Use wax or "clear coat" spray at the carwash?

Does this actually protect the finish nowadays?

I don’t use either. It sprays on the windows and I do not want wax on my windshield. They have plenty of clear coat finish cleaners and polishes at parts store, Meguires is what I use.

While i’ve never had a problem with it, I wouldn’t use it as a substitute to wax. I like to think it helps during the winter when it’s too cold for me to hand wax my car outside.

It probably helps resist spotting and some wax on the windows will help them go up and down. I use spray wax on the inside and outside of my side glass. Turtle wax spray wax is good.

If you hand wax the top of your car and say to hell with the rest, the car wash wax may do well. You should wax the sides at least once every two years for mediocre car finish care. More work is always an option but pay a car care place to do it.

Definitely not as a substitute. I use during the winter months because you can’t really wash and wax a car in your driveway when it’s 15 degrees outside.

I always use the clearcoat on my cars it helps keep the windshield clean. one of my cars had that spray snow sprayed on it. that stuff is supposed to mess up the paint and it still looks great.

Thanks everyone for your helpful views and experience.

Wax will protect any finish. If you choose wax at the car wash, and can smell wax while it is being applied, you will get some very short term benefits. The problem is that wax needs to be applied dry and cool and then buffed to provide any long-term waterproofing benefit.
Clear coat cannot be applied by a car wash at all. A clear coat finish is like a coat of paint. The surface to which it is applied must be professionally prepared and applied under favorable temperatures and humidity conditions. Ideally, a clear coat should be applied in temperatures above sixty-five degrees in low humidity. The paint or previous coat of clear coat must be compatible with the applied clear coat finish, and should be roughed - subjected to a fine abrasive, such as steel wool - and then washed and tacked.
In other words, the clear coat you think you are getting at the car wash is worthless. You are better off with the spray-on wax, which is nearly as worthless. I don’t like either on my windshields.
Wax the car before winter for winter and wax it again in the spring. Then get the basic wash to remove salt and dirt during the winter as needed.
Or pay for a new clear coat once every few years.

Just don’t do both; they are not compatible - a coat of wax will protect a clear coat, but if you want to apply a new clear coat again, the wax you put on the car will repel the new clear coat finish, and it will peel unless the wax is chemically removed.

That spray wax or clear coat protectant is about worthless plus I don’t like the stuff on my windshield. Save your money and do a hand wax in the spring and fall.

The problem is that wax needs to be applied dry and cool and then buffed to provide any long-term waterproofing benefit.

Wax is NOT for waterproofing…That’s what paint is for. Wax just protects the paint. And it’s biggest benefit is UV protection.