If you fail to maintain your car regularly, then you can expect a much faster loss in its value. Waxing your car can help if you use the right kind. Nevertheless, not every wax will be suitable for every paint.

Compared to spray wax, hard wax offers a deeper shine. It is harder to apply because it involves several steps. Applying spray wax is simple and easy, and the results are good. Seal the paintwork of your car at least twice a year with car wax to keep it protected from the weather and adversities.

Car wax, a product for long-term vehicle care

Eventually, every car paint starts to look dull as it gets older. The appearance of the vehicle deteriorates due to the sun, wind, rain, snow, ice, and especially the road salt in winter. Even modern cars that have new paintwork need preservation. Older cars often develop flash rust on scratched areas.

In addition to the right polishes, a quality wax is also indispensable to car care. Rain and dirt roll off sealed paints, so they are less sensitive to pollution and weather influences.

  • Car paint can be sealed with wax, thus making it less sensitive to environmental influences.
  • Good waxes encourage rolling-off of dirt so that rain water can wash it off.
  • Paint sealants with wax ensure high gloss – your car will shine in the sunlight.
  • Waxing a car eliminates scratches and stains, which reduces the risk of rusting.
  • Regularly waxing a car helps maintain its value.

All about car wax

The wax coats the car in a thin layer that does not fuse with the paint. Compared with a sealant, the density is less. With both liquid and hard wax, the appearance of the car body is improved as small scratches are filled. Nevertheless, you cannot build up layers, and the product wears off over time. A wax coating is easier to apply and more affordable than a sealant, but the labor required is higher.

Constituents of automotive wax

Originally, wax was a viscous liquid organic compound, which did not dissolve in water. Since there are no exact definitions of the product, we describe it as a material of fine to coarse crystal structure, solid to brittle, and lightly translucent.

Various waxes have differing mechanical-physical properties and origins. Natural wax belongs to the lipid family. It is unsuitable for use as a car care product in its untreated state, just like animal or vegetable wax. Leather care is one of its uses.

The waxes used for car polishes are usually mineral waxes (petroleum wax/mineral oil wax), semi-synthetic waxes, or synthetic waxes. Hydrocarbons are the main component of mineral and fossil waxes, although they also contain paraffins. Natural waxes are used in the manufacture of semi- synthetic waxes. Oxidation, esterification, amination, hydrogenation, and/or saponification give them their chemical and physical properties. The industry uses a mix of petroleum or lignite for the production of synthetic waxes.

For some time now, car polishers have been using progressively higher quality micro waxes. Microscopically small, uniform, spherical particles are present in these agents. Tiny nanoparticles close pores in the paint, repelling scratches and making it more durable. The micro-wax on treated cars has a good roll-off effect.

Types of car wax

Many waxes are found on the shelves of car parts shops, gas stations and hardware stores, and they can be categorized into two groups: 

Natural and synthetic waxes

Natural waxes contain natural ingredients, as their name suggests. Almost all of them use wax derived from the carnauba plant leaves. A variety of other ingredients can be used, including beeswax, almond oil and aloe vera. However, the wax from the carnauba palm is much liked. Hardest natural wax is produced by this plant. As a result of its high melting point it is insensitive to sunlight and therefore ideal for car wax. Carnauba wax is mixed with other forms and additives as well as sold in small cans to simplify its application.

A natural wax usually provides for a softer, more natural shine than synthetic wax and is more expensive. Wax products available in carnauba form are either paste waxes or spray waxes.

Sometimes the two types of waxes are mixed into a hybrid wax. Synthetic wax is made using artificial methods. There are, however, advantages to wax made from synthetic materials.

Advantages

  • Polymer blend without natural ingredients – no intervention in nature necessary
  • Very good sealing
  • Also miscible with natural waxes
  • Available as spray wax or paste
  • Relatively inexpensive

Disadvantages

  • Hard sheen
  • Less resistant protective coating

Hard wax has a natural wax base usually containing Carbnauba and beeswax in combination. In spray waxes the polymer compounds are mostly synthetics with the addition of natural waxes to improve durability.

The natural waxes are pricier, but neither is better nor worse.

The waxes can be further separated into spray waxes and paste waxes. In contrast to the paste waxes, which must be applied by hand, the spray types can be sprayed on. While spray waxes temporarily enhance shine, the duration is much shorter than that of the hard waxes.

Liquid (spray or soft) wax and hard wax

If you purchase car wax, you have the choice between hard wax and liquid wax. In terms of their properties, the two types differ, but in their functionality they are comparable. It is much easier to apply liquid car wax. It is applied to the paint with a spray, and then rubbed with a cloth. However, the product is primarily used for maintenance rather than for conservation. Although less solid waxes are more costly, they have their advantages. The hard wax has proven to last longer in tests on car wax. Applying hard wax in autumn and spring is recommended by the manufacturers.

The liquid car wax is usually sold in a spray bottle and the hard wax is usually sold in tins. Here’s the pros and cons of both:

Hard wax

  • Hard wax denser consistency – better sealing
  • Better protection against rust
  • Often of higher quality than spray wax
  • Lengthy application – much polishing necessary

Spray wax

  • Uncomplicated application
  • No further training necessary
  • Less good sealing
  • Must be applied more frequently than hard wax

Other car care products

There is a difference between car polish, wax and sealant in paint care.

Sealing

To seal, products based on polymers are mainly used. It forms an almost scratch-resistant layer that bonds with the surface. There are no visible signs of insects or bird droppings owing to the high density. You do not have to polish it after washing as it provides a protective layer that evens out any bumpy surface.

In comparison to a layer of wax, a sealant lasts around twelve months. Despite the fact that this process costs more than even the most expensive wax, it is worth it.

Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology has assumed increasing importance in recent years. The technology aims to imitate nanostructures found in lotus flowers to seal the car paint. Essentially, the surface is covered by a similar net of nanoparticles, which are smaller than the surface of dirt and water. This means nothing will stick to the surface and is rinsed away with the next downpour.  These effects can last 6-8 months.

Polishing

Polishing could be classified as a form of paint cleaning rather than as a care product. Abrasive particles may be present in the agents to remove scratches. Most mild polishes have low abrasive content, which makes them better suited to new paintwork.

A medium abrasive polish is ideal for older paintwork, while strong polishes can be used on weathered, old and dull paintwork. Using a buffing machine, the cleaning agent polishes the paint to give it an entirely new shine. It will take practice to use the polishing machine and to apply the polish properly in order to protect the paint. Wax or seal the paint after polishing it.