How to Wax a Car

Back in the 1960s and 70s, most of the American car manufacturers used acrylic-enamel car paints. These paints were a godsend to the car makers because they could be applied in multiple coats and were impervious to oil and gasoline, a major issue with earlier lacquer-based paints. The only problem with enamel paints was that their shine would degrade over time, especially when vehicles were left out in the burning sun for long period of time. Fortunately, car owners could avoid this by applying car wax to their car’s paint finish.

Today, things are different because the paints being used are usually two-coat acrylic. These two coats, a bottom color-coat and a top clear-coat, are designed to provide shine and protection without frequent waxing. This is a big feature for today’s busy car owners who have less time than ever to slave over car maintenance.

That being said, our technical consultant at Central Avenue Chrysler in Yonkers, NY points out that two-coat paint finishes don’t last forever. You may have seen older cars where the top coat of the paint has eroded away. This is especially common with darker-colored paints and silvers; the top coat just fades away leaving hazy white streaks and eroded areas. Fortunately, car owners still have a way to prevent this process from destroying their car’s finish: by applying newer formulated waxes and protectants. In this article, we will take a look at the products available and how to apply then.

Car Wax Products

Today there are hundreds of car wax products. They are available not only at automotive supply stores but hardware stores, big-box stores, grocery stores, and other retailers. While you will find a large number of choices, they all boil down to four types:

  • Spray Wax
  • Liquid Wax
  • Paste Wax
  • Clear Sealant

The type you choose is really a personal choice. Some require much more work than others.

Spray Waxes

Automotive spray waxes are the easiest paint protection products to apply. A few years ago, spray wax products weren’t very good. They were easy to use but the shine they made didn’t compete with liquid and paste waxes. Today, they are far better and rival some of the best liquid and paste wax products. Best of all, you can apply most spray wax products is a matter of minutes.

Liquid & Paste Waxes

In the past, thick paste waxes alone were preferred because they offered the best results. Nowadays, manufacturers offer liquid and paste versions of the exact same wax formula. Your choice then boils down to your personal preference. In general, paste wax is a little more work to apply than liquid wax but some prefer the hands-on application process.

Automotive Paint Sealants

The new breed of “waxes” are clear paint sealants. These have a completely new method of application. You literally wipe the clear sealant on, then walk away and allow it to dry. When the paint sealant finishes drying, it will be high gloss without buffing or wiping, and the surface has excellent protection too. Paint sealants are being received very strongly.

Car Wax Summary

With today’s two coat paint systems, the need for cleaning and waxing is kept to a minimum, but if you value your car, you should consider applying a secondary wax coating from time to time.

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