Nothing beats the shine and glimmer of a freshly waxed car. It doesn’t matter how often you wash that ride, cause if you’re not making waxing a part of the normal detailing process, then your automobile will never look as good as it did the day you drove it off that lot. Now, if you’re like a lot of auto owners out there, you might be asking yourself if you really need to wax the car’s exterior – and if so, how often should you wax your car? Here’s at Driving Geeks, we want to make this process as simple as possible with you, so below you’ll find some of our car waxing tips and reviews on the best car wax for the money right now.
- Geeks Picks: Best Wax for Cars
- Why Use Car Wax?
- How Often Should I Wax My Car?
- Best Time to Wax Your Car
- Forms Of Car Waxes
- What Is Car Wax Made Of?
- Types of Car Wax
- Everything You Need To Know About Waxing Your Car Properly
- Car Waxing Techniques
- Does the Vehicle Wax Color Have to Match the Car’s Paint Job?
- How Often Should I Use a Car Wax Sealant?
Geeks Picks: Best Wax for Cars
Last update on 2019-01-18 at 20:23 / Affiliate links / Images via Amazon Product Advertising API
Why Use Car Wax?
Do you think that washing your car regularly is all that it is required to make it look good? What if you could make it look even better – and give that paint job more protection – with a nice coat of good car wax? Yes, that is exactly why you should be waxing your ride on the regular.
Wax protects your car’s paint job the sun’s harmful (and bleaching) UV rays, as well as offering protection from debris, bugs and other dirt and grime that the vehicle encounters when you take it for a drive. Plus, it just makes your car look damn good with all those shines and sparkles. It even works wonders on older cars!
How Often Should I Wax My Car?
I’m not going to lie – waxing your car takes a bit of work. This is especially true if you are hand waxing your ride. If you’re like me though, then I think that you will find that it isn’t so bad once you get started with it. Just make sure that you give yourself enough time to properly do the job instead of rushing through it. And since car wax applications typically last between six and eight weeks, you only have to do this once every two months. That’s only six times a year! Of course, if you do a lot of driving, then you may discover that you need to re-apply the wax for the car more often than that.
Best Time to Wax Your Car
Waxing your car can give it a little extra something. It makes it shine like the day you bought it and can help restore it to some former glory. The thing is, the wax has to be applied well in order to give you any benefit. A big decider in how well your wax turns out can often be when you wax. Weather will have a huge impact on how the wax reacts and what the finished product turns out like.
The summer months are the most popular time for washing and waxing your vehicle. When we’ve all been cooped up for the cold winter months the warm sunshine of summer makes everyone want to run outside and enjoy the heat. Unfortunately, wax does not love the heat like we do. While the dry summer months are a great time to wax because your vehicle needs it, the temperatures can have an effect on the wax itself. If temperatures reach the eighties your wax will begin to dry as you are applying it. You will get an uneven, unattractive, and unsuccessful wax coat. To avoid this only wax on days with milder temperatures and wax in the evening hours. As the evening cools off with the setting sun, wax will apply much better and your vehicle will have the whole night of darkness to fully dry. By morning your wax will have set and you won’t have to worry about the sun creating unneeded problems.
Winter months create the biggest need for a wax on your vehicle. The bitter cold of winter’s frosts, freezing rains, and harsh snows can be hard on your car. Extra tender loving care will go a long way to extend longevity of your paint work. Before winter even descends you should prepare your vehicle by giving it a wax. This will update the shine for the last bit of mild fall and give you a great start for the cold to come. Build a regular routine to wax in between inclement weather. This can be hard because of low temperatures. Wax should be used when no colder than fifty degrees ad this isn’t always possible in winter. Due to this, waxing in winter is best done near a heat source. This will help give an even wax that doesn’t remain tacky. Work in small sections and get each one just right before moving on. This will be a buffing intensive wax. You will need to buff quickly and thoroughly to keep the wax pliable. Once the vehicle is done, placing it in the sun can help cure the wax and finish the process.
