How Often Should I Wax My Car?

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How Often Should I Wax My Car?

You know that preserving what’s under the hood of your car is essential to its overall longevity and resale value. However, maintaining the outside of your vehicle is equally necessary.

Dealspotr has done the research and explains below not only how often your car needs to be varnished, but also the proper steps involved to help your car keep its youthful gleam.

First, it’s vital to understand that waxing your car is not an indulgence or for special occasions, but should be done on a consistent basis, according to Angie’s List auto expert Tom Moor. Though prices can range from $55 to $150 for a professional hand-wax, there are many benefits, including making your car easier to clean between wax jobs.

When you don’t wax your car, the grime left on the paint can damage it. The wax literally serves as a topcoat over the protective clear coat that is meant to keep your paint color from fading. However, the clear coat is prone to scratching, which can dull the finish, says Torque News writer Mechele Dillard.

In time, some factory sealants can break down from environmental contaminants such as acid rain and UV rays, thus making the paint even more vulnerable. Waxing will help protect the clear coat by preserving oils that can prevent oxidation which results in a less-than-lustrous appearance, noted “Stuff You Should Know” podcast host Charles W. Bryant.

Think of a coat of wax as a shield for your car’s sensitive “skin” when exposed to sun, snow, ice and salt. How often you need to apply that extra shield mainly depends on climate, type of wax, and your personal preference, along with budget.



Generally, vehicles exposed to harsh weather, including rain, snow, salt and dirt will need to be waxed more often. However, that cheery ball of summer sun is also an enemy by causing oxidation and premature fading of paint. Still, the less exposure to any type of extreme weather is the most advantageous. Cars kept parked in a garage can go longer between polishes.




Car waxes come in paste and spray varieties. Consumer Reports observed price point was not necessarily a determining factor for quality, so you don’t need to spend big bucks. And it is best to find a nonabrasive car wax, which can be bought at stores like Advance Auto Parts, Auto Parts Warehouse and JC Whitney.

The key is in how you wax. To start, be sure to have all the necessary equipment such as a good soft wash mitt and microfiber drying towel, which can bought at AutoZone.

Wash off all contaminants first with preferably a clay bar and take your time when waxing. Wax in a shaded area or garage to prevent it from caking and drying too quickly. Apply the product in a thin, even layer (too much wax will not add extra protection and could end up caking in small surface fissures and cracks in the car’s paint) and advises to use a circular motion. Also, be certain to wait until the wax is completely dry before buffing.




If you have consistently waxed your car over the years, then the good news is that you will have to do it less often. The general consensus from auto experts is to wax about every three months. There are exceptions where vehicle color is concerned. If your car is a darker hue, then three to four times a year is best, recommends The wax aids in minimizing the “webbing look” from washing and helps keep the vibrant gloss of the paint.

No matter your car’s shade, a more substantive option is to wax every 4-6 weeks during the summer; every 8-12 seeks during the fall; every 4-6 weeks in the winter; and every 8-12 weeks in the spring, writes James Dudra from Eco Touch.

Depending upon your personal preference and budget, if you want to maintain the minimum number of two times a year, then wax once in the spring just before summer and in the fall just before winter.

You can always test your car to see if it needs waxing by noticing if the water bubbles on the surface when you wash it. If not, then it needs a varnish. Another method is to wash and dry your car before folding a pure cotton terrycloth towel into a thick hand-sized square. Next, apply firm pressure to the vehicle’s surface while twisting the cloth back and forth in a clockwise and counter- clockwise motion. A squealing noise indicates the need for a wax job.

Keep in mind that waxing is not recommended if your car has the rare matte or flat finish, points out Dillard (from Torque News).

Regular waxing will add the glimmer to your vehicle and much more. Preserving the paint and minimizing potential scratches through waxing serve as an investment for future resale value. In the meantime, keep up on that engine maintenance and enjoy a pleasant ride in your shiny automobile.

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This guide was published on July 9, 2015, and last modified on July 9, 2015.

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