Auto Detailing Tips: Wax Or Sealants
One question we are frequently asked is whats the difference between a wax and a sealant. The truth is, while they both protect your vehicles paint, the choice between the two is up to personal preference, the climate in which you live, and your lifestyle. In this article, well help explain the differences between these two so you can make an informed decision about which is the best option for you.
General Tips For Waxing A New Car
Make sure you set aside a couple hours in your day to get it just right. Also, its best if you do it in a shady area like a garage for a few reasons. First, the sun might cause the wax to dry too quickly, especially if you attempt waxing on a hot day, and itll be harder to buff the wax off when youre finished.
Second, any rain will make the wax start to run onto surfaces you didnt intend to wax and youll have to clean up the mess.
Finally, youll likely be more comfortable spending a couple hours in a shady garage than out in the elements, so its best to wax your car indoors.
Ease Of Application And Removal
If you hope to start detailing your car by yourself, you should consider the ease with which car wax is applied. This rings especially true if you dont own a reliable, handheld buffer machine. We wont lie car waxing requires a bit of effort to do right. To save yourself some trouble, make sure the product youre getting is easy to rub into your car and to buff and wipe off later. The difference between easy and hard application can be quite dramatic applying user-friendly wax can last as little as 10 minutes while applying wax thats tough to spread and remove can take many hours of hard physical work. In general, liquid waxes are easy and soft, so applying them is a breeze. The same goes for spray wax, though you must make sure that ease doesnt come at the expense of protection. Paste waxes are traditionally the toughest to apply, but provide fantastic protection, and its easier to control how much youre applying. All three are good choices with their own advantages and disadvantages. Wed recommend trying all of them before bringing your final decision!
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Pro Tip #: Wax Your Car Under Cover
If possible, try to wax your car under some sort of protective cover. This could be a carport, tent, or other structure that provides cover from the elements. There are two main reasons why this is important.
The first reason is that on a sunny day the surface of the car can become incredibly hot. When you apply wax to the hot surface of your car the wax will almost immediately become dry and caked on. This makes it incredibly difficult to remove and you will be spending much more time and effort to remove the wax than would normally be the case.
The second reason to wax under cover is in the event that it starts to rain. If the surface of the car is wet, the wax will not adhere to the surface properly and will create a mess. The wax will run off the surface of the car and may get on surfaces you were not intending to wax such as molding and plastic body parts. These types of material can be difficult to remove wax so it is important to wax your car under a controlled environment.
Applying Automotive Spray Wax
Automotive spray waxes are the easiest paint protection products to apply.
A few years ago spray wax products were a joke, but today they rival some of the best liquid and past wax products.
What changed? In a word, polymers!
Polymer coating technology is getting so good that a product like Meguiars Ultimate Quik Wax offers the same level of protection as the original formula Meguiars NXT Generation Tech Wax that hit the market a few years ago.
Best of all, you can apply best-of-breed spray wax products in a matter of minutes. Many of them can be used in direct sunlight, although the most amazing results are always achieved in the shade.
To apply a spray wax thoroughly wash and dry your car.
With a microfiber buffing towel in one hand and your spray wax in the other, spray and wipe a small area at a time. Distribute evenly, then flip the towel to a dry side for a final buff.
Its that easy!
NOTE: For perfect results, always give a final wipe with a clean, dry microfiber buffing towel that hasnt been used to distribute product.
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Dont Use Dirty Or Worn
When applying wax to a car, the general goal is to create a streak-free shine. Unfortunately, worn-out or used rags that are full of residue will not help you to achieve this goal. This is why every auto detailing professional is always equipped with plenty of fresh sponges, towels, polisher pads and other materials he or she may need during the waxing process.
Used rags can leave streaks, dirt, or lint on a cars finish.
When And Why You Should Remove Old Wax From Your Car
New wax should be applied when the old coat starts to wear off. This usually occurs around the 3-month mark but can happen sooner if your car is regularly exposed to the elements.
Because wax acts as a barrier between your car and wax’s protective coating, old wax can prevent new sealants from bonding to your car’s paint. This means that the new wax won’t be as effective a protectant.
It also means that you won’t get the brilliant shine that comes with a fresh coat of wax. Finally, adding new wax on top of the old doesn’t hide or fix any problems . It simply makes these defects harder to remove.
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Do Practice The Proper Auto Detailing Techniques When Applying Wax
When applying a wax finish, using the proper technique will make a big difference in the final outcome. When waxing a car by hand, auto detailing experts seem to agree that although circular motions help you cover a larger surface faster, theres a high chance that swirl marks will be left behind. Auto professionals suggest using front-to-back motions on top panels , and top-to-bottom motions for side panels.
