What Car Wax Does And Does Not Do To Protect Your Car

Wax technology has undergone many advancements over the years. The best car waxes can offer a brilliant, deep shine while protecting your car‘s paint from minor environmental hazards. In this blog post, we will look at some of the benefits and limitations of car wax.

Today, car waxes are typically made of Carnauba, a yellowish wax produced by the leaves of the carnauba palm found in northeastern Brazil. It is this wax that gives the leaves of the palm their water-beading and repelling properties.

A good paste or spray wax can protect your paint for 1 – 3 months, depending on how you care for your car between waxing. This sacrificial layer will protect a car from some of the damage from environmental factors, such as overspray, rail dust, etc.

Adding a coat of wax to a car is often preferred by Show Car owners because of its brilliant luster. When you are trying to win Best of Show you want the deepest shine you can get. However, show cars are not typically daily drivers. They are stored out of the elements when not at a show, and they are rigorously maintained between events.

What Wax Doesn’t Do

Most of us don’t own show cars. We drive our cars most every day, and with our busy schedules we rarely have time to wash our car, let alone have it detailed. As a result, our vehicle’s paint is not in the best condition. With this in mind let’s look at some of the limitations of car wax.

  • Wax will not remove scratches in the paint. It may temporarily cover minor scratches, but they will reappear once the wax wears off. Deep scratches will not even be covered. It takes machine polishing and/or compounding to remove scratches.

  • Wax will not make dull paint significantly glossier. Many times people associate a great shine with wax. If they see a shiny car they may think, “he must have just waxed his car.” A great shine, however, has more to do with the condition of your paint than a wax. Dulled out paint is the result of scratches and micro abrasions in the clear coat due to improper washing and drying. Another factor is oxidation. Both of these issues require polishing/compounding to fix. Once the paint is restored it will have a high gloss appearance.

  • Wax will not last a year unless you don’t drive your car and keep it in the garage. In fact, waxes typically last 1 – 3 months, at best. Even less if your car is not properly cared for. Many customers try to have their car waxed once per year. While it is commendable they are attempting to protect their investment, wax simply will not last that long.

  • Wax is relatively soft and isn’t very durable. It will not offer much protection against scratches or scuffs.

  • Wax has low chemical resistance. It can be removed with carwash soaps, dish detergent, and other soaps and degreasers. The acids in bug splatter and bird droppings will also break down wax.

Professional car waxes are good products. It is important to know their limitations, however. You can maintain your vehicle with a good waxing process as long as you reapply it frequently and care for it properly between waxing.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Wax

Can you wax your car too much?

While wax products aren’t likely to damage your car, the expense and work of waxing should be considered. If you’re waxing to retain a certain look, such as a consistent, beautiful shine, it’s likely time to consider a more permanent solution.

Is it better to polish or wax a car?

Waxing temporarily adds a protective layer from environmental elements. Car polish helps remove imperfections of the paint surface and enhances the shine. The combination of wax and polish will temporarily resemble the layer of protection that ceramic coating provides.

Does wax damage car paint?

Improper waxing or polishing can lead to visible marks or scratches on a car‘s paintwork.

There are more durable types of paint protection on the market, such as ceramic paint coatings. For more information about other options please contact us. We’re happy to discuss the best products for your needs.

This article was originally published on January 13, 2017 but has been updated for accuracy and freshness.