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Cosmetic Maintenance (Wash, Wax, Detailing, Body Repairs) Wash, Wax, Details, Repairs


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Old 09-28-2018, 05:22 AM   #1
FlyingSquirrel
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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CAR WAX

Car wax has come a long way since it was first developed in 1800 using animal fats to polish and shine carriages. Todayís car waxes are produced using finely-tuned processes that have elevated the use of natural waxes that include vegetable wax, beeswax, and oils, as well as synthetic bases, to shine and protect your vehicle like never before.

Professional detailers, car enthusiasts, and proud car owners alike have the ability to maintain and preserve a carís finish, but an understanding of wax basics is a must to ensure that you do whatís best for your vehicle.

I. What is Car Wax

Car wax is a formulated blend of waxes, oils, and solvents which can include crude oil distillates, ethanol, mineral spirits, petroleum, naptha (commonly used as a thinner for wood varnishes and paints), and more.
A wax compound adds a layer of protection to the paint and can also bring out the best of your vehicleís luster and shine. While waxing brings out the beauty of the paint, itís most important job lies in its power as a protectant. A good wax will see your carís paint through moisture, UV rays, intense heat, a battery of pollutants, and will help prevent the dreaded oxidation process.





II. What is Carnauba Wax?

Carnauba wax is a plant-based, vegetable wax that is produced using the leaves of the Brazilian Palm tree referred to as the ďTree of Life.Ē The waxy substance protects the trees from the sweltering sun of South America.

Carnauba wax is the preferred wax of car enthusiasts and collectors, and is commonly agreed to be the ultimate wax base for many car wax formulations. Natural carnauba is blended with oils, petroleum distillates, solvents, and other like ingredients in order to be worked into a useable car wax product.



A car wax that specifies a percentage of purity in terms of carnauba refers only to the purity level of the carnauba wax used in the product, not the amount of natural carnauba wax in the formula itself.

Carnauba will give you a one of a kind finish. It can bring out an outstanding, glossy shine and create a showroom finish for your car. It is noted, however, that carnauba wax will have to be used more frequently than synthetic wax products.

III. What is the difference between Car Wax and Car Polish?

Before we go any further, letís make sure that itís understood that car polish and car wax are two very different things.

Car polish is used as a remedy. Polish removes the dirt, grime, grease, and scratches that are left behind after a good washing. Solvents within the polish allow it to remove, or at least reduce, impurities on the paint surface and will bring out the shine.

Car polish should be used in a multistage process of caring for your vehicleís paint because, while it can make your car look great when finished, it does not seal or protect the paint. Waxing is the only true way to protect your carís paint and should be completed after the polishing step.

IV. What are the Best Car Waxes?

The best wax varies by need.

A. Natural Car Wax

A true car wax is created with a naturally-occurring wax base such as carnauba wax, beeswax, or the like. Waxes can be categorized into cleaner waxes and finishing waxes and which one you need depends on your particular vehicle. A paint sealant is a synthetically-produced product.

B. Cleaner Wax

A cleaner wax is often called an All-in-one or One-step product. These waxes contain chemicals, and sometimes abrasives, to clean the paint, remove oxidation, polish, and allow a layer of protection for your car.

C. Finishing Wax

A finishing wax has no cleaning ability. Finishing Wax is the final step of a dedicated multistage process that includes washing, a thorough cleaning, the use of a compound, clay bar, or swirl remover, and a polishing step. It can also be used on an otherwise near perfect paint job in showroom or, at least, excellent condition. A finishing wax lends itself to a highly-prized mirror finish and an ultimate protective layer for your carís paint.

5 of the Best Car Wax Options for Your Car:

1. Meguiarís G18216 Ultimate Liquid Wax

Meguiar has formulated the ideal liquid wax for maximum durability, protection, and that deep mirror shine that youíve been looking for in your carís paint. This synthetic polymer wax is made up of an advanced formulation that shields your car from water and other harmful influences, and application is a breeze with Meguiarís ThinFilm technology.

2. Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

Utilizing 100% natural carnauba wax at its base, this liquid wax has been refined to perfection. One of the biggest advantages of this product is the ease and flexibility of application. No perfect conditions required here.
Butter Wet Wax can be applied in direct sunlight, on wet paint, by hand or machine. In just minutes, you can have the pure, deep, wet shine of a showroom vehicle. Chemical Guyís newly improved formula ďMelts like butter into paintĒ and is better than ever in protecting your vehicle from the sunís damaging rays, road tar, water spots, and bird droppings.

3. Wash Wax All by Aero Cosmetics

Letís talk about the most environmentally-safe product choice. Aero Cosmetics developed this Wash Wax All product over 30 years ago for use with aircraft, but itís now a booming success with vehicle owners. This one product does it all concept has been verified to satisfy all of its claims.
Wash Wax All is biodegradable, can be used with water or as a waterless wash and wax, is safe for interior detailing as well as the exterior, is a sealant yet cleans, and is the economical big hitter. One 128 ounce bottle can complete 15-16 applications for under $3.00 each. Now you can wash and wax anywhere, at any time, for your convenience.

4. Car Guyís Liquid Wax

Car Guyís Liquid Wax is a popular alternative. This liquid wax is one step in a multi-stage process. Durability is key with CG Liquid Wax, as users can expect continued protection and shine for up to one year.
The long-lasting mirror finish is achieved through the use of new additives developed through polymer nanoscience that has yielded changes to the chemical properties of their liquid wax. Car Guys suggest using their Hybrid Wax Sealant after application of the liquid wax to realize the best benefits of this product.

5. Colliniteís No. 845 Insulator Wax

Thinking a little outside the box: Try what others have found to be a fantastic alternative; Colliniteís Insulator Wax. Colliniteís Wax was originally developed for power companies as a protective measure for high-voltage power lines. In the last 40 years, applications have included marine and industrial applications and today itís increasingly known for its outstanding performance on passenger vehicles.

No. 845 Insulator Wax is a high-grade formulation that is safe for your carís clear-coat and requires little buffing. Use Colliniteís Insulator Wax as part of a multi-step process. Note specific instructions on proper use/liquefying step of the process. Gorgeous results are long-lasting and dependable. An advanced level of protection and impressive beading properties will sell you on this product.

You can read Consumer Reportís Car Wax Ratings here.

V. How to Wax Your Car

1. Gather The Equipment


  • A trusty bucket and clean sponge is a must. Ideally, have more than one on hand, one for soap and one to aid in rinsing.
  • Microfiber towels
  • Car washing soap
  • Clay bar and clay lubricant (optional)
  • Car polish (if desired or if using a finishing wax)

2. Prepare your carís surface

Wash your car to remove surface debris. Make sure to begin with the wheels to avoid having any dirt or grime splatter on the car surface as you progress.

Use a clay bar on the freshly-washed car to remove contaminants, pollutants, excess grime, and tar. Rub the clay bar across the wet surface until the paint is smooth and free of contaminants. A clay lubricant can be used to keep the paintís surface lubricated while claying. Read our guide on how to do a clay bar treatment here.

Use other compounds or swirl removers as needed.

3. If Applying an All-in-One or One-Step Cleaning Wax Product

Some of the preparation above can be accomplished if using a cleaning wax. Apply the specific steps as needed for your vehicle. A cleaning wax requires some elbow grease as it is designed to also clean the paint. A cleaner wax should be worked into the paint surface. The worse the condition of the paint, the more energy you will need to exert.
Methods vary by product as cleaning waxes come in paste, liquid, and spray forms. Read and follow the instructions of the product you choose carefully for best results.

4. Polish your car

Note: Do this step especially if you are using a Multi-step process ending with the use of a finishing wax. This step is not required with the use of a One-Step or All-In-One cleaning wax.

