House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Paint Sealant vs Car Wax: What’s the Difference?

Paint Sealant vs Car Wax

Paint Sealant vs Car Wax

Adding wax or paint sealer to your car finish is a great way to improve the way it looks and add value. Either will protect your car from damaging UV light as well as air pollution, and they will help keep the paint from fading, scratching, and chipping. Choosing which one to use, though, can lead to a lot of confusion. There are many conflicting opinions, and advertising campaigns can make false claims causing even more confusion.

We can help by taking a detailed look at the wax and paint sealer to see what the differences are as well as what similarities they share. We believe that after you read this article, you will know which product to use in any situation.

Keep reading while we go into detail about wax and paint sealer to help you make an educated decision about your next purchase.Divider 2

WaxTurtle Wax

Wax is made of organic compounds like carnauba wax, or synthetic compounds like polymers and resins and creates a protective layer over a painted surface. Natural wax is usually mixed with a solvent to soften the hard wax and make it spreadable. There are often oils and fragrances mixed in with the wax for a variety of reasons, including to make it easier to spread, to give it a more appealing look, and to help it smell good. Wax is often less expensive than sealant, but you need to apply it more often. Apply wax every 4 to 6 weeks for best results and maximum protection from the elements.

Waxes are susceptible to the high temperatures caused by sunlight and can melt away from the paint over time. The harsh abrasive in many car washing shampoos will also remove the wax.

When choosing a wax, choose one that is easy to apply and results in an acceptable shine. Applying the wax is a big job, and the easier it is, the more likely you are to do it.

  • Low cost
  • Protects paint
  • Increases shine
  • Makes colors more vibrant
  • Susceptible to sun damage
  • Washes off with detergents
  • Only lasts 4 to 6 weeks

SealantMeguiar's M2116 Mirror Glaze Synthetic Sealant

A sealant is a lab-made product. It’s usually made from synthetic compounds and designed to mimic wax. Sealants are more durable than waxes but will also deteriorate in the hot sun and with harsh car wash chemicals.

Ceramic sealants are gaining popularity, and this substance is more like a polyurethane than wax in that once applied to a surface, it bonds to that surface in a curing fashion as it dries. Once the coating hardens, it’s exceptionally resistant to soaps, ultraviolet light, and other environmental contaminants.

The downside to sealants is that they bring out any imperfections in your paint. To avoid seeing any blemishes, you typically need to spend a lot more time preparing the paint for sealing. You will need a special soap if, for any reason, you need to remove the sealant from the paint.

Apply a fresh coat of sealant every 3 to 4 months.

  • Harder than wax
  • Lasts up to 4 months
  • Resistant to UV light
  • Resistant to detergents
  • Makes colors more vibrant
  • Expensive
  • highlights imperfections in the paint
  • Requires more preparation

Wax and Sealant

Both items work to protect your paint from harsh environmental damage as well as damage caused by harsh detergents. Both will wear down over time and need reapplication. You are not tied to one or the other once you use it, and you can switch between the two at any time. Sealants often provide a more brilliant shine than wax can, but many people describe wax as a more natural shine.

divider 4


We hope that after reading this article, you have learned what the difference between wax and paint sealer is and have a good idea of which one you need to use. We recommend a paint sealer for newer cars with fewer blemishes in the paint. Keeping new car paint looking new is worth the higher cost of the paint sealer, and it will provide more protection. You can still use a sealer on an older car, but the paint on these cars is much more likely to have blemishes that the sealer will magnify. We recommend using wax on cars with imperfections in the paint. Wax will hide the flaws and protect your vehicle from further damage while providing a beautiful shine.

We hope you have enjoyed this article and learned a little more about the difference between paint sealers and wax. If our paint sealer versus wax article has helped you decide on your next purchase, please share this article with your friends on social media.

Featured Image Credit: Halfpoint, Shutterstock


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools