Car Wax: Whats your favorite? and does it really work?

I suggest you actually go to the Glare website and actually READ their product information…here’s their URL…

Their polish is NOT a polish…it’s a polish AND sealant…which is exactly what I said…Some companies combine two different products into one…In this case a Polish and Sealant…Some companies have a cleaner/wax combo…others have a cleaner/polish combo…I stand behind my original statement…“Polish is GREAT for conditioning the paint.”…it is NOT good at protecting the paint (which is what a wax/sealant does).

I Use Ozium Spray Whenever There’s A Lot Of B.S. In The Air. It Hints At The Subtle, But Refreshing Way That Mother Nature Intended My World To Smell.

OK, I understand what you’re saying, and the product description. But, if water beads up on the paint is it not protected? Who should I believe, you or my lying eyes? 18 months without a reapplication. Can any wax do better? I think not.

. But, if water beads up on the paint is it not protected?

The Glaze stuff you mentioned DOES have a sealant…so when you use it the paint is protected. Other companies like Mcguires or Blue Coral make a Polish ONLY…So after you use their Polish then you’ll have to use a wax…I think they also both make a Polish AND Wax combo (just to add to the confusion).

A Polish is what actually makes the Paint shine…A Wax protects the paint.

My “wax arsenal” contains a huge array of various waxes, cleaners, compounds, etc… However, for basic wax jobs I’ve always had great luck with Meguiar’s professional line: #6 cleaner wax followed by #26 high tech yellow wax. Mothers California Gold Cleaner Wax also seems to work very well for me (and, if need be, I can find it anywhere at 9:00 at night including at the local drug store). I also have excellent luck with a product called Flash Liquid Paste Wax, made by an Ohio company called Malco Products. The latter also works very well on fiberglass boats (following a light compound).

Also, as far as rags, I use only brand new terry towels–those little 2 foot square ones you can buy in a 20 pack at the auto parts store. A complete wax job requires about 4 towels. New towels guarantee no left over dirt or abrasives stuck in the fibers, i.e., no swirls or other hairline scratches in the finish.

I do a cleaner wax-pure wax routine at least twice, usually three times per year. As needed I will use a light compound or polish, but only once every so often. I’ve found as well that using a good “wash and wax” soap during washes helps maintain the wax job. Water’s usually still beading up on the paint when I begin a new wax job.

cwwjr1, just admit that what you are using is not really a polish. It is a product that calls itself a polish but is really more.

If it provides the protection you need, and you like, go on using it. However, in discussions like this one, saying you only polish your car and that you don’t wax it isn’t really the case. You do both in one step, and it has worked well for you.

Mike and I just want to be sure someone doesn’t read your posts and think that a true polish is all that is needed.

Hey with the ammount of money we spend on polishes and wax if we stopped buying them we could get a new car every 3 years and would not have to worry about waxing.

But seriously I use a paste wax, and a damp cloth to apply it twice a year, let it fully dry before removing it and it seems to work fine

I wish I could spell AMOUNT

Sorry about that, chief.I was thinking along the lines of time and effort to achieve a desired result.Whether or not it’s a polish, a wax, or some combination with synthetic components makes no matter.Results are the thing. Also, consider opportunity. If one can’t wash a car at the residence, and you would rather not use a commercial facility,
what do you do? Consider once in 18 months vs 3 to 4 times per year.

I have been using Zymol. It is a job to wash and had wipe and then hand wax a car but I do it…twice a year. I was wondering thru the wonders of science if anything makes it easier and scientifically the same to be lazier with another product.

Does the spray nozzle carnuba wax function at the car wash provide any protection at all? I cheated last year and used that on my poor car for the winter. God, forgive me.

…lol, good to hear Nufinish is still around and people like it, great product (remember back in 70’s when first used it as a kid, lol! Possibly is one of the first polymer or “paint sealant” products to ever hit consumer market).

(b/g: am a pro in the field for 25+ years, specialize in high end polishing and/or troubleshooting difficult vehicles for bodyshops, clubs, exotics with new and/or aged paint etc… blah, blah, lol)

Sounds like yer all on the right track. CCC’s got his act together. I think quick overview is simply in order for both product and process (forgive me, lol)…

No two vehicles are the same. Color or condition as well as the their profile (one would expect to maintain their show quality classic or exotic “perfectly” whereas one’s daily “driver” warrants a more practical degree of attention and cost).