Forms Of Car Waxes
How you apply the wax will end up depending on what form the product takes. Right now, there are four different forms of car waxes available on the market. They are:
- rubbing compound
For the most protection and most durability, choose a rubbing compound. If you’re a beginner when it comes to waxing your car, and you’re on a budget, then you can start off with one of the spray options. However, this is pretty much the worst way to go here because it won’t last long or perform as well. But, it is easy to apply and offers a good introduction to car waxing. If you want something that is cheap, easy to use, durable, and offers a nice gloss, then a liquid car wax is a good option for you. If your vehicle has some scratches or other minor imperfections, then a rubbing compound is your best buy when it comes to shining up your vehicle. Rubbing compound waxes have some abrasive materials in the wax that helps to fix the look of those imperfections.
What Is Car Wax Made Of?
If you’re new to auto detailing on your own, then you might be wondering what exactly this stiff is made of. As you’ll see below, wax for your vehicle is either made from synthetic materials or carnauba wax. At this point, you’re probably thinking – carnauba wax vs synthetic wax: which is better? – right? Well, the answer is, it depends.
The benefit of carnauba wax is that is it natural, which means that it is more eco-friendly and non-toxic. So, if you have pets and you want to be able to leave your waxing rag unattended, then this type of automobile wax is likely the better choice for you. The big disadvantage of carnauba detailing products is that it is harder to apply by hand than it’s synthetic counter parts.
The benefit of synthetic car wax is that it tends to last longer on your ride than carnauba vehicle wax. This means that you can go longer before it needs to be re-applied. This type is also easier to apply, which is nice if you want to speed up the process a bit. Plus, the shine with this type tends to be better, or shinier, than the natural products. However, the protection that you get from synthetic options is not as good as the carnauba options.
If you’re a serious perfectionist about the way that your ride looks, then do like most car guys and use both types of waxes. This way you get the best shine and the best protection for your automobile.
Types of Car Wax
Choosing the right type of car wax for your car is important. As the last step in your car detailing process, it is the finishing touch that makes all the difference in the world. So how do you choose the best one for your prized car? There are a few different kinds, and exploring all of the options before you select one is important. Here are a few different types of car waxes you can choose from to make sure that your car is fully detailed and ready to shine while you cruise down the street.
Natural Car Wax
Often considered the best wax to use on your car is natural car wax. It is characterized by the key ingredient, carnauba, which is derived from the Brazilian copernica cerifa plant. This is a pricier option, but offers your car a shine that can’t be achieved from synthetic waxes. The most expensive natural car wax you can find will be made out of pure carnauba but there are less expensive options on the market. These waxes are a carnauba-petroleum mixtures and are less costly than pure carnauba wax. The lifespan of these pasty, natural car waxes are anywhere between one and two months, so it is important to maintain upkeep on your car’s waxing.
Synthetic Car Wax
Made from chemicals rather than the plant based ingredient of natural car wax, synthetic car waxes are the most common wax on the market right now. This wax is found in a spray or a liquid form and are considered to be more paint sealant than anything. Its redeeming qualities are their ease of use, as they buff out easier than natural waxes and aren’t quite as difficult to rub in. Synthetic wax also lasts a little longer than natural wax, and will need to be reapplied with the changing season rather than every couple of months.
These are variations of synthetic car wax, and serve a slightly different purpose than just protection. Colored waxes come in color variations to match your car and keep its color looking rich and helps your car maintain its protective shine.
There are many reasons a car owner will want to use car wax on their car. Car wax provides protection to the paint job, extends the life of the paint job, and gives the car an overall beautiful shine. It also provides an excellent sealant to your car, keeping out harmful weather elements to help extend the life and beauty of your vehicle’s exterior. You will want to keep up on your waxing to ensure maximum results, however, so keep this in mind when you are purchasing your wax. For those who aren’t able to keep up on frequent waxing, a synthetic wax is a great option. For those who want maximized protection and shine and are able to keep up on frequent waxes, choose a natural option. Either way, your car will benefit from the protection that car wax has to offer.
