Regular care of your car is important. If you cannot do that, then you can expect a faster loss of value of your car. A good car wax can help here. However, not every wax is suitable for every paint.
To ensure that your car is seamlessly protected against all weather and adversities, apply car wax at least twice a year to seal the paintwork.
Hard wax offers a more comprehensive protection than spray wax. However, it is more difficult to apply and requires several work steps. Spray wax is easy and simple to apply and also gives good results.
Car wax not only makes your car shine in new splendor but also protects the paintwork and helps to prevent minor damage. Always use a clean, high-quality microfiber cloth when applying car wax. Otherwise stains may occur.
- 1 Car wax, a product for long-term vehicle care
- 2 All about car wax
- 3 Application and effect of the waxes
- 4 Additives in wax products
- 5 Other car care products
- 6 Popular manufacturers of car waxes
Car wax, a product for long-term vehicle care
In time, every car paint loses some of its shine and eventually looks dull. Sun, wind, rain, snow, ice and above all the ubiquitous road salt in winter make sure that the appearance of the vehicle deteriorates. Even the modern car exterior with new paintwork requires preservation. In older models, areas under a scratch are susceptible to flash rust.
A car polish protects the paint from external influences. Besides the right polish, however, a high-quality car wax is indispensable for car care. A sealed paint is less sensitive to minor mechanical damage and weather influences. Rain and dirt simply roll off.
- With wax, you can seal the paint of the car. This makes it insensitive to environmental influences.
- A good quality wax promotes the roll-off effect, so that the rain washes off the fine film of dirt that forms on the car.
- A paint sealant with wax ensures high gloss effect – the car sparkles in the sun.
- Small scratches and stains disappear from a car treated with wax and decrease the chances to form a rust film.
- To maintain the value of a car, it is essential to treat the car with wax regularly.
All about car wax
Wax forms a thin layer on the car that does not bond with the paint. The density is lower than that of a sealant. The appearance of the car body improves as both liquid and hard wax fill small scratches. However, no layers can be built up, and the product washes off over a period. The advantage is that car wax is inexpensive and easy to apply, but the overall labor input is higher than with a sealer.
Constituents of automotive wax
In its original form, wax is an organic compound viscous in its liquid state and hardly dissolves in water. Since no exact definition exists to date, we define the product as a substance with a coarse-to-fine crystalline structure, solid to brittle hard and slightly translucent. The material can be kneaded at 20 degrees Celsius and melts at over 40 degrees Celsius.
There are different waxes, which differ in origin and composition of the mechanical-physical properties. Natural wax belongs to the group of lipids and, like the animal or vegetable wax, is not suitable as a care product for vehicles in its untreated state. However, it is an excellent ingredient for leather care in cars.
Mineral / fossil waxes (petroleum wax/mineral oil wax), semi-synthetic or synthetic waxes are generally used for car polishes. Mineral and fossil waxes are primarily composed of hydrocarbons and contain paraffins. Semi – synthetic waxes are made from natural waxes. They get their chemical and physical properties by oxidation, esterification, amination, hydrogenation and/or saponification. For the production of synthetic waxes, the industry primarily uses petroleum or lignite.
For some time now, the choice of micro waxes for car polishing has been increasing. Most of these agents contain microscopically small, uniform, spherical particles. The tiny nanoscale particles close the pores of the paint and make it more resistant to scratches. Cars treated with micro-wax have a very good roll-off effect.
Types of car wax
Even though there are many waxes on the shelves of car parts shops, gas stations and hardware stores, they are all similar and can be divided into two groups:
Natural and synthetic waxes
Natural waxes, as the name suggests, comprise natural ingredients. They are almost always based on a wax extracted from the leaves of the carnauba plant. In addition, beeswax, almond oil or even aloe vera are often used. But the wax of the carnauba palm is popular. This plant produces the hardest, naturally occurring wax. It has a high melting point of 87 degrees Celsius, which makes it insensitive to sunlight and therefore perfect as car wax. The carnauba wax is mixed with other varieties and additives to make it easier to apply and is sold in small cans.
Natural wax is usually somewhat more expensive than synthetic wax, but it provides a pleasantly soft, natural shine. Products with carnauba wax are available as a paste or spray wax.
Synthetic waxes are produced artificially. Sometimes both types are mixed and called hybrid wax. However, synthetic wax can also have some 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
- Hard sheen
- Less resistant protective coating
Natural or synthetic? Hard wax products almost always comprise natural wax mixtures, e.g. Carbnauba and beeswax. Spray waxes are mostly synthetic polymer compounds, with which a natural wax is occasionally mixed to improve durability.
