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  • Regular waxing keeps the car looking new, raising the resale value and making it easier to sell.
  • Usually, apply a fresh wax coat when rainwater stops forming beads on the car’s surface.
  • You can wax your car or hire an auto detailer for a pricey yet thorough service.
  • Clean your car first, avoid applying car wax in direct sunlight on a hot day, and remove wax residue.
  • Before waxing your car, look for chips and scratches on the paint job and apply touch-up paint.

Regular waxing will keep a car looking new for many years. A ten-year-old car that has been waxed twice a year will probably have a better shine then when it was new. It will also command a higher resale value and be easier to sell.

If rain water does not bead on the painted surfaces of your car, it’s time to wax it. How often you have to wax your car is dependent on the type of wax you use and how good you want your car to look. Some of the new synthetic waxes will last more than a year.

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Obviously, there are two ways to get the car waxed: have it done by someone or do it yourself. If you don’t mind spending about $100.00, check out an auto detailer. They will clean the entire car inside and out, cleaning and waxing the body and shampooing the interior, right down to using a toothbrush to clean the seams in the dashboard. They will deep-clean the wheels and tires and make sure they remove any wax residue around the name plates and emblems. Check with your local car wash or look in the Yellow Pages under “Automobile Detailing.”

, Waxing 101

If you decide to wax the car yourself, make sure you start with a clean car and never work in direct sunlight on a hot day. Before you start, run your hand over the surface, it should feel smooth like glass. If it feels rough or gritty like there are bits of sand embedded in the paint, then you should first use a non-abrasive cleaner to clean the paint before waxing. One of the best methods that I have found uses clay to smooth the surface. Products such as Clay Magic & Meguiars Clay Detailer work beautifully with amazing results. Make sure you only use products designed for automotive finishes and follow the instructions on the container. After you finish waxing the car, you should go over the entire surface to look for wax residue, especially around trim and body seems. A tooth brush or Q-tips work well for this. If your car has black trim, try to keep the wax away from it. Some waxes may leave a chalky film on dull black trim, such as rubber and some plastics, that can be hard to remove. Look for products that are made for cleaning black trim. I found them to work well and really let the black stand out.

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Before beginning the job, examine the paint closely for chips and scratches and touch them up. Touch-up paint is available at most auto supply stores for the most popular paint colors. If you can’t find your color there, check with your new car dealer. If they don’t have it you may have to go to an auto body supply where they can match any color you might have (for a price). I always ask for a tube of touch-up paint when I buy a new car. That tube will usually last a few years if you only use it for chips and small scratches and keep it covered. Make sure that you wipe the paint off the bottle before you put the lid back on or you will never get it off again. (I speak from experience)

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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