Ride Protect: Apply Car Wax Like a Handyman – Insights


Having a clean car is great, but keeping it clean isn’t always easy, but there is no better and easier way to add a protective coat to your paintwork and improve its shine and its clarity than using a quality wax.


With the right product correctly applied, it will give your car a long-lasting shine and smoothness while the hydrophobic properties prevent water and other contaminants from sticking to the surface, much like armor. Best of all, constant maintenance can theoretically preserve your car’s paintwork to look fresh and like new indefinitely. What’s not to like?

A wicked reality

We’ll assume your car is washed and spotlessly clean, which is great and a great first step in keeping your top quality car for longer. However, there are many sources of dirt and contamination that will immediately start bombarding your car’s freshly cleaned paintwork as soon as you start driving.

  • Leaking brake and transmission fluid, sewage, gasoline, diesel – all collected in puddles.
  • Acidic bird droppings and tree sap can etch into the paint surface.
  • Iron and tar particles projected by other vehicles from the road.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in a much longer list of contaminants, but just imagine all the grime that could be on our road surfaces and, chances are your car has had to deal with it. that his painting spreads out to a certain extent. . Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Wash a Rolls Royce

Unless your car’s paint is clearly in dire straits, there’s no need to lose sleep over the amount of nasty stuff lying on your car. All modern cars have a durable clear coat that sits on top of the base coat of paint. This coat is what takes the trouble so that the actual color (base coat) of your car is not affected.

However, with prolonged abuse, how much can the long-suffering transparent coat withstand before it is completely worn out? It is essential to have some form of paint protection to keep it fortified, letting that layer of wax or sealant take the punishment instead.

Soft99 product line

The sea of ​​choice

What are waxes, what are sealants?

Essentially, there are 3 types of commonly accepted paint protection: Wax, sealer and ceramic coating. That being said, the steps and requirements for properly applying a sealer are the same as waxing. In fact, sealants are often marketed under the name “wax” so as not to confuse customers despite their differences in classification.

Ceramic coatings, while more durable and durable, require more preparation and are less tolerant if applied incorrectly, which is why most are applied by professionals. For these and other reasons, we will not be covering this category of paint protection today.

Swissvax Scuderia

Wax: Traditionally, a wax has been defined as a protective layer formulated (or based on) from naturally occurring materials. Carnauba, a palm tree extract found in Brazil, is well known as a primary ingredient for premium automotive waxes due to its smooth, hydrophobic surface characteristics as well as its tendency to increase clarity, saturation, and depth.

Many – if not all – exotic show and show cars will use carnauba wax because of its unique appearance, described as a warm glow. However, organically based waxes like this aren’t particularly durable with a paste or liquid product that lasts 2-6 weeks before reapplication is necessary, especially in tropical climates like ours. This is why many pure waxes have been enriched with inorganic polymers to increase longevity.

Sealer: As technology progressed and to work around the shortcomings of naturally occurring waxes, man-made synthetic alternatives were developed. With much improved chemical and high temperature resistance compared to traditional waxes, they are significantly stronger and more suited to the pure task of protecting paint, easily last for several months and even up to a full year, but have historically not been able to provide visual enhancement. organic waxes (in particular based on carnauba). However, the most advanced technology in paint sealants is improving to mimic the sought-after appearance of high-quality carnauba.

Paste, liquid or spray: When it comes to wax or mastic in spray form, the general tradeoff is decreased longevity and durability as it requires many emulsifiers and solvents to keep it in a liquid state similar to water. water, which reduces the actual content and concentration of wax or sealant base ingredient. On the other hand, the application can be much faster and easier compared to products in the form of a hard paste or creamy liquid. Generally, the thicker it is, the more concentrated the protection and the more durable and long-lasting the protection will be.

Spray wax application

Fluff and Dirt – Just wash it off and apply it, the end:

There is a lot of ado about exactly how to apply wax and the potentially disastrous consequences of spoiling it. The truth is, there really isn’t much to do. Once you’ve figured out what works best for you, waxing your car can be downright relaxing, even therapeutic.

In any case, the application of a wax should be carried out on a clean car, that is, freshly washed and dried. Applying to a dirty surface means rubbing off the dirt and contamination already present on the car, and this is the easiest route for a scratched mess. Second, always apply in the shade and on a car that is already cool to the touch.

We will start with the spray waxes first (using “wax” and “sealer” interchangeably from now on). All you will need is a medium size microfiber towel or two. The most direct method would be to spray a few sprays on the panel before using the microfiber to spread the product and dry buff it, turning the towel over if necessary.

Spray wax application

Alternatively, and to keep the product, you can spray on the towel itself. It’s also important to change the towels if you feel they are heavy and saturated with product, negating its ability to dry polish, making this second method a bit safer for beginners. When in doubt, always favor the use of less product rather than more.

The “less is more” approach also applies to both liquid and paste type waxes, especially since leaving too thick a layer during application can make the process more difficult than it should. to be. You will still need a few microfiber towels for later, but the application should be done with a dedicated foam or soft microfiber applicator pad. These are usually circular for easy handling in your palm, but also to fit into the paste wax pot.

Meguiars Pro Ceramic Sealer

Once you have applied a few dabs of the paste medium (or drops of liquid wax) to the applicator pad, systematically massage the product into the panel, taking your time and exerting minimal pressure to leave a thin and even layer. coated. This can be done in circular or straight patterns, but the object of the game is to leave a thin, even layer.

It is recommended to work panel by panel, especially if you are unfamiliar with the product and its behavior, as each wax-based product has different recommendations on cure time. Removal follows this step, usually after the wax layer has scrambled and not spread by lightly rubbing a finger over a small area. If the blur is removed to reveal the clear layer below, it should be ready to be removed.

Meguiars mirror gloss spray

Again, use minimal pressure and a clean microfiber towel. Some products are inherently more user-friendly and will be absolutely easy to remove, while others may require a bit of elbow grease. If an area proves difficult, use a quick spray of your favorite spray wax or quick finish product to add a little lubricant and emulsification to the hardened residue.

With the wax removed and the process repeated on all painted surfaces, your car should look like it’s fresh out of the showroom – or even better than new. Congratulations, you have taken your first step into a bigger world… of automotive detailing.

Meguiars surface preparation

Brownie points: it’s all about the preparation

Most waxes will do just fine if applied to a freshly washed car, but the bond between the clearcoat (or painted surface) probably won’t be as strong. To ensure maximum durability and shine, it is always recommended to first perform a decontamination of the paint as well as a light polishing.

Extracting the maximum potential of any wax or sealant requires application to a “virgin” panel, free of bound contaminants, parasitic chemicals and even residual oils from spent waxes. If you are experiencing poor performance with your new wax product, strong adhesion may not have been achieved if you lay the wax on a surface already loaded with other products and contaminants.

Proper preparation is a multi-step process and, depending on the condition of the vehicle, may require special attention to achieve a completely clean, pristine surface that is ready to accept the new layer of wax protection. We’ll cover this in a future tutorial, hopefully a video to really get the point across.


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