Your car is your ticket to freedom, your home away from home, and sometimes it’s your prized possession. You religiously maintain it by regularly scheduling appointments at a reputable mechanic, and it’s almost always sparkling clean. But do you wax your car? Waxing your vehicle helps protects its finish from the harsh rays of the sun, which can fade and become discolored when untreated.  Plus waxing your car provides it with a high gloss finish that makes it look shiny and new. Need guidance on how to keep your car protected and looking great? Look no further.

Choose your wax

Prior to choosing the best wax for your car, check the owner’s manual for suggestions. Keep in mind, you can rarely go wrong when you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. They made your car after all. Once you finish checking your owner’s manual, it’s time to choose your wax. There are two main types of wax: carnauba and polymer. Carnauba waxes are plant-based so they are more environmentally friendly, but they also tend to be more costly. Polymer waxes are usually manmade and a bit easier to work with than the natural carnauba waxes. But they are not as green as their natural counterpart. Read the labels and do your research. Only trust your car’s finish to good, quality products.

Locate shade

Before attempting any of the following steps, locate complete protection from the punishing heat of the sun. Washing your car in direct sunlight can lead to unsightly water spots and dried soap residue. Direct sunlight is also not ideal for waxing your car. The sun’s heat will lead to waxes becoming hard too soon, which makes it difficult to buff out. Washing and waxing your car during the cooler morning and evening hours is optimal. If these times are inconvenient, finding shade is the next best option.

Preparation

Just like anything you do in life, preparation is key. First, you want to thoroughly wash your car with a soap designed for vehicles. Avoid using hand soap or dish detergent because these products are not designed for use on car paint. Utilizing one of these household products may damage your car’s finish, and subsequently strip off the wax you are about to meticulously apply when you wash your car in the future.  Next, check your car’s finish for scratches and imperfections. Use a quality car scratch removal kit or rubbing compound to fix these blemishes. Finally, before waxing, ensure your car is completely towel dried. Choose a towel designed for drying cars like a chamois or an exceptionally soft terry towel. Because, unfortunately, choosing the wrong towel can lead to scratches, which will send you right back to step two in the preparation process.

Application

Patience is key when applying wax to your car. Work in small areas using steady pressure throughout the entire process. There are two particularly important aspects to keep in mind when applying wax. First, if you are using liquid wax, don’t apply it directly to your car. Place a small amount on your towel and then work it into the finish. Secondly, avoid getting wax on non-painted areas like the trim and any spots constructed from plastic. Both scenarios will lead to less than ideal results (ie your car won’t look its best). Once the wax dries, simply remove it with a terry cloth towel. When you are finished, buff your car to a beautiful shine.

If you wax regularly, approximately every 3 months, and follow the above steps, your car will look great all year round. Additionally, waxing will also extend your car’s exterior beauty for years to come. So, what are you waiting for, find some shade and prepare to make your car look amazing.