Car waxes are the important final step in detailing your car. They act as both sealant and protectant, keeping the elements and the environment away from your paint job. Applying wax to your car on a regular basis not only keeps it looking good, but also helps extend the life of the body and the paintwork. There are many different types of car waxes on the market; it can be confusing. What do they each do?
For all the varieties of car waxes on the market today, there are really only two types of wax. One is natural, deriving either wholly or partly from plants. The other is synthetic, using all manmade chemicals to create the wax. They do the same thing, but have slightly different properties.
Natural car waxes are often the best choice, and certainly command the highest prices. Most people have come across carnauba car wax, which derives from the copernica cerifa plant in Brazil. Natural car waxes often include carnauba, either in its pure form, or mixed with oils or petroleum products to different degrees. All of these still qualify as natural car waxes as they do contain carnauba. Pure carnauba wax will be the most expensive of all.
Although carnauba car waxes and other natural waxes offer excellent protection to the paintwork on a car, they need to be renewed regularly, as they one last between 1 month and 2 months. Natural car wax gives the kind of glossy finish that synthetic car waxes can’t replicate. Generally, natural car waxes will be paste car wax.
The vast majority of car waxes are synthetic. They aim to do exactly the same thing as natural car wax, but they’re made form chemicals. There will generally be no natural wax in the products at all, making them more paint sealant than wax. Rather than a paste, synthetic car wax will be a spray car wax or a liquid car wax. These do offer advantages for coverage and ease of application.
Part of the ethos behind synthetic car wax is that it is easier to use than its natural counterpart. They’re not as difficult to rub into the body and will buff out more easily. As there’s nothing natural, synthetic car wax will last longer than natural car wax, for up to a season before it needs to be renewed.
Within synthetic car waxes, there are many variations. These include clear coat car wax or colored car wax. The latter offers wax matched to light or dark colors of paintwork. It’s all a way to take advantage of an ever-expanding market of car enthusiasts who want to pamper their vehicles with car detailing. Car waxes are big business.
Car polish is similar to wax, and will enhance the paint work. It doesn’t have the same protective qualities. Like many other products, they still need wax over the top in order to finish the job.