Most people simply associate car wax with a shiny car, but that’s not the only reason to wax your car. Sure, wax can help your car look shiny, but it can also help protect your car from the sun, bird droppings, bugs, dirt, pollen, and minor scratches.
If you want a shiny, luxurious finish on your car that protects the paint job from damage, you should be waxing your car.
There are so many different kinds of car wax on the market that choosing one can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time waxing your car.
There are many different kinds of wax to choose from, but don’t be overwhelmed. This guide will explain the different kinds of wax, some of the top rated brands of wax, how to wax, and some frequently asked questions about waxing your car.
Top Rated Car Wax Reviews
Liquid Glass LG-100 is a synthetic sealant, not a wax. It helps protect your car by forming a hard, very shiny layer that looks like glass. Liquid glass doesn’t turn yellow, crack, or peel, and is safe on plastic. Unlike many other products, it can be applied in direct sunlight. It requires approximately 4 hours to air-cure, and you can add several coats for greater shine and protection.
Liquid glass has been a popular product for decades, so you know that it has been tested extensively.
One downfall to this product is that it can sometimes leave a swirl pattern on your car, so be sure to apply it in a back and forth motion, not in circles. It also has an unpleasant odor, and it is advised that you wear a mask when applying it.
Liquid glass is not the least expensive product on the market, but it is of a good quality if you’re looking for extreme shine.
Meguiar’s G7014J Gold Glass Carnauba Plus Paste Wax is a carnauba-polymer blend. It is long-lasting, easy to apply, and has an excellent shine. It has a very deep luster and is not streaky like some other waxes.
It is best to use on small areas at a time, and a little bit of product goes a long way, so don’t be tempted to use large quantities of this wax at once.
Meguiar’s G7014J doesn’t have a foul odor like many other waxes, and it cures quite quickly. It can last several months between applications.
One thing to keep in mind for this product is that it can leave a residue on plastic surfaces that can be very difficult to remove.
Mothers 05750 California Gold Pure Brazilian Carnauba Liquid Wax has great, deep shine and is non-abrasive.
It is very easy to apply and to buff and has a nice smell when applying the wax.
It is heat-resistant and can last for several months, even on a car that you use daily.
Mothers 05750 wax keeps water beading off the surface for months after application.
This wax may require more than one coat, and it works best when used with the other parts of their three-part wax kit.
Chemical Guys WAC_201_16 Butter Wet Wax is a carnauba-based wax that’s easy to apply and has a deep, wet shine. It works on all kinds of paint and provides great protection from UVA and UVB rays.
One of the best things about this wax is how easy it is to apply. It can be applied in the sun and can be applied on a wet or dry car. Some users even say that it goes on better with a wet car. This saves you a step when waxing, since you don’t have to dry the car after washing. It dries quickly and can be buffed quickly and easily after application with a microfiber towel.
Unlike most other products, Chemical Guys wax doesn’t have a strong, bad odor. It actually smells like banana.
The only downside to this wax is that it doesn’t last forever, but it does hold up against many other leading brands. It tends to last 3-6 weeks depending on weather conditions, but some users say it actually lasts for much longer.
P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax is another carnauba-based wax with great reviews. It is easy to apply and has long-lasting results.
It buffs off easily by hand after application, is non-abrasive, and doesn’t leave residue or stains on plastic. It tends to last at least 5-6 weeks.
The only downfall to this wax is that it may leave some swirls if you apply it using circular motions, so be sure to apply it with a back and forth motion.
Types of Car Wax
There are two overarching categories of waxes. Cleaner waxes and finishing waxes.
Cleaning wax is meant to be an all-in-one solution to waxing. It cleans and waxes in one step, saving you the time and effort of cleaning, drying, and waxing all in separate steps. This is best for cars that are a bit older and have imperfect/older paint jobs.
These waxes take a bit more elbow grease, since you are doing all of the work of cleaning and waxing at once.
Do not use cleaning wax on a new car or one with a new or near perfect paint job, since it contains chemicals and abrasives that could potentially damage your paint job.
Finishing wax does not clean the car like a cleaner wax does. You need to clean the car thoroughly before applying the wax. It is meant to be used on clean cars that need a waxing to enhance the shine and to protect the paint job.
Waxes can also be categorized by the type of substance they are and the way they are applied. Here are some of the different forms of car waxes.
Liquid wax has high gloss, and is durable. It can be a bit difficult than other waxes to apply evenly, since it dries very quickly.
