Do you know that horse-drawn carts pioneered waxing over a century ago to give their carriages a lustrous appeal? Car waxes do more than give your beloved automobile a lustrous appeal, they act as a seal tool. But you will only get this added advantage if you buy a quality waxing product. That is why you need to choose the best car wax for your vehicle.
But how do you differentiate a quality car wax from the fakes on the market? These comprehensive car wax reviews provide a buying guide and the important features and considerations to check before you go shopping. By the end of this article you’ll have all the information you need to buy the right product for your car.
You will also learn why waxing is important for your car and tips on how to wax like a pro. Read on to learn how to get that showroom shine on your car.
Best Car Wax Reviews (Editors’ Picks)
1. SHINE ARMOR Fortify Quick Coat
The Fortify Quick Coat is a three-in-one car wax that delivers a waterless wash, coat, and shine. It covers your paint job with an advanced ceramic coating that is gentle and protective. The wax creates a premium ceramic film that sparkles with no adverse effect.
SHINE ARMOR’s Fortify Quick Coat is reputed to eliminate dirt, grime, and grease on your car surface. It comes in one bottle but works as a waterless car wash, coat, and shine, leaving your vehicle with a showroom look. This product is suitable for all surfaces including automobiles, motorbikes, boats, RVs, ATVs and others.
This spray wax is formulated using a perfect combination of surfactants and SiO2 ceramic coating technology. It repels water, seals your paint job, and provides a mind-blowing gloss on your vehicle. The best part is that the product requires no water to wash, wax, and polish your car under 15 minutes!
2. CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant
This wax sealant is non-streak, produces no swirl marks and is super easy to apply and buff. Even DIY novices can use it to achieve that superb show room shine under 15 minutes.
The Hybrid Wax Sealant is perfect for any surface. It is a synthetic spray formula that delivers instant results with less trouble.
Not only does it leave a shiny finish on your car, but this spray wax adds a protective coating that beads water off the surface. This reduces road grime and makes cleaning fast and easy. It leaves no white residue or streaks on your paint job.
CarGuys claims this product works at the molecular level to boost the reflective power and gloss effect on your vehicle. It is also simple to use as you only have to spray on the car and wipe off to get a showroom shine.
If you are not happy about the performance, CarGuys promises to provide an unconditional refund.
3. Aero Cosmetic Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit
This product is designed for the aeronautics industry but you can use it on cars and every other surface. This wash wax product is suitable as a wet car wash solution or waterless wax so you can clean and protect your vehicle with or without water.
It is easy to use and provides instant results. Just spray and dry with a towel then buff with another cloth to reveal a shiny look on your car, RV or anything else.
Unlike many products out there, this wash wax kit from Aero Cosmetics is water-based and free of ammonia or alcohol. It is biodegradable and safe for humans and the environment.
This product leaves an anti-static UV protective coating on your car and makes subsequent washing faster and easier. The kit comes with four microfiber towels, a gallon of the liquid, and a 16oz bottle with a spray head.
4. Meguiar’s G18220 Ultimate Liquid Wax
The Ultimate Liquid Wax draws on over 115 years of car detailing expertise to deliver a phenomenal product. It is based on Meguiar’s ThinFilm technology and delivers an instant shine on your car with only one step.
This advanced formulation provides excellent synthetic protection, increased reflectivity and double durability. It contains polymers that offer increased protection for your paint job, allowing it to last longer. These molecules also boost the glossy appeal of the vehicle, leaving it showroom perfect.
This Ultimate Liquid Wax is designed to provide long-lasting protection and exceptionally deep and dark reflections. It leaves a glossy wet finish on your car and you can apply it even in direct sunlight.
This product is safe on all glossy paints and clear coats and leaves no white residue on plastic and rubber trim pieces. It comes with an application pad and a buffing towel.
5. Chemical Guys WAC_201_16 Butter Wet Wax
If you want an easy-to-apply, easy-to-remove car wax, this is probably the best on the market. This natural carnauba wax from CarGuys leaves a deep wet shine on your paint job.
The wax is easy to apply and remove and is forgiving if you overuse it. What it doesn’t do is provide long-lasting durability.
