Car Buying Tips Blog: Find reliable car buying tips & information from the auto industry, and use them to your advantage. Also find car buying tools, reviews, insider advice articles, & research new car prices on BuyingAdvice.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

When to Apply Polish or Wax – Should You Wax or Polish Your Car? Part 3

In part 1, we talked about the difference between polish and wax.

In part 2, we talked about the correct way to apply polish and wax.

As a wrap up, we will now discuss when to apply polish or wax. This will help you to determine whether your paint needs a wax or a polish.

But first, here are some important tips regarding your paint finish:

1. The paint job is the first thing that you notice about a car. It definitely serves a cosmetic purpose, but the primary purpose of paint is to protect the sheet metal underneath the paint. Paint prevents the metal from rust and corrosion.

2. Your car’s paint is constantly exposed to the elements of nature. Modern paint finishes are finished with clear coat, an added step in the paint process that serves two purposes: it protects the color of the paint, and it adds shine and gloss to the finish. The clear coat will prematurely fade over time, and it is your duty to protect and preserve the integrity and beauty of the paint by applying wax and/or polish.

When to Apply Polish or Wax

  • You can do the water bead test. Using a garden hose, spray some clean water over the roof, hood, and trunk of your vehicle. If you don’t see a lot of water beads, then it is time to apply wax. Only apply polish if you notice that the color is dull, or if you notice a lot of imperfections upon close inspection (such as swirl marks, scratches, oxidation, etc.)
  • You can also do the swipe test. Simply run your hand and palm over the roof or the hood of the vehicle. If the surface feels dull, rough, or if you feel a lot of imperfections over the paint, then it is time to apply wax or polish.
  • As a golden rule, you should apply carnauba wax at least once a month, depending on where you live. This is a relatively simple procedure that will preserve the value of your automobile.
  • If you have a brand new car, don’t apply wax. Simply use pure polish, because newly-applied paint needs to breathe. Wax will seal the finish, and this is not entirely good for brand new paint finishes. You can apply polish after 3 or 6 months.