Waxing your car too much can lead to build-up and unattractive clouding. If you use a wax paste on your new car, it may damage the clear coat applied by the factory. If you use synthetic wax on your car, it won’t hurt the clear coat or paint, but the more you put it on your car, the more it will cloud over time.
There are actually quite a few conflicting reports saying that waxing too much doesn’t hurt the vehicle, which is true to a certain extent. If you have a good regimen and schedule, the wax shouldn’t hurt your vehicle, but if you’re waxing once a week, it’s excessive and will certainly have negative effects.
When Does Your Car Need Waxing?
Waxing your vehicle regularly is a smart idea because it can help preserve the clear coat that is on top of the pain.
This clear coat protects the paint from the harsh elements outside and even inside. This can include salt, UV rays, tree sap, snow, rain, and other contaminants. Additionally, the clear coat is what makes your car look showroom shiny.
Unfortunately, when the clear coat fades, the paint on your vehicle will begin to fade, discolor, and then turn to rust. This is why it’s important to wax your vehicle every so often. It keeps your vehicle in the best possible condition and will retain the resale value.
How Often Should You Wax Your Vehicle?
Honestly, there’s no set schedule or exact answer. It all depends on what the environment is like where you live and where you park your vehicle. It’s suggested by some wax manufacturers that you wax your vehicle every 2-4 months, but in some cases, two times per year is sufficient.
The main environment your vehicle is in will make a huge difference as to how many times per year you need to wax your car.
For cars that are kept in the garage where it can be climate-controlled, you won’t need to wax your vehicle as frequently. If you park your car on the street, you may need to wax more frequently.
Waxing your vehicle on an interval that always keeps the clear coat protected is key. The best way to determine this interval is to get an understanding of when the wax will fade on its own.
You can do this by observing how water beads off the surface of your vehicle. Water beads due to surface tension. When there is no beading, this means that there’s no wax left and the clear coat isn’t protected anymore.
Additionally, you can run a finger over the surface of your vehicle. You will notice that a waxed surface feels smoother to touch and an unwaxed surface will feel rawer and will show resistance. If there’s no wax on your vehicle, this means it’s time to reapply your wax, no matter how long it’s been since you last applied wax.
Types of Wax
Most people don’t realize this, but the type of wax you use on your vehicle is a huge determination in how often you should apply a new coat. Each type of wax contains different formulas, which all have their own results. Here are some of the most popular types of wax products you can use on your vehicle:
Liquid wax is the preferred wax for most car owners because of its convenience and speed. Liquid wax is easier and quicker to apply. This shouldn’t be confused with spray wax. Spray wax isn’t meant to be used with certain polishers.
You will find that when somebody else waxes your car, they will generally use liquid wax. They will put a couple of dots on each side of the waxing pad to easily measure how much they should be used per panel. Pastes tend to be over-applied, leaving residue and an unprofessional look.
Pros of liquid wax:
- Most of them dry clear
- Most can be applied to wet surfaces
- Simple to remove
- Easy to apply
- Most can be applied in direct sunlight
Cons of liquid wax:
- High-end liquid wax can be expensive
- The cheap spray waxes don’t protect as well
Paste wax is a more abrasive type of wax for your vehicle. A lot of individuals prefer this type of wax because since most consumer-grade paste waxes contain carnauba, it’s easier to see the chalky white residue in places that haven’t been waxed yet.
Some prefer the paste because it has a high natural-looking shine as well. After the car has been buffed, the paste will bead well, but this makes it easy to over-apply if you aren’t careful. Additionally, some of the synthetic pastes that are cheaper protect the vehicle better than carnauba pastes.
Another added benefit is that thicker paste has a great ability to fill in scratches better than liquid waxes do. A scratch can be best defined as a slice into the clear coat of your car. Your eye then perceives it as a scratch and the paste will fill those scratches for longer than liquid wax can.
