Using Car Wax: Is It Really Worth It? (All The Reasons)

There is no doubt waxing your car adds sparkle and shine to the exterior of your car, but it is a lot of hard work. Many car owners have good intentions about waxing their car but soon begin to wonder whether waxing has any value in protecting the vehicle’s paintwork. Is car wax worth the time and effort, or is it a waste of energy?

Car wax is worth adding to your car maintenance regime. It offers protection to your car paintwork from scratches, fading due to UV exposure, and prevents environmental damage from bug splatter, bird droppings, and tree sap. Car wax can make your car easier to clean and also helps retain resale value

Waxing a car is a taxing job that requires time and effort. The visual results are generally pretty good, improving the look of the car. But is all this extra effort worth a basic facelift for your car, or does the wax actually benefit your car and protect the car’s finish? Do all car wax products offer the same benefits, and is carwash wax a suitable alternative instead of doing it yourself?

Is Car Wax Worth The Effort And Cost?

If you have ever waxed a car, you know the time and effort that goes into doing the job right and getting that perfect shine on your car’s bodywork. A car that has been properly waxed is certainly a head-turner and a beauty to behold!

When the cost in time and effort and the price of some car wax products are taken into account, many people begin to wonder at the value of waxing their car and whether it is worth it or not.

We will investigate whether waxing a car adds any benefit other than giving the car a nice shine and whether you can cut corners by getting your waxing done at the local car wash!

Is Car Wax Good For Your Car? (All Benefits)

Most car owners understand that keeping their car well maintained with regular services to the engine, transmission, and suspension not only helps to keep the car reliable but also serves to help retain the resale value of the car.

Just like taking care of the car’s working parts improves its desirability and thus resale value so does taking care of the car’s exterior.

When selling a car, the first impression the prospective buyer gets of the car is its exterior looks. It is a known fact that if a car looks good, it will sell quicker and, in most cases, will fetch a higher price.

Waxing a car will undoubtedly add that showroom-style shine to your car, but does it actually protect your car’s exterior?

Waxing a car does provide a protective coating on the paintwork of your car. Here are the benefits that a good car wax will provide in keeping your car protected and looking good.

  • Car wax is a coating. Wax is not wiped on and wiped off but rather leaves a protective coating over your car’s paintwork. The wax acts as a shield or a barrier between the paint and hazards that can damage the paint or cause it to fade.
  • Car wax prevents scratches. Car wax contains ingredients that leave a layer over the car’s paint that hardens into a protective covering over the clear coat of your car’s paint job. The slick outer surface of the wax makes dust and dirt slip from the car’s surface more easily, preventing the clear coat and paint from being scratched but dust and dirt. Likewise, the wax coating prevents dirt on the car surface from scratching the finish when washing your car.
  • Car wax protects against fading. Direct sunlight on the exterior of a car can cause the paintwork to fade. The sun’s UV rays penetrate the car’s finish, causing the clear coat and the underlying paint to oxidize, making it fade and appear dull. Car wax is formulated to reduce the penetration of the sun’s rays, reducing the damage it wreaks on your car’s paint.
  • Car wax protects against harsh chemicals and environmental hazards. The protective layer provided by the car wax prevents harmful substances from coming into direct contact with your car’s finish. Substances like bird droppings, road salt from de-icing of the roads, sap from trees, and even sea air can all damage the paint from chemical reactions. Car wax helps by preventing these corrosive substances from directly contacting the car’s surface.
  • Car wax helps retain value in the car. Car owners are aware that their vehicle depreciates with age and use. However, a car with a good-looking paint job speaks to the care and attention the car received from the owner. Paintwork that has been protected by regular waxing will be evident as the condition on the paint will have been retained by the protection the wax provides. This will help increase the resale value of your car, as most people associate a good-looking car with a well-maintained car.
  • Applying car wax makes it easier to clean. A regular coating of car wax will make cleaning your car an easier task. The smooth surface of the wax coating will help dirt slide off the car rather than adhere to the surface. This makes for less effort and less harsh scrubbing involved when washing your vehicle.

