Applying Wax To Your Car

Some see waxing your car as an extravagant extra, something reserved for special occasions when you want your car to have some extra shine, but in actuality, waxing your vehicle is an important step to protect your car’s color and paint, and should be done fairly often.  You take extreme care of your car’s internals, sealing, protecting, and cleaning out your engine with regular oil changes and fill ups of coolant and antifreeze, but why not your vehicle’s exterior? Protecting your car’s paint with frequent waxings and sealing keeps your car looking good for years to come, boosting not only your car’s classic style as it ages but also maintaining a great resale value by preventing color fading and paint flaking.  This is because waxing your paint prevents the oils of your paint from oxidizing, as well as shields from bird droppings, smog, ultraviolet rays, and other damaging elements that frequent your car’s surface. It’s also a great preventative for paint corrosion in the winter, keeping catalyst salt and water from directly contacting your car’s color and eventually exposing its vulnerable metal to rust. With how little this protectant is accepted as an important step you should frequently apply, it’s no wonder very few people know how to apply wax to your car.  Learn the steps either by hand or with a mechanical polisher, and ensure your car is protected from the great outdoors today!

By Hand:

Application by hand only needs some extra elbow grease and helps you save some money without having to buy an expensive polisher, though it’s sacrifice is taking a couple hours longer than applying by machine.  For supplies you will need: your chosen wax, polyfoam wax applicators, a microfiber terrycloth, and optionally, some detailing spray.

  • Before beginning, Texan Chrysler of Humble, TX recommends that you make sure you’re following your wax or paint sealant directions for optimal climate when applying your wax.  All waxes will advise you to apply the substance on a cloudy day or in the shade on mild days, or otherwise within a climate controlled area such as your garage.  Direct sunlight or excessive heat will cause the wax to dry too quickly on the surface of your car, and make buffing the substance out more difficult. Your vehicle should also be completely dry.  Any clinging moisture will make your wax streak and apply unevenly.
  • Polyfoam wax applicators will be used to spread your product out over your vehicle’s surface. Thin layers are extremely important, as it will ensure your application will buff evenly.  You’ll be working panel by panel to best work within the wax’s drying time and to ensure your overall application is manageable and even.
  • A microfiber terrycloth is then used to buff away the wax’s haze, increasing your vehicle’s color as the wax residue is removed.  Microfiber towels are best for this job, as their slight static charge clings to the residue while not shedding any lint or fibers.  
  • Every wax has a certain curing time (usually 12-18 hours) before it’s completely set and ready to take on the elements or receive another layer atop if you’re not happy with one layer’s shine or evenness.  Any streaks or uneven shine can also be fixed with a detail spray.

By Machine:

The mechanical application of wax is done through a polisher, which is equipped with a polyfoam sponge head that will do the application for you.  Afterwards, you’ll need a lambswool pad and microfiber terrycloth bonnet to buff away the wax residue.

  • Similar to applying by hand, you’ll first by applying a thin layer of wax with the polisher’s polyfoam finishing pad.  Waxes should be applied upon the foam first before being polished onto the car to lessen the likelihood of splatter, uneven application, or streaking.
  • Wax or paint sealant directions will most likely give specific instructions on what speed to set your polisher on to spread your product upon your vehicle.  Generally speaking, you’ll want your polisher’s maximum speed to apply your wax.
  • For buffing, you can either switch to a hand applied microfiber towel, or buy a specific lambswool pad head and microfiber towel bonnet to do the work for you.  This largely depends on your wax brand and whether it allows you to wax the entire car or not. If your wax has a short drying time, you’ll want to work panel by panel, and hand buffing will be more efficient than constantly changing your polisher’s head.  If your wax allows you to cover your entire car, then you can speedily wax then buff with the same machine. The lambswool pad will apply cushioning for your polisher while the microfiber terrycloth does the same job of removing the wax’s hazy residue. Maintain even pressure as you apply then buff out your wax so as to get an even shine.

Following these directions and the specifications of your wax brand will leave your car shiny like the day it first rolled off the lot and protected for weather, sun, heat, cold, and salt exposure.  As for how often you should wax your car, most brands recommend you reapply your protectant every two months, but some sealants can provide protection for up to a year before needing a reapplication.  There are several easy tests you can use to test out whether or not it’s time to rewax your vehicle. If you notice rain or water is no longer beading on your vehicle’s hood, then your paint isn’t being protected by the wax’s layer of hydrophobic shielding.  You can also try out the “squeak test.” Using a cotton terrycloth towel and rubbing your car’s surface firmly, if your car makes a “squeaky clean” noise then you know it’s due for a reapplication. There are plenty of products that account for peoples’ various time and budget constraints, and finding the wax that’s right for you and your car is easy after a bit of research or by consulting the expertise of your local auto shop.

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