Reviews

Best Car Paint Protection (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022

Keep your car’s exterior looking sharp and scratch-free with one of the best car paint protection products.

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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON November 18, 2021

Whether you’ve got a factory-fresh paint job or a custom spray on your car, you’ll want to protect your investment against scratches and marks. Car covers are great, but they don’t work while you’re driving, and plastic films are difficult to apply and might cover important cooling areas. That’s where car paint protection products come into play. A little bit of extra time after your next car wash could extend the life of your paint and give you a lasting shine. We’ve gathered our favorite car paint protection products to help you get started.

Best Overall
Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant
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Summary
Summary

JetSeal is designed to work in extreme temperatures and can be applied on a variety of surfaces.

Pros
Pros
  • Provides an anti-corrosion synthetic sealant
  • Long-lasting, mirror-like wet finish
  • Works quickly and is easy to use
Cons
Cons
  • Small bottle
  • Spray bottle feels flimsy
Best Overall
Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant
Best Value
Meguiar's Mirror-Glaze Polymer Sealant
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Summary
Summary

Meguiar’s sealant is easy to apply and provides an excellent shine, but its soft finish may leave you with marks and streaks days after application.

Pros
Pros
  • Hand application, rotary buffer, or a dual-action polisher application
  • Ensures your car maintains its sleek, glossy finish
  • 64-ounce container
Cons
Cons
  • Sealant is soft and scuffs easily
  • May leave streaks 
  • Wears off after the first wash
Best Value
Meguiar's Mirror-Glaze Polymer Sealant
Honorable Mention
Shine Armor Polish and Polymer Paint Sealant
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Summary
Summary

Its ability to shine and seal, combined with its ease of use makes the Shine Armor Polish a must-try product.

Pros
Pros
  • Easy to apply
  • Eliminates grease, grime, and dirt, and gives your car a layer of protection 
  • Clean, shiny finish, and the paint will not be affected
Cons
Cons
  • Small bottle 
  • Doesn’t leave a silky smooth finish
Honorable Mention
Shine Armor Polish and Polymer Paint Sealant
Car Paint Protection Close Up
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Why Trust Us


Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Methodology

In order to find and highlight the products we’ve listed here, we sought out car paint protection in every form. We took a look at sealants, different types of coatings, and protective-layer products. As we examined different protection products, we also compared them based on their ease and style of application, as well as their durability. The products we chose offer longevity and attractive surface finishes that will make any car look better, and the suggestions are based on users’ reviews and remarks after putting them to use on their vehicles.

Best Car Protective Paint Reviews & Recommendations

Best Car Paint Protection Overall
Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant

Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant is designed to work in both normal and extreme temperatures all year round. The Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant and Protectant is one of the most durable protection products you can buy. It’s designed to shield from dirt and grime and can perform in extreme temperatures and weather, providing protection up to a year in total. Chemical Guys say that JetSeal works on cars, RVs, boats, and more. It was originally designed for jets. It can be applied to paint, polished metal, glass, and plastic surfaces.


JetSeal is able to be applied by hand or with a machine and is claimed to last a full 12 months, although the company says that you’ll find much better results by applying it every few weeks. You’ll also want to wash and clay bar your car before applying the product since it’s not designed to work on a dirty vehicle.


Product Specs

  • Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Manufacturer: Chemical Guys
  • Application: Machine or hand

Pros

  • Useful on a variety of surfaces
  • Works in a wide temperature range
  • Can be applied by hand or with a machine

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Application says 12 months, but every few weeks is recommended
  • Must clay bar the car first
Best Car Paint Protection Value
Meguiar's Mirror-Glaze Polymer Sealant

With 120 years of experience, Meguiar’s is one of the most trusted brands in automotive cleaning and protection products, and the company’s polymer sealant is among the best performing products on the market. Designed to outlast other waxes with its brilliant high-gloss finish, it’s very easy to use and anyone can achieve stunning results without a lot of effort.


You can apply it with your hand, a rotary buffer, or a dual-action polisher. When applying the sealant, ensure your car is cool and away from direct sunlight. After it dries, buff it to a shine with an orbital polisher. Meguiar’s Mirror-Glaze Polymer Sealant features a gentle cleanser that eliminates contaminants and dirt as it polishes and protects. However, it is quite soft and scuffs easily and may also leave streaks on car paint.