Pros of paste wax:
- More durable than liquid wax
- Lasts longer than most waxes
- Has a higher shine and gloss
- More economical
Cons of paste wax:
- Contaminants can be transferred to the container over time
- More effort is required to remove and apply
- May dry out easier
- Not easy to remove from vinyl or trim
This is the wax of choice for many old-school people. It’s essentially palm tree oil from Brazil and is traditionally used as a paste. However, some sealants and liquids will be blended into the carnauba.
This type of wax gives your vehicle an ultra-high shine, especially on dark colors. Unfortunately, applying the wax is a chore. It’s a slow process and you can only work on a small area at a time. Not to mention, one layer doesn’t generally last all too long. This is a good option if your car stays in the garage, but not for a daily driver.
Pros of carnauba wax:
- Leaves a high shine
- Natural material
- Reduces friction between anything that comes between the car
- Keeps your car cleaner
Cons of carnauba wax:
- Takes longer to apply
- One layer doesn’t last long
How To Wax Your Car
Now that you know which wax options are available to you, it’s time to wax your vehicle. Waxing your vehicle on a regular basis is important when it comes to protecting the paint finish from harsh elements.
Step 1: Wash Your Car
The first step to waxing is washing. You’ll want to wash your car with soap and water, but don’t wash with chemicals.
In order to properly wax your car without creating more scratches, you have to remove the dirt and debris that may be sitting on the paint. Ensure your car is completely dry before applying the wax because a dirty or wet surface makes the wax ineffective.
Step 2: Polish
You’ll want to apply a polish to your vehicle if it’s beginning to look worn out due to scratches and faded paint. This is an important step because when you polish your vehicle, it removes a thin layer of clear coat.
Once that layer is removed, another layer shows up that’s smoother and more vibrant. You can gently rub the polish on the surface of your vehicle with a microfiber cloth and remove it with an additional cloth.
Step 3: Finding The Right Temperature
Ever notice how you don’t see people waxing their vehicles in the wintertime? This is because you can’t effectively wax a vehicle in cold temperatures. The preferred temperature should be between 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the temperature is too hot, the wax will dry too quickly and will be more difficult to remove. If it’s too cold, you may have a difficult time even applying the wax. Waxing indoors, at night, early in the morning, or in the shade is your best option.
Step 4: Choose Your Wax
You can choose from any of the waxes we mentioned earlier. Waxes that contain carnauba are the better option, but it’s pricey.
If you aren’t looking to spend a ton of money on wax, consider a cleaner wax. With the carnauba wax, you can skip the polishing part. We suggest passing on spray waxes since they only last a few weeks maximum.
Step 5: Wait
This is the easiest step. Simply wait for the wax to dry before removing it. Eac wax brand has its own waiting time. Be sure to read the label.
Step 6: Remove The Wax
Once the wax is dried, it’s time to remove it. Take a microfiber cloth, wipe off the wax in a circular motion. You should have at least two cloths so you can change them as needed.
Removing Old Wax
We just told you how to wax your vehicle, so we’re assuming you’re wondering why we’re telling you why you would want to remove the wax.
Removing the wax from a painted surface is what can be done if you are about to polish your vehicle. It’s safe to remove the wax from your vehicle with soap that is bleach, fragrance, and Clorox-free.
To safely remove the wax from your vehicle, apply the dish soap to a microfiber cloth and wipe down the surface of your vehicle.
If you want to be sure the wax is removed, pour water on teh surface. If the water beads and runs off quickly, your car is still waxed. If it doesn’t run off the car and it sits on the surface, the wax has successfully been removed.
We’ve come to the conclusion that you can wax your vehicle too much, but you can still wax it and not have it look cloudy. It’s important that you follow a good regime if you want to keep your car looking its best.
Some manufacturers will tell you that you can wax your vehicle once every 2-4 months, but we actually suggest 4 times per year maximum and 2 times minimum. Waxing your vehicle with a decent wax will ensure that the clear coat is protected and scratches aren’t turning into rust spots.