Car Care Tip: Waxing

6 Dec

Last week we discussed the importance of a regular wash and what that means to your cars cosmetic health.  While a weekly washing of your car is all fine and good, it isn’t enough if you really want your paint to last.  Remember the Rocky Mountain analogy? Even with regular washing, your paint is being sanded by all those contaminates it is exposed to on a daily basis.  Paint swirls, oxidation, and a long list of other paint blemishes can be avoided, or at least prolonged with regular wax treatments.

A tired paint job brightened by wax

Most late model cars today have what is called a clear coat over their paint.  It is a common misconception that the clear coat is meant to protect your paint and can be considered a maintenance free paint job.  The truth is, while the clear coat does provide protection to your base coat to a certain extent, it is nothing more than a clear layer of paint, meant to deepen the color of your paint job.

We’ll go back to the microscope to see how wax protects your paint.  When you apply a layer of wax to your paint’s finish you are filling the valleys and uneven areas that aren’t visible to the naked eye with a protective layer that repels water and keeps contaminates off your paint.   There aren’t many things more satisfying than a car with a fresh coat of wax on a rainy day.  The water beads up and literally falls off the car, taking contaminates with it.  A freshly waxed surface will be smooth to the touch and very slick when it is wet.  While washing your vehicle rinses away loose contaminates it won’t do much for things like tree sap that have bonded to the paints surface.  This is where a good wax job plays an important role.  The wax helps protect your paint between washes and actually allows a wash to last longer as contaminates can’t stick to the wax.

There is a wide variety of wax types on the market today.  Some are geared towards providing more shine than protection, while the more expensive types do both.  There is enough variety and information out there on these different wax types that we’ll save that for another time.  If you’re in question about what type of wax to start with, try starting with a liquid synthetic wax as they are the easiest to apply and last the longest.  We can go into the different types of wax at another time.

The Durango after a fresh wax

One last note on washing and waxing your vehicle, don’t use old t-shirts or cloth diapers to dry your car or truck!  Terry cloth towels should be used when drying or buffing your paint.  The cloth is especially designed to pick up debris that could scratch your paint, while other types of cloth will drag contaminates across the surface.  You should also use separate cloths for drying and detailing, this will help you avoid dragging contaminates that were picked up from drying the vehicle across the paints surface, causing scratches and swirls.
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