How Hot Is Too Hot?

Carnauba Wax, It's Melting Point, and Your Car's Protection

With the recent heat wave sweeping through most of the United States, our ice cubes aren't the only thing melting. If you've waxed your car with a typical carnauba wax, the heat is beating it up. Dr. Beasley's Staff in Chicago took a series of hood temperature tests on the hottest day of the year (July 19th) to see just how hot they got during the scorcher. At 110 degrees, you'd imagine the hoods to be a bit higher than that if they're directly in the sun. So how hot were they? Read on for more…

The test was done on 3 stationary cars, one dark color in the sun, one dark color in the shade, and one white color in the sun. The findings are amazing. At 1:00 in the afternoon, the dark hood in the sun reached almost 190 degrees (188.5). At temperatures this high, you might as well kiss your wax goodbye. Carnauba has a standard melting point of 180-185 degrees, and if it's on a surface that's 188, that wax is slowly melting off and leaving your car unprotected. The black car in the shade proved how easy it is to stay cool in the heat; the hood's temperature was 111 degrees, well under the 180 degree melting point of carnauba. The third car that was tested, a white truck in the sun, notched 128 degrees; a major 60 degree difference from the darker colored car and still holding wax.

Your car's paint gets even hotter when you drive. The sun is a big factor, but a roaring engine on a 100 degree day is going to increase the hoods temperature from the inside nearly as much. If it's extremely hot and you've been driving, your car's hood can break 200 degrees easily. In this kind of heat your wax doesn’t stand a chance. With the wax gone, your clear coat is left bare and unprotected from UVs and environmental fallout. There is, however, an alternative that allows for protection even at the highest of temperatures.

While your typical carnauba can't handle those crazy-hot days, a paint sealant can. A polymer based paint sealant has a significantly higher melting point and will stay bonded up to 350 degrees. With modern technology these products also produce a brilliant shine and cover up scratches. One might say they’re prepped to replace carnauba entirely. But until that day, let us know in the comments which you prefer – carnauba or polysealant?