An organic wax, unlike a polymer, has no chemical interaction with paint; it forms a thin hard ‘shell’ as opposed to some coatings or a polymer, which forms a molecular bond. A wax when it’s correctly applied as a thin translucent layer, this renewable barrier is probably less than 0.1 µ which is a barely visible film.
The clear coat is the final original equipment manufacturers coating applied to a vehicle to protect the (base) colour coat from environmental damage, while providing both depth and a durable, glossy appearance, originally designed to protect and enhance metallic paints, but is now applied to all colours.
Claims that certain waxes are formulated and / or manufactured for specific paint types, paint colours or made specifically for a certain vehicle marquee or that they are matched to particular characteristics of individual paint systems has absolutely no factual chemical basis, it’s merely marketing hype.
Any product applied on top of the clear coat needs to be transparent otherwise both the paint colour and its depth of shine will be muted.
For example both Porsche and Ferrari (amongst others) use Glasurit as their paint supplier, very different vehicle manufacturers. How would a wax especially made for Italian paint (Zymöl Ital) not work on a German Porsche?
There have been several advancements and changes to clear coat technology as well as the overall OEM, not to mention changes in environmental regulations for chemical compositions used by the factory’s paint suppliers.
It is important to note that manufacturer-approved paint suppliers vary by country as each country (and even province/state) has their own environmental laws that collision centres must adhere to. For example, in the UK, Standox, Spies Hecker, and BASF are the approved paint suppliers for Mercedes-Benz collision centres; in the US, it is PPG, BASF, and Standox. In Canada, only BASF and Standox are the approved paint suppliers and you will find only one or the other at any authorized Mercedes-Benz collision centre.
• Each vehicle assembly plant uses different clear coat paint from one of three major paint suppliers; PPG, DuPont, and BASF products and each of these companies have a range of several differing paints
• Most vehicle manufacturers will issue a painting specification that denotes amongst other things; a paint to hardener ratio, dependent upon quality control this spec may or may not be strictly adhered to
• Some vehicle manufacturers have more than one plant assembling the same model of a vehicle; each plant will often use a different supplier for the clear coat paints.
• Each assembly plant may elect to use one of several OEM paints from PPG, DuPont or BASF clear coat product lines.
This is also true of imports assembled in the US; usually one paint supplier is approved for all plants; however, each plant may modify the application/bake process in order to meet production demand.
There are other factors that will have an effect; the composition of the clear coat used (single, duel component, or powder) this generally reflects the trade-off the OEM is prepared to accept between scratch resistance and gloss level considered acceptable, oven drying time and its temperature, quality of the quality of the isocyanates used, relevant age (i.e. how long ago was the paint applied) spot panel repairs (refinish) that are carried out either at the assembly plant or the rail head or port of entry
I will concede that some waxes look better when used on light or dark coloured paints.
A wax that is formulated with high oil content produces jetting or ripple effect (the so-called ‘wet-look) by diffuse reflection and seems to enhance dark colours, whereas higher polymer content will enhance light colours due to spatial reflection, similar to water on a mirrored surface
An applied wax protection is less than 0.1 µ; so the suggestion that a coating this thin could change or even enhance a colour doesn’t sound very plausible to me.
Although waxes and polymers do have differing light reflectance properties and differing paint colours will reflect light differently in according with their Light Reflective Value (LRV) (See Light Reflection article)
I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.
I hope the above article was informative. By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.
I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professionals alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge. No one can know it all, no matter how long they have been detailing; share experience and knowledge so that we learn from each other. Each one Teach one.
Choose carefully whose advice you listen to, and more importantly what advice you act upon. I would strongly suggest that you verify any information that I or anyone else shares with you. The misinformation and myths that are so prevalent in the detail industry is the reason that detailers need to do research on their own.
Treat all marketing claims as being just biased marketing claims.
I would appreciate it if you would share this article as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated.
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