Three basic characteristics to paint: Texture (scratches, fallout, overspray, tree sap, etching from bird droppings, etc.) & depth (old red car so oxidized it looks pink but when it’s wet looks like new) & sheen or gloss (how shiny, light reflective it is).

Texture - mostly addressed only by machine polishing by experienced person, can be finessed a small amount by hand but only suitable on lighter colored vehicles. “Clay bar” products are wonderful for relatively “safe” removal of light overspray/fallout even by a novice, and help to give the “baby-ass smooth” feeling (lol, technical term).

Depth - Again, mostly/best addressed by machine, particularly when surface has oxidization. Can be improved by hand, depending on the type/quality of product applied and how well it “absorbs” into the paint. Still, nothing beats machine attention by someone who knows what they’re doing.

Sheen/gloss - Can easily be improved by hand application of the appropriate “finishing” product (read either wax or sealant NOT anything labeled cleaner or compound, or even glaze or polish, although as you guys touched on, there are many combination products out there). Finish products may be machine applied by rotary or orbital buffers but is really not that necessary, by hand is fine, especially if a previous “proper” polishing stage by machine has been performed.

…and (deep breath) the products:

Compounds, cleaners, polishes, glazes, waxes, polymers/sealants, somewhat in that order, from heaviest to mildest, are the products for removing scratches & texture issues, removing swirlmarks from bad polishing or heavy compounding, removing oxidization, removing “highlights”, building depth, restoring gloss and providing your protection layer against UV, acid rain, etc. Again, somewhat in that order.

Compounds/cleaners - unless your highly experienced, stay away from these (absolutely if you have any color vehicle darker than white or silver. On black, by hand or machine, you can scratch the paint enough to run up a hefty bill for someone to polish it back to “normal”). An exception may be an older white vehicle that is somewhat oxidized, it will even out the white by removing a faint grey-tinting that can occur with whites.

Glazes/polishes - These are mid-grade products best used by machine to help finesse the texture/surface/depth of the paint to a smoother and thus more reflective condition. Also used to remove side-effects from heavier stages such as compounding. Can be utilized by the novice/layman by machine but should have experience. An orbital type polisher is safer and will not likely have consequence when used without experience EXCEPT on dark colors! Unless you have significant experience, do not recommend use with rotary polisher.

Waxes/polymers/sealants - The glory round to add the final layer of high-gloss and protection to your “baby”! Nothing really that you can go wrong with here. Will tend to embellish the depth of the paint and color as well. Generally the more the better, there is nothing wrong with adding a quick 15-20 minute “touch-up” round once a month if ya feel like it. Otherwise, you can expect a good quality product to maintain “peak” reflectivity for a good 6-8 weeks (longer, some times much longer for the sealants and polymers) and then protection and appearance will taper off gradually depending upon individual wash habits and climate/sunshine/industrial pollution factors, of course.

It’s worth mentioning to those who may be using dishwashing liquid as a car wash that this will waste all your hard earned effort applying wax (or paying someone to do it) as it will remove the wax. The product, once ya stop and think about it, is meant to remove the most stubborn baked on grease from yer frying pans! It may be a great thing to use once a year just before you plan to give the car a complete rewaxing. “Wash and wax” products, not a biggy for me, I use them mostly as assurance that it should be mild enough to not remove my own wax, wether it adds any additional, who knows.

Basic annual routine? Best to just shell out couple hundred once a year (spring) to get your vehicle polished/waxed and have a few scratches removed by someone who knows what they’re doing (ask around, get recommendation from friend or car club etc. Lots of weekend warriors/hacks/min-wage staffed shops out there) and then you can throw a quick 20 minute “maintenance coat” of your favorite product on a couple more times throughout the year, and your “baby” will stay immaculate and impress just about anyone.

Well, if ya lasted thru the blabber to this point, lol, you should know more than probably most will ever know. Hope it helps with the “big picture” on the subject (if yer not saturated with knowledge enough, you can check out, quite a good site, check tips and tricks section, check wax vs sealant, etc).

Oh, brands, hundreds… ya, Meguires is a superb line, been around forever, well organized line. Mother’s of California, another decent consumer line. Remember, no low numbers in numbered products (probably cleaners/compounds) unless ya know what yer doing. NuFinish, amazing product for the price. Once you’ve had a quality polish job done by a pro, you can even use the cheapest product out there a few times a year and yer ride will stay immaculate. Like oil changes, frequency is more influential than quality of product. You can throw money into $300 an ounce products (check Autogeek) but if it’s your real world “driver” a top line Meguires polymer for $25, or silmiliar, would be excellent and last ya several years.

