Your car just received a fresh coat of paint and it looks like new, so now you want to keep it looking good. As any car owner knows, that involves putting on a good coat of wax to protect the paint from the elements. Follow these tips for when and how often you should wax your car.
What Does Waxing Your Car Do?
Making your car’s paint look shiny and glossy is one good reason to wax your car, but it’s not the only one. In fact, there are several benefits of keeping a good coat of wax on your car. When done properly, waxing extends the life of the paint and protects the exterior of your car. It also makes it easier to wash your car, as dirt and grime are more likely to stick to unprotected paint than a good coat of wax.
Waxing can also help prevent costly repairs. Unwaxed car paint is easier to chip or peel, exposing the bare metal underneath and making it more prone to rust. If not repaired, rust can spread into areas that can’t be seen, which can weaken the car’s body.
When to Wax a New Car
It wasn’t too long ago that you had to be careful when waxing a new car. Most people wanted to wax their new car as soon as they got home in order to keep it looking new. However, car dealerships recommended letting the paint dry and the paint to fully cure before applying a coat of wax. This usually meant waiting a month or two before applying the first coat of wax.
These days car manufacturers cure the paint before shipping new cars to the dealership, so you can wax your car as soon as you want without fear of damaging the paint. In fact, dealers now recommend waxing your new car as soon as possible to protect it from the elements.
When to Wax a Newly Painted Car
After getting a new paint job on your car, your first instinct may be to apply a good coat of quality wax before anything can happen to the paint. But, in this situation the old adage about giving the paint time to cure is true. The last thing you want to do is wax your car as soon as the new paint dries. If you apply wax too soon, it will interrupt the curing process, which can weaken the paint and make it easier to scratch or damage. Instead, wait 60 to 90 days before waxing.
During this time, park indoors or in the shade and out of the direct sun whenever you can. Avoid parking underneath trees or other types of landscaping that can drop harmful substances on your car. When parking at the market or mall, look for spots that leave ample room on both sides of the car. This will minimize the chances of someone opening their car door into yours. When the waiting period is over, be sure to wax your car with a non-abrasive wax or polish.
How Often Should You Wax Your Car?
Like many aspects of car maintenance, the answer to this question depends on who you talk to. Some auto body professionals recommend twice a year – once in the spring before hot weather arrives, and once in the fall to protect the paint against inclement winter weather. Others suggest waxing your car every three to four months. If you’re uncertain about how often you should wax your car, take the following factors into consideration.
Where you live. Climate has a big impact on how often you should wax your car. Do you live in a temperate part of the country, where temperatures and weather conditions are fairly moderate? Or does the local weather get extreme at times? For example, if you live near the ocean, your car’s paint will be exposed to a lot of moist, salty air, which can wear down paint faster than normal. If you live in the desert, the blazing sun and dry, dusty air can do the same. In both cases, you will want to wax at least three times a year. If you park under trees, regular waxing can help protect against sap and other harmful substances that can get dropped on your car.
The type of wax you use. There are many different types of waxes. All provide a good shine, but some are better than others. As a result, the intervals between waxings can vary substantially. Soft waxes tend to go on quicker and easier, but they require more frequent application to provide sufficient protection. Hard waxes, especially those containing carnauba, require more effort to apply, but tend to last much longer.
How often you wash your car. It’s a fact of life that cars get dirty when you drive them, and even the best wax jobs will wear down sooner than they should if you don’t regularly wash your car. Whether you wash by hand or prefer the car wash when you fill up for gas, frequent washes will prevent much of the dirt and dust from settling into the wax.
The age and condition of your car. A newly painted car requires less effort to keep it looking good, while older cars will need more than the occasional waxing to look their best. A color restorer and frequent waxing can make them shine once again. At some point, however, it may require a new paint job to make older cars look good again.
If you’re still wondering how often you should wax your car, here’s a simple tip: when water runs off the surface of your car it should bead up nicely. If not, it’s time to give your car a new coat of wax.
How Long Does it Take To Wax A Car?
We’ve talked about when to wax a new car and what does waxing your car do, but some car owners want to know how long it takes to wax a car. As is often the case with auto care questions, the answer is “it depends.” Some of the factors include the size of the car and what type of wax you use. It also depends on whether you apply one coat or multiple coats of wax. It even depends on whether you like waxing your car or consider it a boring but necessary chore.
As a rule of thumb, waxing a small car with one coat can be accomplished in about an hour. Waxing a larger car, like a mini-van, can take twice as long. Add in the time required to give the car a good washing before the wax job, and it can easily take up a whole afternoon, which is why many car owners pay to have their cars waxed. Either way, waxing your car a few times a year will help protect the paint, keep your car looking good, and help prevent rust that can lead to costly repairs.