The desire to keep your vehicle’s shine is more common than you may think. One of the first questions people ask themselves after buying a car is ‘how often should I wax my car.’ Since wax doesn’t last very long, the shortest answer is, you will have to do it again every few weeks or months.
The specific time period depends on the type of wax you use and the harshness of the environment your car is in. Therefore, it changes from car owner to car owner. Some people can get away with only waxing their vehicles twice a year while others have to take out their waxing tools every three to four months. You’ll even find some car owners who redo their car’s wax at two week intervals.
Types Of Wax
The type of wax you use will heavily influence how long you can wait between applications. Each type has its own formulation, result, and resistance to harsh weather.
Paste Wax – 3 to 6 months
Paste wax is the traditional way to shine your car. It is thick and provides a highly resistant layer of protection to your car. However, its dense consistency also means that you will need a long time to apply it on your car.
Even so, the wax lasts for a while and is great for people who don’t want to redo their work every two months. The typical reapplication period ranges from three to six months.
Liquid Wax – 2 months
The second type of car wax is made up of synthetic polymers and natural wax. The two provide excellent protection against harmful UV Rays and therefore, keeps a car safe from erosion. You also get great shine.
The only downside is that this wax is lightweight. Application will be super easy, but you’ll have to repeat the process every two months or so because it won’t last very long.
Some come in bottles and are poured onto your application cloth. The particularly thin ones can be sprayed directly onto the car. Note that liquid wax dries very quickly so you should only apply it to small areas at a time and buff it out as fast as you can.
Liquid Polymer – 3 to 4 months
Most car owners consider liquid polymer as a synthetic wax since it is made of man-made materials. However, this does not make it any less efficient. It does not offer the same level of shine as the other options on this list but it provides comparative protection.
Carnauba Wax – less than 2 months
Carnauba Wax has the best shine on this list and is especially effective on darker cars. However, it has the worst durability and needs to be applied more regularly than any of the other waxes.
This is the wax all the old-school car owners use. It is made of Brazilian palm tree oil and typically comes in paste form.
You should only use it if your car stays in a garage for most of the time. We wouldn’t recommend it if you use the vehicle for regular transport.
Going By Feel
The easiest way to figure out how often you should be waxing your car is by observing the last coating of wax on your car. As soon as you notice that it has worn off, apply a new layer. Many car owners like this method instead of a fixed schedule since it is easier to maintain and keep track of.
All you need to do is drop a few drops of water on your car every couple of days in the morning. Wax causes water to bead up and roll away. If the water isn’t beading, it means your car’s clear coat doesn’t have a layer of wax on it anymore. Then you can wax your vehicle.
This is a great trick since you get an answer to your question without getting into the technicalities of wax type, garage environments, etc.
Another similar method is running your finger over the car’s surface. Wax has a unique and easily identifiable texture and feel. Hence it is easy to differentiate between a waxed and unwaxed surface. You’ll know if you need to wax your car again by sliding your finger over it regularly.
Even if you want to mark your calendar and have an exact date for wax application, you should use this technique. This is because sometimes unforeseen weather or other environmental conditions can cause the wax to wear off sooner than expected.
Why Is Choosing The Right Waxing Interval Important
There are two ways to mess up waxing intervals: taking too long between applications or doing them too regularly. Both come with their fair share of problems.
If you don’t wax your car as much as you should and delay application for a long period, you’ll leave your car exposed to harmful elements. Whenever a car is outside, it is exposed to UV rays, sulfur dioxide, car wash detergents, etc. Each of these attacks the clear coat and slowly etches it away.
Adding a wax layer protects the clear coat. It extends your vehicle’s paint and increases resale value.
However, if you wax too regularly, you’ll cause build up and clouding. That isn’t good for you or your car either.
So it is important to know how often you should wax your car and avoid both these extremes.
In short, the exact answer to ‘how often should I wax my car’ will change from person to person. The most important factor in this decision is the type of wax you use. There are four main divisions in the market right now. Most products fit under one of these categories.
Each one has a different formulation, benefits, and drawbacks. You can choose one depending on what you’re looking for. Once you do, you must make sure to regularly reapply the wax. The time periods given above are rough estimates.
We recommend using them in conjunction with the other tips of going by feel. For instance, if you’re using liquid wax, run your finger along your car and drop a little water on it every couple of days after seven weeks until the wax layer has worn off.