Invisible shield: The best paint sealants for cars

A paint sealant keeps your car's paint healthier for longer. CAR picks its favourite paint sealants.

Paint sealant on car, black and white image

by Chris Williams |

Polish and wax differ in function, so too do car waxes and sealants.

Wax is a natural product that works well in tandem with polish because it produces gloss. Paint sealants for cars are synthetic, and while they too are a protectant like wax, they are generally more durable. However, the trade-off is that some don't show up a shiny pre-applied polish quite so much.

That being said, synthetic sealants are evolving into more able products for showing a shine too. The capable boffins who didn't quite make the grade for genomics, virology or neuroscience are locked away in labs, employed by the car care brands. They are making steady progress.

What is a paint sealant?

As we alluded to already, it is a solution you apply to your car's paintwork that covers it in a protective layer. It keeps harmful UV rays, road salt, acidic bird poo and other such harmful things at bay – essentially most everyday substances that can degrade your car’s paintwork.

They come in a bottle to be applied by hand or with a dual-action polisher, or as a convenient, time-saving, but less effective spray.

We have chosen a range of top products. Each is quite different to one another, with various strong suits. That way, there will certainly be something here for you.

The best paint sealants for cars:

Gtechniq EXOv4

Editoru2019s pick
Gtechniq EXOv4
Amazon

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The intense-sounding EXOv4 is our recommendation to anyone who is after a proper paint sealant for their car. It appeals to enthusiasts because it provides that highly hydrophobic coating that beads water u2013 much to enthusiastsu2019 deep pleasure. But it appeals to casual users too because you only need to apply it rarely because it lasts up to two years.

Simply apply it with a foam pad like any other coating. It gives really tough resistance to road grit and doesn’t come off with washing. It’s superb.

Pros Cons
• Longevity • Single application per bottle
• Durability

Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Synthetic Sealant 2.0

Popular choice
Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Synthetic Sealant 2.0
Amazon

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This purple gloop is more in line with a polish and what comes to most peopleu2019s minds. You can apply it either via the enthusiastu2019s method of using a dual-action polishing machine, or you can just use a cloth.

While the Meguiar’s sealant can’t match the EXOv4 for durability or longevity, it claws points from another area: gloss. It’s called Mirror Glaze for a reason. What it lacks in durability compared to the EXOv4, it makes up for in shine.

It also comes in a 473ml bottle, which means you don’t go through all of it in one go like you do with the little EXOv4 bottles. Once you’ve applied it, it not only shines up your car but generates that wonderful hydrophobic beading too.

Pros Cons
• Great shine • Not as protective as EXOv4
• Bottle lasts a while

Autoglym Ultra High Definition Ceramic Coating Kit

Durable 2-step ceramic coating
Autoglym Ultra High Definition Ceramic Coating Kit
Amazon

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Ceramic coating is one of the latest and best efforts in synthetic bodywork protection. This two-stage kit from Autoglym is one of the top ceramic coatings out there.

Consisting of UHD Preparation and UHD Ceramic Coating, you can expect a lot from this kit. Once you have cleaned and polished your car, you can apply the UHD Preparation, which will remove any wax, sealants, or oils on the paintwork.

Once you have done this and wiped away residue, you can apply the UHD Ceramic Coating. Apply it one panel at a time, or even half a panel. Then buff it off once a film has formed.

Pros Cons
• Effective protectant • Application takes some time
• Long lasting

Turtle Wax Hybrid Sealant Hydrophobic Spray

Time-saving spray sealant
Turtle Wax Hybrid Sealant Hydrophobic Spray
Amazon

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In contrast to the time-consuming Autoglym ceramic coating is the Turtle Wax Hybrid Sealant quick spray. It blends synthetic polymers and carnauba wax to establish a middle ground between protection and shine in an easy-to-apply spray.

In terms of longevity, you can expect about six months, maybe a year if you don’t use your car much but without the same level of protection you get with the sealants above. Like all the others above, apply it to a clean and dry paint surface before buffing lightly. Having done that, you can enjoy effective water beading and added protection.

Pros Cons
• Easy and fast application • Sealants above are better protectants
• Value

Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash & Wax Car Shampoo

Ceramic-infused shampoo
Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash & Wax Car Shampoo
Amazon

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For those who like the idea of a paint sealant but are perhaps kidding themselves that theyu2019d actually be bothered to apply it, this option may be for you.

Turtle Wax’s ceramic shampoo, unsurprisingly, incorporates some ceramic polymers into a shampoo and applies the coating and cleaning in an all-in-one type deal. It’s very convenient and is noticeably better than a standard shampoo. It does leave a protective coating, evident in water beading.

That said, the trade-off of convenience is effectiveness and durability. For that, choose one of the others above.

Pros Cons
• Convenient • Dedicated sealants are better protectants
• Effective for a 2-in1

Autoglym Polar Seal

Snow foam sealant
Autoglym Polar Seal
Amazon

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Like Turtle Waxu2019s ceramic shampoo, this is a product of convenience. The Polar Seal is a snow foam that is applied with a pressure washer. Having washed the car, spray this on with a pressure washer, leave it for a couple of minutes, then hose it off.

It creates a hydrophobic layer on the bodywork, making it harder for dust, water, and dirt to cling to it. As such, it doesn’t offer a protective sealant against UV and grit.

We love how easy and fun it is to apply, but it’s the least protective product here.

Pros Cons
• Fun spray foam • The other dedicated products here are better sealants
• Convenient

What to read next:

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The best car cleaning kits for comprehensive car care

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