Product Specs

  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Manufacturer: Meguiar’s
  • Application: Machine or hand

Pros

  • Easy to apply and use
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Works on boats, RVs, and other vehicles

Cons

  • Can scuff 
  • Can’t be used on vinyl
  • Will cause streaks if not carefully applied
Easiest-to-Use Car Paint Protection
Shine Armor Polish and Polymer Paint Sealant Protection

Shine Armor’s spray paint sealant is quick and simple to use. Shine Armor makes high-end car detailing products that are affordable and the company’s three-in-one waterless car wash, polish spray, and hydrophobic top-coat polish is evidence of that. Offering a quick, one-stop solution to clean and protect your paint, this product works on cars, trucks, boats, bikes, RVs, ATVs, and other vehicles, so you can protect all your toys.


Shine Armor pitches this product as a waterless wash, but we’ve found it’s much better to wash beforehand as there’s no sense in rubbing dirt into your paint job. That said, the sealant offers solid protection against dirt and grime, especially in parts of the country with significant winter weather, road salt, and sanding.


Product Specs

  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Manufacturer: Shine Armor
  • Application: Hand

Pros

  • Easy-to-use spray
  • Great protection from a single product
  • Works on a variety of vehicles

Cons

  • Works better after a wash
  • Pricey
  • Might not last as long as claimed
Best Wet or Dry Car Paint Protection
303 Automotive Spray Wax and Quick Detailer

The 303 spray is easy to use and can be applied to a wet or dry surface. The brand 303 Products isn’t the best known or most popular company in the world of paint protection, but its Spray Wax and Quick Detailer get the job done and do it affordably. You can use it wet or dry, which means that your car doesn’t have to be perfectly polished before you apply, and it should also aid in a spot-free drying process.


The manufacturer claims its spray will last a full 90 days, but it’s best when reapplied every 30-60 days. Still, the shine is great, the product is quick and easy to use, and the wet-or-dry application makes the process easy. As with other products of this type, it’s important not to rely too heavily on claims that it can be used on a dirty car. The shine lasts longer, and there’s much less risk of damage to your paint job, if you take the time to wash your car before application.


Product Specs

  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Manufacturer: Gold Eagle Co.
  • Application: Hand

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to apply
  • Works on wet or dry surfaces

Cons

  • Better after a wash
  • Might not last as long as claimed
  • Some reports of damaged packaging on arrival
Best Ceramic Spray Car Paint Protection
TriNova Ceramic Spray Coating SiO2

TriNova’s Ceramic Spray coating can be applied to a wet or dry car and can be used on glass, wheels, and trim. TriNova’s Ceramic Spray Coating offers a simple way to add a lasting shine to your car. The ease of use that comes from a spray bottle cannot be overstated, and the fact that it can be used on glass, wheels, and even trim makes this an excellent all-around product. Unlike other products, TriNova recommends washing your car before applying its spray, which is a philosophy that we can get behind. The product is applied to a wet vehicle and should be sprayed off directly after.


The only real pain here is that you’ll need to apply in small areas to avoid letting it dry before rinsing. If you aren’t quick enough through the process, you can end up with streaking or spotting. A spray-on product might not be as long lasting as one that requires hand application. Even so, the ease of application and the protection provided by the spray is well worth the need to reapply every few weeks.


Product Specs

  • Weight: 1.25 pounds
  • Manufacturer: Gold Eagle Co.
  • Application: Hand

Pros

  • Can be used on glass, wheels, and more
  • Easy spray application
  • Works as drying aid

Cons

  • Has to be applied quickly to prevent streaking or spotting
  • Can only be applied to wet car
  • Might not last as long as claimed
Quickest Car Paint Protection
Chemical Guys Hybrid High-Gloss Spray Sealant

Chemical Guys V7 spray is super quick and easy to use and can be applied to glass, which is one of the most annoying and difficult areas of a vehicle to detail.


