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Wax Job

I have a 2007 Dodge van and it has many plastic parts (mirrow, luggage rack) Is it safe to wax these plastic parts? Or do I use something else to protect them?

It depends on the plastic. Usually the black trim or anything that has a texture that is different than the completely smooth painted surface will not wax well. You will end up with a white haze over the plastic that is very hard to remove.

I’ve been using wax on those type parts for years.

Your Owner’s Manual should mention which parts should not be coated with car wax. Generally speaking, the things to which wax should not be applied include anything that has a “flat” black finish, but there could be additional verboten body parts that might be mentioned in the manual.

Don’t get wax on anything textured or it may never come off.

The last time I checked the Consumer Reports review of waxes, they included a column for how easily the wax was removed from plastic, if you want to check that out.

I use Armor All on the textured black surfaces. It goes on easy, and does not leave a white haze residue.

Wax all glass except the outside of the windshield. Plastic is the mystery. Smooth, shiny plastic is usually waxable.

There are better products for cleaning and preserving plastic parts. All auto stores carry them. Armor All is a popular product but there are others.

Wax On, Wax Off. Check Out A Product Like Turtle Wax’s Ice.

Some are a little pricey, but they are not supposed to leave a residue on plastic parts. I’ve heard good things about their use.

Link to Ice:,1,1,1

Give us a link to or a product name Mike.

I’ve had the white haze problem jstter mentioned whenever I wax the van and the wax gets on the roof racks. They are not smooth but also textured.

I use a good Carnuba wax. McGuires, Blue Coral, Turtle.

Hmmmmm, I use Mcguires all the time but still have the problem.

I try to NOT get wax on the rack but when I do, it won’t polish up or wipe off.

Your getting some conflicting advice here. There’s an easy way to confirm it for yourself, and then you’ll know. The correct answer is: textured plastic, particularly matte black textured plastic, should NOT be waxed (and, of course, should not be polished either). It will fill the holes in the plastic and leave the piece with a white cast and ruin the matte appearance. These polycarbonate parts are a big detailing problem because they’re so prevalent, and they become weather bleached over time and turn a pukey gray color. A common place for these are exterior door handles. Keeping them well cleaned with frequent car washing is a good idea, and experiment a bit to find the right kind of product to keep them looking black. There are products that work reasonably well for that.

I put Armor-All or equivalent on the matt plastic/rubber parts BEFORE waxing the car. That keeps the wax from sticking to the plastic parts and prevents the white haze that occurs when you inadvertently get wax on the plastic.

As for the type of wax, I prefer 3M Professional Paste Wax for looks and durability, but it is hard to find. You have to order it from detailing supply sources.

I’ve NEVER had that problem. Maybe because I use a buffer…Works great.

there are several products which can be used on your black textured plastic molding. If you don’t use the part as a human interface (i.e. black plastic molded door bumpers, windscreen fairings, wiper arms) and want them to look black and be protected, use mothers back to black. Wipes on easy, excess wipes off easy, nice black look. Gets slick on handles and door kicks though, and might rub off on your hand.

If you touch the parts and interface with them (door handles, as well as any other plastic parts you want) try 303 Aerospace Protectant. Despite the fancy name, it is widely available at car parts stores, marine goods stores, and big box stores. It protects from the sun, keeps them black, and repels dust.

to avoid getting paste wax on your black trim and turning it black, use blue masking tape when buffing/polishing/hand waxing car.

Of course, this is all if you are as weird about a clean car as I am.

I only use normal wax plastic parts that are painted. I treat unpainted plastic with Armor All.

Meguires has a plastic and rubber protectant that does a nice job on plastic parts. It also takes the white haze off of the rubber gasket material and so on.

I wax them. Most of them I believe have been painted anyway so the wax is going over paint either way. In any case, I have never noticed a problem and frankly I just don’t get all that excited by detailing my car, wash it once in a while and wax it a few times a year.

Of course I am the type of guy who will not worry of the black trim ends up with a little haze on it.

I do worry about seeing out my windows and enjoy 50 - 60 mpg.