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How Often Should You Wax Your Car

By Kathleen Burgess


Updated on

Waxing your car is not only for the sake of vanity. There are actually practical reasons that will make you want to wax your vehicle pronto. However, don’t get too excited just yet. Waxing vehicles is actually not a regular thing. The standard interval takes months. Just to be sure, how often should you wax your car?

Why Should You Wax Your Car?

We mentioned first that there are practical reasons for waxing a car. The following are benefits of waxing your car without focusing too much on aesthetics:

  • Reduce Repair Costs

    This is a serious thing when you lease a car. Right after the lease period, the dealership will check your automobile for quality issues. Common damages include paint problems, scratches, and discoloration. You will definitely pay for these damages. Another scenario is when you sell your old car to buy a new one. You will gain more money if your old car still looks attractive.

    Waxing your car helps you save money on repairs since it protects the paint from abrasion, UV light, rain, snow, salty air, exhaust, tree saps and bird droppings.

  • Promote Safety

    Interestingly, there is a positive psychological effect when you know that your car looks really clean and shiny. Car owners who drive neat-looking vehicles have the tendency to be more responsible on the road. Why? These drivers are more likely to avoid accidents since they do not want a single damage on their well-loved car. And since they have time to wax their vehicle, they are also probably doing regular maintenance for different automobile components.

How Often Should You Wax Your Car?

The minimum frequency is twice a year while the maximum is four times annually. If you prefer to do it twice a year, the recommended timing is during spring and fall. However, make sure to do it just before summer or winter starts. Your car will really benefit from the ultimate protection wax gives against UV rays and snow.

If you want to do it three or four times in one year, do a little test so you will know if it is the right time for waxing your car. Just splash a small amount of water on the vehicle’s surface. If the water develops into tiny beads, your car does not need wax yet.

How Should You Wax Your Car?

There are standard procedures to get the ultimate effect of car wax. You cannot just apply wax and wipe it off after you get tired of waiting. The whole process actually requires preparation and knowledge about different types of car waxes. To learn more about it, here is a brief guide on how to wax your car:

  • Wash your vehicle first.

    Use mild soap and clean water so you can thoroughly wash your car without harming its surface with chemicals. Then, dry your car before you start applying wax. You really need to wash and dry your automobile because wax does not become too effective on a dirty or damp surface.

  • Apply polish.

    If your car really looks worn-out because of scratches and dull paint, make a double effort and polish it before applying wax. Interestingly, polishes are mild abrasives but they focus on removing a thin layer of clear coat instead. When you successfully remove the clear coat, another layer shows up that is smoother and has a more even color.

    To apply polish, just gently rub it on the car’s surface with a damp microfiber cloth. When it is time to remove it, simply use another microfiber cloth.

  • Find the right area.

    The preferred temperature for waxing a car is 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Wax dries fast in high temperatures, giving you a hard time buffing it. Dried wax can also be a hassle to remove from the surface. Even low temperatures can give a negative effect on the wax. If it is too cold, you will find it difficult to apply the wax.

    It is best to wax your car indoors, specifically inside a garage. If you do not have a garage, you may use shady spots. You can also wax your car in the early morning or evening.

  • Choose a car wax.

    Car waxes with genuine carnauba wax are the most ideal. However, they are expensive. If you want to take a risk just to spend less, you may choose a “cleaner” wax. It is more aggressive than carnauba wax since it can remove the clear coating. You really have to skip the polishing process if you want to use this kind of wax. Meanwhile, spray waxes are usually safe but their effects do not last for months. Many of them can only last two weeks.

  • Use a foam applicator.

    Foam applicators usually come free when you purchase a car wax. However, if you do not have one, a damp sponge is the best alternative. Before putting wax on the applicator, read the instructions first on the wax’s label. Remember to only apply a thin layer of wax. If you generously apply wax, you will find it hard to remove it.

  • Apply the wax.

    It is crucial to gently apply car wax in circular motions. The initial result is like a pattern of overlapping circles in a straight line. However, you need to focus on just one small area at a time.

  • Wait for a few minutes.

    Follow the instructions from the wax’s manufacturer regarding the recommended duration. You can even make a quick test to know if everything is ready for wiping. Just swipe your finger on a waxed surface. If it smears, wait a little longer. On the other hand, if it is clear, get ready to wipe the wax off.

  • Remove the wax.

    With a microfiber cloth, wipe the wax off in circular motions. When the cloth starts to drag on the surface, flip it so you can continue. Watch out for residues so you can wipe them off immediately.


How often should you wax your car? Again, it should be done two to four times every year. If you want to do it twice, do it before summer and winter. If you are more meticulous about it, splash water on the car’s surface. If there are no water beads, wax your car again.

For other cleaning tips, learn how to keep a black car clean!

About Kathleen Burgess

Kathleen started her career in journalism writing about cars during her Journalism degree at CUNY and even though she didn't like it at first, she quickly became an ace, writing news, reviews and comparisons like one of the best car writers out there. Today she writes content focusing on the latest trends in the car industry, looking at sales, policies and green alternatives. Learn more about GCB's Editorial Process.

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