With a name like Chemical Guys, it’s no wonder that the list of buzzwords and fancy descriptors on this detailer spray is long. Even so, the combination of a sealant and quick detailer in one spray makes using the product simple and easy. You’ll still need to wash your car before applying, but the spray helps remove fingerprints, dust, and other debris and will leave your car with a high-gloss shine. 

As with other protectants on our list, don’t expect too much from this spray. It’s not going to last forever and won’t protect your car for months, regardless of what you read on the bottle. What it will do is provide a solid shine and protection against the elements in between washes. 


Product Specs

  • Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Manufacturer: Chemical Guys
  • Application: Hand

Pros

  • Easy spray
  • Can be applied to glass
  • High-gloss shine

Cons

  • Better after washes 
  • Streaks if not carefully applied
  • Quick to apply but can require extra buffing to get a good shine
Best Car Paint Protection for Glossy Finish
The Last Coat Ceramic Coating

If you love achieving a glossy finish on your car’s exterior paint, try The Last Coat Ceramic Coating. This spray-on car paint protection can create a wonderfully deep and glossy finish just seconds after it’s applied, and it’s even formulated to create a glasslike feel on the surface of your car. The product features an all-in-one formula that protects and details your exterior, making it more difficult for chemicals, dirt, and debris to adhere onto your vehicle and helping it look fantastic. You can put it to use on paint as well as metal surfaces, and its specialized ingredients are intended to prevent streaking and residue. The protectant is hydrophobic, offers UV protection, and keeps issues like salt and dirt at bay.


While this car paint protection solution keeps your vehicle looking shiny and clean, it does have a bit of a learning curve. Follow directions carefully, as a small amount of this product goes a long way and too much can leave behind some residue.


Product Specs

  • Weight: 1.41 lbs
  • Manufacturer: The Last Coat
  • Application: Hand

Pros

  • Cures smooth, glassy, and glossy in seconds
  • Formulated to avoid steaks and residue
  • Just a few ounces of liquid cover the entire vehicle
  • Works on paint, chrome, bare metal, plastics, and more

Cons

  • Takes some time to master application
  • Applying too much product can create residue
Best Comprehensive Car Paint Protection
Meguiar’s Hybrid Paint Coating Kit

If you’re looking for a car paint protection kit that’s totally comprehensive, consider Meguiar’s Hybrid Paint Coating Kit. This set includes everything you need to prep your car, apply protectant, and do the job properly. It comes with a bottle of Meguiar’s Surface Prep, a bottle of Hybrid Paint Coating aerosol spray, an applicator pad, and two microfiber towels. Together, all of these components help you cover your exterior with a chemically resistant, durable paint protection formula. Featuring a blend of traditional ceramic paint coating ingredients plus Meguiar’s proprietary Hybrid Polysiloxane, it’s a kit that will offer solid hydrophobic water-beading action plus long-term paint protection. Plus, once it’s applied, it can last up to a full year.


This car paint protection kit isn’t recommended for your car’s glass surfaces or windows. It is also time consuming to apply. While the results can be great, it takes time to perfect the application process.


Product Specs

  • Weight: 1.5 lbs.
  • Manufacturer: Meguiar’s
  • Application: Hand

Pros

  • Includes prep product
  • Offers protectant along with application accessories
  • Water repellent
  • Can last up to one full year

Cons

  • Not recommended for glass or windows
  • Time-consuming application process

Our Verdict on Car Paint Protection

For a high-quality paint protector that will make your car look brand new, consider the Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant. Save some cash and check out the Meguiar's M20 Mirror-Glaze Polymer Sealant for an inexpensive but effective high-gloss paint protector.

What to Consider When Buying Car Paint Protection

Picking out a quality, long-lasting car paint protection product isn’t exactly easy. There are a lot of different options to choose from, each with its own application style, formula, and benefits (or disadvantages). But we’ve got all of the advice you need to find the best products for your desired results and level of protection. 

Types of Car Paint Protection

Paint sealant

Sealants are synthetic polymers that improve your paint’s shine while protecting it against dirt, grime, and weather elements. These products are different from waxes, which are composed at least partially of natural ingredients. Sealants typically last longer than waxes and can provide better protection against things like tree sap and UV rays.

