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Synthetic Polymer vs. Carnauba Mustang Wax: Which is Better?

Written By: Stanley Sadowski

One of the best ways to have your Mustang looking brand new is with a fresh coat of wax. This guide will help you understand what wax is best for your Mustang.

American Muscle

The Wax Matters

Nothing looks better than a Mustang that has been freshly detailed, so why not preserve that impeccable appearance with a nice coat of wax? Detailing a car can take hours and adding a coat of wax will pay off after all your hard work. Knowing the difference between waxes will better assist you in choosing the right one to apply. Climates, car color, and the amount of time you want to invest into protecting your Mustang’s paint or polishing your car all affect which type of wax you should use, but the two main options are a synthetic polymer or a carnauba wax.

Mustang Wax

Synthetic Polymer Mustang Wax Explained

A synthetic polymer is a wax primarily consisting of man-made materials, as opposed to the more natural carnauba wax. They are considerably new to the detailing scene and are made to try and imitate the glossy wet shine that a carnauba wax presents. Synthetic polymers are more commonly referred to as paint sealants and are usually easier to work with than a natural wax. Paint sealants are easier to remove and don’t tend to leave behind as much residue.

2010-2014 Mustang Lowered at a Car Show

What Are the Advantages of a Synthetic Polymer Wax Over Carnauba Wax? 

There are a few good things about choosing a paint sealant or synthetic polymer instead of carnauba wax. They can come in the form of a spray that is very easy to use and they have a higher melting point. The higher melting point is very important when applying wax to your Mustang during the hot months and particularly to dark colored cars. When wax melts it starts to make the painted parts on your Mustang appear cloudy and can be quite a task to get rid of in the heat. With the technology used today, synthetic polymers can protect a car for months especially if it is garage kept. Choosing this wax is like putting a thin coat of armor on you cars surface. Generally, synthetic waxes offer a little less shine for a little more protection.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Synthetic Polymer Wax

  • Tend to be easier to work with
  • Are usually cheaper
  • Are formulated for specific purposes (clear coat sealant, swirl remover, etc)
  • Lasts the longest and offer more protection
  • Will not meet the shine of carnauba
Freshly Waxed GT500 Mustang

Carnauba Mustang Wax Explained

A carnauba wax is derived from a plant found mostly in South America. It is a hard material so it takes some added ingredients to make it into a paste. Carnauba will give your Mustang a nice deep luster that is unmatched amongst polymers. It will leave a “wet” look that will outshine any paint sealant. This particular wax will need to be applied more frequently than a polymer so try to preserve that showroom shine by either keeping the car in a garage or other shelter from the elements.

2015 Mustang Showing Off at SEMA

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Carnauba Wax Compared to a Synthetic Polymer? 

Carnauba wax can be a bit pricier because of the flawless finish it produces. No shine will quite compare to a quality carnauba so in this case you get what you pay for. Detailing enthusiasts will certainly tell you that there is nothing that can match the shine of a carnauba wax, but some high quality synthetics offer a unique shine of their own. Many professional detailers prefer to apply a paint sealant first—especially for darker colored cars—then a while after, apply a coat of carnauba to really make it shine.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Carnauba Wax

  • Produces a shine that cannot be beat by any synthetic polymer
  • Will make your car look its best
  • Preferred wax amongst Mustang enthusiasts
  • Does not last as long as synthetic polymers
Carnauba Car Wax Sitting a mustang Hood

Why Wax Shines Better Than Synthetic

Traditional carnauba wax gives a great shine when applied because of its chemical composition. It has more natural components that shine when combined together. Synthetic, on the other hand, is compiled of all man-made components. When these components are mixed together, the shine is not as great as the carnauba counterpart. The trade-off is that synthetics are generally easier to work with for buffing. While both benefit the shine of a vehicle's paint, traditional wax amplifies the shine more so than synthetic, as it is the last layer between the paint and the environment.

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