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Hooniverse Asks: How often do you wax your car?

Alan Cesar October 2, 2017 Hooniverse Asks 25 Comments

The #Benz under the sun

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The market is littered with products that promise to bring out the best in your car’s paint. When I used to work in the automotive department at a Farm and Fleet, we had no less than 16 feet of waxes, washes, bug removers and cleaning implements. The tubs and bottles contained cleaner waxes, once-a-year polishes, three-step processes, spray-and-wipes, clay bar kits, and Brazilian waxes so exotic you can’t get them in a day spa. I never fully understood the whole spread, but I dabbled enough to keep a reasonably clean look—even if my ride at the time was a basic Escort.

These days, with two kids and too many car projects, I’m satisfied if I get to do it once a year. I use the same tub of whatever-it-is that I’ve had in my garage for probably 4 years. Jeff, on the other hand, is practicing a rub job with his stately Mercedes sedan using high-quality stuff. He likes it when he can see his reflection.

What about you? Do you make a day of it as often as possible, or only when you feel a rubdown is really necessary? Do you work it by hand, or with electric assist? Expensive liquids, or whatever’s close at hand? Maybe you just rub peanut butter all over and let the dog lick it off.

Whatever it is, tell us your… uh… polishing regimen.

  • GTXcellent

    For the SS, the Saab and the new pickup, they get a good hand-rubbed Carnauba wax twice a year in the spring and fall. Living this far North we really don’t have to worry about the sun’s rays doing any damage, and, none of these sit outside anyways. Gravel dust and road salt are the adversaries here.
    I’ve tried the new synthetic waxes, but did not like how they buffed off (or really how they didn’t buff off) and switched back to au naturale.

    The poor GTX is rocking it’s original but now horribly faded 50 year old lacquer. The last time I attempted to wax it, my buffing cloth turned brighter blue than the car. I don’t dare try it again or I’ll have no paint left.

    I’m tempted to try one of the paint sealants (like JetSeal) but the reviews are so scattered that I haven’t pulled that trigger yet. Anyone have experience with a sealant – good or bad?

  • “What is your weight?”, “How old are you really?”, “Do you have a hidden tattoo?”, “Tell me about your exes”, “Do you do waxing, and how often?”
    All questions a gentleman should not ask, especially when the answer might reveal that I own car wax that was never opened and is now a crumbled accumulation of fats.

  • Sjalabais

    I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t even get the once-a-year-frequency right. Before and after winter is the optimal procedure in this area, but we’re probably closer to once every two years. Wax shampoo though is something I use for every car wash…

  • JayP

    Mustang sits under a tree in the driveway. I’ll de-sap and clean in the spring an fall which gets a layer of Turtle Wax.
    Vic and Ranger… get washed, no wax.

  • Alff

    I’ll bet he is, wink wink nudge nudge.

    As for the question – Seven beaters, no waxing.

    • Alan Cesar

      “Seven beaters, no waxing.”

      Perfect response. I laughed.

  • needthatcar

    I don’t wax. Just keep them clean as possible. I’ve had very good luck with this strategy. I do change cars every 5 or 7 years. My opinion is that modern paint technology is such that the paint doesn’t need wax to go on holding a nice shine and looking great. The only exception is my 1980 Plymouth Arrow, which has its original single stage orange paint. I wax that one now and then, becuase it properly fades if I don’t.

    • Sjalabais

      I have been astonished by the bad paint quality of my more modern cars. But they are all Japanese, which have a reputation for bad paint, and my former cars were all Volvos, which has a reputation for being best in class. I don’t know what to make of it, as I am not an expert when ut comes to paint at all, but a pressure washer has been too much for my Honda and my former Nissan at several occasions. Never had that issue with Volvos, even though a burgundy ’71 Volvo 145 I adored turned pinkish after a thorough round of polishing.

