The Best Car Paint Sealants

The Auto Care Geeks tested over 20 sealants, looking for the best durability and shine for the price. We’ve selected five that passed our intense tests – they’re great for both weekend detailing warriors, and car pros!

Looking for the best car paint sealants that’ll provide long-lasting shine and protection? Wanting to branch out from car waxes and try something new? Sealants are a great choice!

Car paint sealants use high tech polymers and synthetics ingredients to create a deep, wet, and glossy finish. We recommend Wolfgang’s Deep Gloss Paint Sealant. It’s slightly pricier than others, but it’s hard to beat its shine and durability performance. Plus, one bottle will last for some time.

While Wolfgang’s Deep Gloss Paint Sealant is one of the best car paint sealants, there are others out there that perform great.

Top 10 Best Car Paint Sealants in 2020

1 – Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant

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Wolfgang’s sealant transforms your car’s paint into a rich, smooth, show car finish. The shine and depth factor is outstanding. It’s like a glossy coat was poured over the car paint finish. It’s super easy to apply by hand with an applicator, or with a dual action polisher with a blue finishing pad. Set your dual action polisher to 4.5 and be sure to apply thin coats. Wait 30-45 minutes, then buff. It’ll need 12-hours to fully bond to the car’s paint. Make sure you keep your ride out of the rain during this time.

Wolfgang’s is non-staining, non-abrasive, and water-based. Plus, it holds up well over time. Pickup a bottle and transform your car’s paint in a matter of minutes! It’s simply the best car sealant around, period.

2 – Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant

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Chemical Guys products have increased popularity these past few years. They’ve quickly built a cult following in the car detailing world, and rightfully so. The Chemical Guys team have spent a lot of time and money on research and development. The result is several top-notch product lines. Their JetSeal sealant goes on easy and delivers a high gloss shield. Car paint becomes buttery smooth.

One clear advantage of the JetSeal sealant is its’ durable bond. This sealant can last up to one full year with only one application. Plus, you can use JetSeal on headlights, taillights, glass, wheels, and more. If you’re on the fence and looking for a great all around choice, give JetSeal a try!

3 – Meguiar’s G18220 Ultimate Liquid Wax

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Meguiar’s line of waxes and sealants have been trusted by detailing pros for decades. Their Ultimate Liquid Wax is part of their flagship consumer product line. It’s fully synthetic for added durability and protection. Results are great, creating amazing depth and brilliance. The application process is easy, but don’t go too heavy on this one. Applying a thin layer is of this Meguiar's sealant is important. It’ll help speed up the drying process and will help with more effortless buffing.

Meguiar’s also has a pro version of this car paint sealant, Meguiar’s M2116 Mirror Glaze Synthetic Paint Sealant 2.0. The two are similar, yet, M2116 adds a little more depth but doesn’t protect as long as the Ultimate Liquid Wax.

4 – CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant

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CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant claims it combines polish, wax, and sealant ingredients. However, this one is primarily a full synthetic polymer car paint sealant. Expect to achieve a deep shine with a buttery glow. Hybrid Wax Sealant is super easy to apply to your car’s paint. Wipe on and wipe off. We’ve been able to wax an entire full size SUV in around 15 minutes. Plus, there’s no need to fuss about getting this on your rubber or plastic trim as it’s non-staining.

Durability with this paint sealant is great, lasting up to 6 months

5 – Meguiar’s M2116 Mirror Glaze Synthetic Sealant

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Meguiar’s M21 Mirror Glaze Synthetic Sealant 2.0 uses a fully synthetic formula for exceptional gloss and shine performance. It goes on easy and takes roughly 10-15 minutes to dry. Remove with a microfiber cloth, and you’re left with a smooth, shiny finish. Meguiar's sealant M21 also has fillers to help reduce fine swirl marks and scratches. Overall, it’s a great choice for the price.

6 – Chemical Guys Hybrid V7 Spray Sealant

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Chemical Guys also makes a spray car paint sealant that gets good marks all around. Being a liquid spray, it’s versatile and can be used when time is limited. This sealant produces a high gloss shine on all paint types. The UV protection is built-in and overall paint protection is awesome.

Be careful using the Hybrid V7 Optical Select High Gloss Spray Sealant as a quick detailer. It’s marketed as a car paint sealant and quick detailer in one. However, we found it created more streaks when used to detail a car with light dust and dirt. It’s great, but we’d recommend using it only on a freshly washed ride.

7 – Griot’s Garage One-Step Sealant

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Griot's Garage One-Step Sealant is Griot's flagship sealant that also has light polishing properties. Best applied with an orange foam pad, it's great to remove small scratches and swirl marks while also protecting with synthetic polymers. The durability is great! You'll only need to apple One-Step 3-4 times per year, making it perfect for daily drivers with limited time to re-apply.

