A Buyer’s Guide To The Best Car Wax
Year after year, new types of waxes and sealants become available on the market. These are additions to the myriad of products for detailing our cars that leave us with more questions on which options are best. Everyone wants a product that delivers the best results for the best possible price.
There are so many types of waxes available, and trying to figure out which one is the best for your type of paintwork can be a long and tedious process. Even knowing where and how to start purchasing a product and figuring out which one to get can be a complicated process.
In this article, we discuss the different types of car waxes and other details to help guide you in purchasing the best wax that will work for your car.
You can spend decades scouring car shows, product demos, and experimenting with different combinations only to see that your vehicle reacts differently to the product you purchased. This is due to the fact that there are different types of waxes that will suit different types of paint.
Dark-colored vehicles may benefit from one type of wax that is made for a deep, brilliant shine, while other types of waxes are made for vibrant colors that give the car a glossy, bright shine. Some types of waxes are good for a quick fix, so that your car’s shine and protection are boosted between washings.
There are also waxes that are formulated to help with drying and water spots, and also UV radiation protection that can slow down the fading of your car’s paint due to exposure to the sun’s harmful rays.
The best waxes and sealants on the market should not contain strong, volatile chemicals and solvents that may be harmful to you and your car. After all, you are searching for the best wax or sealant because you want to take care of your car, and not bring harm to its surface.
But why is waxing or sealing your vehicle important? This is because the waxing process is crucial to preserving the longevity of your vehicle’s paintwork, and using the correct wax or sealant is an even more important process.
Waxing and sealing your car can increase the paintwork’s life expectancy, and it’s best to do it at least once a year to protect your car from harmful particles such as dust, debris, acid rain, salt, UV radiation, bird droppings, bugs, and so much more.
Steam cleaning the car and clay barring the surface is an important step to do before waxing. Always keep in mind that a good waxing job results from the great preparation of the surface then using an effective product which suits your vehicle.
Different types of car wax
Car wax comes in many different forms, but there are only two main types of car wax: natural and synthetic.
Using either of these can produce great results on your vehicle, and they also possess different qualities that may be suited to different types of paintwork.
Professionals and car enthusiasts have many reasons for choosing either one, so now we will tackle the two different types, how they differ from each other, and what they are best used for.
The first type refers to the natural carnauba wax which is extracted from the leaves of palm tree endemic to Brazil.
After the extraction process, the wax is then combined with other substances like beeswax and turpentine to help soften the mixture because the natural extracted form of carnauba wax is in hard flakes. Carnauba wax comes in two different grades which can be determined by the color of the wax.
The higher grade is a yellow-colored wax, which is expensive because it’s the closest thing that you can get to a pure carnauba wax. The lower grade is a white-colored wax which means that the carnauba has been substantially mixed with other substances.
For cars that have a black or dark-colored paint, it is recommended to use carnauba wax because of the deep, beautiful gloss that it provides to the exterior of the vehicle.
It also offers great water-beading capabilities and adds a layer of protection from harmful debris and rough driving conditions. However, when compared to the longevity of synthetic wax, carnauba wax only lasts for 2 to 4 months.
Synthetic wax or paint sealant
Also known as paint sealant, the synthetic wax is made from resins and polymers that are highly durable and offer long-lasting protection to your vehicle's paint.
The properties of the mixture are able to bond with the existing paint of the vehicle, thereby boosting its shine and protection. This synthetic type of wax can last for up to 12 months, but this will depend on the weather conditions your car is exposed to.
Because of its durability and long-lasting protection, you will only need to undergo the waxing process at least once every year, making it a very cost-effective solution.
However, the shine that synthetic wax provides is no match to the glossiness that is produced by using carnauba wax. This is why high-end car owners and showroom managers prefer using carnauba-based products.
Different forms of wax
After learning about the two different types of wax, it’s time to learn about the different forms that they can take.
Both carnauba wax and synthetic wax can be made into different forms, and there are distinct differences on how each works. Understanding these differences willhelp you know which one will best suit your purposes.
Paste wax is the oldest and most common form of wax, among the different types. It can be challenging to apply on the surface of the car because of its hard texture.
It is suggested to keep the engine running while applying it so that the warmth of the surface may help in spreading the substance. Carnauba paste wax is highly recommended due to the natural oils present, which provides an amazing gloss and shine.
With its smoother texture and ease of application, liquid wax is preferred by many users over paste wax. It also does not take up too much time in applying because it can be applied by hand or with a machine. Synthetic polymers are commonly added in this form, even if it’s carnauba-based, because this enhances the longevity of its shine and protection.
