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How To Wax A Car: Pro Detailer’s Step By Step Guide

A photo of a professional car detailer. He is wearing an apron and black gloves. He is putting the finishing touches on a black sedan car. The paint looks smooth like butter.

Why Should You Wax Your Car?

Cars are so often overused we forget how to properly maintain and care for them. Your vehicle is a major investment in your life that should be cared for rather than ignored.

Today you will learn step-by-step how to make sure your car maintains a shine and gloss more radiant than when you first bought it.

First off, in order to properly wax your vehicle, your car must be washed and decontaminated.

In order to do so, check out our “How to Detail a Car” professional detailers step by step article taking you through the wash and clay bar instruction.

This previous step will prepare your vehicle for the next step in car care, teaching you how to wax a car properly.

Must Have Supplies For Car Waxing

Now to get to the fun part!

Let's pick out the products & tools required for achieving that high gloss shine after waxing your car.

Just as any other detailing task, waxing requires a few things to make sure you can work to the best of your ability so the wax job comes out with the best results.

These products are easy to find in your local store or can be found online for greater convenience.

We will also make sure to provide links to our favorite and most value oriented products to make the whole processes super easy for you.

1. Your Choice of Wax & The Best Car Wax

Natural Wax

Natural wax is most traditionally seen on the market and is very easy to buy from most stores and online. Natural waxes such as carnauba and beeswax based waxes provide a deep and ritch gloss and shine to your vehicle when used as well as good water beading. Unfortunately it doesn't last very long, it is very heat sensitive, and more easily collects dust than other forms of protection on the market.

Polymer Wax or Paint Sealant

Polymer wax or sometimes referred to as a sealant are very easy to use due to it not clumping as easily as natural waxes do. Polymer waxes provide a longer lasting protection, have less residue, and gives your vehicle a great shine! The only downside to the polymer waxes is that on average they are a bit more expensive compared to the traditional natural waxes, but your initial cost is worth it! Polymer waxes can leave your vehicle with months worth of protection rather than a few weeks!

Hybrid Wax

A hybrid wax you can get the best of both worlds! Hybrid waxes are a mixture of both the natural and polymer waxes in one. Hybrid Waxes provide the same depth as a natural based wax but the amazing shine and protection as a polymer based wax or sealant.

Best Car Wax?

1 bottle of Torque Mirror Shine

Mirror Shine Wax & Sealant Hybrid Spray

Get showroom shine with diamond-like protection in just minutes! Car maintenance has never been easier.

2. Applicator Pads

Depending on your choice of paste, liquid, or spray wax your applicator pad choice will change as well.

  1. Paste Waxes best paired with foam pads which help you evenly spread out the paste wax on your paint.
  2. Liquid Waxes best paired with microfiber applicator pads which are super soft, help you absorb, and evenly spread the liquid wax on the surface of your car's paint
  3. Spray Waxes & Sealants best paired with quality microfiber towels because they are sprayed directly on to the paint.

3. Microfiber Towels

Everyone of these waxes will require at least 2-3 quality microfiber towels.

Cheap clothes, old t-shirts and rags are abrasive and will cause micro scratches and swirl marks on your vehicle. That's why we want to use quality microfiber towels made for car detailing. They will also make applying the wax and buffing it off easier!

How To Properly Wax A Car: Step by Step

Now that you have all the tools you need, we're ready to take action!

Here is your step by step instruction on how to properly wax a vehicle! First we'll cover waxing by hand and second we'll cover using a polisher.    

Waxing by Hand Step by Step

hand waxing a car with mirror shine

As stated previously make sure the vehicle is washed and properly decontaminated prior to waxing your car! If you haven't already check out our “How To Detail A Car: Detail A Car Like A Pro Detailer” article to get your vehicle clean before waxing it.

Step 1 - Find Some Shade

If you haven't already make sure you are working during a cool non humid day, also while keeping your vehicle in the shade!

Step 2 - Apply The Wax

  1. If using a paste or liquid wax, apply a good amount on your foam or microfiber applicator pad, and in straight line motions apply the wax from your applicator to a small 3x3 section.
  2. If using a spray wax or sealant spray the wax onto the cleaned surface of the car in 3x3 sections, then in straight line motions gently rub it into the paint.

Working in smaller sections will insure the wax will not dry up on you making it difficult to remove. For example, if you were working on the hood of your car, divide that up into four sections. Remember do not apply the wax to the whole vehicle at one time, you have to work panel by panel following step 3 along the way!