Important: Neither of the two waxes is better or worse, but the natural waxes are pricier.
In addition, we can also differentiate car waxes can into hard and spray (liquid) waxes. While the former must be applied by hand, we can spray the other. However, the durability of spray waxes is much lower than that of hard waxes.
Liquid (spray or soft) wax and hard wax
When you buy car wax, you get a choice of liquid wax or hard wax. The two types differ mainly in their properties, but they are similar in their functionality. Liquid car wax can be applied more easily. In contrast to hard wax, it is sprayed onto the paint and rubbed with a cloth. However, the product serves more for maintenance than for conservation. The use of the more solid material is costly, but has its advantages. Car wax tests have shown that hard wax lasts longer. Manufacturers recommend applying a protective layer of hard wax in spring and autumn.
Hard car wax is usually sold in tins and the liquid car wax in a spray bottle. The following table shows the advantages and disadvantages of both:
- Hard wax denser consistency – better sealing
- Better protection against rust
- Often of higher quality than spray wax
- Lengthy application – much polishing necessary
- Uncomplicated application
- No further training necessary
- Less good sealing
- Must be applied more frequently than hard wax
For removal of car wax, apply some thinner or silicone based remover to a microfiber cloth and wipe the wax off carefully. Alternatively, it is possible to wash the car completely with a grease-dissolving detergent. However, because of the aggressiveness of detergent, the paintwork must be protected again with a wax coating.
Application and effect of the waxes
Car waxes are suitable both for manual application by hand and for use in polishing machines. Before applying, the user should wash the car thoroughly to remove insect residues, dust, dirt, and rust film. This is followed by an intensive car polish before you finally apply the wax in the third step.
By polishing, small scratches in the paint are filled and optically removed. Application of wax results in an impression of a high-gloss lacquer. This is because during treatment, it transforms matt surfaces with low light reflection into shiny surfaces with a strong light reflection. A polish with car wax lasts for several car washes before it needs renewal.
Additives in wax products
Manufacturers add various additives such as abrasives to the car waxes. Owners of new cars can do without these additives. For cars that have been “over the hump” for a few years, we recommend a car polish wax with appropriate additives. These additives mechanically grip the paint layer and remove small unevenness.
Other car care products
In paint care, we make a distinction between wax, sealant and car polish.
For sealing, mainly polymer-based products are used. They bond with the surface and form an (almost) scratch-resistant layer. Because of the high density, neither insects nor bird droppings leave visible marks. There is no need for tiresome polishing after washing as it evens out the rough surface by a protective layer.
A sealant lasts longer than a layer of wax – it lasts around twelve months. However, the process is more expensive than using even the most high-class wax.
In recent years, nanotechnology has increasingly come to the fore. To seal the car paint, the technology tries to imitate nanostructures such as those of the lotus flower. In doing so, the product covers the paint with a kind of nano net, whose particles are smaller than the microstructure of water and dirt. As a result, nothing can stick to the surface and is washed away by the next downpour. The effect lasts between six and eight months.
While wax and sealants belong more to the category of care products, polishing is a form of paint cleaning. The agents may contain paint particles to remove scratches. Mild polishes have a low abrasive content, so they are more likely to be used on new and as new paintwork.
For older paintwork, we recommend medium polishes with a high abrasive content, while we can use strong polishes for weathered, old and dull paintwork. With the help of a polishing machine, the cleaning agent scrapes off the finest layers of the paint to give it a new shine. To prevent damage to the paint, the application of the substance and the use of a polishing machine requires some practice. After polishing, the car paint should either be waxed or sealed.
Popular manufacturers of car waxes
There are several companies that specialize in the production of car care products. Among them are well-known names like Meguiar’s, Mother’s, Turtle Wax and many more.
Meguiar’s is one leader in car care and detailing products. The car wax paste from Meguiar’s is suitable for all clear and high gloss paints. This advanced wax contains new synthetic polymers that cross-link to form a protective layer when applied.
Meguiar’s product range consists of different car wash liquids, several grit polishes, and high gloss waxes. These products can be used independently or in combination with another. Most of their products are affordable than even some lesser known mediocre products.
Mother’s is a known name for many car enthusiasts. They have been around for many years as the best creators of metal polishes, aluminum and chrome wheel polishes. Their car care product line up comprises clay bar kit, carnauba wash and wax soap, various types of polishes, CMX ceramic sprayable coating, etc.
Turtle Wax creates car wash, wax, and detailing products for everyday users. Their products are relatively inexpensive and they are one of the oldest manufacturers of car care products.