The Basics of Car Waxing: How to Leave Your Car Shining

car washWaxing is a great way to make your car standout from the pack, and it can also add a protective layer to the exterior. It’s important to understand the basics of car waxing, from which products to buy to the right techniques.

The experts at Popular Mechanics say that cleaning and waxing are the most basic maintenance tasks you can do for your car. It all starts with a thorough washing—be sure to get in cracks, and remove any dirt or dust. Any bit of dirt can do serious damage to paint, scratching and pitting the exterior.

Select a high-quality wax. That doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars, but you should also avoid the cheapest products on the market. Typically, paste waxes work the best, and they should have large volumes of carnauba in them. Liquid wax lasts a long time, but it tends to be slightly dull.

Only use clean cloths and synthetic sponges (natural sponges have grit and dirt). Working in straight lines, coat your car in wax (circular motions tend to leave streaks). Rinse off, and dry your car as soon as possible. Water tends to be bad for waxing, so don’t do it when it is raining or if your car is still soaked from washing. Always work in thin layers, as less is more. Too much wax often leads to caked-on product.

Wax every two months or so. This leaves a spotless shine, as well as a protective layer. It’s great for preventing rust and scratches, and it may even increase the resale value of your car in the long run.