Once your car feels smooth, itís time to polish. Apply the polisher to a clean cloth if polishing by hand (a dual-action polisher can be used if you have one on hand, and is safe, easy, and saves time).

Apply in one small area at a time, concentrating on any areas where marks, scratches, and other damage exist. After a short time (a minute or less), wipe off the polish residue while still wet.

Next, apply the polish to the entire surface of the car, working in small areas at a time. In the end, youíll have a vibrant and glossy finish as the polish will correct the paint, remove a vast majority of fine scratches, and will bring out the natural beauty of the paint.

5. Apply the Car Wax



Apply car wax using the recommended procedure outlined in the productís specific instructions. Unless noted otherwise, the wax is normally applied in the shade to prevent trouble buffing the residue from the paint.

Apply car wax to a dry vehicle unless the productís instructions say otherwise. Wet paint can cause streaks. Apply the wax in small, circular motions. Apply a thin layer of wax to the entire paint surface.

Let the wax dry. Times will vary by product. Generally, a hazy, or matte appearance will let you know that itís time to buff away the wax. Use a clean microfiber towel to remove the residue, rotating the towel frequently to prevent caking.

Admire the results of your hard work!

VI. How Often Should You Wax Your Car?

How often you need to wax your car depends on the type of wax you prefer to use, your driving habits, environmental conditions in your area, and your specific car and what you expect from it.

Most waxes commonly suggest that car wax is reapplied every three to four months. Some products will claim that you only have to use them up to once a year. But, as you can imagine, there are variables that limit this potential.



Overall, taking care to shield your car from the elements on a regular basis will help to increase the time between waxing. Seeking shade, and avoiding trees where birds love to flock help a great deal, but thereís only so much you can do when it comes to environmental concerns. Smog and air pollutants are not your paintís friend.

Car Wax plays an all-important part in the proper care of your car exterior. Itís not all about vanity (but hey, you want your car to stand out, right!). Your car is a big investment, and car wax helps to protect that investment and increase the life of your carís paint.

Happy waxing!
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:58 PM   #2
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This is very helpful! +1 for Meguair's Ultimate Wax
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:19 PM   #3
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I can add that you can apply the wax yourself. Depending on the wishes of the car owner, waxing the car body can be done manually or with the help of tools. Most often, they offer a manual version of waxing the body, but if you choose hot body processing, then you cannot do without a special tool. For each type of wax, you can say its own application and processing technology, but there are basic rules that should be followed. I always choose this option for myself, you can find more about it here. Regardless of the type and method of application chosen, the first thing to do is to ideally wash the car body from dirt and other substances. This is best done with a pressure washer and non-contact foam application.

Last edited by margohathaway66; 03-03-2021 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:02 AM   #4
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Meguiars absolutely hands down. I use their ceramic wax is I couldn't be happpier. The coat that I applied before winter hit is still holding up. Mind you this is a $15 bottle of ceramic wax.



Washing the vehicle is the most important part. I like to start with a foam blaster to loosen dirt, which makes it easier for the sponge to pick up such material. Basically it goes like this; Rinse wheels, apply wheel cleaner, let it sit. Use foam blaster on car covering entirely. Let sit for a minute or two. Clean up wheels with a separate sponge dedicated for just wheels. Rinse Car/wheels. Use one bucket for soapy water, one to rinse sponge. Dry car. Clay bar. Wax. Finish beer and admire work. Take pictures.
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:51 AM   #5
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Meguiars absolutely hands down. I use their ceramic wax is I couldn't be happpier. The coat that I applied before winter hit is still holding up. Mind you this is a $15 bottle of ceramic wax.



