How to Wax a Car: A Step-by-Step Guide

Dirty roads, pollutant-filled air, and other environmental factors all assault a car's exterior, but a regularly scheduled wax can fend off the attack. Frequent waxing provides UV protection, adds some scratch resistance, and helps your car stay cleaner between washes. That's why experts recommend you wax a car every three months. Here's how to wax a car, the simple way:

Step 1: Prep your vehicle

Before getting started, gather needed supplies:

  • Liquid or paste wax – Both work well. It's your choice.
  • Application tool – Grab a clean sponge for paste wax or a microfiber cloth for liquid wax.
  • Buffing cloth – No matter which type of wax you use, you'll need a separate, clean microfiber buffing cloth.

Consider the weather before getting started. Avoid waxing a car in very cold or very hot weather. Park your car in the shade, to prevent wax from baking into the vehicle's paint.

Wash and completely dry your vehicle. Waxing a car while dirty or wet will not yield the best results.

Step 2: Apply car wax

Put a small amount of wax on your sponge or microfiber cloth. Gently apply the wax, section by section. Use small and overlapping circular strokes. Don't forget to wax the rims too!

When waxing a car, less is more. Multiple thin layers of wax may provide more scratch protection than a single, thicker layer.

Step 3: Buff

After waxing a small section of the vehicle, buff off the wax with a clean microfiber towel. If the wax is tough to remove, try a clean towel. It's important to buff the entire vehicle. Any wax that is not fully buffed can damage your vehicle's paint and finish. Any troublesome streaking can be remedied with a spray bottle filled with water and ½ teaspoon of isopropyl alcohol. Spray the mixture on difficult streaks and wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Step 4: Enjoy your shiny car

Once every section of your vehicle has been waxed and buffed and any streaks removed, your wax is complete. Enjoy your waxed and shiny vehicle!

Step 5: Repeat

Repeat with another wax in a few months. No time to wax your car by hand? You can always add a wax next time you go through the car wash to give your vehicle's finish some added protection.