It’s easier than ever these days to apply wax to your car and keep it looking shiny for longer. New synthetic formulas are simple to put on and offer long-lasting protection. This is good news for car enthusiasts as it means that you don’t have to spend the whole of your precious weekend “waxing on and waxing off”. But do you need to really wax your car at all?
The main thing that people know about wax is that it makes your car look extra shiny, but waxing does a lot more than just make it stand out in a crowd. A layer of wax helps protect your paint job from rock dings, caked on mud, bird poop, tree sap, UV rays and any other environmental factors that can turn paint dull and lacklustre.
It’s perfectly acceptable to just wash your car to keep it looking nice, but if you don’t wax, you’re missing out on providing an extra protective coating. Without wax, your car’s paint is more susceptible to scratches, airborne contaminants such as dust, salt, UV light from the sun and eventually rust.
Waxing fills in minute imperfections in the paint finish. If it’s a good wax, it will improve gloss, remove oxidation and make paint appear darker and more vibrant.
How often should I wax?
You don’t have to wax every time you wash your car, but even if you have a new car, experts recommend waxing at least every two to three months. Modern cars have a clear coat finish that preserves the paint, so you don’t need to wax as frequently as with an older car.
Best way to wash, polish & wax your car
Wash your car thoroughly to get rid of dirt, dust and grime before you polish or wax. Use soap specifically made for cars, Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash is a good one and so is Adam’s Polishes Car Wash Shampoo. A soft microfibre wash mitt is the best thing to use for washing as it’s scratch free, absorbent and lifts the dirt off the car and holds it in the mitt.
Dry your car with microfibre towels to absorb more moisture than regular towels, avoid water stains and remove any excess dirt.
Once the car is clean and dry, you still may have problem spots such as scratches, dead bugs, bird poop and rock chips. Polishing will remove lumps and bumps and smooth out the surface of your car. Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish removes fine scratches, swirl marks and produces a clear, glossy mirror-like reflection.
Wax on, wax off
If it’s been more than three months since you waxed your car, then it will need a top up. Ultimately with waxing, you want to preserve the high gloss finish you just got from polishing it, for a longer lasting shine.
You do need a bit of elbow grease to give your car a thorough wax, so schedule in at least an hour to do a decent job. With car waxes, you can get liquids, pastes or sprays. Carnauba based waxes are recommended, with the most expensive car waxes having a higher ratio of carnauba wax.
Here are our 5 steps to waxing:
- Apply wax to a foam applicator pad – use as little product as possible to create multiple thin layers.
- Apply wax to one panel of the car at a time in a circular motion, overlapping as you go. Don’t wax your windows, and don’t work in the sun.
- Before the wax dries completely, buff off the excess product.
- Use a fresh microfibre towel for buffing off wax – if you use the same one you used for drying or polishing, you’ll get cross contamination of products.
- Use a moderate amount of force and turn the cloth frequently.
Interested in different finishing techniques for classic cars? Check out our article on patina paint jobs!