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June 2010
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Polymer vs. Carnauba Wax – Just the Facts, Please
Dealership detailers can offer amazing results and great time savings when applying top-tier automotive waxes.

In the world of automotive detailing, there are two types of car wax that have risen above the pack to serve as the gold standard for protecting your vehicle’s paint and finish. When choosing automotive wax, you will most likely get to the point where you have to decide between a carnauba-based product and a polymer product. Each of these waxes has its pros and cons, as well as huge numbers of satisfied users who are always eager to discuss their reasons for choosing their preferred paint protectant.


Let’s start with polymer waxes. Also called sealants, these are by far the most common waxes to be found at your neighbouårhood auto parts store. Chemically, these waxes are a mixture of both polymers and acrylic resins and are most often sold in either paste or liquid form. This helps considerably in their application, as polymer waxes are very easy to simply pour onto a terry-cloth applicator and then rub quickly into your paint.


In addition to their ease of use, polymer waxes also offer an extremely extended period of paint protection. In fact, it is not uncommon for those who use a polymer wax on their car to apply it only twice a year. Some drivers even go for as long as a year and a half on a single coat of polymer wax, enjoying excellent protection during that entire period. The downside to using this type of paint protectant is that its shine is derived by reflecting light. Ultimately, this means it offers a somewhat shallow look that isn’t quite as deep as what would be found on a true show car.


In fact, in order to get that true, deep shine, it is almost always necessary to turn to a polymer wax’s chief competitor: carnauba wax. This type of wax is completely natural and in fact gets its name from the Brazilian tree that produces it. This unique product is composed of anti-oxidant oils and the esters of fatty acids, which work together to provide a solid barrier between your vehicle’s paint and the elements. More important, carnauba wax offers an extremely deep shine that adds an entirely new dimension to an automobile’s finish. Thanks to its excellent transparency and its special natural properties, there is simply no shine out there like a carnauba wax shine.


If carnauba is so amazing, then why aren’t all waxes made from it? There are a few reasons why carnauba hasn’t completely taken over the wax market. The biggest problem is that this natural substance is somewhat difficult to work with due to how stiff and firm it is in its natural form. In fact, even the purest carnauba products are only composed of about one-third of the tree’s wax itself, in order to keep it pliable enough for application. In order to get around this, there are different grades of wax available including white (artificially refined for softness) and the pure natural yellow. It is also not uncommon to see polymer waxes that mix in some brown carnauba, which is not quite as pure as it could be, but which does offer some additional deepness to the typical polymer shine. There are as many different carnauba-based and polymer-blend products out there as there are waxing companies, which means that almost every possible combination and ratio of wax has been sold at some time or another.


What should you do if you are looking for the ultra-deep shine of a carnauba wax, but are turned off by the difficulty of working with this premium product? The answer lies within the detailing bay of your local car dealership. Professional automotive detailers have the type of special equipment that makes it far easier for them to apply and shine a carnauba wax on your car compared to the effort you would have to go through to achieve similar results. 


In fact, many drivers prefer to let professional dealership detailers have at their vehicles with the array of buffers and polishers that are the tools of the trade. Going this route will allow you to get the best possible shine from your paint without the disappointment provided by a weak polymer wax or having to deal with the frustration of using a carnauba product. Dealership detailing offers you a great investment in protecting your paint and improving your car’s appearance, all in one stroke.

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