Glass coating

Glass coating, unlike paint sealant, has silicon dioxide as the base component. The compounds work to repel dirt and give the paint the desirable wet look that shows car owners and Instagram love. 

Ceramic coating

Ceramic coating is not a layer of ceramic over your car’s paint. It’s a chemical solution applied by hand. It bonds with the car’s paint to create a protective layer. You can think of it as an extra layer of protection against things such as sun damage. 

Clear paint protective layer

This is a plastic film manufactured from thermoplastic urethane. It protects the car’s paint from rock chips, mineral deposits, acid rain, and small scratches. However, it is only used on parts that are susceptible to the damages highlighted above. 

Car Paint Protection Key Features

Surface finish

Depending on the treatment you choose, you may see benefits that include a deep shine, a more consistent paint color, and fewer small scratches. Some treatments, especially glass coatings and ceramic coatings, can give your paint a wet look with a superior shine. 

Durability

Most companies promise multiple months of life between applications of their products, but most fall short of that mark. In general, you should be getting at least a month out of a paint protection product, but some last several weeks. 

Ease of application

Ease of application and method of application is another area where paint protection products could be clearer. Some promise to deliver their benefits without the need to wash your car ahead of time, but in most cases it’s best to wash before applying. Sprays, while easier to apply, may not last as long as a hand-applied protectant.

Benefits of Car Paint Protection

Keeps Damage to a Minimum

The biggest, most critical reason to consider car paint protection for your vehicle is the actual protection it offers. When applied across the exterior of your car, a paint protection product of any kind will help keep potential damage and visible woes such as scratches and marks to a minimum. It’s like an invisible shield for your paint, helping automatically limit scratches and other signs of damage without you even realizing it’s hard at work. A layer of ceramic coating, paint sealant, or other variety of paint protection can be a key aid in preventing everyday damage and signs of wear.

Protects Your Investment

You might not be planning to sell your car right now, but if that day does come years into the future, you’ll definitely discover a financial benefit to using car paint protection products. Because these products help reduce unsightly marks and unwanted scratches, keeping your car’s paint job looking new, they help you recoup more value. They’ll protect your original investment and prevent you from having to spring for a paint job. With added benefits such as UV protection, these products can save you money and help you get more value should you put it up for sale.

Long Lasting

While there’s quite a bit of variety in the lifespan of car paint protection waxes, sealants, and other products, they all are formulated to give you some longevity. Once these products are applied to your car’s exterior, they can last anywhere from weeks to months, or even up to a year in some cases. With regular application, you’ll get long-lasting protection that keeps you and your vehicle well-protected for your car’s lifespan. And if you don’t want to reapply frequently, you can choose a protectant and formula that offers the longest lifespan.

Car Paint Protection Pricing

Your standard bottle of car paint protection costs between $15 and $20. This price point includes eight- to 16-ounce bottle of liquid waxes, sealants, or detailing sprays. However, if you’d like to opt for a more premium product, you’ll spend more. Top-tier options will run you between $40 and $50 per bottle. Within this price range, you’ll also find bulk options for some products, giving you an opportunity to buy more protectant for less.

Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and car paint protection. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • Some paints are affected by relatively high temperatures. Some paints become sticky to the touch when temperatures rise. Ensure you purchase the paint that suits the climate of your location. This is also true for winter weather, as the cold can impact drying time and your ability to apply the product.
  • Protective paint for vehicles can cost up to a few hundred dollars, depending on the company, application, and other factors. It’s paramount to choose a paint that’s within your budget range to ensure proper application.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: How long will a paint protector last?

The majority of paint protectors will keep the paint shiny and glossy for perhaps a week. They will not last through several downpours or snowstorms. Check with the manufacturer to learn more about its longevity.

Q: How much paint protector should I use?

The bottle should come with a chart or guide to show you how much to use. If you find that the amount is not enough to wax or protect an area effectively, you may want to use more.

Q: What is the best way to apply a paint protector?

Typically, each one will come with a multistep process. Start by rinsing off the surface with a hose. Then apply the cleaner to the paint and other parts of your vehicle. Lastly, wash it away with a microfiber cloth and let it dry.