A lot of negative reviews complain about this product not lasting long enough, but it wasn’t designed for long-term protection. You probably should go for something synthetic if you want a wax sealant that will last months on end.
This Butter Wet Wax comes in a new and improved formula that shines, protects and guards against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. It is 100% natural and is suitable for all surfaces including glasswork, painted wheels and chrome bumpers.
It is not the most long lasting. But it delivers an instant gloss and smells really nice.
6. Carfidant Premium Liquid Car Wax Kit
This premium liquid car wax from Carfidant is formulated with special nano polymers that make application and removal fast and easy. Its special blend of polymers delivers exceptional protection and reflectivity. The shine lasts longer and works better than the classic carnauba waxes and paint sealers.
This high-quality car wax provides a deep, wet shine with incredible paint sealant and UV protection. A single application can last for six to 12 months.
It comes with a full wax kit including a premium applicator pad and detailing towel to apply and buff it to perfection. You can apply the wax by hand or use an orbital to make things faster.
This high quality liquid car wax kit is suitable for light and dark color vehicles and does not stain plastic trims or rubber. Carfidant also claims it will provide a full refund should the results be unsatisfactory.
Best Car Waxes Comparison Chart
SHINE ARMOR Fortify Quick Coat
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CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant
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Aero Cosmetic Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit
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Meguiar’s G18220 Ultimate Liquid Wax
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Chemical Guys WAC_201_16 Butter Wet Wax
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Carfidant Premium Liquid Car Wax Kit
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What Is Car Wax?
Car wax is a protective coating you apply to a vehicle’s top paint layer called the clear coat. The wax creates a thin layer that fills tiny crevices in your paint job.
This helps to achieve a perfect smoothness that makes the car shine with a glossy finish. To get the best results from a car wax, the vehicle must be spotlessly clean before you apply it.
While car wax primarily protects the bodywork from brush swirls and the sun’s deleterious rays, it can also do more. High-quality car waxes can shield your car’s clear coat from stains, tree sap, tiny scratches, road salt, fading, and even smears.
They make a lot of the popular natural car waxes around today from a blend of carnauba wax. Some are made from petroleum with chemical solvents. Others comprise synthetic polymers and resins that last longer and shine brighter.
Because wax is a hard hydrocarbon at room temperature, manufacturers blend it with solvents to make it easier to apply. Your car wax can be natural or synthetic and it can contain a combination of waxes.
Car Wax Buying Guide
There are hundreds of car waxes on the market. Every brand claims its products offer the best protection and showroom shine. But this is not always the truth, making it difficult to choose the perfect car wax for your vehicle.
This buying guide will show you the most important things to consider when buying car wax. It will also reveal the critical features and specifications to look out for.
What to Consider When Buying a Car Wax
What should you look for in a car wax? Considering that wax’s primary function is protection, you want to buy a product that provides the best safeguard for your body work. Here are factors to consider when choosing a car wax.
Consider Your Local Climate
When you are shopping for a car wax, one of the most important considerations is your local climate. Consider the frequency and intensity of sunlight because its UVA and UVB rays have a powerful bleaching effect on your paint job.
You want to buy a car wax product that can provide the protective seal to shield your car’s clear coat from the sun’s fading effect. For best results, get a product that has been proven to deliver superior UV and oxidation protection.
Your car’s depth of color can affect the effectiveness of wax. If your automobile has a light color, get a car wax made specifically for light-colored vehicles. This wax will enhance the color of your vehicle and help you achieve a mirror-like finish.
Black and dark-colored cars also require a wax that can conceal swirl marks and scratches. This means the product should have low abrasive properties and be suitable for clear coat finishes.
Thankfully, most top-rated manufacturers factor this into their formulations so that their products can work on diverse surfaces.
The Car’s Age
Vehicle manufacturers started applying clear coats to their products in the 1980s. This leaves earlier models vulnerable to natural and environmental damage and contamination.
If your car does not have a clear coat, you want to buy heavy-duty paste wax that will add a thick protective layer to the paint job. This will last longer and also protect the bodywork from light scratches, UV rays, and road contaminants.
