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Fast Wax Facts: Quick Tips for Car Wax Shopping

The secret to keeping your car looking brand new is the timely application of the car wax. The wax coats your car with oils and polymers that protect your exterior from pollutants and the elements while giving it a radiant shine. Here are some basic facts you need to know before making a purchase.

Types of car wax

  • Synthetic car wax - These are the most common type and are made from certain chemicals with virtually no natural wax at all. They are known to endure tough weather conditions and can last around a year before a new coat will need to be applied. They are very easy to use since they are both easily rubbed in and wiped off. The problem with synthetic car wax is that it has a tendency to reveal scratches, streaks, and paint touch-ups.
  • Natural car wax - These provide the best quality. These usually use carnauba wax, which is known to give cars a distinctly deep glow. The glossy look that natural wax produces is something that synthetic varieties simply can't match. However, these car waxes, are much more expensive (especially when pure carnauba wax is used). They are also not as durable and need to be re-applied every one or two months. Another problem is that they can leave unsightly streaks of white smudge in cracks around your car.
  • Nanotechnology car wax - This relatively-new application of cutting-edge science is used to protect your car at the microscopic level. Molecules more densely bonded than water create a protective shield that prevents oxidation and weather damage. Ultima is currently the leader in this kind of car protection technology.

You can also use car polish, which heightens the quality of the paint work, but doesn't give you the same kind of protection.

Some recommended brands

  • Zaino Z-2 - This synthetic wax is known for its easy application, good smell, decent shine, and almost unmatched durability. The ZFX Flash Cure Accelerator variety is recommended for cold, humid climates.
  • Eagle One NanoWax - This combines the renowned quality of carnauba wax with the sophistication of nanotechnology to provide the keenest shine. It is also easily applied and removed.
  • Collinite Marque d'Elegance - This provides an excellent shine and has great durability. However, it is rather tough to apply and even harder to remove. It also generates some static electricity which attracts dust.

Wax on, Wax off: How to Properly Wax Your Car

The exercise of waxing cars was used to teach karate to a young high schooler in The Karate Kid (1984). For you, taking the time to "wax on" and "wax off" will also reap a prize of its own: a gleaming car that's protected from the elements. This may take some time to accomplish, but this seemingly tedious task is easily done and can be surprisingly refreshing at the end.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Here's what you'll need:

  • Car wax
  • Small, soft sponge or microfiber cloth
  • Lint-free cloth


  1. Wash your car or take it to a car wash and dry it thoroughly before you begin waxing it. Waxing your car before washing it can result in trapping dirt and debris beneath layers of wax.
  2. Make sure you wax your car in a shaded area. Exposure to direct sunlight will cause the wax to dry prematurely, resulting in an uneven finish.
  3. Take care not to get any wax on anything other than the painted metal exterior. Otherwise, you'll end up with a white residue that's hard to remove once the wax dries.
  4. When using liquid wax, don't forget to shake the bottle before dispensing the wax.
  5. If your car already has an excellent finish (like with new cars), wax spray may serve you better than wipe-on wax.

Step 1: Place a tiny amount of wax (about the size of a half-dollar coin) on your sponge.

Step 2: Rub the sponge over a small section of your car (a 2x2-feet section will do) until the wax hazes.

Step 3: Once the wax becomes opaque, buff the section with the lint-free cloth. Keep doing this in small circular motions until it shines ("wax on, wax off").

Step 4: Repeat this process over the rest of your car, working in small sections, until you achieve a radiant, even shine.

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