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Wax On, Wax Off

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, when car finishes weren’t nearly as good as they are now. Also living in sunny SoCal helped colors fade. It was at least a once a year thing to give the car a good wax. We used either Turtle Wax or Simoniz. And it killed an afternoon, especially on a big dark red Caprice or grandpa’s green Impala. Mom’s tan Buick seemed to go faster, probably because we didn’t have to do as thorough a job. Dad finally bought an electric buffer in the early 80’s.

This weekend I happened on The Karate Kid on TV, and saw the part where Mr. Miyagi is teaching the wax on, wax off part. And it occurred to me that it’s been probably 10 years since I’ve waxed one of my cars. The paint just seems to last, you wash and dry the car and it looks great. No dull finish, no splotches of water sheeting off instead of beading up.

How many of you have a late model car that you wax regularly? Is there a noticeable improvement when you do?

I have 2 that get waxed regularly. The old truck, not so much. Florida sun can roach paint as fast as SoCal, I’d imagine.

At least the products available are way easier to use than the old school stuff.

I will say, though, that I found a paste wax that has a great gloss to it. It is as difficult to apply as the old stuff though.

Yep, twice a year since new. You don’t see the difference until you are done though. Plus I do the clay, machine polish, glaze and wax. Each time around the cars I can see the difference.

Your paint will start to delaminate sooner than expected if you don’t protect it from the elements. When the clear coat start flaking, its gonna be too late.I wax my car twice a year,in the spring and before winter.

My 2012 Camry is beige. Nothing makes it look bad. Nothing makes it look good either.

It is garaged all winter and I wash the salt off in the winter in my driveway every time the midday temp gets well above freezing.

I may have waxed it 3 times in the 9 years and one month I have had it but not in the last 5.

We don’t have much of a sun damage problem here.

We keep our cars 10-15 years, never wax, have never had a paint problem. But they’re garaged, so they don’t see a lot of sun.

That’s kind of my point. My wife bought a Mercury Sable in 2001. We sold it in 2018. Never waxed the car once (to the best of my recollection) and other than scuffs and dings from parking lots the paint looked great and water still beaded on the finish.

Why wax a car if you don’t need to?

I was one happy guy when I discovered Meguiars’ Ultimate synthetic wax. Spray it on, wipe it off, done for 6 months. Takes me maybe 15 minutes to do the whole car now. Used to take half the day with the old carnauba paste if I was doing it without a random orbit buffer.

I am old school. My daily driver gets waxed at least 5-6 times a year. Right now I have switched to NuFinish paste and it lasts longer. Before I used to use Meguiars paste and it was a monthly process. I also wax the wife’s car 2-3 times a year and my daughter’s car probably 4 times a year. The daughter’s car was bought used and the finish was kinda gritty and took a lot of clay bar and wax to make it smooth.
I had a 2005 Camry in Salsa red. Most of the ones you will see in Southern CA have faded paint, not mine. At 11 yrs and 180K Miles when I sold it the paint was like new. Most people who had the same color Camry/Corolla would walk up to me and ask where I had the car painted. The look on their face when I would tell them it was the original paint was priceless.

Twice a year and with the new Synthetics it’s so easy to do, why not?

But the real payoff is the opportunity to “completely go over the car” and touch up any scrapes and scratches before they start rusting.

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Very rare for me to wax a car anymore.
Back in 1967 my HS friend bought a red 57 Chevy. The paint was so oxidized it almost looked pink. The two of us spent two hours with Kit Cleaner Wax, hand applied. He ended up with a gorgeous, shiny, cherry red Belair.

My cars get full-on details twice a year (strip wash not what it sounds like, claybar, polish, IPA wipedown and finally a coat of sealant). Between major details, I typically wash them every two weeks or so. And go for a coat of butter wax about once a month during the spring/summer, or SiO2 spray on sealent/detail spray in the fall/winter (doesn’t take long to do).

Sounds like a real waste of beer!


Yeah 3 cars , twice a year . It is a job because all 3 are pretty big . Ascender (Trailblazer) , 2020 Durango , 14 Grand Caravan . Most of them I use Nufinish on . Even 2008 Ascender still looks pretty good and we live where they salt the heck out of the roads. Clearcoat is paint so you still have to wax , polish or I guess the hot thing is ceramic coat them .

I haven’t waxed any of my cars in I would guess 20 years in spite of the brutally hot and sunny OK summers. My Lincoln at 24 years of age is starting to develop a bit of a paint issue in a couple of places but not bad.

Waxing a car is one of my 2 least favorite jobs in the world along with tire mounting and balancing.
Both are cringeworthy.

Only time I ever cared to wax a car was when I worked for Nissan. The detail guy was swamped one Friday and they asked if any techs would like to stay late and add “Paint Protectant” to some sold cars.
Everyone knows this is a scam of course.
I did something like 4 cars in 1 hour and we got paid 1 hour per car flat rate. The paint protectant was nothing more than a water thin liquid that glazed instantly and would brush right off. Totally worthless product and from my point of view the money was great but the job itself boring as there was no mental challenge to it.

I remember waxing my parents’ car in the '50s and '60s. I’ve never waxed my '87 Toyota pickup.