OK, you can breath again now, lol!

Good Luck.

Guy, That Was Very Enlightening. It’s Good To Know That NuFinish I’ve Used For Decades Is A Decent Choice. It’s Easy, Inexpensive, Works Well, And The Shine Lasts.

You do need to keep it off any dark colored plastic or synthetic non-painted areas, though. It doesn’t come off of those very well.

Thanks for the information,

My favorite is NuFinish. Yup, it really works.

I just did mine yesterday and that is what I used. I will be doing the she who must be obeyed’s car today. I agree NuFinish seems to be a good product.

I agree…time and effort is something to consider…If the polish/sealant works good then keep right on using it…Once a year I will spend the time and do all three steps…(cleaner, polisher then wax). It takes a lot longer…but the results are FANTASTIC…Especially on a dark color. The other times I wax it throughout the year…I usually just do a cleaner/wax combo…

Justoneguy, great background description; it goes back a step to help define some of the products/procedures that are being mentioned.

CSA, great point about textured plastic. I’ve been known to tape off plastic trim with painter’s tape to make sure no wax touches those areas.

Yer welcome guys.

Ya, kinda have a sentimental fondness of NuFinish since I’d used it way back when I was a kid in the seventies. Used it on a '68 GMC 3/4 ton that my mom, of all people, loved to drive (typical of ladies, they love the height and visibility along with the sense of safety from a heavier vehicle, had this girlfriend once… that’s another story, lol). People used to always inquire and offer to buy the truck from my mother whenever she would park at grocery stores etc. lol.

Hadn’t seen NuFinish for years and then I was delighted to see it turn up on shelves again. In fact, I’ve even been contemplating stocking it in my shop, although there are many good products/product lines nowadays. I definitely recommend it to my customers though, great value.

Yup. Any dark, especially textured, plastic trim components (commonly mirror bezels, door handles etc.) need to be avoided by any wax/compound products. Taping them off is the simple solution, particularly if a rotary polisher is being used, as the “sling” (splatter) will land on them (the underside of windshield wiper arms and lower windshield areas should be covered with a towel or taped if machine polishing, as well). If your hand waxing, you obviously need to simply be a little careful and not touch them, one trick is to hold yer sponge in such a way that one of yer fingers is actually over the edge or off of the sponge, and use that finger as a contact point to any trim trying to be avoided. Another simple method is one we learned at two years old, really… “color (wax) around the edges slowly and carefully, then you can fill in everything else quickly” lol.

If ya mucked up the textured plastic trim with wax and need to remove it, the key (when cleaning anything textured, interior or exterior of vehicle) is to use a small stiff bristled brush (firm or extra-firm toothbrushes or fingernail brushes are excellent) and a strong water-based cleaner to start with. Scrub the trim really good, for maybe even a minute, and then wipe it off really good with a highly absorbent cotton terry type towel (or ideally rinse it with a pressure washer or garden hose). If, after it dries, it’s still not removed then do the same thing using a mild “safe” solvent such as mineral spirits/turpentine/varsol/paint thinner (these are all similar and probably will not damage/melt the plastic trim, but to be safe, test the underside of anything plastic with a white rag and then look to see if any color is on the rag and also look at the texture of the trim to see if it’s melted or shiny).

ABSOLUTELY DO NOT USE “LAQUER THINNER” ON ANYTHING PLASTIC!!! (if you want a comparison of how much stronger LT is, then pour/spray some varsol/mineral spirits/etc onto a styrofoam coffee cup, wait, then do the same with LT).

There are, in fact, some wax/finishing products out there that claim to not dry white and are supposed to be OK if ya get it on the trim, but it’s better to simply not get it on in the first place. If you accidently get some wax on the trim, and are really, really quick (like less than 20-40 seconds, before the product starts to dry) you can just wipe with a terry towel really hard and yer usually OK. Another trick is too pre-dress (“ArmourAll” type products, although I prefer petroleum-based dressings to silicone-based ones) the trim before ya start to wax, and you can usually wipe off any wax “mistakes” more easily.

Happy trails, campers!