Most waxes work best when only a thin layer is applied. Applying too much can make your coat uneven, and also makes for a long cleanup process. After the wax is applied, use microfiber towels to wipe up any excess. In addition to wiping off residue, microfiber will also buff the cars paint job. Be sure to rotate your towel often during this last step, so that youll always be using the cleanest side.
Some detailing shops use buffers to apply a wax coat, others do it by hand.
Kick-start your professional automotive detailing career by enrolling in a cutting-edge automotive training facility.
Visit ATC to learn more about our programs or to speak with an advisor.
Liquid And Paste Hand Application
- The process takes a little longer, but the result will be well worth your elbow grease.
- Step 1: When applying liquids and pastes, such as Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Wax Paste, a dampened special foam applicator pad will be invaluable. Apply a small amount onto the foam polishing pad and buff using circular motions.
- Step 2: Reapply if needed using the same motion.
- Step 3: Use a clean, soft microfibre towel to give the bodywork a thorough wipe over and buff, checking reflections and gaps from all angles to ensure you have removed every last trace of product.
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How To Apply Car Wax
Applying car wax is an easy task. However, you should always follow the instructions on the bottle. Usually, these are the steps you need to do:
- Wash the car thoroughly
I would say that the most important thing to get the best results when applying a car wax is preparation. If your vehicle is well-cleaned and decontaminated, youll get amazing results.
Your Wax Choice Makes A Difference
There are three main kinds of car wax: spray-ons, liquids, and pastes. The critical attributes of car wax to consider are gloss improvement, durability, ease of application, ease of removal, how well it cleans the paint surface, protection from UV rays, compatibility with plastics, and price.
Spray-on car wax is the easiest to apply and remove. However, spray-on car waxes do not clean deeply, are less weather-resistant, and generally have the poorest durability. That makes them best for new-car finishes, for quickie wax jobs, or detailing on vehicles that are washed and waxed frequently.
Liquid car waxes are better for older, higher-mileage cars that require more aggressive cleaning and sealing. These are usually good for gloss and durability. A number of liquids use carnauba wax, well-known for its high gloss and durability.
The last group is the paste waxes. Weve found that they take more elbow grease to apply. Despite that, they dont outperform the liquid car waxes in all attributes. As a group, they do have a reputation for slightly better durability the shine lasts a little longer. A good rule of thumb is that protection provided by most waxes starts to wane after about five weeks. And most should be reapplied after two to three months.
Thorough pre-wax prep will help you achieve a better shine.
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Car Wax Formula And Paint Must Match
Most professional dealers agree that theres no need to get a special wax determined by your car color. However, the type of your cars paint and its chemical structure do play a role. You can get good results regarding both protection and shine whichever wax you get, regardless of your cars paint. But if you want to achieve truly extraordinary results, and you want to bring the best out of your cars paint, you need to use suitable wax. Newer cars that were manufactured after the year 2000 typically have a transparent layer of acrylic paint over the layer of pigmented color. This means that whichever color your car is, the wax actually bonds with the clear coat . Today, this is the default, and you can use any car wax on a newer car unless specified otherwise.
Older cars may not have this clear coat over their colored layers. If this is the case with your vehicle, make sure the wax you get is free of color pigment and abrasives that may damage your paint. Waxes with abrasives are typically labeled cleaner wax, washer wax or something along those lines. Older cars may benefit the most from the good, old natural yellow carnauba wax, though any synthetic wax will also work well.
How Can I Remove Dust Safely
It can be really tempting to use a quick detailer and a microfiber towel between washes to remove light dusting. I mean who wants to do a full wash a couple of days after waxing to remove a bit of dust, right?
However, Id strongly recommend not doing this. The best way to safely remove dust is by washing the car using a microfiber wash mitt. This is the least likely method to inflict clear coat scratches and swirls.
If you use a quick detailer, you run a very high risk of causing scratches. Take a look at this article Ive written about when and how to use a quick detailer spray to learn more about this topic.
The next best alternative to washing, is to use a waterless wash product. However, if you want the safest option, then just give your car another full wash.
If you have a very hydrophobic coating on your car, then you can just rinse the car down and then drive it to dry it off. This usually removes some of the dust, but its not always that effective.
Never just rinse your car and dry it with a microfiber towel though. It wont provide enough lubrication and runs the high risk of scratching the paintwork.
Dont forget that dust is made up of solid particles. Although they are small, they cover the entire car. So rubbing dust into the paintwork, without lubrication , is essentially the same as rubbing grit into the paint.