Everything You Need To Know About Waxing Your Car Properly
Does anything look better than a freshly waxed car? A great wax job will go a long way in terms of improving the overall aesthetics of your vehicle. When applied correctly, a good wax job does wonders in terms of bringing out the beauty of your car’s paint job, and can transform even the dullest, dingiest and most weathered-looking car into a showroom masterpiece. To help you make your car the envy of all your neighbors, below we have provided a comprehensive tutorial for waxing an automobile—a guide filled with a bevy of useful tips culled from some of the finest car detailers in the world.
A clean and shiny car is every car lover’s dream. Not too long ago, that cleaning process used to involve just a little soap and water, a dry towel and perhaps even a can of Simonize to restore your car’s shine and protect it from the elements. Today, however, there are literally hundreds of car wax product choices, each promising the very best shine and luster for your automobile. These choices come in many different forms, including liquid car wax, paste wax, spray wax, and many types of “wipe on” sealants that boast a simple one-step process.
The type of car wax you ultimately decide on is really a matter of preference rather than quality, as each of these choices has their own benefits and drawbacks. If you are a true car enthusiast, you might want to choose a multi-step process, one in which you pamper your car with a variety of products in a process that might take all day. This may sound like a little too much for some people, but for true car purists it is usually a labor of love. Others may elect for the simplest and fastest solution—a quick job that will allow them to wax their vehicle and quickly get on with their day. Either way, if you truly want a wax job that brings out all the full luster of your car or truck, you will probably want to follow the easy steps below.
Step 1: Wash Your Car
The first step to the (ultimate) waxing process is to wash your car thoroughly using a mild detergent and warm water. Today there are many dedicated car wash products designed specifically for the washing of cars. However, in a pinch you can also use a mild dish detergent, such as Dawn. Whatever cleanser you decide on, try to avoid any harsh cleansers, such as laundry soap or powdered detergent, as these can chip or scratch your paint job.
In a bucket, mix the soap and warm water. Spray your car down with the hose until every part of it is nice and wet. With a non-abrasive sponge, begin by cleaning the top of the car, switching from side to side to enable you to reach all areas. Once this area has been washed, immediately rinse with the hose to avoid any soap drying on the now-washed area. Repeat this process with every part of your car, beginning with the flat areas—like the hood and the back of the car—and moving down the sides. Be sure to spray each washed area down immediately after you wash it.
When you have finished washing your car, spray the entire vehicle down one more time to ensure you have removed all the soap.
Step 2: Dry Your Car
After you have washed your car, the first thing you will want to do is move it to a shady area, either in a garage or under some trees. The light and heat from the sun can leave streaks on the car, so be sure to avoid any direct sunlight.
Using a chamois, begin drying your car, again starting with the top. Continue to dry the car thoroughly, moving to the hood, back and then the sides of the car. Using a chamois instead of a towel will reduce the chance of streaking. Also, towels tend to leave lint and other particles on your car that may later negatively impact the waxing process.
Step 3: Give Your Car a Squeaky Clean Finish
Once you have thoroughly washed and dried your automobile, the next step is to give your paint a nice, squeaky clean finish. Today, there are many products that can accomplish this task, but one of the best of these is a simple clay bar—a bar used regularly by professional detailers.
Clay bar detailing is a fast and easy process. By using this clay bar to go over every square inch of your car, you can safely remove any bonded contamination—stuck on dirt and debris that may remain after the washing and drying process. You must perform this step because you NEVER want to wax over any dirt or debris, as this will give the paint a rough look in areas that will truly stand out—for all the wrong reasons.
Some people may mistakenly omit the clay bar process, opting instead for a wax that also doubles as a cleaner. This can be a big mistake. Waxes that double as a cleaner can be very abrasive and they can scratch the thinner modern clear-coat paint finishes. Today, most cars have modern clear-coat paint finishes, as they help to conserve weight, protect the environment and reduce cost. But these finishes are much thinner than paint finishes of old, and can therefore be harmed when using abrasive wax cleaners.
Thus, the best approach for readying your car for wax is clay bar detailing, followed by a non-cleaner wax job, also known as a pure wax job.
