Old car wax: Can you leave it on before applying a layer of sealant or ceramic coating?
Detailing enthusiasts may be tempted to do just that.
After all, if it works, then you’ll have two layers of protection (with the one on top being hardier) instead of just one.
However, this will not work!
Sealants are meant to bond with the clear coat.
Sealants are designed to be applied to your car’s paintwork. The topmost layer is the clear coat.
If there is anything between the sealant and the clear coat, the former cannot bond with it.
So, that expensive ceramic coating will go to waste.
Even non-ceramic sealants, such as Autoglym’s Extra Gloss Protection, are not meant to be applied to surfaces with wax.
You need to strip the old wax from your paintwork before the sealant is applied.
However, sealants can be applied after the paintwork is polished. Polish enhances the finish, but doesn’t provide protection.
How can you remove the existing or old layer of car wax?
Some detailers will wipe down the car with isopropyl alcohol.
You can also use a traffic film remover, which is stronger than an all-purpose cleaner.
Make sure that the traffic film remover is the type that strips wax (not wax-safe).
Remember, before you apply a new layer of sealant or ceramic coating, you also have to remove the old one!
Ceramic coatings are very, very tough to remove!
Unlike old car wax or sealants, ceramic coatings are impossible to remove by hand when they’re still new.
Removing a ceramic coating will require a machine polisher and a more abrasive polish.
Given how tough the job is, you only want to do this when it is time to renew the coating.
For most drivers, this would be once a year.
The only other reason to do this would be because you want a warmer shine.
Ceramic coatings tend to give a hard, candy-like gloss.
Carnauba wax on the other hand, offers a warmer, more natural glow.
Can I apply wax on top of a sealant or ceramic coat?
You could, but this wouldn’t make any sense.
Sealants and ceramic coats give paintwork a hard layer of protection plus extreme shine.
You don’t need to apply another protective layer.