Step 3 - Buff The Wax Off

Wait till the wax has hazed on the surface if recommended by the manufacturer, then take one of your quality microfiber towels and fold it into fourths. Buff the wax product in with a left and right motion. Always rub the product in with a back-and-forth motion to prevent any swirling on the car.

Step 4 - Flip The Microfiber Towel

During this step, flip over the towel to the clean side and continue to buff the product into the car until there are no traces of the product in the area it was applied.

Step 5 - Repeat The Process

Repeat this process along the remaining body of the vehicle.

Waxing with a Dual Action Polisher (Buffer) Step by Step

Dual Action Car Polisher. Silver grey color car. There's a professional car detailer wearing black gloves holding the machine against the car. 

Now, if you decide to wax with a Polisher we totally recommend you to check out affordable beginner options such as a Porter Cable or Harbor Freight. There are also professional grade machines such as Rupes & Flex which will provide you the highest build quality and over experience. You will also need a quality finishing or waxing pad, check out Lake Country or Buff and Shine for pads.

Step 1 - Find Some Shade

If you haven't already make sure you are working during a cool non humid day, also while keeping your vehicle in the shade!

Step 2 - Apply The Liquid Wax On a Finishing Pad

You can only use liquid wax if you're trying to wax by machine. Apply 6 pea size drops to your pad, and on the lowest setting of your machine start waxing the surface in a 3x3 section. Remember do not apply the wax to the whole vehicle at one time, you have to work panel by panel following step 3 along the way!

Step 3 - Buff The Wax Off

Wait till the wax has hazed on the surface if recommended by the manufacturer, then take one of your quality microfiber towels and fold it into fourths. Buff the wax product in with a left and right motion. Always rub the product in with a back-and-forth motion to prevent any swirling on the car.

Step 4 - Flip The Microfiber Towel

During this step, flip over the towel to the clean side and continue to buff the product into the car until there are no traces of the product in the area it was applied.

Step 5 - Repeat the Process

Repeat this process along the remaining body of the vehicle.

How Often Should You Wax Your Car?

Mustang, Corvette, and Chevy truck.

A great question asked by many! And the answer to this question… well it depends!

Sadly most traditional waxes found in stores and online don't last too long, maybe a few months at best. One of the biggest factors that affect how long your wax will last is your environment.

A wax during summer in the middle of Phoenix Arizona will only last a couple of weeks compared to Chicago Illinois in the middle of spring where a wax can last a couple months. During warmer seasons it's recommended to wax once a month, while during cooler climates once a quarter.

What Are The Best Car Waxes?

The “best” Is very subjective but I will go ahead and mention a few of the most popular options on the market and their qualities as waxes.

Type Of Waxes

Natural Carnauba Wax

This is the most popular wax on the market and for good reason. High quality Carnauba wax resin produces some of the deepest gloss & shine on the market.

Carnauba wax is considered a hard wax, so it is typically found in paste form, and produces the most residue when buffing off. Generally it's super affordable but there are pro grade CarNauba waxes that can cost hundreds even thousands of dollars per oz!

Natural Beeswax

Beeswax is also a great option that provides a rich gloss and shine, generally not as deep of a gloss as Carnauba, but is generally easier to apply and less residue compared to Carnauba wax.

Polymer Wax

Polymer waxes are synthetic man made forms of wax that provide similar qualities to natural waxes. The great thing about Polymer waxes is because there man made chemists can alter their durability, gloss, and protection properties. So rather than lasting a few weeks or a couple months, some polymer waxes can last up to a year!

Our Favorite Car Wax - Get a Showroom Shine in Minutes

Now that we understand everything about waxes, application methods, and protection properties.. let's make it super simple for you. If you want a showroom shine in minutes instead of hours then you'll want to try Mirror Shine a hybrid polymer wax and sealant. It combines all the pros like the amazing gloss and shine from natural waxes such as Carnauba and the amazing months worth of protection from synthetic polymer waxes. All of this in an easy to use spray wax format!

All you need is a bottle of Mirror Shine, a few quality microfiber towels, no elbow grease or hard work necessary. Your vehicle will look like glass & the clear coat will have long lasting protection from things like harmful uv rays from direct sunlight, water spots, bird droppings and grime will come off easier.

Stop going to cheap car washes, throw out your old waxes and upgrade your shine today with Mirror Shine. 

1 bottle of Torque Mirror Shine

Mirror Shine Wax & Sealant Hybrid Spray

Get showroom shine with diamond-like protection in just minutes! Car maintenance has never been easier.

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