These are also known as quick detail waxes that are great for extending the time in between washings for as little effort as possible.
Not meant to substitute regular waxing using the paste or liquid types, it is only a great way to boost the current wax layer that is already applied to the car.
Car wax vs. car polish
In the general auto-detailing marketplace, many misconceptions about car wax and car polish exist. They are both beneficial to the vehicle, and also serve different purposes.
Both products should be used and incorporated into your car washing schedule, according to professional auto detailers. Car polish does not have the ability to protect the paintwork of the car, like wax does, but it is highly effective in removing problem spots.
When regularly maintained using these processes, your car’s paintwork will keep looking great and almost likenew for a long period of time.
Main considerations in choosing a car wax
The cost of the product is a great factor in choosing a wax because you may be getting only 5-7 oz. of the product at times, and purchasing an entire gallon of a product, which may not work for you, is simply impractical. The carnauba content strongly dictates the cost, and the more expensive waxes contain a higher content of carnauba wax.
When considering certain waxes, think of the benefits to be had. Some waxes are well suited to certain types of color, and these types may also prove unsuitable to other types.
Features like water beading, UV protection, deep glossy shines, and easy-on and easy-off applications are factors to consider. Not all waxes and sealants are created equally, and good-quality waxes will not wash off when exposed to high-pressure washing.
Waxes last about 6 weeks, on average, and although there are some synthetic waxes that can last up to a year, a healthy habit is waxing every two months.
Considering your lifestyle and the time you have on your hands should factor into your decision. Also, with older cars, it is best to wax more frequently, as compared to a new car which may do well with a quick spray wax.
Because waxes can be abrasive, fine scratches can be left and cause a haze on your car’s finish. Dark-colored paint easily shows scratches as compared to light colors.
For dark-colored vehicles, low-scoring products in scratching and hazing tests should be avoided. Clear-coated surfaces should also steer clear of abrasive types because it can make the paint hazy or cloudy, making your vehicle look dull.
Given all the points discussed above, here are some car wax recommendations, of different types and forms, to help you in choosing which wax may best suit your vehicle.
P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax
- Made from premium ingredients
- Ingredients: Pure Brazilian yellow carnauba and beeswax
- Easy to apply, easy to remove
- No residue or white stains
- Does not stain the car’s plastic and rubber details
- Deep shine and gloss
- Excellent for all colors of vehicles
- Delivers superior results
- Not to be used under hot sun or hot surfaces
- Can be applied by hand or by a machine
- Net weight: 6.2 oz. (175 g)
If you are in need of a high-performing car wax that will provide all the gloss and shine that you desire, P21S 12700 Carnauba Wax is one of the best out there that does this job well.
With the exclusive blend of carnauba and beeswax, all kinds of vehicles and paintworks are sure to shine and take on an amazing gloss.
A warm, deep gloss is left on the paintwork after application, regardless of the color of the vehicle. Applying two coats is more than enough for that added depth and protection that will last for weeks.
Just make sure that your vehicle is thoroughly clean before applying P21S 12700 Carnauba Wax because this blend does not contain any cleansing agents.
Easy to apply and remove, many people who purchased it gave great reviews because it really does what a great carnauba paste wax should do.
Chemical Guys WAC_201 Butter Wet Wax
- Signature 100% natural carnauba-based formula
- Ingredients: natural carnauba, resins, and polymers
- New and improved formulation for easier application
- Easy on, easy off application
- Achieves a deep, wet look to any kind of paintwork
- Improved protection from rough conditions
- UVA and UVB protection
- 1 gallon
If you like your car looking like it just rolled off the showroom floor, Chemical Guys Vintage (WAC_201) Butter Wet Wax is a great choice, and you won’t even have to spend hundreds of dollars for it.
This Butter Wet Wax has a new and improved liquid formula that delivers an incredible shine and deep wet-look to your vehicle’s exterior. The beautiful shine left on your car after application is due to the enhanced blend of natural carnauba, resins, and polymers.
Your vehicle is given an incredible shine with less effort. The deep gloss comparable to a paste wax finish is attained with a few easy-on and easy-off applications. With its ultra-refined quality, it truly melts like butter into any kind of paintwork, as its name suggests.
This liquid wax can even be used on non-textured surfaces like painted wheels, chrome bumpers, glasswork, windshields, and stainless steel exhaust tips. Also, your vehicle is given a reliable coat of protection from harsh conditions.