For newer cars, spray-on wax or liquid automotive waxes will do an excellent job. But remember to polish the surface and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Frequency of Use
Cars that you use for the daily commute require more frequent waxing than a show vehicle. You want to buy a product that will reduce the accumulation of contaminants and road grime on the car surface.
If you have the best car wash soap, waxing will make cleaning your automobile easier and extend your paint job’s life. Because you will apply the wax more often, get a product you can apply and remove easily, preferably liquid waxes.
Ease of Application
Most car waxes require an applicator pad to splash the product on the clear coat and a dry microfiber cloth to dry and buff. You may also use an orbital.
However, paste waxes require more physical exertion but are ideal for cars with weathered paint jobs. If your vehicle does not require a thick coat of wax, it’s better to go for a liquid product that is easy to apply and wipe off.
Price is also an important consideration when selecting car wax. There are several high-quality brands with affordable rates. But there are also insanely expensive automotive waxes in the thousands of dollar range.
However, there are no noticeable differences in the shine and durability of the affordable and eye-watering products.
You are better off buying more of the modestly priced wax. If you follow the instructions, you still get that showroom shine.
Important Car Wax Features and Specifications
The car wax you buy will depend on a selection of attributes important to the finish you want to achieve. Here are some critical features and specifications to consider:
The level of UV protection a car wax can provide depends on the manufacturer’s research efforts, the formulation and skill of the user. You want to buy a product that can deliver adequate UV protection based on your local climate.
Most top-rated brands offer some level of UV radiation shield. Choose a product that will provide maximum protection against the sun’s harmful rays.
Paint Surface Cleaning
Depending on the formulation, a car wax may clean the paint surface or only apply a thin protective layer. The best automotive waxes can clean the surface, add a protective seal, and a glossy finish with one product.
You will see them with the label wash, coat, and shine and they work as advertised if you follow the directions.
How long do you want your car wax to last? There are products like the Carfidant Premium Liquid Car Wax Kit that can last up to a year on a single application.
Most car waxes, even the most expensive brands only deliver their best in the first five weeks. To get the best out of your money, buy a product that provides the longest protection at an affordable rate. Often, the least durable are spray waxes while the liquid and paste forms last longer.
Natural or Synthetic
Should you go for a natural or synthetic car wax? It depends on the results you want. Natural waxes come predominantly from carnauba wax, beeswax, and other plant and animal-based oils.
Natural automotive wax products are the favorite of dealerships and professional detailers because of their easy application, deeper colors, and higher reflectivity. But they are not the most durable. Synthetics can be polymer or ceramic formulas but last longer.
One important feature of a quality car wax is its ability to repel water. Highly hydrophobic waxes can bead water easily and channel the liquid off your paint job.
This reduces the exposure of your clear coat to contaminated rainwater and corrosive substances suspended in precipitation. It also reduces the accumulation of road grime and makes washing your vehicle faster.
In fact, you can use a foam cannon to wash your vehicle if you use a hydrophobic car wax because it reduces the need for water. Check out this detailed guide if you are thinking of choosing the right foam cannon for your garage.
Car waxes have different levels of gloss effect. Choose a brand that delivers the level of reflectivity you want in your show car. Natural waxes such as carnauba-based products are popular for their exceptional shine.
Car waxes come in spray-on, liquid, and paste form. Spray-on are the easiest to apply. Their bottles have a spray-on head that makes application fast and easy. But they are also the least durable.
Liquid automotive wax require the use of an applicator pad or an orbital. They last longer and deliver a wet, deep, and glossy finish.
The paste wax is the thickest and requires more elbow grease to apply. They last longer but you may not find any noticeable difference between them and most liquid car waxes.
Types of Car Wax: Which Should You Use?
Car waxes can be synthetic or natural. Let’s take a closer look at both types below.
Natural Car Waxes
Most natural car waxes come from carnauba wax. Carnauba wax comes from the fronds of the Brazilian palm tree Copernicia cerifera popularly called the Tree of Life. The substance protects the tree from the harsh South American heat.