These benefits that a coating of car wax offers your car are only realized if you regularly wax your car and restore the protective wax layer over the paintwork. There are some misconceptions about what car wax will do for your car.

What Car Wax Will Not Do For Your Car

Car wax is not a magic substance that will restore old, damaged paintwork on your old car to showroom condition. There are some misconceptions about what car wax will do for your car’s paint, which we need to clear up to avoid unrealistic expectations.

  • Car wax won’t remove scratches. Regular waxing of your car will protect the surface from minor scratches, but it will not remove any existing scratches from the car. This is not the intention of car wax, and it is not capable of this type of restoration. Car polish, on the other hand, will remove shallow scratches from the car’s surface.  
  • Car wax will not shine dulled paint. If the damage to your car’s paintwork has already been done and the paint has become dull, car wax will not restore the paintwork condition. It may improve the luster of the paint slightly but will not give a deep shine. Additional work needs to be done with polish and/or compounds to restore the paint before the wax has any effect. If the dullness is due to oxidation damage, the car will need to be repainted to restore the quality of the paint. Thus a quick wax before your sell your car will not hide years of wear and tear on the paintwork.
  • Car wax is not forever-lasting. Waxing your car is not an annual maintenance exercise. The wax coating on your car will only provide protection for three to twelve months, depending on the kind of wax used. Regular waxing is required to gain the benefits of the product.
  • Washing can remove car wax. Washing your car with harsh soaps and incorrect methods can remove the wax coating from your car sooner than the normal three- to twelve-month duration. Detergents such as dish-washing soap, car wash detergents, degreasers, and other harsh cleaners will strip the wax from the car. Always wash your car with a soap that is designed to be used on cars. This will help to preserve the car wax on the car for as long as possible and reduce the frequency with which you need to re-apply the wax. 
  • Maintain a proper car washing protocol. The lifespan of the wax coating on the car will be determined by the care the vehicle receives between waxings. When you wash your car, use the correct detergents and the correct sponges and cloths. Use separate cloths for washing, polishing, and waxing the car to prevent cross-contamination of both dirt and products on the cloths. Do not wax over sections of the car missed in the wash; you will be sealing in the dirt and grime under the wax, and it could scratch the car’s paint.

If you want to know how long car wax really lasts, make sure to check out my article about it here. It explains all different types of car wax and their respective longevity on a car in depth.

Is There Good Car Wax And Bad Car Wax?

When choosing the right car wax for your car, are there good and bad products, and will a waxing at the car wash do the job?

As the well-known adage “you get what your pay for” implies, going with a cheaper product is not always the best choice. This bears true when selecting your car wax as well. Cheaper products will not have the same durability on the car’s surface and may need to be re-applied more frequently.

Cheap car wax products will also offer a lower level of protection from UV and environmental hazards. This results in you not getting the protection you are expecting from waxing your car.

There are many high-quality car wax products available, whether synthetic or natural, and you should always select a good quality product to wax your car.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply the car wax for best results. Some waxes require a waiting period after the wax is applied before you wipe it off. Most manufacturers recommend that you apply the wax in the shade rather than in direct sunlight. Following the instructions will ensure that the wax provides the best protection possible for your car’s paintwork.

Is Carwash Wax A Suitable Substitute?

Due to car waxing being a tedious, labor-intensive task, many people opt for a wax treatment at the car wash and believe that they are doing the best for their car and saving themselves an inconvenience.

Carwash wax is not a suitable replacement for hand waxing. Carwash wax is an inferior product, and it is applied under pressure. The pressure of the application can embed dirt missed in the wash into the paintwork and damage the finish rather than protect it

Carwash wax is not a high-quality product and certainly does not provide the same protection as a good quality hand-applied wax. Carwash operations are all about volume and profit. The more cars they process, the higher the returns and the cheaper the products they use, the higher their profit margins

Not only should you avoid having your car waxed at the carwash, but you should also not get your car washed at the carwash. The soaps and the washing methods at many car wash operations are not conducive to retaining the wax coating on your car. 