Although the gloss produced by Chemical Guys Vintage (WAC_201) Butter Wet Wax is exceptional, it only lasts for a few weeks as compared to other more expensive waxes.
Griot's Garage 11097 Spray-On Wax - 1 Gallon
- Easy to apply, minimum amount of work needed
- Quickly and easily achieve a just-waxed look
- Enhances the vehicles paint and offers protection
- Has a carnauba wax base
- Provides a deep gloss to the painted surface
- Perfect for those who do not have enough time for a wax job
- Content weight: 1 gallon
Basically, as a liquid car wax in a spray-bottle, Griot’s Garage Spray-On Wax is a very convenient product. It is categorized as a quick-detail wax that enhances the previous wax job, thereby stretching the time in between washings. It’s meant to get you from each wash while adding protection and gloss to your vehicle.
When you use Griot’s Garage Spray-On Wax, the longevity of the previously applied natural waxes and sealants are reinforced.
It works as a base wax enhancer that gives your car the look and feel of a just-waxed car. It also helps in removing dirt that was not eliminated during washing.
Keep in mind that Griot’s Garage Spray-On Wax is not meant to substitute for primary paste or liquid wax products and a proper car waxing. After an easy-on and easy-off application process, all that’s left is a deep gloss that greatly enhances the shine of your car.
3M Marine Restorer and Wax
- One-step application
- Easy to use
- Eliminates oxidation, chalking, minor scratches, rust, exhaust stains, and fading
- Brings back the shine and gloss of the paint
- Adds a protective layer to the paint
- Protects and renews gel coats and fiberglass
- Has a unique formula which combines wax and rubbing compound
- Perfect for boats, RVs, and watercraft
- Protects from UV damage
- Leaves a glossy, protective wax finish
- Size: 33.8 oz.
Finding an easy way to restore the lovely finish of your boat is a very difficult task. When your boat or vehicle gets pale, scratched-up, and dull, it’s time to refresh and restore it with 3M Marine Restorer and Wax.
Formulated to remove heavy oxidation, fading, rust, minor scratches, chalking, UV damage and exhaust stains from your boat’s fiberglass or gel coat finish, the 3M Marine Restorer and Wax restores the color, gloss, and shine to your vehicle’s finish.
Made from a special blend of waxes, it adds a layer of protection in one simple application, although tough problem spots may need additional attention.
While it does its job well in restoring the condition of the surface, some users have felt the need to add another layer of wax to enhance the vehicle’s shine and gloss. 3M Marine Restorer and Wax delivers great results to all kinds of boats, RVs, and personal watercraft.
Meguiar's D15601 Synthetic X-Press Spray Wax
- Easy on, easy off formula
- Produces a deep, dark gloss
- Dries clear on plastic and rubber trims
- Can be applied on a damp car
- Can be used under direct sunlight
- Quick wet or dry application
- Utilizes a hydrophobic polymer technology
- Liquid formula that is easy to spray on and wipe off
- Leaves behind a sheen that adds to the protection of the car’s surface
- Great for novices and professional detailers alike
- Net weight: 1 gallon
- Extends time between washings
- Safe for use on boats, RVs, and automobiles
Fullypacked with amazing features, Meguiar’s D15601 Synthetic X-Press Spray Wax is the ultimate quick detailer that can boost the look of your vehicle while enhancing its protection in between washings.
Normally, long-lasting results cannot be expected from a spray-on product, but Meguiar’s D15601 Synthetic X-Press Spray Wax proves otherwise. With only a couple of sprays and a little effort, a great shine is quickly achieved.
This is due to the hydrophobic polymer technology which is Meguiar’s special blend of ingredients, which repels water, making it safe and easy to apply under hot conditions or on a still-damp car. This is a stand-out product because of the great results it produces and the sheer ease of use in applying it.
Still classified as a quick-detail spray, it should not replace a regular and proper waxing job, although it is meant to boost the shine and protection of your vehicle in between washings.
As discussed in this article, there are truly many factors to consider in choosing the best wax that will suit you and your vehicle. Remember to consider all of these factors when it’s time to purchase a wax for your car.
In due course, taking good care of your vehicle by regularly having it maintained, clean, washed and waxed, will pay off for the costs because it’s longevity is enhanced. Keep in mind that applying wax to your car means giving it an added layer of protection, while keeping the paint looking great.
Always make sure to prep your vehicle well before applying wax, that a little amount can go a long way, and that no wax lasts forever.
Keep in mind all the factors that were discussed in this article and you will find the perfect wax that will suit your lifestyle, type of car, budget, and preferences.