Protect your Paint
What is the best way to wax my car?
Wax is like a rain coat for your car's paint. It keeps everything mother nature can throw at your car away from the paint. This layer of protection can fade with time and repeated washings. Like anything, a little time and money invested in a quality wax job will pay off in the end.
Thoroughly wash your car and remove all contaminants from the surface. If your paint has not been cleaned in a while, now is the perfect time to bring the shine back. Waxing your car is not a substitute for paint cleaning, and the wax job will only be as good as the base layer of your paint.
Since you just washed your car, it should go without saying that your car is cool and out of direct sunlight. I like the follow the same sequence that I washed the car and start at the top. Just a habit, you might want to tackle it differently.
What Kind of Wax Should I use?
There are two main categories of waxes, Carnauba and Synthetic. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. For every fan of traditional carnauba wax, you can find another enthusiast who swears by synthetic wax. It really a personal preference, and what you feel works best for your paint. Let's go over the basics...
- Carnauba Based Waxes: Made from the leaves of the Carnauba Palm tree grown in Northeastern Brazil, carbauba wax is usually light yellow and fairly hard. When applied to your car, it leaves a relatively clear layer of protection which can fade with heat and repeated washings. Thus the need to reapply several times per year. Better waxes will have more carnauba with a higher quality (clearer) base stock. The waxes can come in paste or liquid form.
- Synthetic Waxes: A recent development in the past 20 years, synthetic waxes are typically a little easier to apply, but sometimes do not give the depth of shine that a carnauba wax can. I have personally used Turtle Wax Liquid Ice, and Zaino Brother's products in the past. The Liquid Ice was ok, easy to apply and buff off, but the Zaino Brother's product blew me away. The process was a little more involved to apply, but the shine and longevity of that shine was amazing. If you have a show car, or want to experiment with synthetic waxes, I would recommend you try Zaino.
- Ceramic Waxes: The latest protection to come out, ceramic waxes offer several benefits; UV protection, beads water easily, high gloss and keeps your car from needing to be washed as often. There are many brands out there offering ceramic waxes and even car washes to keep adding to your shine and protection. I personally have used Turtle Wax products and was impressed with the ease of application and resulting shine.
No matter which type of wax you chose, make sure to follow the instructions that come with the product. Use 100% cotton applicator pads to apply and buff with 100% cotton microfiber towels. I tend to work in small areas and make sure to apply a thin even coat. Too much wax just means you will be buffing off more once it dries. More is not better!
How often should I wax my car?
How often you wax is up to you, your environment and where your car is stored. If you car is stored indoors, you live in a cooler climate, and don't put many miles on your car, you could wax as little as once a year. Live in a hot climate and store your car outside, plan on 3 - 4 times per year.