Top 5 Threats to Your Wax’s Longevity

Red Corvette Being Waxed

Wouldn’t it be great if you could magically make that layer of wax last, oh, I don’t know… three years? How amazing would it be to achieve the best durability and never lose that freshly applied shine? While it’d sure be awesome, the truth is there are other factors gunning for the downfall of your freshly bonded protection layer – some that are around before you even go to apply. We call these threats to your protection, and much like contagions, you’re much better equipped when you are aware of their existence. That said, we’re taking a look at the top 5 threats to your wax…

1. The Sun

Weather is probably wax’s primary foe as it’s the one thing that’s completely out of your control (unless you carry a car cover everywhere you go). Battling with rain is one thing, but the ultimate opponent is the Sun and its powerful UV rays. Along with the UV rays, the general heat is quite damaging to a layer of carnauba protection… if you apply to a hot surface, the wax may not even bond (read more). At the same time, if you take the car out on an extremely hot day with the sun glaring down, there’s a chance (depending on time and temperature) that the wax could begin to breakdown and slowly evaporate – leaving your paint completely nude.

2. Application

Preparing the surface for protection is ├╝ber important if you want your wax to last a long time. A dirty or contaminated surface will basically eat away at the wax from the inside out, eliminating any bond that might have been. If you aren’t performing a full polishing procedure I recommend preparing the surface with a paint cleaner before waxing. Additionally, if you don’t allow for even coverage and proper bond time, the protection will be weak right from the get go.

3. Wax Type

Different waxes are formulated to provide very specific results. High gloss waxes are notorious for not lasting a long time, so making this choice obviously puts you in a unique situation. On the other hand, a paint sealant will yield durable long lasting protection, but might have a little less shine than a wax with a significant amount of beeswax (or other glossing agent). Your best bet to combat this threat is to layer your waxes, beginning with a foundation of a strong and durable paint sealant.

4. Cleaning

Like it or not, cleaning your car uses chemicals to decontaminate and strip grease from the surface. If you wash your car more than a few times a month, chances are your wax is getting a few weeks chipped off of its lifespan. Along those same lines, if you ever take your car to a touch-less, touch less, or automatic car wash, the harsh chemicals used will almost instantly remove a layer of carnauba wax. While this is just an example, it means you’ve got to be aware that at times of increased cleaning, you may need to apply another layer sooner rather than later.

5. Contaminants

Bird droppings, sap, overspray, dust, and debris. What do these all have in common? They suck. Especially when they come into contact with your car’s paint finish. Not only can these (and more) contaminants potentially eat through a layer of wax, they can do extreme damage if allowed to sit on the surface for an extended amount of time. Needless to say, I’ve seen plenty of damage done even from one acidic glob of bird stuff. To keep your paint surface and protection layer safe, always remove and reapply protection with a detail spray as soon as possible.

When all is said and done, the important thing to do is stay ahead of the game. Practice proactive car care and be ready when something does happen requiring additional work. An unprotected car is much more susceptible to damage than a protected car, so keeping a barrier on your paint at all times is always recommended – that one’s obvious. But keeping track of how safe your protection layer is… well, now you’re ahead of the game.

  • Great information. I always find it hard trying to explain to my clients here in San Diego about Wax and how long it can and will last… or not last. This gives me a better idea on how to explain it.


  • Mathew Rux @ custom car cover

    Great post. I never knew how much damage the elements can affect the car wax. Thanks!