Sealants have come a long way in the last few years. About 5 years ago I would have said to leave sealants to the professional detailers and just tell you to stick to wax. You needed to keep older products away from plastic, rubber and glass because they leave a nasty stain. You needed to wait until the product had dried to a haze before you could buff it off. And they were not easy to buff. In fact you have needed to use a polishing machine to remove them.
Wolfgang Deep Gloss is my favorite sealant. It gives brilliant protection and shine and is easy to apply. Click here to read about Wolfgang Deep Gloss on Amazon.
You can now buy sealants that don’t need any buffing. You just spray on and wipe off.
Some new sealants can also be applied to plastic, rubber, and glass. They can really be applied by anyone. I will usually apply a sealant instead of a wax because they last so much longer. You can apply wax on top of a sealant to give more protection and a better shine but I find that the sealants I use give a really great shine without the need for a wax.
Nano or ceramic coating
Another type of product that’s similar to sealant is something called a nano-coating or a ceramic coating which is designed to last a couple of years. Sealant is the middle ground and should last 6 months to a year. Wax will last only a few weeks to maybe 3 months.
The problem with nano or ceramic coating is that current products don’t give a great shine. Sealant gives a much deeper shine and is probably the best all-rounder. Those are just general rules and it’s possible to find a cheap sealant that doesn’t last as long as a good wax. I will be writing another blog post on these products. I’m currently trying out Carpro Cquartz which has amazing reviews on Amazon.
Many products that claim to be waxes may actually contain some sealant as well as wax. In fact, a number of waxes don’t contain any wax such as Meguiars Ultimate Fast Finish which claims to be the easy way to wax but it only contains synthetic polymers. It’s still an excellent product though.
There is probably no need to get too concerned about whether a product is a wax or a sealant. All that matters is the performance. How easy is the product to apply? How long does it last? How deep is the shine?
Prepare the surface
Unfortunately, you cant just spray sealant on a dirty car. You must remove as much contamination as possible before you start. A spotless surface will allow the sealant to bond with the paint and give a truly deep shine and long-lasting protection.
First, wash your car with a car soap designed to remove old wax and sealant. These are sometimes called strip wash soaps. If you don’t know how to safely wash a black car please read my blog post on washing a car without scratching it. If the paint still feels rough to the touch you will need to apply a clay bar to remove this contamination. Clay bars can damage your paint so please read that blog post if you don’t know how.
For more professional results an optional step is to apply an abrasive or chemical polish to your car. This will help to remove even more old sealant and wax and will also smoothen down and restore faded paint and remove swirl marks and light scratches. For an ultimate black glass-like shine I would recommend polishing or compounding first.
You will then need to wash off the oily residue left by the polish using an IPA wash like Gyeon Prep. Or you could use isopropyl alcohol mixed with distilled water.
As an alternative, you could also consider some hybrid products that contain both polish and sealant. You still need to wash and clay your car before using them but they contain a polish the will help to remove scratches. For example Chemical Guys GAP_106_16 All-In-One Polish + Shine + Sealant (16 oz).
Removing all the contaminants means you can put more elbow grease into the application of sealant and wax and be safe in the knowledge that there is no contamination on the surface that will come loose and damage your paint.
How to apply a sealant to a black car
Always read the instructions on the product you bought. Most sealants need to be applied to a dry surface. Only the sealant that sticks to the surface is useful so there is no point in applying a thick coat. More product needs to be wiped or buffed off and that can take time. Also, the excess product looks especially bad on a black car. Some products can be rinsed off with water which is obviously much easier and some are just sprayed and wiped and you’re done.
Most products should be applied in the shade and the surface of the car should be cool. This is to prevent the product from drying too quickly.
As always a microfiber towel is a must for buffing. Microfibers don’t shed any lint. You should probably use more than one towel as a clean side for each panel is the best way to protect paint. Once buffed off you can apply another coat. The more coats you apply the longer the protection will last.
Should I apply by hand or use a polisher?
For a black car a polisher will definitely help for some of the products. But most products on the list that are designed to go on by hand only.
Sticking with one ecosystem.
It’s generally believed that if you apply a sealant from one manufacturer that you should continue to use their products to maintain your vehicle. This is because they have been tested together. For instance if you use Chemical Guys Jetseal you should also use a car wash soap and detailer spray from chemical guys because they have been tested together by the manufacturer.
I don’t always follow that rule myself. Once I find products I know will work I will mix and match them and I don’t have any problems.
Which sealant should I buy for a black car?
The six products I talk about below are all excellent. They are applied in different ways and some seem to last longer than others. But it very much depends on the environment you live in and how often you use your car. I have tried other products that didn’t work so well and I don’t mention them here because I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Read each review and decide which one you like best. But all of them are really good and infinitely better the paste waxes if old. And you don’t need to be a detailing professional to use them
1. Wolfgang Deep Gloss Review
Wolfgang sealants have been used by professional car detailers for years. But their new products can be applied by amateurs too. It works on any color paint but it should be kept away from plastic and rubber because it stains and you will have to buy another product to restore the plastic.
