The Dos and Don'ts of Car Waxing: A Guide for Auto Detailing Students
January 20, 2016
Not only does waxing a car make it shine, but doing so also helps protect its paintjob, while maintaining its value. Without wax, cars are much more vulnerable to things like salt, pebbles, rain, dirt, and more. These elements are known to leave behind surface scratches and make a car’s paint look dull.
Once you become an auto detailer, you will be responsible for waxing vehicles on a regular basis. Every auto detailing shop typically has its own preferred application techniques, equipment, and even go-to wax brands, but there are basic waxing guidelines that they all tend to follow.
Read on to learn some of the dos and don’ts of applying protective wax to cars.
DON’T Start the Auto Detailing Process With Wax
It’s important to wash a car thoroughly before applying a wax coat—whether the car is dirty or not. Auto detailing professionals know that a layer of wax can lock dirt, grime and even the tiniest amount of dust onto a car’s surface, which is why a complete wash is critical and a quick rinse won’t suffice.
DO Make Sure the Car is Completely Dry Before Applying Wax
During your auto detailing career, it’s important to remember to make certain that a car is completely dry before you begin the waxing process. Leftover droplets of water can cause wax products to streak, and these marks will take a lot of time and effort to remove. Drying the vehicle by hand will ensure that it is completely dry, whereas leaving it to air-dry out might cause water spots to appear.
DON’T Use Dirty or Worn-Out Auto Detailing Rags to Apply Wax
When applying wax to a car, the general goal is to create a streak-free shine. Unfortunately, worn-out or used rags that are full of residue will not help you to achieve this goal. This is why every auto detailing professional is always equipped with plenty of fresh sponges, towels, polisher pads and other materials he or she may need during the waxing process.
DO Practice the Proper Auto Detailing Techniques When Applying Wax
When applying a wax finish, using the proper technique will make a big difference in the final outcome. When waxing a car by hand, auto detailing experts seem to agree that although circular motions help you cover a larger surface faster, there’s a high chance that swirl marks will be left behind. Auto professionals suggest using front-to-back motions on top panels (hood, roof, trunk), and top-to-bottom motions for side panels.
Most waxes work best when only a thin layer is applied. Applying too much can make your coat uneven, and also makes for a long cleanup process. After the wax is applied, use microfiber towels to wipe up any excess. In addition to wiping off residue, microfiber will also buff the car’s paint job. Be sure to rotate your towel often during this last step, so that you’ll always be using the cleanest side.
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