100% on the application. Most people do indeed apply it too thick, when all you need is a razor thin coat.
I like to demonstrate this with caranuba wax like #16. It's a hard wax and therefore you must apply it THIN or it will be a pain to remove. This shows how little you actually need to accomplish the task.
16 was discontinued but I believe you can still buy a product called P21s (not a megs product fwiw) which is a caranuba. This product thankuflly is much easier to apply but you still can over apply it. The idea is to have a very light haze of product, and removal should be as simple as wiping off lightly with a fresh microfiber. No elbow grease should be required. If you have to scrub or work at it, you've used too much product no matter the chemical type you have chosen.
I'm a huge fan of caranuba as a topper, as it can make some paints really "pop". -- Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley. Sun Tzu
Meg no longer sells M16 in the US due to the CA VOC laws. They only wanted to make one version of each product so each one needs to pass CA VOC laws. M16 did not so they stopped selling it in the US. You can still buy it outside the US but even then it's difficult to find.
Longevity is always affected by external factors such as the weather. But in most cases the product you use is sacrificial. In general, most waxes/sealants should be reapplied every 2-3 months. Yes, some manufactures will claim their product lasts a year or more but that is just marketing.
.... What makes it difficult is if you don't maintain the paint. If a person were to clay their paint once or twice a year it would go a long way in making maintenance much easier.
For a quick and all round good job I use Megs Ultimate Liquid Wax. I have a couple of the smaller bottles (16 ounces?). They will last me years. Many people put wax on way to thick. It should be put on so thin that it's difficult to tell you even applied any. You are going to end up wiping 99.9% of it off anyway. This also makes it very easy to remove/buff off.
Yeah everything I read (well the chemistry behind it) is like anything else, all in the surface prep. 1. wash 2. de-wax (or some people use a stripping wash) 3. Some people wash and de-wax with clay. 4. Some people swear by a polish to dewax (which is just one of the polishes functions aside from actually polishing)
So the steps above, which you use, how well you do it, determines how well the wax (or polymer) will bind to the clear coat.
This is what determines the longevity of it, to my understanding. Aside from the actual functionality of the product itself (ie. how good it is).
And of course what you stated... how well you apply it to the clear coat.
And yeah, it's made as a sacrificial coating. Water alone breaks the wax (or polymer) down over time. Titanium is added as a minor UV block/protection, which doesn't really add much in the way of the life of the product, nor to your paint since there is so little.
Anything else is all marketing, buzz words, and fairy tales. The rest comes down to how well the product works.
Some, like Megs for example, add silicones and don't bother listing it on their products. I'm not a big fan of that. And others have carrier solvents that stain the trim (or like you said, if you put it on too thick, a product that normally doesn't stain with proper application will stain). Seen some people complain about that with the Megs ultimate, but they loaded it on too thick.
In my case with a brand new car, I don't think i'll clay bar it for it's first coat. Will wait till just before winter, then add the JetSeal. I still have oil dripping from the car due to the rustproofing. so I'll just wash it for the next few weeks till it finally stops, then likely add Megs Ultimate Liquid as is on it after (it's on sale here, 20$ instead of the regular 37.99$). Then strip (per above), clay and do the JetSeal in October. Megs still haven't replied to me if they put silicones in that one, but pretty sure they put it in every single product they have.
I'm kind of tempted to try a product on each side of the car... See which will last longer.
I read somewhere that due to the proliferation of silicone based waxes, reputable paint shops are not only aware of the potential of silicone issues, but will take measures to removes silicone traces prior to paint applications. This was not always the case in the early days of silicone waxes, and new paint adhesion problems did occur frequently.
My experience with Nu finish vs. conventional waxes - Nu finish has no cleaning properties. Whatever is on the paint will show through Nu finish. Many other types of waxes offer some cleaning action during application.
I'm not bashing Nu finish for I do think it's a good product, but the user needs to be sure the paint is extremely clean.
In my case with a brand new car, I don't think i'll clay bar it for it's first coat.
I can pretty much guarantee if you clayed the vehicle you'd see a lot of stuff it would pick up. Mainly rail dust. As mentioned by a person I follow on Youtube (Junkman2000)... unless you pick the car up from the end of the assembly line, it will have rail dust and junk on embedded on the paint.
I've used quite a few different waxes/sealants over the years. My favorite is Klasse All-In-One, followed up with a coat or two of Klasse Sealant Glaze. Easy enough to do, and provides really long lasting protection, and a great shine!