This substance is the purest, hardest and most transparent of any wax in the world. It creates a three-dimensional coating that is darker, deeper, and more reflective.
Carnauba wax is ideal for darker colors and has excellent hydrophobic properties. It can also protect against acid rain and conceals minor swirls in a vehicle’s clear coating.
However, carnauba lacks the durability of synthetic waxes, especially in hot weather when it can form streaks. But many professional and DIY detailers swear by its exceptional ability to turn a lackluster paint job into a showroom masterpiece.
Synthetic Car Waxes
These are made from polymers, ceramics, or acrylic resins. Synthetic resins are easy to apply and remove and provide exceptional durability.
These waxes rarely streak or cloud the paint and deliver a lustrous finish effortlessly. It is not uncommon to find synthetic automotive waxes that last up to nine months on a single application!
However, synthetics lack the depth and richness of natural products such as the carnauba wax. Users report that they can create minor swirls and don’t hide defects in the clear coat like natural waxes.
So which should you use? Go for natural waxes if your car is painted in a deep color or you want something that delivers a deep, rich shine. Synthetics are perfect for people who prefer long-term protection and ease of use.
You can test different products to identify the one that works best for your vehicle.
Different Forms of Car Wax
As we said earlier, there are three forms of car wax. They include:
- Spray-on car wax
- Liquid car wax
Spray-on Car Wax
Spray-on car wax is suspended in an aerosol-like form and designed to be sprayed onto the clear coat. They are the easiest to apply and remove but have a lot of weaknesses.
Spray-on automotive waxes are too thin to provide long-term protection from weather and environmental contaminants. They also do not clean deeply and have low durability.
Spray-on car wax are ideal for new car finishes since those have fewer blemishes. They are perfect for vehicles that see frequent washing and waxing. Detailers use spray-on waxes for quick jobs because of their ease of applications.
Talking of frequent car washing, you may also want to check out our in-depth windshield washer fluid reviews to give your glasswork a complete makeover.
Liquid waxes come in fluid form and you need an applicator pad to use them. They are perfect for high-mileage vehicles with degraded paint jobs that require heavy cleaning and sealing. Liquid waxes deliver an excellent glossy finish and provide longer protection thanks to their increased durability.
These waxes require the right amount to deliver the best results. You must not splash it excessively or be too stingy with the stuff. Apply just enough to spread evenly across the surface of the vehicle. If you need a long-lasting wax that is easy to wipe off, get a liquid variety.
Paste wax require more physical effort to apply and remove because of their thickness. However, detailers recommend them for their higher durability and longer-lasting shine.
A good liquid wax can deliver the same level of protection and gloss you will get from a paste waxing product. But it may not last as long.
If your car has suffered extensive bleaching from the weather and requires a thick protective coating, consider a quality paste automotive wax to restore its shine.
If you need a more aggressive cleaning to bring out the gloss on your vehicle, clay bars can do the magic. For that, you will want to read our clay bar buying guide for the full details.
What Is the Difference Between Car Wax and Car Polish?
Is there any difference between car wax and car polish considering that both leave a shine on the paint? Yes, there are several distinctions between the two products.
3 Big Differences Between Wax and Polish
The car polish and car wax serve different purposes. While many people erroneously think both are interchangeable, a car polish is an abrasive while a car wax is a filler. They serve opposite but complementary functions.
The car polish uses tiny abrasives to remove imperfections in a vehicle’s paintwork. It flattens the car’s paint surface, removing oxidation patches, dullness, and minor surface scratches. Depending on the abrasiveness of the chemical cleaners, a car polish removes flaws at different levels on a vehicle’s clear coat.
Conversely, car wax is designed to improve and protect your paintwork by filling any surface defects such as minor swirls and tiny crevices. This creates a smooth and more reflective surface with a glossy feel.
This means that car polish and car wax are complementary, not substitutes. You use the former to remove imperfections while the latter smoothens the defect-free surface for long-term protection.
Car polish is an abrasive. It is designed to remove material from a surface. But the chemical agents used in car polishes are called diminishing abrasives. This is because the particles will break down over time as the clear coat absorbs them.
