You may not realize it, but there is a constant war being waged on the exterior of our cars. From the moment a car rolls out of the dealership, its glossy coat of paint is under constant siege from a host of enemies. UV rays, water, pollutant chemicals in the rain, salts, dust and sand particles, bird droppings, insect goo, the list goes on and on. This is why every car needs some extra shielding to protect the way it looks. Enter car waxes…
They offer a hardened, resilient extra layer of protection while remaining transparent enough to show off that vivid paint job.
We have been using products similar to car wax from the time of horse-drawn carriages. But even after nearly 150 years of driving cars, confusion persists amongst car owners regarding wax products.
Check out our buyers guide below to learn all you need to know about waxing your car. If you want to find the best spray wax for that spanking new sedan or SUV, head on straight to our review section.
Car Wax Buyers Guide
Rule 1 – Don’t Go By Price Alone
Wax products are available in a broad price range. Generally speaking, the rule of the market is that higher priced products offer superior performance.
But with car waxes you can often experience diminishing returns the higher up you go into the price range. After all, you are not dealing with complicated gadgets with many moving parts!
Mid-range products seem to offer the best bang for your buck when it comes to protective performance. This has been our experience during the review process.
Different Types of Waxes
Right now, we can see three different types of waxes available on the market for car owners: liquid, paste, and spray wax products. They all have some advantages as well as drawbacks.
If you want superior gloss and cleansing ability, liquid waxes are what you need. They also offer a very durable finish. But the catch here is that these waxes take some extra effort to apply. You could face issues, particularly when trying to get an evenly buffed finish. They take the longest time to dry out (1 minute+)
These are generally easier to apply than liquid waxes. But you do get an inferior performance when compared to liquids. Pastes usually dry out within 30 seconds.
If speed and convenience are important for you, these win the contest hands down. They are also best for dealing with spot waxing. If there are a lot of plastic parts on your car, these are the best wax products for you. But the durability of sprays are the worst out of the trio, and they don’t do much on the cleaning front either.
Factors To Consider Before Buying
Age of the car
For older cars that need more cleaning action, look for liquid waxes. If it is a brand new vehicle, a spray might be the best option.
The time you can spare
If you don’t have time for frequent application of wax, look for the more durable options, like pastes and liquids. Sprays can be applied in seconds, but you will have to keep applying them frequently.
The color of your car
Car waxes often contain tiny chemical particles that are highly abrasive. These can leave fine scratches in the paint. These are especially visible on darker paint jobs. They also leave a dull look on cars with clear coat. Black car wax can often be tricky to find.
How much plastic?
Plastic body trim and panels could end up with a glossy residue from certain wax products. If the plastic parts are matte black or grey in color, these residues can mar the appearance. Look for waxes that are plastic compatible if you have a lot of plastic parts on your car.
Handy Tips for First Time Buyers
- If you are trying out a new wax brand/type, it is always better to test it out on a safe part of your car to see if it suits. This is especially true if you are using a new wax for black cars.
- For an easier waxing experience and better results, use a microfiber cloth instead of old cloth or terry cloth rags.
- Always thoroughly clean the exterior of your car, preferably with a car cleaning solution, before applying the wax.
- Avoid waxing the car in direct sunlight if possible, as the heat can soften and weaken the paint cover, making it more vulnerable to scratches.
- To reduce the risk of scratches, start waxing from the cleanest sections of the car at the top, and work your way down to the grimy lower sections.
The Best Car Wax 2020
CarGuys Liquid Wax – Best Car Wax for Black Cars
This is a premium synthetic liquid wax product suitable for all types of cars and vehicles. It contains a polymer sealant that promises and delivers a durable protective coat to your car.
The CarGuys wax can be used on paints as well as decals, glass (though we have reviewed the best car window cleaners), and even your rims. This is a very versatile product indeed. It is suitable for all colors; dark, light, bright, dull, it doesn’t matter. It is probably the best wax for black cars.
It can last for a maximum of 12 months, but for best results, you should apply it every six months. For easy application, they have provided an applicator pad and microfiber towel with the product.
On the downside, the CarGuys wax is a tad overpriced. It also doesn’t come off that easily during the wiping process.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Meguiar’s G18216 Ultimate Liquid Wax – Best Liquid Wax
Meguiar’s is yet another all synthetic liquid car wash that tries to deliver a glossy finish that rivals the carnauba car wax. It uses cross-linking polymers to deliver a long-lasting protective layer.
One great feature of this liquid wax is the Clear Film technology it uses. This makes the application part straightforward and effortless, despite it being a liquid wax.
You can apply this wax either by hand or with a polisher. They do provide an applicator and microfiber cloth along with the bottle.
