Waxing A Car: Will It Protect The Paint?

If damages to the paintwork are one of the things you dread the most, you are just like me. I share your desire to protect the paint and your struggle to find the best practice to achieve that goal. Have you wondered if car wax can protect your car? I’ve got the answer for you! 

Car wax is designed to offer a protective layer to cars. The wax is applied onto the clear coat of the vehicle, keeping contaminants, water, and UV rays away from reaching the paintwork. Since these agents cannot get in direct contact with the surface of the car, they cannot harm it.  

Being well-informed will help you provide the best care for your ride. In this post, I will thoroughly explain all the details about car wax and protection. Keep reading to have all the insights! Will Car Wax Protect Paint?

Car wax protects car paint against water, contaminants, and UV rays. Car wax works as a sacrificial layer that prevents anything harmful from touching the paint directly. This prevents stains from forming along with slight scratches and optical damages. 

Car Wax Protects Against Water 

Car wax has hydrophobic properties that prevent water from drying on its surface. Water spots are some of the most common marks you will find on a car. With car wax, the chances of having water spots in your vehicle decrease considerably. 

Regardless of the type of wax you choose, they will all have hydrophobic properties. 

Perhaps you are thinking that water spots are not that dangerous. After all, they just affect the looks, not the integrity of the paint. Well, the truth is that there is more to it.

There is a high chance that the water reaching your car is not at all clean. The contaminating agents on the water can attach to the paint and start affecting it from the inside. Letting water dry on the surface of your car can compromise the paintwork.

Here is where the hydrophobic properties of car wax come in handy. Since the water cannot reach the paint nor dry on it, the risk is eliminated. 

Car Wax Protects Against Contaminants

Car paint is highly vulnerable to contaminants like dust, dirt, bird poop, and insects. All these contaminants could cause damages to the paintwork in the long run. 

Car wax offers a protective layer to the paint, preventing these contaminants from reaching it. Think of it as the first line of defense. Instead of being open to receiving attacks from these agents, the paint has a protective barrier keeping all those things away. 

The layer of wax will sacrifice itself, taking all the blows for the paint. Since the contaminants cannot reach the paintwork, they cannot damage it. 

Protection against contaminants is one of the best benefits car wax can offer. 

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Car Wax Protects Against UV Rays

UV rays are not only harmful to human skin, they are also harmful to car paint if the car is exposed to the sun for a long period of time.

Over time, UV rays lead to car paint fading and degrading. Once shiny paint will start to look dull and worn out, even if the car is not driven regularly.

In order to prevent this from happening, it is crucial that car paint is protected from harmful UV rays. One of the best ways to do this is to apply a layer of wax on top of the car paint.

Car wax acts like sunscreen on human skin and prevents the UV rays from damaging the car paint.

A combination of UV rays and salty water, a combination often found close to the sea, can lead to even more serious problems like rust. If you happen to live close to the sea and you value your vehicle, it is crucial to protect it from the elements.

Does Waxing Your Car Protect It From Scratches? 

Car wax creates a barrier between the paint and any scratching agent, preventing scratches on the paintwork. Given that abrasive agents cannot reach the car, they cannot damage it. However, if the hit is too strong, it may penetrate the wax. 

A scratched surface is something painful for dedicated car owners like you and me. Luckily for us, car wax can offer an essential layer of protection to the paintwork. 

Contaminants are the principal cause of scratches and swirls on the paint. Bird poop is so abrasive that incorrectly removing it could damage the surface of the car and leave unwanted marks. 

The same applies to dirt and dust. These contaminating agents can easily get stuck to your paintwork when you are on the road. If left there, they can attach to the exterior, making it difficult to remove them.

Anything that gets stuck to the surface of the car can create scratches. For that, it is paramount to prevent them from reaching the surface in the first place. 

The protective barrier of car wax can prevent any of these agents from sticking, drastically reducing the chances of scratching the paint. 