Step 4: Applying the Different Types of Wax
Using a Spray Wax
Spray wax is without question the easiest type of wax to apply to an automobile, but it will usually not produce the same results as a liquid or paste wax.
To apply spray wax, first go through the washing, drying and detailing steps mentioned above. Next, with a microfiber buffing towel in one hand and the spray wax of your choosing in the other hand, spray the wax directly on the car—spraying only one small area at a time. Distribute the wax evenly, and then flip the towel to the dry side for a final buff. It really is that easy. Once you have finished the entire car, take a fresh, dry microfiber buffing towel and go over the entire vehicle to ensure you have not missed any spots. Some spray waxes are marketed to work just as well in direct sunlight, but for best results keep your car parked in the shade until you have finished waxing.
Applying Liquid and Paste Waxes
Paste wax has long been considered the best of the best when it comes to car waxing products. Today, however, liquid wax has closed the gap a bit, and many companies now make both liquid and paste wax in the same formula. So which should you use? This is more a matter of preference than it is quality. Paste wax is much easier to apply by hand, while most waxing/buffing machines can only work with liquid wax. Both produce great looking results of which you will be proud.
Whether you decide to use liquid or paste wax, a general rule to follow is “less is best.” Given that all waxes now have a polymer formulary, it is just not necessary to use a whole lot of wax on any given area. Here are the simple steps for applying paste or liquid wax:
- Park your car in a covered or shaded area, out of direct sunlight.
- Use the applicator that came with your product to apply the wax, or use a foam applicator.
- Work on one area at a time, measuring 2-3 square feet…you will not want to leave the wax on for too long.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on whether or not to allow the wax to dry or haze over before buffing.
- If the wax does not buff off easily, try using a clean dry towel.
- Apply the wax in a back and forth motion, not in circles. This will keep you from having to replace your applicator or towels.
When finished, your car should sparkle and it should be totally free of streaks and smudges. However, if you do notice any streaks or smudges, it may mean that all the wax was not timely buffed out of that particular area. One thing you can do to remedy this is to park your car in the direct sunlight for about 20-30 minutes, and allow the heat from the sun to help loosen the wax. Bring your car back into the shade and, using your favorite detailer spray, wipe down the affected area until it produces a high-gloss shine.
By following these 4 simple steps for waxing your car you’re sure to have a paint job you can be proud of—and a shine that will last for weeks on end.
Car Waxing Techniques
When it comes to caring for your car waxing is an easy and efficient way to keep it looking good and to protect it from debris, dirt, and grime. There are several different methods to waxing however and it is beneficial to learn about each type so that you can choose what method is best for you and your car. Both hand waxing and electric buffing have benefits and drawbacks and an in depth look at both is the best way to decide what is right for you.
Hand waxing is any application of waxing or a waxing product with nothing more than your hand and an applicator or a sponge. When it comes to waxing many prefer hand buffing to electric buffers for a few different reasons. For starters, older cars that have not been painted in a while are more likely to have their paint peeled or buffed away by high speed buffers. Hand waxing allows the user to apply the exact amount of pressure needed and to vary that pressure dependent on what the car needs in each particular are.
This means overall that hand buffing offers far more control than an electric buffer offers making it the preference for many. Another reason that people prefer hand buffing is that you can get a thinner layer of wax without buffing it all away and needing to start over. The third reason many prefer hand waxing over electric waxing is that you do have more control and you can give your car the attention that it needs. Hand waxing on the downside does take far longer and can be tiring and may not be able to remove large scuffs.
There are also those that are of the idea that electric buffing is the way to go. Electric buffing is the application and distribution of car wax with the help of an electric buffing tool, buffing pads, and compounds that are generally made for electric buffers. Again there are benefits to electric waxing and the first is that it does not take nearly as long as hand waxing does.
Those that prefer electric buffing not only like that it takes less time, they also like that it gives them more leverage and more buffing power. Say for instance you have a scuff on your car from something like a shopping cart. An electric buffer is far more likely to be able to remove this scuff than you would be if you were using hand buffing methods. The electric buffer also offers the option to use tons of different buffing pads that are specific to what you are trying to accomplish. On the downside it can also wear off paint and is going to cost more as you will need to buy a buffing tool.