With Wolfgang Deep Gloss, you only need to use a tiny amount and it spreads out well over the paint. The shine it creates on black paint is epic. After I apply a coat of this it reminds me why I bought a black car.
It’s easy to apply with a foam pad and buff out with a microfiber towel. There is no annoying dust like you used to have in some waxes. It’s not cheap but a few drops goes a very long way.
The manufacturer advises a 12-hour curing time. So you need to keep it away from moisture for 12 hours which is not always possible for some people. Even if you have good weather, moisture can attach to the car in the early morning and this will prevent the product form bonding properly.
- + Very long lasting.
- + Fantastic shine.
- + Expensive but worth it.
- + Great protection.
- + Amazing review on Amazon
- – Not easy to remove from glass so keep it away.
- – Can stain plastic and rubber.
2. Meguiar’s Ultimate Fast Finish Review.
Meguiar’s G18309 Ultimate Fast Finish, 8.5 oz is new to the market having only been available since 2017. To be honest I didn’t know exactly what it was at first and kind of ignored it. But its a fantastic product for the price.
Ultimate Fast Finish is a fully synthetic polymer sealant but I don’t think is says that anywhere on the box. It just says “The easy way to wax”. But it doesn’t contain any actual wax.
The best thing about it is how easy it is to apply. It comes in an aerosol spray and you just spray it on to the supplied microfiber towel and wipe down your car. You then smoothen it out with a dry part of the towel. I prefer to use two towels.
It goes on very easily and requires no elbow grease at all.
It has a great shine too. Maybe not as deep as the more expensive Wolfgang Deep Gloss which is why I put it at number 2 position.
At this price point you can also get something like Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik Wax spray and give your car a shine that’s as good as any product on the market!
+ Very good value for money.
+ Very quick and easy to apply by hand.
+ Great shine.
+ Long lasting protection and shine.
– keep away from plastic and glass.
3. Meguiar’s M21 Mirror Glaze Synthetic Sealant Review
This is the first fully synthetic sealant I ever used and I could not believe just how good it was. Commonly known as just M21, this product is well known among professional and amateur car detailers. It gives a fantastic shine once you follow the instructions carefully. Some users have complained that the product is difficult to buff off when compared to other products. For this reason a Dual Action Polisher might be needed to buff off but in my experience with this product I have been able to buff off by hand. It can also be applied to wheels and glass.
Mirror Glaze M21 also does a great job of hiding swirls on black and dark colored cars. It’s durability is well known and they claim it can last up to a year. But most enthusiasts won’t wait a year before the detail their car again.
I haven’t used M21 for a couple of years because there are so many different products on the market. But Meguiar’s are always improving their products and I think it’s time I tried it again. And because I only fully detail my car twice a year a bottle of any of these products can last years.
4. Optimum (20239) Opti-Seal with Foam Applicator Pad – 8 oz Review
This is a state of the art spray on sealant. Optimum Opti-Seal comes in a tiny bottle which is a little off putting at first. But a few drops can be spread very thinly across a whole section. The idea is simply spray, wipe, and walk away with no buffing.
Opti-Seal will protect against UV rays, road grime, dirt, brake dust, industrial fall out. It’s a pure paint sealant meaning that it won’t cover up scratches or swirl marks. So you should deal with those issues beforehand by polishing.
Unlike other products opti-seal can be applied to almost all surfaces including glass and plastic although it should be kept away from rubber. The water beading effect is fantastic on paint and glass.
For a better shine you should apply a wax on top of the sealant. But even without the wax this product gives a great shine.
- Spray on sealant.
- Easy to apply
- Glossy shine
5. Car Pro Reload Review
Car Pro Reload is a secret weapon of many pro detailers. This is because it is so easy to apply and delivers stunning results. And best of all, it can spray on paint, glass, plastic and rubber. It’s best to apply to a wet car as it can cause streaking, especially on black paint. It’s also possible to dilute the product to reduce streaking.
Often used as a drying aid and reapplied each time the car is washed. I would use this once a month to touch up my cars shine. This is a big seller and is often out of stock. Car Pro products have really taken off in the last few years. They also produce some very popular weather resistant nano-coating products. You can apply the nano coating instead of the sealant. Some people apply the nano coating first and then the sealant on top of it.
- Best shine I have seen from a sealant.
- Long lasting protection
- Great value
- Buy in bulk for even better value.
6. Chemical Guys Jet Seal Review
This has become a hugely popular product over the last few years. Its state of the art ingredients can protect a car for up to one year. It was designed for the aerospace industry hence the name.
Chemical Guys Jet Seal can be applied not just to paint but also to glass,headlights, tail lights and metal. It provides a UV sunblock for your car which should help keep it new looking for longer. This will of course help to keep you cars value up when you decide to sell it.
Although it’s not a spray on product it’s still easy to apply by hand or with a polisher. Apply a coat and buff off. After 20 minutes you can apply another coat. Applying a chemical guys wax on top will give an even better shine. This really is a world class product.