All in all, car wax will make it more difficult for any scratching agent to pose risks to surface of the car. 


Apart from its awesome job at protecting the paint from new scratches, car wax can hide some of the already existing scratches on your paint. 

If there are small scratches or swirls, car wax can fill them up and make them invisible to the naked eye. Of course, it is not a permanent solution. The scratches will not be fixed, only hidden. 

Looking for a guide on fixing scratches? Go and check my full article about the topic!

Also, consider that car wax will not be able to hide too deep scratches. This side benefit only works with small scratches because it evens the surface. The even surface will make your ride look glossier, silkier, and better in general terms. 

For a more detailed explanation about scratch fixing and car wax, you can check this explanatory post I wrote about it.

Does Car Wax Protect Car Paint From The Sun? 

Car wax can offer protection against the damaging UV rays of the sun. Instead of reaching the paintwork, the sunrays are caught by the wax layer, preventing them from affecting the car. Car wax takes on the damage of the sun, protecting the vehicle. 

UV rays can be really damaging to the paintwork. They can affect the lifetime, the shine, and the overall looks of the paint. When a car is exposed to them for too long, the effects can be irreversible. This problem can be seen in sunny areas where cars spend long hours under direct sunlight.

Since car wax creates a protective layer on top of the paint, the UV rays cannot reach the surface. The wax sacrifices itself, absorbing the effects of the UV rays. This protection allows the paintwork to continue looking like the first day. 

Keeping the car in a garage would be the best way to avoid the effects of UV rays. However, this is not possible for a lot of people. That is why waxing the car is a practical alternative to protect the vehicle against the sun. 

You can check this article from Gerber Collision for further information about protecting your car against UV rays.

What Happens If You Do Not Wax Your Car? 

Not waxing a car can cause many problems. These are some of the things that could happen:

  • Damages from UV ray exposure
  • Contaminant vulnerability
  • Scratches
  • Harder cleaning process
  • Dull looks

Damages from UV ray exposure

UV rays can be harmful to the paint and to the overall infrastructure of a car. Apart from the damages, these rays could cause to the paint, it could also increase the risk of developing rust. 

Unwaxed cars are prone to rust and paint pitting, as there will be nothing preventing the UV rays from reaching the exterior. For people there is sunscreen; for cars, there is car wax.

Don’t skip this essential step in your car detailing practices, and your car will thank you for it.

Contaminant vulnerability

Without a layer of wax, there is nothing keeping contaminants away from the surface of the car. The paint of the vehicle will end up vulnerable to the damages of contaminants. 

Any contaminant that reaches the car will probably bond with the surface, compromising the looks and the integrity of the paintwork. The risk of a damaged exterior increases without the use of car wax.


The vulnerability of the paint can result in scratches and other types of damages to the paint. Without wax, there is no protective layer receiving the hits for the paintwork. Instead of having a line of defense, the paintwork is left there to suffer.

An unwaxed car is more likely to receive scratches and swirls than a waxed one. Although the clear coat can offer some protection to the surface, it should be waxed anyway.

You can check my full article on car wax and clear coat for further information about this.

Harder cleaning process

One of the attractive features of car wax is that it can ease up the cleaning process. Since the contaminants cannot reach the surface, they cannot bond with the paint, making it easier to remove them. 

The same applies to watermarks. Water cannot dry on the surface of the car, so there should not be any water spots to clean when using car wax.

Not using car wax would result in a complicated cleaning process. The contaminants would be harder to remove, and there would be water spots all over the car. 

Dull looks

Car wax can drastically improve the looks of a car. The wax provides a shinier, glossier, and silkier finish. When the wax is not used, the vehicle may look dull and boring. 

Moreover, all the damages that could occur without wax also affect the looks of the car. Using a wax will ensure your ride always looks pristine and shiny.

Key takeaways

  • Car wax can protect your car
  • UV rays are dangerous for your car
  • Car wax can prevent scratches
  • Cleaning a waxed car is easier
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge