out there) can be difficult to wipe off and still have poor durability and/or poor protection. If the various ratios of chemicals in the product are not correct, and/or the wrong materials were used, and/or the product was not manufactured correctly, a difficult to use product with poor performance can result.

    Reply
  8. Apr 5 2011

    Thanks Chemist! I guess that’s where the expensive vs the cheaper products come in.

    Reply
    • The Chemist
      Apr 5 2011

      Fish: Many times it’s not even the cost that determines whether a product is good or not. It could just be formulated poorly using expensive materials. I see a number of companies today trying to fool users by putting a very expensive price on their product (i.e. $99.95 for 16 oz. ). The user ASSUMES it must be a great product at that price. Then the marketers make outrageous, partially true claims and use a few chemical terms, etc and the unaware public buy this nonsense. Trust me….there is no product available today that should be priced at $99.95 for 16 oz. , or any where close to that. Please don’t fall for these marketing schemes.

      Reply
      • Jun 9 2011

        Thanks for your invaluable input Chemist! I wholeheartedly agree with you, but most of us fall for the nice scent and fancy reflective packaging of the product. *cough cough NXT Tech Wax cough cough*

  9. greenNXT
    Dec 15 2011

    hy kenneth..what do you think about M21 sealant ..? is this a really good sealant for protect car from the water spot…if u compare with colli 476 or F7 fusso coat which one better (on durability from water spot) ..and in 1 layer on application how long the car can get the protect from the water spot…im from indonesia ..and can i buy c quartz from u? have u ever test megs m 188 ? thanx

    Reply
    • Dec 28 2011

      Hi there,

      Water spotting is a tough enemy in our equatorial climate. Frequent rain and sun make it a terrifying combo that even the most expensive coatings have trouble fighting against. From my observations, the better the water beading of the sealant/wax/coating, the more prone the paint will be to water spotting. F7 Fusso Coat has excellent water beading properties, when the water beading is at its maximum, water spots will accumulate easily and cannot be washed off during the regular car wash. After the water beading dies down, the water spotting will also tend to be less. For Colli 476, surprisingly I get very little spotting with this wax. It could be because the water spots (calcium deposits) are on the wax layer, and once the wax is washed away, so does the calcium deposits. For hard quartz/silica coatings, they will also suffer from water spotting, and because the coating does not wash off easily, the water spots are on the coating layer, and will continue to accumulate more and more, since the water beading qualities of most coating are very long lasting, this adds on the the water spotting proneness of coatings. M21 sealant is not a very strong water beader, it is a good looking sealant with great filling properties, however, it loses any form of water repellency very quickly (within 1 month), I speculate it is still on the paint protecting, but it looks as though there is nothing on the paint because it is not repelling water anymore.

      Megs M188 I have never tested, but have heard from my detailing buddies that it is not easy to use, and is also as prone to water spotting compared to the other coatings.

      Just bear with me for a few more weeks until I get the full post on paint coatings up. Thanks!

      Reply
  10. greenNXT
    Jan 7 2012

    Thanks u so much for your answer ..but i am stiil curious ..what about the look of F7 is that “glossy or just usually shine..?and if you compare the look between f7 and m21..what do you chose ( specially for black car )…after i applicated f7 at the first layer can i applicated m21 for the second layer…is that effect for the look..? or for durability..? because im very like the look from m21…thanxs again ..kenn.

    Reply

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