Waxing your car isn’t just about making it look good. It’s about creating a barrier on your car’s paint to prevent contamination from the likes of road tar or pollution. We’ve checked out the best tools and products for waxing your car at home.
Crucially, you need to bear a few things in mind before you start. You need to work in a shady area. When car is baking in the sun at best the wax will be much more difficult to remove thanks to the heat and, at worst—especially with dark colored cars—the heat can actually soften the paint very slightly and make it more susceptible to scratching and swirl marks. Wax in small sections as it’s more likely you’ll do a good job of it (and not miss anything crucial), plus some waxes can be difficult to remove if they stay on too long.
You also need to consider what kind of wax is right for you. Purists will suggest nothing but carnauba wax. It’s natural, gives a great depth of shine and generally lasts 4-6 weeks. However, synthetic waxes also have their advantages. Namely, they typically provide longer protections. But, they don’t always provide the depth of shine that a carnauba based wax offers.
Choosing Between Spray, Liquid, Or Paste
Confused yet? Hold up—we have one other key area to explain. Different waxes are available in different formats.
Spray waxes are the easiest to apply. You just spray on, wipe it off, you’re done. However, it’s the least durable of any form of wax product. It is good for those with vehicles already in great condition, or if you don’t mind re-applying frequently.
Liquid waxes aren’t as easy to apply evenly as others, but they leave a great gloss and have way better durability than a spray wax. However, they take more time and effort to get right than a spray on variety.
Paste waxes are the favored choice of many car fans because they’re typically super durable, and they create a great warm glow for your paintwork. The downside? They take a ton of elbow grease to get just right, so you really need to commit yourself to the idea.
Whatever sounds good to you, we have a great suggestion in mind. Here are the best waxing products for your car or truck.
Best Clay Bar Kit: Chemical Guys Medium Duty Clay Bar ($20)
A Clay Bar is something you want to use a couple of times a year (if not more often). It helps remove contaminants on the surface of your car, as well as helps provide a smooth finish at the end of waxing. Think of it as the prep work before an intense session of waxing your car. You’ll know if you need to do it when you run your fingers across the surface of your wet car and still feel some rough spots on there.
The Chemical Guys Medium Duty Clay Bar is the perfect clay bar for any vehicle. It’s a good size so it can easily work 8-10 times, and it’s easy to manipulate. It has excellent elasticity, a light and soft texture, and it’ll almost feel like a miracle worker when you use it. The clay bar comes with a lubricant too so you won’t have to worry about lubricating the clay separately. It’s the ideal starting position on your waxing journey.
Best Overall Car Wax: Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax ($10)
Simply want a wax that just works? Buy the Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax. It’s a carnauba-based wax that easily applies in liquid form. It melts deep into your car’s paintwork, bringing up the richness of your vehicle without much effort from you. You can see results in a matter of minutes without too much elbow grease. Most impressively, it can also be safely applied in direct sunlight with no unsightly bake in, and even when the car is wet straight after a wash.
If you just want to grab one bottle and be done with thinking things through too deeply, this is the wax for you. It’s dependable stuff.
Best Liquid Car Wax: Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Car Wax ($38)
Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Car Wax is the liquid car wax for those with a larger budget than most. Due to being liquid based, it’s near effortless to apply. It’ll even wipe off in full sun, and there’s no risk of it staining non-painted trim pieces. It promises to utilize a whole bunch of fancy sounding things like Hydrophobic Polymer technology to encourage water to roll right off the paintwork, but all you need to know is that it keeps your car looking pretty darn great.
The only real downside here is that it’s not cheap which is why it’s not quite our favorite overall pick.
Best Spray On Wax: Car Guys Hybrid Wax Sealant ($20)
Want to keep your waxing experience super simple? Spray-on wax is what you need, and the Car Guys Hybrid Wax Sealant is a great option. It’s a synthetic polymer sealant that’s infused with liquid carnauba (rather than 100% carnauba) so it offers a good deep shine without much hassle.
The wax is safe to spray on any surface so you don’t have to worry about white residue or streaks because you didn’t take care to spray carefully. Just spray on and wipe off. The whole process takes about 15 minutes for your entire car. This is the wax to use when you care but you’re not obsessed with perfection.
Best Paste: Turtle Wax T-222 Super Hard Shell Paste Wax ($11)
We won’t judge if you have no interest in paste based wax. It is a lot of effort and elbow grease, even if the results (done right) are pretty great. If you’re keen to make cleaning your car into a vocation, however, buy the Turtle Wax T-222 Super Hard Shell Paste Wax to start you off. It’s only $11 but it promises a formula that will protect your car for up to 12 months.
It’ll take you about an hour or more to wax your entire car with the stuff, but the results look fantastic. Just make sure to mask up any unpainted plastic parts on your car so they don’t suffer white residue. Expect this little pot to last you about 8-10 uses without much bother, depending on the size of your vehicle.