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Do I need to wax my cars?

I am responsible for care and maintenance of 3 vehicles, a 2002 Toyota RAV4 (dark green), a 2005 Toyota Corolla (dark blue), and a 2010 Honda Fit (light blue). None of them is ever in a garage. I was getting ready to wax the Honda Fit and my Dad just told me that newer cars don’t really need to be waxed (since they have acrylic paint). What is your advice?

I am a 60 something male responsible for 4 vehicles, and I wax them all, though not as often as I should. I don’t have expertise with regard to protecting paint, but I know that UV is the enemy and most wax products claim some UV protection.

If nothing else, waxed cars stay clean longer and are not damaged by tree sap, bird poop, or other things that find their way onto car finishes.

Also, it is fun to watch the cat try to jump on a freshly waxed car and slide off.

Waxing is only important if you want your cars to look good and keep their highest resale value. To some people these things are very important, to some they are not.

Respectfully tell your Dad that the newer paints are water based, and there’s a clearcoat over the paint that will help it survive. Clearcoat is not a apply-and-be-done solution, though, and if you want to take care of it long term…use a good wax.

That’s my opinion on this particular subject. On top of that, a good waxing always makes them look lots better, too. :slight_smile:


Wax really does help keeping the paint looking new. Over time (especially if the car sits in the sun a lot) paint will fade. A good wax will help prevent this from happening.
Also ever see what bird droppings do to paint that doesn’t have any wax on it?? It’ll leave a blemish you’ll NEVER be able to get out (well you can, but it requires repainting the car)…

If you only keep your vehicles 4-5 years (like MOST people) then it’s not a problem, but if you’re like me who keeps their vehicles 8-12 and well over 300k miles…it’s well worth the time to keep them waxed.

With you keeping the cars outside waxing is a good thing to do. Just make sure it’s wax suitable for clearcoat finishes. Most all are, just don’t grab some old container from your dad’s garage!

Today’s paint jobs will hold up pretty well without waxing, as long as you wash the car frequently, but waxing does still make a difference. If you have alloy wheels, that’s one area where waxing can really pay off, as brake dust is quite corrosive over time. If you’re interested in doing this, I’d say to go for it.

How do you normally wash these cars? That can have a big effect on the finish over time as well. Hand washing (with clean supplies) is best, of course. Touch-free automatics do a pretty good job (although I don’t like to see people dry their cars by hand after this, because the car really isn’t as clean as it looks). Soft-cloth automatics aren’t great but usually won’t do any immediate damage. Automatics with brushes and the brushes in the self-serve bays are to be avoided at all costs, though!

I would wax all of the cars, regardless of age.

The aqueous based paint formulations currently in use were originally implemented a few decades ago when the feds mandated low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints. You may have seen some early '80s vehicles with paint poeling in sheets? That was the industry trying to adapt.

Yes, new finishes need waxing just as did old finishes, but only if you want to keep them looking good. In hot climates it’s especially crutial, as the sun will bake the paints.

But if the car is your dad’s and he says you don’t need to wax it, than it’s really up to you. I can only say that I’m impressed with your integrity in wanting to maintain the vehicles properly as per the charge you’ve been given. Most young folks would simply say “cool, that’ll save me an hour’s hard work”.

Sincere best.

Waxing a car allows you to inspect the finish of your vehicle in those places that you wouldn’t otherwise see.

So, along with offering extra protection for your car’s finish, it gives you an opportunity to find potential problems - dirt collecting areas etc.

I think it is a good idea to use a good wax on your car at least 4 times per year.

It will only help and certainly won’t hurt it.

I say it is up to you.  There are many differences in the conditions the car is in, like in a garage most all the time (like my car) or in the hot sun of Nevada, or the acid rain down wind of a steel mill.  

I seldom wax my car, but it is in a garage most of the time.  My wife's car gets waxed more often, but it is considerable older and is often out in the weather. 

I suggest you wax as needed.  

. Needed means whatever you want it to mean.

While today’s cars have a clear coat, which offers some protection, waxing your car will add an extra layer of protection. Plus it looks nice and feels nice n’ smooth. It’s nice to look at the water beading on a freshly-waxed car after a rain too.

Clearcoats are good, but waxing periodically is best. Stuff falling from trees, bird droppings etc. are all less harmful to paint and easier to clean off on a “waxed” car. Clearcoats seem to make waxing less frequently OK, but I still like to get a coat of wax on my cars about 2X times a year.

Yes if you care about how the cars look. In 1961 my Dad bought a 61 Chevy and they said then with the new paint that wax was unnecessary. True the current urethanes are much better paint, it will still gradually lose its luster unless you care for the finish. I have three cars and I wax them twice a year, plus I use the clay bar, machine polish, glaze, in addition to the wax at least once a year. They stay looking like new.

2002 Sienna, almost 175,000 miles. For nearly 5 years, mostly parked in hot sun at 5,740 feet above sea level. Hasn’t been waxed yet. This is a quarry town, and there is usually a layer of dust on it, so it would be hard for bird droppings to hit the paint.

I did wash it once this year. Looked pretty good. My usual policy is, when God wants my car washed, He sends the rain. Heh, heh.

It is pretty much a waste of time to wash it, unless there is some special occasion with important people to be transported. I wash it; by tomorrow morning it is covered with a layer of dust again.

The older cars so common here in Mexico, the GM models at least, as someone said, the paint is pretty much gone. The neighbors warned me my paint would fall off if I park it outside, I told them, It’s a Toyota, not a GM.

My partly tongue-in-cheek theory is the dust I leave on it protects the paint.