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How To Wax Your Car Like A Pro

Regular waxing is an easy and inexpensive way to prolong the lifespan of your vehicle’s paint, not to mention it makes your ride look brand new. Learning how to wax your vehicle means you’ll reap the benefits of an improved aesthetic and save yourself a considerable chunk of hard-earned cash down the road when others find themselves re-painting and repairing surface blemishes and scuffs.

There’s two ways you can go when it comes to waxing, and one isn’t particularly superior over the other. You can either get in there and use a bit of elbow grease to wax your vehicle by hand, or you can invest in an electric orbital buffer (usually around $25-$40 for a cheap model, and upwards of $200 for the crème-de-la-crème).

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on giving your vehicle the spa-day it deserves to make it shine like new again:

What You’ll Need

Begin by purchasing a good microfiber cloth to apply the wax on your car. Skipping this step and substituting an old shop towel, rag, or paper towel can mean unintentionally scuffing the surface of your vehicle with abrasive properties found in these other materials – a microfiber cloth will ensure that you cause no damage to the existing paint. After all, you wouldn’t want to be responsible for scratching your Chevrolet Silverado before you had a chance to scratch it in the traditional way with some old fashioned 4×4 off-roading.

You’ll also need wax, of course. There are hundreds of products found all over the place that will all do a fantastic job of giving your car a crisp, shiny exterior – which one is up to you. A popular choice is the go-to carnauba wax, a common ingredient in many waxes, carnauba is a derivative of palm wax, and leaves a glossy protective finish – as such, it’s also used in many dental floss’, shoe polishes and furniture waxes. As alternatives, you can purchase synthetic waxes known commonly as paint sealant, liquid wax, spray wax, or coloured wax.

As a general rule, carnauba wax leaves the high-gloss finish that synthetic waxes just can’t seem to replicate – although the vast majority of car waxes are synthetic, because they’re easier to apply, and the finish usually lasts longer – sometimes up to a whole season, before it needs to be reapplied. Spray waxes are especially easy to use, and similarly, liquid waxes can be applied very easily.

Buffing

First, wash your car with clean water and a good car detergent, removing any surface grime or dirt. Then dry the whole vehicle using a clean, cloth that will not scratch your paint.

When your vehicle’s surface is in desperate need of help, buffing the paint first helps to restore a workable surface prior to waxing. Apply a liberal amount of a buffing compound to any heavily damaged or weathered surface. The act of buffing, or rubbing in the compound works by removing a fine layer of paint and exposing a fresh layer underneath. Applying the wax immediately after buffing will encourage the clear coat to replace its protective properties.

Buff in circular motions, holding the buffing pad level at all times, careful not to apply too much pressure which can lead to ‘swirling,’ leaving tiny scratches in the surface. Work one quarter panel at a time until the surface appears smooth and new.

Once buffing is complete, you’re ready to wax the car – in much the same fashion.

Waxing

If the paint is in relatively good condition, repeat the above steps but use your chosen wax instead of a buffing compound. Using a clean microfiber pad or cloth, apply the wax generously in a circular motion, opting to wax one quarter panel at a time.

Some waxes require you to leave it on the vehicle for a set amount of time prior to removing it – then remove the dry wax with a new microfiber cloth in the same circular motion. Consult the instructions of your chosen product to ensure you’re leaving, or removing the wax in the right amount of time.

It’s good to wax your car every three months or so to ensure that there’s always a good level of protective coating on your paint – but be careful not to wax too often. Buffing should only be done if there’s a particular problem spot. With all this in mind, you’ll keep your car looking brand new for years to come.