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What is Auto Sealant?

By Paul Scott
Updated Feb 22, 2024
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Auto sealant consists of a group of products formulated to enhance, seal, and protect automobile paint work from the elements. Also referred to as paint sealants, these products are synthetic polymers which not only adhere to but form a long lasting bond with the paint work. Auto sealant products serve the same purpose as car wax but generally afford longer periods of protection. They are also quicker and easier to apply than traditional wax finishes. Auto sealant products may also offer some protection from minor scratches and chips.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight, rain and humidity, dust, insects, and bird droppings can all play havoc with fine automotive paint finishes. If left unprotected, the paintwork on cars exposed to the elements will eventually develop blemishes and fade to the extent where a second paint job becomes necessary. Regular applications of a good auto sealant can prevent this undesirable and expensive situation from occurring. These products are easy to apply, long lasting, and enhance the beauty of the car.

Many auto enthusiasts believe that auto sealant products are superior to traditional natural car waxes. Natural wax finishes are generally based on carnauba wax; while they impart a warm, rich glow to a car's paintwork, they don't last very long. They also tend to leave a white residue on plastic trim which can be hard to remove. Auto sealants, on the other hand, are synthetic polymers that actually bond with the paint, thereby creating a hard, durable protective layer. This layer protects against UV exposure, sheds water, and protects against acid rain, spills, and the acid in bird droppings.

Due to the bond formed by the auto sealant with the paintwork, these finishes may last up to six months. Top products may even last a year or more before reapplication is necessary. Most conventional wax finishes are only good for six to eight weeks, so auto sealants are more economical in that sense. Many sealants are also tough enough to protect the paintwork from minor scuffs, scratches, and stone chips.

Auto sealant products are best applied to a dry, clinically clean paint surface. Prior to applying the sealant, the car should be thoroughly washed to remove all traces of dust and grime. The paintwork should then be dried with a chamois to create a streak free surface. Once dry, the auto sealant is applied according to manufacturer instructions. Most of these products impart a brilliant shine, and typically no other detailing in necessary. The finish should be monitored over time; when water no longer forms beads on the paintwork, the sealant should be reapplied.

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