8 – 3D Poxy Paint Sealant High Gloss Montan Car Wax

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3D isn’t well-known to the masses, but is a favorite among car detailing pros. 3D Poxy Paint Sealant can be applied by hand, or with a dual action polisher. It’s formulated with sealant and wax properties and tested as one the highest shine performers in our top picks. Dark colors really pop with 3D Poxy Paint Sealant, achieving the ultimate wet look. This is one of the most well-rounded sealant choices on the list.

9 – Griot’s Garage BOSS Finishing Sealant

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Griot's Garage BOSS Finishing Sealant is pure synthetic sealant protection. As part of Griot's Best Of Show System, it's Griot's top of the line car paint sealant. Its shine performance is great, easily giving paint that sought-after wet look. It's formulated with corrective properties and will remove light scratches and swirls depending on the polishing pad's aggressiveness. If you're a fan of Griot's and their quality products, check this one out.

10 – Turtle Wax ICE Seal N Shine Hybrid Sealant Spray Wax

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Turtle Wax ICE Seal N Shine Hybrid Sealant Spray Wax is one of the most affordable sealants on the list, along with the most affordable. Being a spray, it’s very easy to apply. It’s primarily a spray sealant, but also infused with carnauba wax. This given Seal N Shine the best of both worlds, the durability of a sealant and the warm glow of carnauba wax. Plus, this sealant will last at least 2 months.


Benefits of Car Paint Sealants

Applying a quality automotive sealant to your car has multiple key benefits. Some are clear right away, and others are long term benefits.

Paint Protection

The best car paint sealants create a higher quality of protection for your car’s finish. Whether your car is a daily driver or only for weekend trips, the minute it leaves your garage it’s faced with environmental elements – dirt, grime, dust, and more. With highway speeds of 60+ mph, small dirt particles can quickly eat into the paint finish. Car sealants bond to paint with synthetic ingredients to create a layer of protection from the elements. It’s this layer that takes the beating from contaminants, not the paint itself.

Paint repair and restoration can be expensive, especially in luxury and sports cars. While sealants can’t protect from dings and dents, they can help avoid costly paint refinishing due to swirl marks and scratches.

Easier Washing Routine

Cars protected by a full layer of paint sealant are far easier to wash during regular washes. First, the best car paint sealants typically help repel larger dirt and dust particles, making car washing less of a pain. Second, water will bead and glide off sealed finished, helping to reduce water spots and overall drying time.

Shine Performance

Your car’s appearance matters. We all like driving clean and shiny cars, and attention it brings driving down the road. The best car paint sealants can provide a brilliant glossy new shine to dull and dingy paint. Dark-colored cars benefit from a deep wet look. Plus, brighter car colors pop with a new shine and sparkle.

Residual Value

Following a regular car care maintenance schedule will help keep your ride in tip-top shape and help hold its value. Automotive paint can break down and chip over time if left exposed and untreated. Applying sealant several times per year keeps your paint looking as new as the day you bought your car.

Everyone can get nervous when it’s time to trade-in or sell their car. Will the Dealership notice this scratch or that scratch, will they give me a fair price, etc.? By using a quality paint sealant, your paint finish will stay protected longer, maintaining residual values. You’ll have much more confidence when it’s time to sell or trade, plus, a greater chance of getting top dollar for your car.


How to Choose the Best Car Paint Sealants

There’s a wide variety of car paint sealants to choose from. Some are marketed as ‘magic in a can’; others claim to last 100 car washes. We’ll help you sort out fact from fiction. Let’s break down car paint sealants into two main segments – cleaner sealants and finishing sealants.

Cleaner Sealants

Cleaner sealants are comprised of synthetic ingredients. They’ll help restore paint by cleaning oxidation, polishing the clear coat, and adding a layer of protection. Different types of abrasives, in various quantities, are used to help clean and polish car paint.

Use cleaner sealants on paint that’s in average or poor condition. If your car is a few years old and showing some wear, they’re a great choice. They can help restore oxidized paint and bring back that new car luster. Cleaner paint sealants also easy to use. Since they restore and shine paint in one step, many are marketed as ‘all-in-one’ products.

Application methods do vary with cleaner sealants vs. other types. Cleaner sealants need to be worked into car paint to be effective. They’re not as simple as wipe on and wipe off. Also, it’s best not to use them on new cars, or new paint. Same for finishes that have already been corrected by proper polishing. Only use finishing sealants or waxes in these situations.

Finishing Sealants

Finishing car paint sealants are also made from synthetics. Yet, unlike cleaner sealants, finishing sealants contain no cleaning or polishing abilities. They contain zero abrasives. Instead, they work to add stunning brilliance and shine to your car’s paint. They also add a layer of protection from the elements.

Use finishing sealants on your new car’s paint or paint that’s fully polished. If your car’s paint is in rough shape, you’ll need to correct the paint before applying a finishing sealant.


How to Apply Car Sealants

Applying paint sealant is a straightforward process. However, there are specific steps to take to ensure maximum protection and performance.

1 – Wash & Dry

Fully wash your car before applying an auto paint sealant or wax. Even better, clay bar your car to strip away all old sealants or films. The paint must be clean so the sealant bonds quickly and converge is consistent. Make sure your car is completely dry before moving on.