Thanks for all the information! Do you have any particular recommendations for waxing a black car?

I’'m glad you posted and impressed with the level of knowledge that yo’ve passed on.

I will disagree, however, with one point. I’ve been using Ivory Liquid for many years, and have not had it remove any wax whatsoever. Some of us had this discussion a while back, so I made the effort to test the effect using a drinking glass. The Ivory Liquid has no effect on NuFinish. Actually, I could have saved myself some trouble if I’d looked down…I’ve since realized that those spots of splashed Nufinish on the black surface of my driveway are also unaffected by the cleaning solution (Ivory generously added to water).

Having said that, it is possible that dishwashing detergents with caustic elements, like lemon juice, do remove car wax. I have not tested these. I’ve only tested Ivory.

Yer welcome again.

I think in your case, it is more of a delightful testament to the effectiveness of NuFinish’s ability to resist removal than the lack of aggressiveness of the dishwashing liquid. NuFinish is one the polymer/sealant products and, by the the very nature of their invention, are designed to be far more durable than “natural” source finish products (read carnauba). So in general, most of the polymers will not necessarily remove instantly compared to “waxes”, which will most certainly remove more quickly. All in all, dishwashing liquid is stronger than one needs to use regularly, but like I say, it may be great to use occasionally to remove the bug buildup after the road trip, or add to yer wash bucket (of “proper” car wash) when your half way thru to get the rockers/lower sections that warrant a little extra “oomph”. I still wouldn’t recommend using for most people, especially if the vehicle has carnauba/waxes applied.

Haha, was just chuckling at your “use old briefs” comment from little ways back…

Reminds me of all the different cloths/rags that have used over the years, lol. For a while, way back, we were using industrial diapers that we sourced from a hospital or somewhere, couple hundred of 'em. They were all nice, tight weave cotton about a foot square. For lack of a better description, lol, they were giant “maxi-pads” out of 100% cotton. They were pretty good, but nothing beats all cotton terry towels folded into a thick square.

The terry towel really is the best for removing the bulk first round of wax/polymer. The loops/fingers of cotton threads are able to grab and pull the excess product off the surface, even the more sticky paint sealants that can be very stubborn to remove sometimes. On light colored vehicles you can do a final wipedown with them as well, but on darks/blacks, then a final wipe with a good microfiber is necessary to remove that last “film” that can remain.

Microfibers are obviously a phenomenal evolution/revolution in “material science”, but I still prefer to do my initial wipe with a terry, it is simply much more efficient at removing the bulk. In fact, I won’t use microfiber to wipe the initial bulk off of light or white vehicles, especially paint seals or sticky type waxes. With the low contrast between the light colored, stubborn dry wax and the white vehicle, you can very easily leave patches of product all over the surface, that you find have been missed, even though you would swear that you had gotten it all. Cotton terry, no problem.

I prefer to fold the towel to give it a little cushion, which is both gentler on the paint surface, and gives me the opportunity to re-fold the towel allowing actually eight fresh clean sections of a single towel (a typical “hand towel” sized terry towel folded twice onto itself). The terry can also be “squished” into cracks and seams, at the very end, after the final wipedown of the main surfaces, to remove any remaining product. After cleaning the cracks, you don’t want to go back over the main/high profile surfaces though, as you may have picked up a speck of something that can scratch the paint (especially if you have a dark vehicle).

I separate and protect the towels that are used specifically for paint surface wipedown. I actually further separate and protect the towels that I use to final wipedown and deal with dark/black vehicles. Blacks are another creature, requiring “sterile” or “anal” procedures to ensure reliable results and not re-damage all your polishing efforts. I do not even set these “critically” important towels down on a counter. Who knows what grain of sand, or worse yet, speck of steel wool dust has landed onto that surface only to attach itself to your clean towel that is going onto that black Porsche that just had a six to eight hour high-end showcar/finesse job done. Talk about absolute fury, lol.

Fleece has no place in my shop. Although “soft and cushy”, they virtually absorb nothing due to the nylon or polyester content. They just smear things around if you’re lucky and don’t really remove anything. Don’t use 'em for interiors either, same reason.

You can go to a big box/wholesale/Costco type store (or even Walmart) and find economic, white, cotton terry hand towels usually in bundles. For the average person, that’s probably all ya need.

…lol, imagine the wives/girlfriends shaking their heads at all this blab just about towels ta wipe yer wax off with, haha!