The Paint A Part Blog

Protect Your Car’s Paint Job with the Right Wax

Shiny red car after a wax

The Best Car Waxes You Can Buy

How do you choose a good car wax? The answer isn’t always easy; the best wax for your vehicle depends on your vehicle’s age and paint condition. A better question to ask is: what do you want your car wax to do? The right wax can add shine, protection, or disguise unsightly scratches. To help you determine the right wax for your car, we’ll go over some recommendations and discover the differences you can make with a new coating.

If you have a modern vehicle, odds are it has a clear coating. A clear coat is a layer of thin, hard paint that goes over your paint job. The clear coat, along with a color coat and base primer, are the three distinct layers that make up the finish on a modern vehicle. The clear coating is the very top layer, and how shiny and smooth/reflective your car looks depends on the quality of this clear coating. When you apply wax to this topmost layer, it will fill the tiny gaps and gouges in your coating, making it look shinier.

The Three Main Types of Car Wax

Black and White Audis preparing to be waxed

There are three different types of car wax that you can buy: spray-on wax, liquid wax, and pastes. Which are the best car waves for your vehicle? That depends on what you want out of a wax: a glossier sheen, something that’s easy to apply, built-in sun protection? Each type of wax has its own strengths.

Spray-on waxes are the easiest type of wax to apply and remove. Their easy application comes at a price, though. They’re not as durable or weather-resistant as other types of waxes. This makes spray-on wax ideal for finishing on new cars, quick jobs, or easy detailing on vehicles that already have regular wash and wax maintenance.

Liquid car wax is known for its great gloss and durability, especially if you use carnauba wax. If you own an older car with lots of mileage on it, and requires a great deal of cleaning and care, then liquid car wax is the option for you.

Finally, there are paste waxes. Paste waxes are more difficult to apply. They’re generally known for having better durability and longer lasting shine than liquid waxes –but only barely.

Is There a Best Type of Wax Overall?

Regardless of how well-known a wax is for its durability, most waxes only provide full car paint protection for five weeks, and should be reapplied every two or three months.

What about cost? Honestly, there’s very little difference between premium wax brands and more affordable brands. Your best bet is to go with mid-priced, name brand car waxes.

Orbital buffer buffing a car about to be waxed

Preparing For Pre-Wax

Don’t just invest in a wax –for the best results, pick up a dual-action orbital buffer and pre-wax. An orbital buffer helps you polish out the swirls and scratches before you apply your wax, giving you a shinier, more captivating finish.

If you want a lasting shine, then preparing a pre-wax is key. With the right amounts of patients and determination, you can get fantastic results. When preparing pre-wax, take the following precautions:

  • Don’t wash or apply car wax in direct sunlight if you can avoid it. Heat will cause your wax to adhere to your car, making it more difficult to remove
  • When washing your car, wash top to bottom to avoid foam and suds from accidentally transferring dirt to areas you’ve already cleaned. Use a soft cloth, soap, and plenty of water.
  • You can help decontaminate your paint by using a chemical cleaner to remove road tar and debris. This makes it easier to apply wax.
  • You can also remove stains and small particles from your paint by using a clay-bar. This helps smoother your paint. When picking a product, brand-name clay products are the most reliable.
  • If you want to be as thorough as possible, you can also use isopropyl alcohol to remove polishing oil and surface fillers. Isopropyl alcohol cleaner (IPA) is a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and distilled water.
Washing a car with a pink glove

Once you’ve finished all the following procedures, you’re not ready to apply wax to your clear coating! Simply washing and waxing your car is enough for most drivers but preparing a pre-wax will greatly extend the life of your paint job. Putting in enough thought and care can help keep your car protected for up to two years.

Now you’re ready to wax your car!

Wax Recommendations

We’ve compiled a list of the best car waxes for you to check out. Each of our recommended waxes are affordable, mid-grade waxes that will protect and restore car paint shine.

What to do if your paint gets damaged?

SUV drove off-road into a ditch

Unfortunately, accidents do happen but it’s good to know that when they do there are affordable alternatives to body shops to fix minor car damage. Replacement bumpers painted to match the original factory paint can be ordered online and shipped to you at very affordable rates. The same goes for replacement fenders, hoods, and fender flares. Paint A Part is a shop that specializes in prepainted replacement bumpers and other auto body parts for cars and trucks.

Check out Paint A Part’s vast selection painted auto parts by using the Year Make and Model search at the top of our site or browse the list of vehicles by make and the list of popular vehicles.