Have you ever noticed that some cars are obviously clean, but look a little sad and dull? Meanwhile, other drivers have cars that shine so much they can be blinding at the wrong time of day. The difference between them is probably a good coat of wax, but a badly applied car wax job can actually make your finish dull instead of gleaming. If you want that same sine on your vehicle, you need to know the secrets to a perfect coat of wax. Read on to learn exactly what you need to do to get that shine.
Wash Your Car
This seems obvious, but your car needs to be spotlessly clean before starting. Wash thoroughly by hand, making sure to towel scrub every painted nook and cranny. It is extremely important to wash and rinse away all debris and soap residue. And dust or dirt debris will act as an abrasive when you reach the polish phase, and unrinsed soap can cause the wax to break down and go hazy.
Dry Your Car
Drying is key—any water left behind will definitely react with most waxes and interfere with the finish. There are a couple of ways to dry. If you are in a very hot, dry environment, you can allow it to air dry for a little while. There are drawbacks to this technique. Any debris, pollen, dust, etc that falls on the car while it is wet and drying can end up turning to sludge and then drying onto the finish.
A better technique is to hand dry the car, using a soft lint-free towel like a cloth baby diaper or a chamois. You can find both natural chamois cloths and synthetic version. Either will absorb a huge amount of water very efficiently, so if you are regularly washing and waxing your car, they are worth the small investment to purchase them.
This step is highly dependent on what type of wax you use. Because of this, wax selection is extremely important. Choose one that will work with the type of finish on your car (matte finishes require a very specific type of protectant, for example), and that you feel comfortable with the process required.
If you want a quick and easy process, choose a spray on or liquid wax that can be added quickly. If you have an older car with a worn or faded clear coat, it might need a more intense wax that has stronger buffing capabilities. For many of these dry type waxes, you will apply a liberal layer, rubbing into the finish to help buff away microabrasions. Follow the directions for your particular wax, but typically you will then wait on the wax to dry.
Remove Wax/ Buff
This step will be similar for most waxes, with the main difference being how many steps this takes. Using a clean, dry, lint free cloth, buff away the excess wax in a circular motion, turning the towel to a clean side as needed to keep your towel from gunking up.
Te buff step can be completed with a rotary buffing tool. It might be necessary to rub awy the excess wax first, or your buffer pad can become extremely full, very fast.
Unless your wax has additional steps like a cleaner wax followed by a shining wax, your car is now ready to go! A properly waxed car will repel water and debris. You can even give it a quick rinse with no soap to remove dust without needing a full wash. Just know that washing your car after it is waxed can give it adult finish if the wax is partially removed. If this happens, just dry and wax it again to have it looking like new.
Now that you know type of finish on your car, you have no excuse for a dull and dingy car. Get the right wax, and shine your baby up today!