Washing the vehicle is the most important part. I like to start with a foam blaster to loosen dirt, which makes it easier for the sponge to pick up such material. Basically it goes like this; Rinse wheels, apply wheel cleaner, let it sit. Use foam blaster on car covering entirely. Let sit for a minute or two. Clean up wheels with a separate sponge dedicated for just wheels. Rinse Car/wheels. Use one bucket for soapy water, one to rinse sponge. Dry car. Clay bar. Wax. Finish beer and admire work. Take pictures.
WRONG ANSWER SOLDIER! It's Ammo NYC all the way lol
Jk, I do use Meguiars wax and interior detailing, but AMMO wash and other products for cleaning.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:02 AM   #6
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WRONG ANSWER SOLDIER! It's Ammo NYC all the way lol
Jk, I do use Meguiars wax and interior detailing, but AMMO wash and other products for cleaning.

I just took a look at their website, and man, pricey lol. But I would pay top dollar if it ensures a well maintained car. I'm just fascinated by the Meguiars ceramic wax, is amazing how long and well it lasts for less than $20 a bottle. I'll probably try their products and see if I change my mind.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:26 AM   #7
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Majority of big brand shelf name car care products are high quality these days. Turtle wax, meguiars, mother's. Turtle wax is probably best bang for buck if you can find it.

I have a lot of optimum stuff on my shelf.
My $50 dollar bottle of hyper-seal lasted 50+ uses. I don't think there is much else on the market that is that highly concentrated. I started using it as a dry aid to use it up faster. 2-3 full sprays for our car. One panel gets 1/3rd spray.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:42 AM   #8
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Turtle wax now makes a cleaner and ceramic spray that contains no waxes.
Their newest product is a graphene spray that is even better than the ceramic.
303 also has a graphene product, both are much better than waxes for sunlight protection.
I have just started to use the graphene so i have no long term experience yet.

These are in the $20 price range.

EDIT My diesel truck got the full professional ceramic coat, but that cost just over $1000. I checked with the shop and today they can charge up to $3000. Glad i did my truck three years ago.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:55 AM   #9
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The new turtle wax graphene spray looks interesting. If one application lasts a while I may give it a go. The hydrophobics on my ceramic coating is starting to fail on the lower panels.

If their advising is to be believed, you can apply it over a prepped(polished surface) and then continuously maintain it by topping it.
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:47 PM   #10
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This is comprehensive, thanks for sharing this post.
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Old 03-09-2021, 07:41 AM   #11
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Being 73yo my approach to making my car look good is this:

1) Hand wash with a quality car wash soap. Maybe twice if needed.

2) Dry with a leaf blower.

3) Apply by hand Meguiars Mirror Glaze #7 Show Car Glaze.
to bring out the shine.

4) Apply Nu-Finish as a sealer. Nu-finish will do nothing for the shine ,but is a good long
term protective product.

For me this is a 2 day process. day1--wash and glaze. day 2---hose off car and blow dry,
apply Nu-finish.

The most important part is the lawn chair to rest between working on the car (73yo). and to admire my work.
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Old 03-09-2021, 09:25 AM   #12
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I am a firm believer in Nu-Finish. I have used it for years with good results. The only thing that is different than a wax is the feel after application. I use it on the trucks that stay outside. Once a year and they seem to be protected form the sun and will clean up easily. It is a thick polymer finish not a wax.
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Old 03-09-2021, 10:01 AM   #13
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Being 73yo my approach to making my car look good is this:

1) Hand wash with a quality car wash soap. Maybe twice if needed.

2) Dry with a leaf blower.

3) Apply by hand Meguiars Mirror Glaze #7 Show Car Glaze.
to bring out the shine.

4) Apply Nu-Finish as a sealer. Nu-finish will do nothing for the shine ,but is a good long
term protective product.

For me this is a 2 day process. day1--wash and glaze. day 2---hose off car and blow dry,
apply Nu-finish.

The most important part is the lawn chair to rest between working on the car (73yo). and to admire my work.

I... absolutely love that color. Really want to wrap mine into that.
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Old 03-28-2021, 09:49 PM   #14
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I've been using ceramic sprays lately. My previous favorite was Meguiars Ultimate Wax which is good but Griot's Ceramic Spray Wax is even better. That magic ninja turtle juice is something else.
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