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Waxing A New Car: When Why And How To
Lets say youre the proud owner of a brand new car, or perhaps you will be soon. If youre a car enthusiast and you want to keep your new vehicle looking as pristine as if it just rolled off the dealership lot, you may wonder when and whether you should try waxing your new car.
In this article, well discuss those topics as well as the recommended process and frequency of car waxing.
Waxing Reduces The Maintenance Costs
If youve ever ended up with a scratch that you wanted to get covered, you know how surprisingly costly the paint-over is. It doesnt matter how small the area, painting over the chipped part can easily end up costing thousands of dollars, especially if you want it done well. Color mismatch and visible, distracting transitions from the original paint to the covered part are the biggest enemies of your cars beauty . So why waste so much money on repairing problems you can easily prevent? Waxing saves you money by hampering stains, scratches, and chipping. The best strategy is using wax on your car from day one that way you can make sure you never have to polish or repaint your car at all.
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Read The Instructions On The Car Wax Package
Depending on the brand and type of wax you are using, there could be different instructions on how to best apply the wax to your car. Make sure to read all the instructions and package inserts that may have come with the wax. Following the products recommended usage will ensure that the wax is applied correctly and you obtain optimal results from your effort.
Start With A Squeaky Clean Finish
The reason Simonize and Turtle Wax paste waxes were so popular a few decades ago is because they were a single-step paint cleaner and car wax in one .
Today we have more choices but, no matter what, your cars paint must be clean before waxing.
Warning: Never wax over the dirt! Use a quality clay bar to safely remove bonded contamination.
Clay bar detailing is a quick and easy process of removing bonded dirt and other contamination with a simple bar of detailing clay.
Use it after washing your car to remove all the loose dirt. The result is a squeaky clean paint finish thats as smooth as glass.
For complete instructions, see our complete Clay Bar Detailing guide.
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Mothers California Gold Pure Carnauba Liquid Wax
Type: Synthetic Wax
Product Description: Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell wax is a thick, heavy liquid wax. This wax delivers a bright shine and was a strong contender for Best Car Wax 2022. With protection from UV radiation, this product is perfect for vehicle owners in hot, dry climates. While the product is easy to work with by hand, it is also suitable for a polisher.
Special Features: Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell is waterproof, making it suitable for all vehicles.
Durability: This product lasts up to 12 months.
Essential Things To Know About Waxing And Polishing Your Car
Waxing and polishing your car are some of the most cost-effective updates that you can make to your vehicle, as well as the least time-consuming. While waxing and polishing your car correctly can take an afternoon, the beautiful finish and shine that you will be rewarded with is well worth the effort. Everyone loves to see their car after a professional hand wax job has been completed it just gives you a little added satisfaction to clean your vehicle yourself.
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How Often Should I Wax My Car
Waxing protects your car from the effects of many different elements from its environment. Starting with the suns ultraviolet rays, through sand, dust, bird droppings, twigs, and other unavoidable particles, and finally water, rain, snow and road salt. There are many things in your environment that can leave a mark on your car, and each season comes with some that are particular to it.
Because every season brings new challenges, detailing experts claim that you should wax your car with the start of each season. That means that you should have 4 waxing treatments, every 3 months.
However, if you use a wax which generally lasts less than 3 months, you should follow the manufacturers recommendation for waxing frequency. These are not so rare, as the effects of many waxes start to wane off after only one month. On the other hand, if you invest in an extra-durable wax, theres no need to repeat the process while the effects are still going strong. However, the environment can greatly impact the durability of wax. Starting with whether you mostly park indoors or in sunlight, and whether your car comes in touch with a lot of sand, salt or snow. All of these can influence the durability of applied wax.
Pinnacle Natural Brilliance Souveran Paste Wax
Type: Natural Wax
Product Description: Pinnacle Natural Brilliance Souveran Paste Wax is a thick natural wax made from Brazilian Carnauba Wax and natural oils. This product is very thick and gives a distinct shimmer. As this is a natural wax product, it must be applied when the surface of your vehicle is cold to the touch and in shade.
If you live in a warmer climate, this product will not give you the same durability as other paste waxes. This wax is suited for vehicles with a dark paint finish only, and not for interior surfaces.
Special Features: Pinnacle Natural Brilliance Souveran Paste Wax is made from Brazilian Carnauba Wax, giving it a richer look than many paste waxes. This wax is best applied by hand and is a premium product that requires multiple coats.
Durability: When multiple coats are applied, this product can last for up to a year.