2 – Apply Sealant

You can apply sealants by hand with an applicator or with a machine polisher. Both methods have their advantages.

Applying by hand gives you a little more control and is great for smaller cars. Plus, there’s little prep and cleanup. However, applying by hand can be tricky when it comes to coverage and consistency. It’s easier to accidentally apply too much sealant by hand, resulting in a thicker layer which is harder to wipe off and buff.

Using a machine polisher, specifically a dual-action machine polisher, is a great choice. On larger cars, this method is a breeze. You can quickly apply a thin layer of sealant that will bond and dry fast. Plus, your coverage will be more consistent than by hand. However, using a machine polisher creates an added cost and requires more prep.

3 – Dry and Wipe

Sealants should be completely dry before wiping down. It’s important for the synthetic ingredients to properly bond to the finish – this is what helps create that deep-wet look. Once dry, use a quality microfiber cloth and wipe gently. With most sealants, buffing isn’t required. If you applied a thin layer, the process is quick and easy.

4 – Curing Process

All sealants need to cure to achieve a hard, durable finish. This process can take up to 12 hours. After you’ve wiped or buffed the sealant, keep your car away from any moisture. Oxygen is needed for sealants to effectively bond to paint, and moisture can interfere with that process. If possible, try to keep your car parked and garaged for a few hours after applying sealant.


Car Paint Sealant vs. Wax

Sealants contain synthetic ingredients. Car waxes are made from natural waxes, typically carnauba wax. Both types are sure to enhance your paint’s depth and shine. However, there are distinct differences.

Durability

On average, auto paint sealants will last longer and provide more protection than waxes. Several on the market last up to 6 months before re-application is needed. There are even a few that last up to 1 year. The science behind sealants involved their polymer ingredients. These high tech compounds help create a bond with your car’s paint while adding a glowing shine. Waxes, on the other hand, don’t last as long. Most car waxes last up to 6-8 weeks before breaking down. Factors like heat and humidity can greatly affect these timelines.

Shine

Many car detailing enthusiasts claim sealants add brilliance and sparkle, while car waxes create a warm glow. Depth can vary by product, regardless of the type. Either way, both types create an incredible shine via natural or synthetic properties.

Application

There are minimal differences in how car paint sealants and waxes are applied. Both go on using an applicator pad. You’ll need to follow each product’s instructions on drying times – they can vary up to 30 minutes. Then, buff off using a clean microfiber towel.

Most car paint sealants do need to cure afterward, typically a few hours. It’s part of the sealant bonding process. It’s important to keep your car out of the rain during this time. Car waxes also need time to harden, but typically on a few hours is needed. With both types, a little can go a long way. Be sure not to apply too much to your paint finish – it’ll create hazy streaks when buffing, requiring more elbow grease. It’s all about thin layers.

Versatility

Auto paint sealants are more versatile than traditional car waxes. Most waxes aren’t designed to be applied to plastic or rubber trim. However, due to sealants’ polymer technology, there are fewer issues. Regardless, be sure to follow the application instructions for details.


Car Paint Sealants FAQ

How long do sealants last?

The best car paint sealants can remain intact anywhere from a few months, all the way up to a year. Multiple factors can affect the durability, including the sealant formula, application method, curing time, and regular washing practices.

Are sealants better than waxes?

It all depends on preference and general use. Waxes and sealants can differ greatly. Waxes typically create more glow and warmth to the shine. The best car sealants have more depth and glossy properties. With durability, sealants will outlast almost all waxes given their synthetic blend properties.

Can sealants be applied in layers?

Yes, they can. Layering thin coats of sealants and waxes is a popular way to gain shine depth. Typically with layering sealants, two coats is reasonable. However, it’s very important to wait at least 12 hours in between coats. Each application needs time to cure fully and bond to the paint.

Can waxes be applied over sealants?

Yes! Some car detailing pros swear by laying a thin coat of the best carnauba wax for cars over sealants for a little more shine ‘pop’. It’s an extra step with more work involved, but finishing waxes over the best car paint sealants is okay. However, don’t apply a ‘cleaner’ wax over sealant, as it’ll strip away most of the sealant.

Are sealants natural or synthetic?

Paint sealants are formulated from human-made synthetic polymers. They’re specifically created to provide tough protection and durability, along with a great reflective shine.

Thick or thin layers?

Thin layers for the win! A little sealant goes a long way. It’s easier to apply in thin manageable layers. Too much product can create streaks and is harder to remove.

What’s better, ceramic coatings or sealants?

Ceramic coatings have their advantages. They have higher heat resistance and durability, improved water beading, and increased scratch protection. However, ceramics cost more, and they’re much harder to apply.

How expensive are car sealants?

Most quality sealants will run you $20 or higher per bottle. The best car sealants can cost $40 or higher. Remember, each bottle can last you years if you’re applying correctly and allowing the sealant to cure fully.


Sources:

  1. What is a sealant? – Detailing Wiki
  2. The best sealant – Detailing Wiki

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