How to Hand Wax Your Car
For those without a great deal of experience, we recommend using over the counter consumer products. They are developed to give the best results with the least effort and skill. Professional or industrial grade products are usually developed to accompany experienced applicator skills and equipment.
Common types of products:
Rubbing compounds – quite abrasive, used for removing scuff and small paint flaws
Polishing compounds – less abrasive, for removing heavy oxidation, light paint flaws
Cleaner/waxes – minimum abrasiveness, general purpose wax
Pure wax – no abrasives, for fine polishing
Sealants – see “How to apply sealants”.
Which product is best?
We will assume that you will be using a general purpose cleaner/ wax product. They are available as liquids and paste. Both are good options however paste waxes require more effort to apply. Which over the counter product to use is personal preference as different products may work best depending on vehicle colour, paint, conditions, and how it is applied. Read the labels and select a quality product -one that you will think will be suitable for you. Try experimenting to find what works best and lasts longest for you and your particular vehicle.
In addition to following manufacturers directions, here are some general tips:
Work in the shade or indoors with moderate air temperature and definitely not in any rain or mist
Use a soft sponge, applicator pad, or cloth to apply the wax. Wet the applicator slightly and wring it dry
Using small circular motions, rub a small amount of wax just enough to get even coverage. Using a “heavy layer” will not help
Stay half an inch or so away from vinyl components, rough or porous surfaces, rubber, cloth, vents, etc. If wax dries on these components it is very hard to remove
Leave the same distance from seams, mouldings, and between panels. Wax build-up in these areas look obvious when the wax dries and is a lot of work to remove
It is easier to be careful when applying the wax than to work at removing it in unwanted areas later. Wait until the wax has dried to a haze before removing it but not too long. We recommend around 15 minutes or less as ideal. This may vary depending on the temperature of the air.
Use a micro fibre cloth available at automotive supply retailers or a very soft flannel cotton cloth to polish the wax off once it has dried. Continue turning the cloth and don’t allow any debris. If you drop the cloth shake it out well and check it over so you don’t scratch the paint surface. Don't forget to clean glass, chrome, wheels and jambs after waxing the paint.
How Often Should You Wax Your Vehicle?
Depending on how often the vehicle is washed, and how it is washed, (see “How to wash your vehicle”), as well as the colour, and environmental conditions, the lack of shine will determine when it is time to apply wax again. Usually 2 to 4 times per year is an average.