Spray waxes can be applied quickly and conveniently. They are usually compatible with plastics, and can be good for spot waxing, especially on new cars with great finishes. They are not meant for cleaning your car, and the wax usually doesn’t last very long.
Rubbing compound can be used to fix minor scratches and damage on your car. They have abrasives in them, and aren’t meant for use on your entire car. They are meant for minor imperfections.
Paste waxes are durable and easy to apply. They tend to protect your car for longer than spray and liquid options.
How to choose the right product
There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing a wax.
Before choosing a car wax, you need to know what your needs are. Do you have a brand new car, or is your car several years old? Do you have a dark-colored car or a light-colored one? How much plastic is on your car? All of these the topics below should be factored into your decision-making process.
Age of car
If your car is almost new, you might want to choose a spray wax that is best for spot waxing and quick fixes. New cars often don’t need a wax meant to improve their shine, since they are already very shiny.
Older cars will either need a thorough cleaning or a wax with some cleaning properties to ensure that you get the best results. Also be careful if there is any rust or paint oxidation, since you would need to choose a wax that doesn’t react poorly under those conditions.
With dark-colored cars, you need to be extra careful that you don’t use anything abrasive, since it can very easily scratch your car, and sometimes make it look dull.
Many waxes won’t work well with plastic surfaces and can be very hard to remove from them. If your car has a lot of plastic parts, you will need to look for a wax that is compatible with plastics.
Type of shine
Know what you want to get out of your wax before selecting a product. Some products are meant to produce a very shiny, glassy coat on your car, some are meant to produce more of a deep luster. Some people love the glassy look and some hate it. Know what you are looking for before you put it on your car.
Also, are you looking for something with very high protective value against UV rays or against weather or other damaging conditions? Specific waxes are better for helping prevent damage from the elements.
Ease of application and curing time
Is your top priority that it’s quick and easy to apply? Are you able to let it cure for the proper amount of time, or do you need something that dries very quickly?
Test it out
With any wax, it’s best to test it out on a small patch somewhere on your car that is not very visible. This can ensure that it will look the way you want it to, that it will go on easily, and that it won’t scratch the surface.
Is There a Best Way to Wax a Car?
The short answer to this question is: Yes.
First, be sure to wash your car thoroughly with a terry towel, a microfiber towel, or a terry towel wash mitt. Sponges tend to trap dirt in them and can scratch your car’s paint.
Start at the top of the car and work your way down to the areas of the car that tend to get dirtiest. You can wash and wax in small sections or wash the entire car first, dry it, and then wax.
After the surface is clean, you should normally apply the wax in a circular motion with overlapping strokes. This can help get the wax into any tiny scratches or crevices in the surface of the car, and help the finish look smoother and shinier.
Certain waxes that tend to streak should be applied in small sections in a back and forth motion to avoid leaving swirls in the paint.
Be sure to use microfiber instead of a rag to apply your wax. Rags can collect tiny pieces of dirt and debris that can scratch your car as you wax it. A microfiber mitt will collect any debris and will help prevent scratches.
After application and drying/curing, many waxes require that you buff the car surface with a microfiber towel.
How Often Should I Use Car Wax or Sealant?
Car wax and paint sealants are different products. Sealants can last up to six months (under ideal conditions). It also must cure for 12 or more hours after being applied. This can give your car a bright, reflective shine and offers some protection to the paint job.
Car wax is not the same as car paint sealant. Wax is product that usually gives a deeper shine and can often provide greater protection to your car. Most waxes tend to last about 6 weeks, so you may want to wax your car every two months, depending on the type of wax you use.
You can use both a sealant and a wax if you like, but it is not necessary to use both products.
What Type of Car Wash Sponges Should I Use?
Sponges aren’t recommended for washing your car. Sponges can trap dirt particles in them, which can make you scratch your car as you are washing it!
A terry towel wash mitt is the best option for washing, since it can trap any dirt or debris deeper inside the glove, and make it less likely to scratch the surface while you are washing. Microfiber towels or real wool mitts are other good options for washing.
Sponges are good for washing the wheels of your car, since they can get into any crevices more easily than some other materials.
Does the Wax Color Have to Match the Car’s Paint Job?
The short answer to this question is: No.
There are many colored waxes that you can get to match the color of your car. They are fine to use, but not necessary.
If you have some minor imperfections in your paint job, you may want to try to match your wax to your paint color. Even with imperfections, it’s not necessary to do so, since you can use a rubbing compound and then a wax to get very similar results.