The wax is compatible with all types of paint jobs and also scores high in the plastic compatibility aspect. It doesn’t leave any residue on plastic trim or panels.
Though it leaves a lasting coat on your car, the product inside the bottle doesn’t seems to last for more than six months. And it also tends to leave oily stains on some paint jobs.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Turtle Wax T-223 Super Hard Shell Paste – Best Paste Wax
The T-223 is a durable paste wax with a superior cleaning action. If you want something that is thinner and easier to apply, they also have a liquid version of the same wax on offer.
This silicone based product contains natural carnauba resin. So if you want a real carnauba car wax, the Turtle Wax T-223 is worth a look.
The durability is excellent, and you can expect the coat to last for up to 12 months. The wax is clear coat safe as well.
The moist wax is quite easy to apply, and a little goes a long way. You need to buff it after application to a get nice shine.
Application of paste waxes require much elbow grease, and the T-223 is no different. This product is not suitable for vinyl. The bottle design is also weak, as it tends to break open during transit.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
The G18211 is an all synthetic paste wax made up of hydrophobic crosslinking polymers. Despite being a paste wax, this one is easier to apply due to the ThinFilm technology used in it.
One great thing about it is the fact that it has zero negative impact on plastic and glass surfaces. One container of wax can easily last for nearly a dozen applications, which offers phenomenal value for money.
The wax leaves a glossy shine on your car which can last for months. It is also effortless to get uniform coverage with this Meguiars wax.
As long as you have not gone overboard with the quantity applied, this wax is quite easy to remove. You also get a microfibre cloth and applicator with this wax.
The heat sensitivity of this stuff is a bit on the higher side, so you will have to reapply the wax every 45 days or so for continued shine.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Nu Finish Liquid Car Polish – Best Touchless Car Wax
Nu Finish is the ideal product for folks who hate having to deal with all that buffing and rubbing after application of regular wax.
This is a liquid formula that can be applied in sunlight, and it doesn’t require any heavy buffing. It provides a glossy shine as well as a long-lasting protective layer on your car.
This polish does not contain any carnauba car wax. Instead, it uses zinc-based cross-linking polymers. The product can be used on cars, boats, motorcycles, chrome parts, and even stone surfaces.
Nu Finish is also available in paste form. A single coat of the product will protect for close to 12 months.
This product gives off a strong odor, so it is best used in well-ventilated locations or some amazing car air fresheners. And if you apply anything more than a thin coat, it can be really hard to remove.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Meguiars G7716 Gold Class Carnauba Plus Premium Quik Wax – Best Carnauba Wax
This is a premium spray that contains natural carnauba resin. The highlight of this product is its compatibility with plastic parts. It does not leave any residue. It is one of the best spray wax products out there.
With the Gold Class Carnauba, you get the best of both worlds. It gives a shine like a carnauba wax whilst being incredibly easy to apply.
It is a very versatile wax as well. You can safely apply it on glossy paints as well as all clear coats. You should only avoid this wax if your car has a satin, matte or flat finish (see our guide on cleaning matte cars)
Though it leaves a rich, warm finish, the bottle design could have been better. It tends to break frequently.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Aero Cosmetics Wet or Waterless Car Wash Kit – Best Waterless Car Wax
This is basically a combination of a cleaning car wash and a protective spray for your car. The main highlight is that you can wash and wax your car without needing any water (similar technique to keeping a car clean between washes).
The spray will work on both wet or dry surfaces. Aero Cosmetics is an aircraft grade product commonly used in the military and aerospace industries.
As it is biodegradable and also allows you to cut short your water consumption, this is one of the most environment-friendly products on our shortlist.
Another highlight of this kit is the fact that it can be safely used both inside and outside your car on a wide range of different surfaces.
If your car has dirty, grimy, or rusty bits, they will have to be cleaned and polished separately as this wax will not work on those surfaces. It is also not very long lasting.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Turtle Wax 508341 1-Step Wax & Dry – Best Wax And Dry Wax
You get two bottles of the wax product in this package, along with a microfiber towel. The spray wash is easy to apply and gives a lasting shine.
The formula contains a blend of natural carnauba wax and synthetic polymers. Thanks to the 1-step application process, you can save a lot of time with this wax.
This Turtle Wax is best used for quick touch-ups in between your long-term waxing. It is also very cheap and offers excellent value for money when used properly.
On the downside, it cannot be used on glass surfaces as it tends to leave a filmy residue behind. And it also lacks the durability offered by some other liquid and paste waxes.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
As a consumer, you are spoilt for choice in this market niche. There are numerous types of waxing products on offer, including natural carnauba, all synthetic, and carnauba+synthetic blends. For best results, you should try to match the product to the type of paint job on your car, as well as your time constraints.