Car wax is often water-resistant and can tolerate high temperatures thanks to a higher melting point. This is why they don’t streak or fall off the paint during extreme heat.
Another big difference between the two is that car waxes are made from natural or synthetic materials. Car polishes usually comprise artificial substances that remove fine layers from the clear coat, leaving a level surface with a high shine.
Both can be applied by hand or with an orbital buffer but you need a defect-free surface to get the best out of your automotive wax. That is why you need to polish before waxing your vehicle.
6 Reasons Why You Should Wax Your Car!
Waxing can provide more than a glossy shine for your vehicle and your prestige.
Here’s 6 Important Reasons Why You Should Wax Your Car
Provide a Protective Layer Over Your Clear Coat
The clear coat on your car is exposed to every kind of contaminant and abrasive force on the road and the cleaning equipment. It may be fortified to tolerate debris, dirt, acid rain, UV light, and other road grime, but it will chip off after some time. After some time, the contaminants will seep into the color coat and base primer, ruining your paintwork.
Waxing serves as a sacrificial protective layer above the clear coat. It prevents all those harmful UV rays, road grime, abrasive brushes and others from damaging your paintwork.
Make Your Car Attractive
Perhaps, this is the main reason many people wax and polish their cars religiously. Car crazy people will do everything to care for their toys, including diligent waxing to bring out a show-winning shine.
So if you want your prized automobile to be the envy of the neighbors, put the wax on it! For best results, combine synthetic and natural carnauba waxes.
Use the synthetic wax for the base to enjoy its incredible durability and sealing power. Apply a carnauba-based wax on the surface for a deeper, darker, and richer gloss.
Prevent Superficial Damage
A high-quality car wax can prevent superficial damage. Because it creates a super slippery coating on the vehicle’s surface, waxing makes it difficult for most debris and dust to settle on your car. They bounce off without scratching or denting the bodywork.
The wax also prevents stains, bird droppings, tree saps, and other natural contaminants from adhering to your car. And if they stick, the wax makes removing them a lot easier.
Reduces Frequency of Car Washing
Since wax reduces the amount of dirt and grime that sticks to your vehicle, it decreases the frequency of washing it. All you need do is to detail the car as needed.
This also means you spend less time on the vehicle and even less money on cleaning supplies and equipment.
Reduces Repair Expenses
Waxing your car regularly can prevent expensive repair work on your bodywork or paint down the road. People who are careless with their car care may find that the clear coat is peeling off or fading because of exposure to the elements.
Restoring the shine or getting a new paint job can cost thousands of dollars. But waxing three to four times per year can keep your paintwork fresh and sparkling like new.
Help You Get a Higher Resale Value
If you plan to sell your car at a later date, waxing can help your command a higher price by making a powerful first impression. A well-maintained paintwork can convince buyers you took great care of your car. By extension, they can also assume the engines will be in top shape.
When they see the showroom shine on your vehicle, most buyers may already be convinced of the car’s value. Your huge price tag may be worth it.
Car Waxing Tips & Tricks to Keep Your Car Shining
When Should I Apply Wax?
Apply wax after polishing your car to a spotless finish. The polish would remove any surface imperfections. Then the wax will lock in the smoothness and protect your paintwork from the sun and other contaminants.
Waxing immediately after polishing can be a problem. This is because the polish leaves a smooth, even surface on the car, making it difficult for the wax to stick.
To avoid this problem, wait for about two to three days before applying the wax. During that time, the abrasive effect of the wind and other particles will wear parts of the polish off. This will give the wax more chances of clinging to your car when you apply it.
If you wax and then polish, you will only peel off the wax, wasting your time and ruining all your efforts.
How Long Does Car Wax Last?
Car wax can last from a few weeks up to a year. The longevity depends on the smoothness of the vehicle’s surface, the composition and external factors like the weather and driving habits.
Natural waxes such as carnauba-based products can last four to nine months, depending on the formula.
Synthetics are more durable because they use more advanced technology such as nano polymer science. These can serve you up to a year on a single application.
