It was European coach builders that
first applied coatings of animal fats and wax to protect the custom paint
on their horse-drawn carriages. This tradition has endured over 100
years and is still a great way to protect the paint on modern-day coaches.
Today, the multilayered finish on your car, from the primer through the
top clearcoat, is only .004 to .006 of an inch thick. Regardless of
how fine the finish is now, it will deteriorate and dull. Radiant
and ultraviolet energy, acid rain, salt, atmospheric pollution, insect
fluids and bird droppings wage a constant war on your car's finish.
Waxing provides an easily renewable, transparent barrier between the
finish and a hostile environment.
Waxing also makes your car, new or old, look better. Quality waxes
now combine enriching oils that "wet" the surface with
protective formulas of Brazilian carnauba or modern polymers for a
high-gloss shine. This brings us to the subject of selecting a wax.
Waxes can be made from a natural wax, usually Brazilian carnauba, or
synthetically made of polymers and acrylic resins.
Waxes and sealants make the surface of a car
reflect more light. As a result, the car looks vibrant.
When I saw this Porsche Carrera GT, it was hard to tell which
reflected more, the water or the paint. It looked alive.
Carnauba-based waxes add an element of depth and warmth to a car.
Synthetic wax formulas create brilliance and sparkle.
Carnauba comes from the fronds of the "tree of life" (Copernicia
cerifera) native to Brazil. It is nature's hardest, purest and most
transparent wax. Carnauba car waxes tend to produce a deeper,
darker, richer shine that is often described as
Many enthusiasts and show car owners
prefer the shine of carnauba waxes, especially on black, red and other
dark colors. Carnauba waxes bead water nicely, absorb the acid
content in rain, and hide minor swirls in the paint. My personal
favorite is P21S
Carnauba Wax, a true show car wax. Compared with other show car
waxes, P21S Carnauba Wax is very modestly priced and compares favorably.
On the minus side, carnauba waxes are not as durable as synthetic waxes or
sealants. Depending on your climate, a carnauba wax might last
between 30 and 60 days. Additionally, some carnauba waxes can be
temperamental, occasionally streaking under certain temperature or
With the limitations of carnauba wax,
you might be asking why it continues to have a loyal following. In
my own case, I continue to use P21S Carnauba Wax to pamper my show car
because I like the way it looks. On my toy, durability is secondary.
While car enthusiasts love carnauba waxes for the way they make highly
polished paint look wet, like a calm pool of water, they would appreciate
more durability. Simply put, carnauba waxes quickly evaporate
when your car is in the hot sun. The average melting temperature of
a carnauba wax is about 180 degrees (f).
To make a true wax coating more
durable, some chemists have turned to synthetic waxes that mimic the
valued properties of natural carnauba, but greatly improve on the
limitations. One such wax is Autoglym
Extra Gloss Protection, which is easily the most durable wax product I
have found. Super Resin Polish is a thin liquid, which allows it to
be applied very quickly and with little to no rubbing required.
Buffing off is also a breeze, and reveals a bright, shiny, slick surface
that will bead water and look great for 4 to 6 months.
I personally prefer acrylic sealants
over polymer sealants. The polymer sealants are becoming more
and more common due to the low cost of silicone polymers. I like the
acrylics because the acrylic resin molecule is heavier than polymer
strands, which I feel allows acrylic sealants to do a better job of hiding
minor paint flaws. I also find that acrylics have a more natural
look and are less likely to cloud the paint.
The king of acrylic resin sealants is
Klasse. The Klasse products include a cleaner and sealant in one,
All-In-One and a pure sealant called Klasse
Sealant Glaze. Klasse All-In-One is a one-step product
that gently cleans and polishes your paint as it protects with the
patented Klasse acrylic formula. A single coat of Klasse All-In-One
provides 4-6 months of protection. For even more protection and
paint finish beauty, you can add one or more coats of Klasse Sealant
Glaze, which does not contain cleaners or polish. Klasse Sealant
Glaze is pure acrylic resin.
Once you've selected a wax, here are some tips to
make waxing easier:
Work in a shaded area out of
Use a foam or terry cloth
applicator pad to apply your wax. When the applicator becomes
caked with wax, switch to a fresh applicator.
Work on one area at a time
covering 2 to 4 square feet. Some products may allow you to coat
the entire car before buffing off, but most do not.
Follow the wax manufacturer's
instructions on whether or not to allow the wax to dry (haze) before
Use a small amount of wax at a
time, and rub it in well. If you use too much wax, you're
wasting the product and your time.
If the wax residue does not buff
off easily, switch to a clean wipe towel.
Apply your wax in a
back-and-forth motion, not in circles. If you are creating
swirls, you need to replace your applicator or towels.
After waxing, your car's paint should
feel slick and smooth, and be free of streaks and smudges.
What do you do if, after all this
work, you still have streaks and areas that don't want to buff out
perfectly? There are several tricks, but the easiest is to park your
car in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it get warm, but not hot,
and then take it back inside the garage. Next, using a good spray
bottle and distilled water, spritz a small area and buff with a clean
terry cloth towel. The warmth of the sun softens the wax, allowing
it to buff out to a clear, high gloss. If you don't have distilled
water, use a detailing spray. If you're using an enthusiast sealant
system, use the quick detailer made for the system.
Show Car Tricks
Detailers that prepare show cars will often
layer a carnauba wax on top of a synthetic wax. The synthetic wax
acts as a gloss layer, while the carnauba wax adds depth and a wet-looking
appearance. One combination that works well is an initial coating of
followed by one or more coats of P21S
Apply and buff the first coat of wax
as you would normally, and allow it to cure for 12 to 48 hours.
Follow with a second coat. Note that the first coat of wax must have
time to cure. If the wax does not cure (harden), the second coat
will not improve your car's appearance or protection. With properly
applied coats of wax, you will see a noticeable improvement in depth,
richness of color and gloss with the second coat of wax. Adding more
layers is a subjective matter, although many concours winners use multiple
layers to produce the desired depth.
waxing is necessary to protect your car's paint from the elements.
In addition to sealing and protecting, waxes and sealants also improve the
appearance of freshly washed and polished paint. If you use the
right products, you can successfully layer waxes and sealants to make your
paint look deeper and almost liquid.