CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Arthritis Friendly Wax To Apply

I like you, have given up doing wax jobs because of shoulder surgeries. I just use the spray wax at the touch less car washes and have no problem maintaining a finish. The biggest enemy of a cars finish is not Salt. As long as the finish remains in tack, the biggest problem is sunlight. I have a carport and keep the cars out of the sunlight and just use this crappy liquid wax and my finishes are new like for 10 plus years. I did this the first ten years of car ownership life, used regular wax and buffing the middle 25 and have gone back to liquid and sun control and for the life of me, I can see NO difference in the quality of the finish after ten years of car ownership on those I have kept that long.

If you’re just getting an exterior wash and wax, $100 would be on the high side. My detail guy would do it for $50, but that’s not helpful unless you’re in Minnesota.

I assume the mechanized car wash wax jobs get the wax on the windshield also. Doesn’t that turn the glass hydrophobic (like Rain-X would) and prevent the water from sheeting?

When I waxed cars for a small living we used Turtle Wax liquid or Armor All liquid wax because it was easy to put on and buff. Spray wax is good for all the dark plastic.

Let me chime in again to re-emphasize. Wax is not the only answer. A detailer should not just use wax first. The clay bar treatment is amazing for the crap it pulls out of the finish. Even a car 6 months old. I did mine at 6 months and you can really feel the difference. After that at least a polish with a light cleaner makes a big difference in the final appearance. And then when all the spider webs and crap is off of the finish, you apply the wax. In between wax jobs you can use the spray detailer to freshen it up. So when you talk to the body shop, ask about the clay and the polish and not just the wax.

I’m not talking show room classic car finish where you’d color sand it first, but if you want it to look nice and last, you need more than just the old Tutle wax treatment.

I’ve had good luck with Nu-Finish and McGuiars, and Liquid Glass is also one to consider.

I’m appalled Marnet. You mean the dealer did not sell you lifetime paint protectant wax also guaranteed to ward off insects, thieves, and large hail? :slight_smile:

Oh, the dealer DID try to sell me an oh so nicely over priced paint protection plan but I declined since it wouldn’t cover flying cows, super volcano eruptions and purple pigeon poop. :slight_smile:

Smart man. If it doesn’t cover flying cows, it isn’t a good policy… {:slight_smile:

And as we all know it is poor policy promising pricey protection prohibiting potential plentiful putrient purple pigeon poop plopped profanely on pristine paint!

I m usually up for a good round of alliteration, but that example left me speechless. good job marnet the marmot

I get pretty good results maintaining the finish on my 20+ year old Corolla using easy on/easy off wax. It’s a synthetic-wax product called “Rain Dance”. I purchased a big supply of the stuff years ago when it was on sale, and been using it since. I don’t think they make it any more though. But the easy-on easy-off liquid Turtle Wax is probably just as good.

hmm … Say you have a certain amount of time and personal energy over the course of the year to devote to maintaining your car’s finish. The options might be:

  1. You could do a really good job once a year. Say by using a clay bar, maybe some polishing compound, and finally applying a thick paste carnauba wax.

  2. Or you could do a less-than-perfect job but more frequently. Like applying an easy-on easy off wax 3-4 times a year.

So which is the best use of resources?

I think the best finish-preservation (given fixed resources) is obtained by using an easy-on/easy-off wax job 3-4 times per year. Add to that" spray the car with a garden hose for a few minutes once or twice a week to rid the paint surface of dust. And only wash with soap and warm water when the grime can’t be gotten rid of with a garden hose. Maybe once every 2-4 weeks. Why worry about a soap and water car wash? The soap takes the wax off.

The OP mentions one other very important point to finish preservation if you live in an area where they put salt on the roads in the winter. Be sure during winter weather to spray off the under side of the car, especially the wheel wells (and tailgate area if a truck) quite often. When I lived in Colorado I’d do this after every big snow storm. At one of those DIY car wash places where you put a quarter in the slot and get 3 minutes of use of a spray wand. Those places are still around probably, but cost considerably more than a quarter I imagine.

considerably more is right…

I’m happy you mentioned the lawn mowing job. Wayne Jr. mowed a lawn by running around at random. It took longer to fix the mess than it would have taken to mow it right the first time.

That kid was amazing. Duz keeps sudsing and sudsing… That was a commercial for dish soap. He would walk around saying sudsing for a half hour. His grandmother didn’t die young because of him but there were days when a third floor window seemed like a good exit.

Like @dagosa, I gave up waxing my vehicles 26 years ago.

I used to wax them religiously, but then family concerns became a higher priority. And I too could see NO difference in the quality of the finish after owning those cars for typically 10-14 years.

Spray waxes are a waste of time in my opinion. The only way youre going to get a proper protective and lasting wax is to use a paste of some sort I feel. The quickest way to do it is to use a buffing machine. Use one bonnet to put the wax on, and one or two for removal. Work one panel at a time, let it dry and haze up nicely - otherwise its more work to remove. Also, avoid black plastic areas, they tend to get a patern on them from the buffing machine that stays. But all of that is way easier than the old school hand method.

@Fender1325 - that might have been true before, but the modern liquid waxes do a good job. As good as a paste? Maybe not, but they’re not a waste of time. CR rated “Nu Finish” liquid almost as good as the two top-rated paste waxes, and better than all the rest of the paste waxes as far as durability goes.

Sounds to me like I’ll do best to try a liquid wax and do the job in small patches. If I find it too painful to properly do the entire car, I’ll have to settle for the commercial car wash version like I have for the last some years.

The nice really good job with clay bar, compounding, and finishing off with a buffer is simply beyond my physical limitations.

However, reading the various suggestions with back and forth discussion is interesting and educational.

Thank you everyone. I do appreciate the feedback.

@texases When saying liquid wax I was referring to some products that claim they’re wax and come in a spray bottle. Those look nice but last about a day or so.

The liquid you’re referring to is fine. We sometimes would mix them when loading a bonnet. We’d use a plastic scraper to load up the bonnet with paste and then swirl some liquid on it, then hand rub the machine a few swirls before turning it on so we didn’t flick the liquid everywhere.

I forget the brand, I think it was Mothers who used to make a 3 step process where you were essentially waxing, let haze, and buff out the whole car 3 times. Made it look like glass. But as I recall they stopped making it.

I used to believe that the only good wax job was to apply paste wax. However, in my geezer state, I find that liquid wax works quite well. My wife takes her 2003 4Runner through a carwash that applies spray wax. After 11 years, her car still looks like it came out of the showroom. I’ve never hand waxed that car.
As for kids waxing a car, when I was in 8th grade, my parents had to buy a second car as my mother went back to work. My dad came home with a 1947 Desoto coupe that was 7 years old and was a badly faded maroon color. I made a real snotty remark about the car. My dad didn’t say a word, but the next day he came home with rubbing compound, auto cleaner and paste wax and told me that it was up to me to make that car look cool. I put two days’ work into that car, but it really shown when I got through. I don’t\ think I would have the energy to do all that work today.

Back in the 1980s, my father helped my sister buy a car, a little white Mazda 323, I think. He gave my sister a lecture about how car wash spray wax was virtually useless. The science of chemistry has progressed significantly since then, and today’s spray waxes work far better, and they make a real difference for those who use them. Today’s car wash spray waxes are far better than “better than nothing.” The same can be said for waxes you can buy in a spray bottle. Paste wax might still be better, but I wouldn’t bet on it, and if it is, the margin has narrowed.