But the shine and coating wears off over time as the wax is exposed to extreme temperature, abrasion, contamination, and washing.
How Often Should You Wax Your Car?
The frequency of waxing your car depends on several factors such as your driving habits, the type of wax, and the local climate. However, experts suggest waxing three times a year or as required.
Waxing can be more frequent in places with dry and wet seasons. During the dry season, frequency of waxing can be once in a month and a half or two months. This can increase to once per month in the wet season.
Some brands recommend the frequency of use but you can always use your discretion to apply wax on your vehicle.
Carnauba wax doesn’t last as long as synthetic wax so you will need more frequent waxing if you go the natural route.
There is no definite frequency of waxing. Apply wax generously or sparingly based on your specific situation.
How Should I Apply Wax?
To get the perfect result from your car waxing effort, follow these steps:
- Park the car in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Some waxes are tolerant of high temperatures but many don’t like heat. Since you have to wash and clean the car before waxing, avoid the sun or any heat source if possible.
- Wash your car thoroughly with your favorite car wash solution and rinse the soap properly.
- Remove road tar or stuck-on debris with an appropriate chemical cleaner.
- Use a clay-bar to remove fine particles and stains from the clear coat. This will leave a smooth, even surface receptive of the wax.
- You can now apply your favorite car wax. Regardless of the form of wax you are using, apply the product in small, even circles but avoid putting too much or too little. The direction on the bottle will tell you how long to wait before buffing the wax.
Q: What causes swirl marks?
A: The most common cause of swirl marks is drying towels. Even if you use a microfiber towel, you can still create swirls on your paintwork if the fabric is stiff, or has dust, dirt, or debris. However, every other thing that touches your clear coat can cause swirl marks including:
- Using a dry towel to remove dust or debris from your vehicle
- Using the wrong pad to polish or buff your car
- Covering your car with a dirty cover
- Using applicators with polyester threads
- Applying harsh polishing chemicals or paint cleaners
- Failing to rinse your sponge after washing
- Not rinsing your care thoroughly before washing
- Failure to wash your car properly before drying
- Using automated car washes that use brushes
- Using dirty towels or chamois
- Washing your paint job with the same cleaning equipment you use for the wheels
It is not possible to eliminate swirl marks completely. But you can minimize them drastically by using the correct cleaning equipment on your car.
Q: Do I wax or polish first?
A: You should always polish first before you wax. This is because polishing is an abrasive activity while waxing fills crevices in your paintwork.
If you polish after waxing, you will destroy the protective layer created by the waxing substance. But if you wax after polishing, you lock in the smooth and even surface the polish created, making it last and shine for longer.
Q: Which type of wax lasts longer?
A: Synthetic wax lasts longer than carnauba types. They create a more durable film over the clear coat and have higher UV protection. But they lack the impressive sheen of the natural wax.
Q: Can I use an orbital to apply wax on my car?
A: Yes, even a complete novice can achieve professional results with one of the best waxing orbiters on the market. But follow the usage instruction.
Q: How often should I wash my car?
A: Wash your car as often as required. Give your vehicle a thorough wash anytime it is exposed to debris or contaminants. Car detailing professionals suggest washing your vehicle once a week to remove road grime and debris.
Q: Why does car wax cause smearing or smudging on the paint surface?
A: Car wax will make smudges or smears on the clear coat if you apply it when the vehicle is still warm. To avoid this problem, wax your car in a garage or under a shade where the temperature is cool.
Car waxing is an excellent way to preserve your car’s value. It creates a protective layer that shield’s your vehicle’s clear coat from harmful contaminants and the elements. But for many people, choosing the best car wax is a difficult task. We hope this in-depth guide will help you make an informed choice.
When choosing a car wax, it is important to consider your car paint color, age, and environmental factors. You also want to test a synthetic and a natural wax to compare the results.
If you want a deep shine that creates a powerful reflection on your car, get a carnauba-based waxing product. The natural waxes are easy to apply, remove, and produce a richer gloss.
If long-term protection is a priority, your best bet is a synthetic wax, preferably one with polymer technology. We hope our car wax reviews have provided the information for your car to shine and you to smile!