Taking care of your car is just like taking care of your body; it needs different things to protect it and keep it looking good.

Wax is one product that can do both of these things for our vehicles and learning how to do it right is just as important as giving it a regular wash.

How do you wax a car correctly? The steps to waxing a car are knowing the right products to use, cleaning it first, applying the wax in the correct motion, and then removing it.

It only takes a few minutes and when done regularly, will add a shine to your car and protect it from the harsh elements.

Learning how to wax a car is incredibly easy, with most of the hard work coming from the product itself.

This guide will show you how to get the job done, why it’s so important, and what products to choose to keep your car looking good and staying that way.

Selecting the Right Products

Selecting the Right Products

There was once a time when car wax products were as basic as selecting a can and going for it.

Today, car wax comes in all shapes and sizes, and it depends on your level of dedication as a car owner and the results you want to lead you to the right one.

These are the most common types of wax available for the modern can enthusiast:

  • Spray: Wax sprays have evolved from where they first were and are a quicker and easier way to treat your car. To use, spray it onto one area of the car’s surface at a time and use a microfiber cloth to work it in.
  • Paste: Wax pastes are popular among car enthusiasts and are made from either natural ingredients like carnauba wax or synthetic alternatives. The wax takes a little more effort to apply but leaves a better shine and can protect against the elements.
  • Liquid: A liquid wax is similar to a spray but it’s usually poured directly onto the car from the bottle. Like the other methods, you should use a microfiber cloth to work it in and then a clean one to rub it off.
  • Wipe On and Walk Away: These are not as highly recommended because they aren’t as careful with your car’s sensitive surface. The wax is sprayed on and then left to set without needing to be rubbed in or removed, similar to what you might find in a drive-through car wash.
  • Hybrid products: A hybrid car wax might combine two different products like a ceramic sealant with carnauba wax, or a wash and a wax. The benefit here is to save time or provide another level of protection, but they range in quality and effectiveness.

Preparing the Car For Waxing

Preparing the Car For Waxing

Before you can apply wax to a car, you need a clean slate to start with. There was once a time when people favored two-in-one products for this very reason, as it let them wash and wax in one go with minimal effort.

Today, we understand the benefits of using a standalone product for each of these jobs, and if you take a little more pride in your car, you will too.

Give your car a thorough wash from top to toe, just as you usually would, so that you remove every inch of dirt from its surface.

If you find any stubborn marks or contamination that won’t come off, a clay bar is an easy way to do this, and it can be rubbed directly on the problem area for instant results.

Finally, you’ll need to inspect the car closely for any signs that it requires a polish. This includes swirl marks, scratches, stains, and watermarks, all of which can be removed with car polish.

Complete this job before moving onto waxing as the wax itself isn’t an adequate fix for these issues.

Applying the Wax

Applying the Wax

The method in which you’ll apply wax will depend on the type of wax you use, but no matter how it’s put on the car’s surface, it’s almost always the same approach.

You should only focus on one small part at a time and get that done before moving on, focusing on two to four square feet only.

Apply the spray or paste to the car, then use a microfiber towel to rub it in using a back-and-forth motion.

Once you’ve finished applying to that area, flip the towel over and use the clean side to wipe off the residue.

Make your way around the entire car, starting at the roof and then moving downwards, so that you don’t lose your spot.

How to Remove the Wax

How to Remove the Wax

The removal of the wax product should be done immediately after it’s been applied, and it’s more about getting the leftover residue.

Use one side of your towel to clean it off, and when the car is complete, grab a new and clean microfiber towel to give it one more wipe down to get anything that’s left behind.

Once the job is done, the car’s surface should look slick and clean, and feel smooth when you run your finger over it.

If you notice any streaks or it seems the wax hasn’t come off as it should, give it another wipe back and forth with a clean microfiber towel in the problem areas.

Tips for Waxing a Car Like a Pro

Tips for Waxing a Car Like a Pro

It might not be the most glamorous part of car ownership, but waxing will deliver a lot of benefits.

We’ve got some helpful tips to follow that can ensure you get a car that looks like it was professionally detailed, and not just treated at home.

  • Always park your car in the shade when you’re applying wax to it. This is similar to washing your car in the shade because the combination of heat with these products will only damage its paint.
  • Follow the instructions on the car wax product intently and always use the recommended applicator material. All waxes work differently and without the right applicator, you could end up doing damage.
  • Avoid rubbing in circles when you apply wax or any other type of car cleaning product. Circular motions can lead to swirl marks which then have to be polished out, making more work for you.
  • Less is more with most wax products, so don’t be tempted to apply a huge amount for better results. The packaging should give you an idea of what’s needed otherwise it’s best to start small and work your way up if you think it needs more.
  • If you’re using a new product and feel unsure about what the result will be, test on an inconspicuous area first. Make sure you choose a wax that suits the paint type and color of your car as well.

Shine and Seal the Right Way

With a quality car wax at your disposal and a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to restore the factory shine of your pride and joy.

Waxing is not only important for keeping up your car’s good looks but it protects it from wind, sun, rain, snow, and scratches, so it’s just as necessary as its regular wash schedule.

Related Questions

Learning how to wax a car is a simple but imperative step in car ownership, and it doesn’t matter your level of dedication or the type of car you drive, it will keep it in better shape for longer.

To help you navigate the world of car wax, we’ve answered a few commonly asked questions about it so you don’t feel so left in the dark.

How Long Does Waxing a Car Last?

How Long Does Waxing a Car Last?

A professional car wax application using sealants and the correct preparation can sometimes last as long as six months.

A standard household wax product might only last six weeks, and even less, so it’s important to choose one that will protect your car in between applications as long as you need it to.

Does Rain Wash Off Car Wax?

Most car wax products are designed to withstand rain and protect the car and its finish from water.

However, when exposed to prolonged and heavy rain, the applied wax might not last as long and will have to be applied again sooner than usual.

Synthetic waxes are better suited for areas with heavy rain like this as they’re harder to wash off than their natural counterparts.

Does Ceramic Coating Replace Wax?

If you use a ceramic coating on your car’s surface, it won’t replace the need to wax but will allow you to do it less frequently. This coating is highly resistant to rain, UV rays, detergents, cleaners, and other external contaminants so it can help the wax to work even better when applied together.


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