Remember when you bought your current car at the dealership? You were probably astonished by the paint job: the striking color that stretched along the smooth contours of the hood, over the roof and down the sides.
Well, if your car doesn’t have the same luster, the right wax job can return your automobile to its former beauty. Experts recommend 2 to 4 car waxes a year. You don’t have to get it professionally done either. You can do it yourself and save some money in the process.
That said, here is the do-it-yourself Car Pro Guide to Spring Car Waxing.
Tools You’ll Need
To make your car shine again, you will need the following: car wax, cotton terry cloth, rags/towels, a wax sponge, car wash soap, and water.
Choose Your Car Wax
The type of wax you choose should depend on your car’s specific needs, as specified in the owner’s manual, and how you waxed your car the last time.
Terry Haltom, education manager for the collision repair and refinish program at Universal Technical Institute in Sacramento, Calif., recommends 3M waxes, explaining, “the special blend of carnauba and imported waxes, in combination with an extremely fine polishing abrasive, is capable of removing light oxidation and minor clear coat imperfections while producing a durable, high-gloss finish.”
Haltom said other cleaning product manufacturers such as Mothers or Meguiars wax are good, too, but what matters the most is prepping the painted area first and cleaning off any contaminants that will affect the final polish.
Additionally, there are liquid, soft and hard waxes. Liquid waxes are easy to apply but don’t last as long. Soft waxes are also easy to apply and often contain cleaners, which means they shouldn’t be used for every wax job. Hard waxes take the longest amount of time to apply but also offer the greatest level of protection.
Abrasive wax can damage dark-colored paints or cars with clear coats or lacquer finishes, so use a gentle wax on these surfaces. Many auto experts recommend car wax with carnauba, which comes from the leaves of Brazilian carnauba palm trees. The wax is hard because it needs to protect the leaves from the intense tropical sun.
Park your car in a shady spot because you don’t want the sun to bake the wax. Before you start waxing your vehicle, you will need to wash it down with mild car wash soap and water. Whatever you do, don’t use dish soap because it could damage your car’s paint job.
Put the car soap into a bucket and fill it about 75 percent full with warm water. Use a hose to remove any dirt off the car. Lather up a sponge in the soapy water and wash and rinse off one side of the car and then the other. Dry the car thoroughly with a towel. If desired, wash the car once over again with plain water.
How to Wax
Now that you have the dirt and grime off your car, it is time to make it shine.
- Apply the wax to either a damp wax sponge or directly to your car. Apply it evenly across a particular section of your vehicle using a circular motion.
- Let the wax sit for as long as the wax bottle specifies, usually a few minutes. Make sure it doesn’t dry out completely.
- Remove the wax with a soft cotton rag in the same order that you applied it, polishing the car. When you remove the wax, you will unveil your car’s new shiny look. Repeat for the rest of your car.
Waxing isn’t easy and many will choose to go with a professional detailer, which is a good idea for many people, but if you like to get outdoors and see the results of your labors, waxing your car can be very rewarding.
On a personal note, I have used www.meguiars.com products on my personal cars for many years.
Photo Credit: tommaso79/Shutterstock