Car Paint Protection: Ceramic Coating vs Wax

When it comes to auto paint protection films, there are two important products that are used by detailers and car fanatics around the world, ceramic and wax coating. Both share different characteristics and the application method varies as well. We are going to differentiate between the two and see how they can help protect your vehicle.

What Is Wax Coating?

When it comes to applying wax to a vehicle, the most popular type is carnauba wax. It is basically a refined wax that is derived from a palm plant native to northeastern Brazil. Naturally, the wax is used to provide protection to the tree against the UV rays of the sun.

Therefore, the carnauba wax protects your vehicle the same way it protects the tree. However, when refined, carnauba wax produces extreme gloss and shine. It is also used by shoe polish, automotive wax, and dental floss industries.

Originally, carnauba wax comes in yellow and brown flake form that is then mixed and blended with solvents to improve solubility and oils for lubrication. On the other hand, Montan and paraffin waxes are also commonly used in the auto industry. But you might have never heard about them as they are commonly used as ingredients.

What Is Ceramic Coating?

Over the years, ceramic coatings have taken over the detailing industry by storm. Back in the day, waxes were used to keep the cars looking shiny. However, there was a slight problem. Waxes are not that durable when compared to ceramic coating.

They need to be applied every week or month, to help maintain the shine of the vehicle. In addition to that, most waxes are designed to just offer shine. On the opposite, ceramic coatings are engineered to provide protection.

With that said ceramic coatings tend to be comparatively more expensive than traditional waxes. The reason is that ceramic coatings require extreme skill and techniques for proper bonding and curing etc. While traditional waxes can be applied at home or anywhere else. Moreover, unlike car window tints, you don’t need to worry about the legality of the ceramic or wax coating.

Ceramic coatings need a proper dirt-free environment. Plus, they need sufficient time to cure as well.

Common Differences Between Ceramic Coating And Wax Coatings

Wax Coatings Are Less Costly Than Ceramic Coatings

The prime benefit of wax coating is the low price. You can get a wax coating done on your car or truck at the 20% cost of ceramic coating. For instance, if ceramic coating costs $1000 including installation, you can have a wax coating on your car done for $200.

Ceramic Coating Lasts Longer Than Wax Coating

Wax costs less, but it only serves you for up to 8 weeks only. Your car’s exterior won’t be protected after 8 weeks and you will need to consider a new layer of wax coating for paint protection and glow.

Ceramic coatings can last for 6-12 months. So, you will need to go to an auto tint shop Springfield less often for paint protection. Moreover, if we consider the cost and lifespan of wax and ceramic coating, both cost the same. However, the paint protection ability of ceramic coating is higher.

Wax Coating Provides More Shine and Glow

Many car and truck owners consider car paint protection films for improving the appearance of their vehicles. If the strength and durability of the coating are no concern for you and you want the best shine and glow, go ahead with a wax coating. It gives your vehicle the wet and glow look.

Ceramic Coating Provides Better Protection

Wax coating wears off quickly with the weather, car washes, and other elements. It’s a thin coating and may not protect your car from scratches and swirls.

Ceramic coating is more durable and forms a transparent shell over your car’s paint. It protects your car from all the elements it can be exposed to like weather, sunlight, water, soap, debris, and heat.

A huge advantage of ceramic coating is UV protection. The paint job of cars fades or discolors more quickly for cars that are exposed to sunlight more often. This is due to the UV rays damaging the color and fading the paint job. Even if you apply wax to your car, your car’s paint can fade with enough exposure to the sun. With ceramic coating, your car’s exterior and paint job will not be affected by UV radiation.

You Can Touchup Ceramic Coating

Ceramic coating lasts longer than waxing. However, another advantage of ceramic coating is that it can be touched up should an area wear off early. There are SiO2 sprays that can cover the exposed or worn parts of the ceramic film and extend its life.

You can touch up wax coating. If an area of the car wears wax coating early, you will need to redo the wax coating.

Ceramic Coating Requires More Care

Ceramic coating last longer than wax, but it requires more care as well. Both of these coatings are hydrophobic. Water and any liquid won’t stick to them and slide off them. However, if you don’t wash your car often, your ceramic or wax coated car will appear dirty anyway.

Wax coating doesn’t last for many weeks so if you don’t care for it, it may still give you a few weeks. However, ceramic coatings are costly and should last for a year. So, you need to wash your car regularly and drive carefully to make sure the coating doesn’t get damaged.

How To Apply Wax Coating On A Vehicle?

The application instructions may vary depending on the manufacturer. Regardless of the consistency of your wax, you should always use an applicator pad to apply it. This ensures that the wax is equally applied.

In addition to that, the application of the wax also depends on the right temperatures. Most waxes need to be applied in a cool and shaded area. Vehicle owners may also choose to wax their cars in the summer but it is best to apply in a shaded area.

Waxing your vehicle under the sun or in extreme heat will leave deep marks. This is why temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit are recommended.

How To Apply Ceramic Coating On A Vehicle?

Applying ceramic coating is slightly different from applying traditional waxes as mentioned earlier. The thing with ceramic coatings is that you need to ensure that the coating bonds properly to the paint. If it doesn’t, the coating will not last long.

To make sure, experts first thoroughly perform paint protection to remove the previous waxes and existing contaminants. Meanwhile, the vehicle needs to be parked in a dirt-free environment as dust particles can influence the bonding process of the coating.

Depending on the condition of the vehicle, a detailer might have to spend days if not weeks, paint correcting the vehicle. Once the correction is done, the vehicle undergoes an intense polishing and compounding process to remove clay mark swirls and other minor scratches.

A customer may choose to get one, two, or three coats applied. However, the more coats, the more the curing time required. Depending on the weather condition, you may not be able to drive your vehicle for a few days until the coating is cured.


The difference between ceramic coating and traditional wax lies in application methods, price, durability, and purpose. If you want to keep your car’s paint protected for years to come, you can opt for ceramic coating by visiting a protective car film shop Springfield. However, if budget is a concern, you can opt for carnauba wax.