In many instances, the soaps used by the carwash and the high-pressure sprays can strip the wax protection from the car’s surface. If you have spent much time and effort detailing your car and applying a high-quality wax, all that effort and hard work would be nullified the first time you take your car through the car wash.

Automatic car washes are certainly not great and remove car wax. If you want to know why make sure to read my detailed article about it here.

But even if your car is not waxed (which is already a mistake), you should make sure to avoid automatic car washes at all costs. There are multiple reasons for it and I talk about all of them in my detailed article here. Make sure to check it out!

To get the best protection for your car’s paint, applying a good quality car wax by hand and washing your car by hand will always be a preferable option over taking your car to the local carwash.

How Often Should A Car Be Waxed?

Waxing a car does not need to be done every time you wash your car, so even though it can be a tedious task, it is only done periodically, which lessens the inconvenience.

Some car owners go to the opposite extreme and believe that an annual waxing of their car provides adequate protection. Unfortunately, a car wax coating does not last this long, considering that it acts as a buffer and takes the abuse from the environment that would normally land on your paintwork.

So what is the best waxing frequency you should employ to keep your car’s exterior in good condition and protected by the car wax?

Depending on the type of car wax used, a car should be rewaxed every three to twelve months. To know if your car needs to be waxed again, check how well the paint is sheeting and beading water. If water carpets start to appear on your car, the wax has worn off and new wax needs to be applied.

For example, if you have been driving on roads that have been salted for de-icing, you should increase your waxing frequency since the harsh abrasive characteristics of the salt will wear the wax coating away faster.

The car wax product you use will have recommendations regarding the frequency with which you should apply the product, which may vary from product to product.  This is also a guideline, and should your circumstances warrant it, you can apply the wax more frequently.

Key Takeaways

  • Car wax has multiple benefits
  • Car wax offers protection against the elements
  • Car wax increases the resale value
  • Avoid car wash car wax
  • Check water sheeting and water beading to know if your car needs to be rewaxed

Here Are All My Favorite Car Detailing Products

Proper car detailing requires a lot of products. Given that the market for car detailing products is huge and there are many different products available, it can be very confusing and hard to find seriously high-quality products online.

I want to make sure that you as my reader get great car detailing products, so I decided to list my favorite products down below. I am sure you and your car will love them! 🙂

Microfiber Wash Mitts: Microfiber wash mitts are the go-to piece of equipment for every car cleaning enthusiast. Without a proper wash mitt cleaning a car is impossible. These are my favorites:

  • Amazon Basics Deluxe Microfiber Car Wash Mitt: Click here
  • Armor All Microfiber Car Wash Mitt: Click here
  • The Rag Company – Cyclone Wash Mitts: Click here

Car Shampoo: Car shampoo is the only suitable shampoo for washing cars safely. Make sure to get a high-quality car shampoo to prevent scratches. Check my favorites here and get yourself a good car shampoo!

Pressure Washers: If you are serious about car detailing and about cleaning your cars properly, there is no way around a high-quality pressure washer. I know that they are expensive, but trust me, a good pressure washer is a game-changer. Check out my recommendations below!

  • Karcher 13246440 K 5 Premium Full Control: Click here
  • Greenworks Electric Pressure Washer GPW2003: Click here
  • Karcher K1700 Electric Power Pressure Washer: Click here

Paint Protection: Paint protection is something that belongs to every car detailing routine. As it is so important, there are many different products and many different use cases. Check the list below to find my favorite paint protection products.

References 

https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/should-you-wax-or-polish-your-car-by-kevin-woo

https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/5-benefits-of-waxing-your-car

https://www.motorbiscuit.com/does-car-wax-from-the-car-wash-actually-protect-your-car/

https://www.detailsmatterllc.com/what-car-wax-does/

https://avalonking.com/blog/the-truth-about-car-wax/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/how-often-should-you-wax-your-car

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Jan-Lucas Ganssauge

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304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124