  • smalleyxb122

    Personally, I follow a strict regimen of “whenever I feel like it” for waxing my vehicles. With all 3 of my drivers being various shades of black, trying to keep them all looking clean is a losing battle. If I’m driving somewhere I want it to be clean, I’ll wash it. If I’m driving somewhere I want it to be shiny, I’ll polish it and wax it. Otherwise, I’ll just embrace the protective layer of grime.

  • neight428

    I aspire to have the time to wax my cars again some day.

    • he’s right

      Amen brother

  • Victor

    Sometimes I pay the extra $3.00 at the car wash , does that count ?

    • Alan Cesar

      Yes. Especially if you leave the money on the dresser.

  • I_Borgward

    I’ve had cars that with paint worth waxing, but lately I’ve settled for just washing tree sap and bird poop off of the herd, maybe every month or two. This may be about to change. Is Turtle Wax any good these days?

  • I try to keep them clean but no wax jobs. The cars are always garaged and that seems to make a big difference. I’ve noticed that newer paint doesn’t fade or chalk like back in the day.

  • Fuhrman16

    I usually give my cars one good wax job a year, and use quick detailing spray on stuff afterwards when ever I wash them.

  • MattC

    For my wife’s car, I do 2 full details a year with maintenance wax frequently. Her vehicle is black and keeping it clean is a lifestyle. My car was about the same until my daughter toasted the rear bumper and passenger side rear door during a driving mishap. My beater truck gets a quick wax every now and then.

  • Zentropy

    The family car? Maybe once every 3 years. Maybe. The project car, maybe once every 6 months. I’m honestly more into the way they drive than the way they look. I’m not saving them for anyone.

  • dukeisduke

    I think the last car I waxed was my ’66 Corvair; I sold that in 2004, and I hadn’t waxed it in several years. I’ve never waxed our current vehicles (Sienna and Tacoma), and in 17 years I never waxed my ’95 F-150. The last car I regularly waxed was my ’76 Vega. My first two cars (’75 Vega and ’78 Fox) were waxed frequently, and even my ’68 Bonneville was waxed somewhat regularly, which was a real chore.

    I wouldn’t mind waxing the Tacoma or Sienna sometime, once I find the right product, but it’s like waxing the Bonneville or the F-150 (acres of sheet metal).

  • P161911

    I know that I haven’t waxed a car since 2011 (when my daughter was born), possibly even 2003 (when I got married). Does the one small spot that I tried a cleaner wax on the Saab count? That was a week or so ago. .

  • wunno sev

    in theory, “i wax them every six months”.

    in practice, once a year if they’re lucky. however, i did just get a Porter-Cable DA and it made waxing a stupidly simple operation on my Mercedes. planning to polish the Volvo soon, so it’ll get another coat. i waxed the Fiesta a few weeks after i bought it and pledged to myself to take good care of its paint, then never touched it again. probably worth waxing that too.

  • Bean Digglesworth

    I do a yearly pre-inspection wash at the gas station.

    14 years ago when it was a brand spanking new car I washed maybe every other week and waxed regularly. Motivation has decreased in proportion to the rust increasing; last proper wax was applied maybe 5 years ago. The non-rusty bits of paint are in brilliant shape, though!

  • I think I still have some wax. Maybe.

  • Harry Callahan

    I must admit, I enjoy a lazy warm afternoon with some nice music, a frosty mug of beer, and a tub of wax. I begin with a thorough wash and chamois dry, some vacuuming, and tire blacking. By then, it’s time for another mug of beer.

    The clean car moves into the garage. Out comes the Mother’s Clay Bar kit. Ah hour later, I enjoy feeling the smoothness and luster of my mediocre car’s body. Then, after changing to another style of music, I get out my tub of wax. I apply it, and get frustrated when I screw up and get some on the black plastic trim….no matter how promptly I wipe the wax off the trim, a white haze will live there for the next millennium.

    Three hours later, my lovely Mazda is a picture of shiny ordinariness. I adore it! I then spend the next 72 hours nursing tennis elbow resulting from all that polishing. Sheer joy!

  • Patrick D Farmer

    I wax them just before selling the vehicle.