There’s a stereotype that only people with roadrunners and sports cars take the time to wax their cars. And, if you’re not much of a car buff, then you may not jump at the idea of getting your car waxed regularly. It may even seem like an unnecessary step.
However, the benefits of waxing your car are far reaching, and the process serves any car owner who wishes to maintain the appearance of his or her vehicle. Here’s what wax does for your car, and how to tell if your car needs to be waxed.
First and foremost, wax is all about protection. The shiny, glassy coat puts a barrier between your car’s paint job and all outside corruption–including UV rays, chemicals, and airborne pollutants. One of the most important elements it protects against is water.
As harmless as H2O may seem, rainwater and road spray actually carry a lot of pollutants and chemicals that can quickly damage your car’s exterior. If you leave your car unprotected from these various outside materials, your car’s paint job is more likely to fade and chip–decreasing its value.
By coating your car’s exterior with wax, you provide a barrier of protection between your car and harsh outside elements. An added bonus of protecting your car from outside dirt and pollutants is that your car stays cleaner longer. Wax makes it harder for mud and other grime to stick to your car’s surface, so you can expect fewer and less intensive car washes.
Regular waxing also decreases the appearance of scratches and other imperfections. The diagram above shows you wax’s natural tendency to fill in any clear coat gaps, which is why wax gives your car a smooth and shiny finish. Additionally, wax will help accentuate your car’s paint color (pigment), making it more luminous and eye catching.
When it comes to how often your car needs to be waxed, everyone says something a little different. However, most professionals recommend waxing your car four times a year for optimal protection. If you have not waxed your car in the past, you may be wondering how to tell if your car needs to be waxed. Thankfully, there’s a simply test you can do to figure it out.
When your car has a protective layer of wax, it will make your car’s paint “hyperbolic,” which essentially means that it’s water repellent. When your car is in this state, any water that comes into contact with its surface will bunch together into tight beads.
With this in mind, one way to tell if your car needs a new wax job is with a simple water drop test. Simply pour some water on your car’s hood (either from the hose, or a glass of water). When you do so, you’ll quickly notice that the water droplets either stay flat and stream down the hood, or clump into tight water beads. The tighter the circular bead, the more your wax job is in check. If the water spreads out and streams down the hood of your car, it’s likely that your car needs to be waxed.
Waxing your car regularly is a simple process that’s worth your while. If your car needs to be waxed, taking it to an auto detailing professional is a great way to protect your vehicle’s exterior, preserve its value, and create that enviable shine!