How To Wax Your Car Like A Pro

1977 Datsun 280Z

When it comes to waxing, the goal is a deep, brilliant, and lustrous shine that brings out your car’s natural beauty. What the back label of a simple wax product won’t tell you is that in order to achieve that high-depth shine, you’ve got to prepare the surface correctly. Proper preparation will help prevent swirls or minor scratching, while also allowing the car wax to adhere better to the surface for longer lasting results.

To start your wax procedure, be sure your car is clean. With a clean, dry surface, use a pre-wax cleanser or clay bar to remove surface debris that may be lodged into the paint. This will prevent any microscopic debris from getting caught on the wax applicator and scratching the surface when you wax. The best way to clay/cleanse the paint of your car is in sections to ensure total coverage. When using a paint cleanser, the preparation process c an be easier and yield a more lustrous shine than a clay bar because cleansers like Pre-Wax Prep utilize specialized cleaners and purifiers that help to intensify the paintwork even before waxing. A paint cleanser is applied similarly to wax, using a foam applicator to cover the surface in sections. If you’re claying, be sure to fold the clay bar frequently as you move from section to section for optimal results. Once complete, be sure to remove all excess clay lubricant or pre-wax cleanser with a microfiber towel before moving on. Once this is done, the surface will be expertly prepared for maximum adherence of your car wax.

TIP: When you clay, do not use a “quick detailer” spray or glossing agent as a lubricant for the clay bar. Specialized clay lubricants are specially formulated to further the cleaning process, assisting the clay in loosening particles and embedded debris from the painted surface – quick detailers don’t.

Before starting the wax application process, be sure you’re using a clean foam applicator. With the clean applicator, gather the wax from the jar or bottle. A thin coating is recommended, as less than one ounce of wax should cover the car in its entirety. To ensure complete coverage, use the sectional approach when applying the car wax. There is some debate in the detailing community as to what technique is best for applying wax – straight lines or circular motion. Truth is, it doesn’t matter because all waxes should all be nonabrasive. If a product is directing you to use it only in certain patters, be wary of the product’s credibility, as it might contain light abrasives. As long as you prepare correctly, neither technique will cause any harm to your paint.

TIP: When applying the car wax in straight lines, there tends to be a bit more wax buildup where you stop to turn back, but slightly less wax is used overall. This process is recommended for those who wax their car frequently because the wax won’t need to do as much filling. On the other hand, the circular technique provides a more even coating, but as stated, uses a little more wax to assure coverage. This process is ideal if you haven’t waxed your car in a while, as more absorption will be needed to nourish the clear coat.

TIP: When waxing around badging or emblems, blue painters tape helps to prevent wax buildup in these areas, and can act as guidelines for waxing. Some emblems or badging may be tough to remove wax from, so taping these areas off allows for an easier cleanup and less hassle.

Carnauba Wax Hazing on Audi

Wax Hazing

Once you’ve made your way around the entire car, let the wax sit until the entire surface has cured to a light haze. After this has occurred, lightly buff off wax with a clean, plush microfiber towel. As you’re removing the excess wax, you may come across some buildup in the car’s crevices or trim. Using a Q-Tip or wax tool, gently remove this wax from hard to reach areas. Continue removing the wax until you’ve cleared the surface and revealed a brilliantly deep shine.

The importance of waxing is something often overlooked. Whether your car is new or old, a simple wax can enhance its beauty, extend the life of its paint, and lessen the visibility of minor surface scratches in one fell swoop. Being that typical carnauba car waxes last roughly 3-4 months, this process should be preformed at least 4 times a year, if not more. For even better protection, try adding a paint sealant before you wax your car. Paint sealants usually last twice as long as carnauba does, while enhancing the bonding between paint and wax – this means you get a deeper shine that’s better protected. All in all, waxing can be fun, easy, and enjoyable for any car enthusiast, so never underestimate the power of a quick carnauba shine.