A Guide to The Types of Car Wax + Wax FAQ

Car Wax Guide

Vehicle owners agree. We want our car to run well and look good. Regular under-the-hood maintenance ensures an engine that purrs nicely. However, the methods for retaining that new car exterior raises all sorts of questions. We’ll tackle one of those questions with a guide to the types of car wax and wax FAQ that follows.

Types of Car Wax

There are a variety of car waxes to choose from. Let’s look at these in more detail.

Natural Car Wax

Natural car wax is made from natural rather than chemical ingredients. The most common type comes from the leaves of the Copernicia Cerifera palm tree from Brazil. The wax made from these leaves is called carnauba wax, and it comes in yellow, brown, green, and white.

The yellow wax is only plant wax and is more expensive than the white version. Many car owners prefer this type of wax because of the deep shine it gives, especially to darker colored vehicles. Carnauba wax should be reapplied about every four months.

Some car waxes are made from the shrub Euphorbia Cerifera that grows in the Texas Big Bend area and North-Central Mexico. It is also known as candelilla wax. It’s a yellowish-brown color.

Another type of natural car wax ingredient is beeswax. When used in a wax formula, beeswax provides an active protective layer. Bees from the Apis genus produce the most commercially used beeswax. Although fresh beeswax is white, when it is used in wax, it may look yellow or brown.

Linseed is a natural oil that produces a beautiful shine to the paint. Linseed oil is also known as flax or flaxseed oil. It is transparent or can have a slight yellow tint to it. This oil comes from the seeds of Linum usitatissimum plant. Its application can make the paint more glossy.

Plant and beeswaxes keep a product from separating into its liquid and oil components. For this reason, even synthetic car waxes may contain these natural ingredients.

Paste Wax

Paste waxes are the most expensive form of car wax. Typically, natural car waxes come in paste form. The application can be tricky and even require special tools. It also must be applied most often than other kinds. However, it does give your vehicle a lovely gloss and water beading capability because of the natural oils in the ingredients.

Liquid Wax

Liquid wax has synthetic polymers which ensure a smoother texture and longer-lasting effects when compared to paste wax. It dries quickly, so it can be challenging to apply. Some liquid waxes have slight abrasive qualities that can damage the surface of your vehicle.

Spray Wax

Spray wax can be applied more precisely than other forms, which makes them ideal for problem spots. They are also non-abrasive. However, this type has the shortest length of protection, so best used as spot fixes rather than regular maintenance.

Colored Wax

If your vehicle paint is scratched, then you might consider colored wax. If you match the wax color to the color of your car, superficial scratches on the surface all but disappear. It won’t work well on deeper scratches or indentations, however.

Synthetic Car Wax

Synthetic car waxes are made of chemicals that bond with the paint on your vehicle. They can provide a subtle shine and weather protection for up to a year. They also often have a cleaning component as part of the mix to help strip the surface of any residual dirt. Synthetic car wax usually takes less time to apply and is less expensive than natural car wax.

Synthetic car wax may contain plastic or silicone. These types of waxes are more durable than carnauba wax but don’t create the same shine. Car wax may include petroleum distillates, which are solvents from crude oil. When these are added, the car wax is less difficult to apply. Other synthetic car waxes are made up of resin and polymers.

Car Wax FAQ

Take a closer look at a guide to the types of car wax and wax FAQs to make the most of whatever wax you choose to apply.

What Does Car Wax Do?

When applied regularly, car wax:

  • Protects the paint from UV rays by reflecting them.
  • Prevents water corrosion by repelling water.
  • Prevents scratches caused by dirt particles and bird excrement.
  • Protects the vehicle’s surface from air blown particles.
  • Reduces paint discoloration.

When you wax your vehicle, you are putting a barrier between the transparent surface and the elements. Air pollutants, UV rays, and water can damage the exterior of a car. Wax increases the water-repelling ability of the vehicle paint, which in turn keeps your car cleaner and helps the paint job last longer.

Car wax also adds a glossy shine to the paint surface. It does this by filling in the gaps in the clear-coated surface that are a result of scratches and imperfections.

When Should You Apply Car Wax?

Car wax should be applied after washing and polishing your vehicle. The wax makes a sort of seal over a clean car. If you wax and then polish, you are, in effect, removing the wax layer.

As to how often you should treat your vehicle with car wax, it depends. If you drive in heavily polluted or dusty areas frequently, you may need to wax more often. It also depends on the type of car wax you are using. Carnauba wax doesn’t last as long as synthetic waxes and must be applied more often. Experts suggest waxing your car three or four times a year.

How Should Car Wax Be Applied?

Car wax paste and liquid should be applied generously but evenly in small circles. The amount of time it should be left on before buffing it off with a microfiber cloth varies. Liquid wax dries swiftly and should be wiped off before it starts to flake. Other types of wax dry slower, so you can probably apply the wax to the entire vehicle before going back and buffing it off.

In Conclusion

Car wax should be a regular part of your vehicle maintenance regime three or four times a year. As we’ve seen in a guide to the types of car waxes and wax FAQs, natural waxes may need to be applied more often but will give you a better shine than synthetic waxes.

Brett Gordon

The engine behind editing at DigMyRide and the brains behind its build. During the day, Brett is a thirty-something dude from SoCal climbing the corporate ladder, but by night, he spends his time contributing to the online world of automotive tech & trends.