Is There a Best Way to Wax a Car?
The jury is still out on the question of what is the best way to wax a car but more often than not people will tell you that hand waxing is going to be the safest, most effective, and most rewarding way to care for your car. That is not to say that buffing your car with an electric buffer every now and again to remove hard scuffs or to save time is going to ruin your paint job and make your car worthless. It all depends really on which method you prefer and your ability to do either properly. Someone that has no idea how to wax a car can do just as much damage with either method and someone with experience can make either work well as well.
Does the Vehicle Wax Color Have to Match the Car’s Paint Job?
When it comes to keeping your car in perfect order waxing is a must. Often times people forget this vital step. So what does waxing really do? It protects your car from debris, from the weather, and makes it shinier and beautiful. So does the color of the wax that you use have to match the color of the car you are waxing? This is a question that deserves a bit more attention.
Colored wax has been around for some time and some people swear by it while others say that it is worthless. The real question is do you need to match your wax to your car when you wax it. The simple answer is no but if you want to enhance the color or tint your clear coat then yes.
For your typical every day wax to protect your car and keep it cleaner longer, clear waxes are best. Clear wax will not change the color of your car, will not make it appear muddy or dirty, and will simply help to make your top coat gleam and make your car appear shinier. If you do have a car however that has begun to fade or you simply want to make your car appear more true to color, colored wax may be a good option for you.
Most colored waxes do not contain a large amount of pigment so they are not going to dramatically change the way your car looks. They do however have the potential to temporarily tint your clear coat and to help bring out the color of your car. This is not going to be terribly noticeable in a car that still has a good paint job but may be more noticeable in a car that has begun to fade or that has some sun spots. If you have a car that has these issues and you are not ready to have your paint redone or restored, this may be a good temporary fix until you can get the issue resolved.
When it comes down to it, there is nothing really better than a good clear wax. Clear waxes are going to be universal so you do not have to go out and buy a new bottle for every car you own. Clear waxes are also going to be true to color and do not have the potential to change the way your car looks overall. A clear coat is going to look the same no matter what car you put it on and is going to do its job.
If you do however want to use a colored wax it is advised that you find a wax that is as close to the color of your car as possible. Waxes that are not super close to the color of your car may make it look discolored and will certainly show spots that were missed when the vehicle was waxed. No matter what you use, make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them for the best results.
How Often Should I Use a Car Wax Sealant?
A wax sealant is a product that protects your car from the weather. When you apply a sealant it bonds to the paint and can protect your car, SUV, or truck from rain, snow, wind, and sun. The main benefit is it will enhance the look of the paint. When you begin, you may want to apply more than one coat. This means you must let the first coat dry or cure. Most sealants cure between 1 and 24 hours. Wait 12 to 24 hours before you apply another coat of wax sealant after the first. Wax sealants last from three to six months.
The trick is to apply a coat before the effectiveness runs out. Watch how water beads up when it rains on the paint. If it pools off its time for a new coat. A general rule is to apply a wax sealant four times a year. When you apply a wax sealant apply it as thinly as possible. There are many ways to apply a wax sealant using a random orbital polisher, dual buffer, or by hand.
The random orbital polisher is a easy to use for beginners or experienced users. The different pads increase the polishing power that is difficult to achieve by hand. Rotary buffers are designed for car enthusiasts. They can fix some of the paint imperfection when using a wax sealant. They take practice to use correctly. They are not for beginners. When applying a sealant by hand use a foam hand applicator pad. Spread the sealant as far as you can. Spread it on the paint using circular motions the overlap. After about 10 to 20 minutes remove excess wax sealant with a microfiber towel.
Sealants can withstand high temperatures. There are synthetic polymer based sealants and acrylic based sealants. Before applying a sealant its best to wash your vehicle carefully to remove dirt and grime. After the car is washed and dried apply the sealant.