The exterior of a car goes through a lot over the course of its life, with everything from rain, salt, snow, bird droppings, and the harsh rays of the sun coming down on it. One of the best things car owners can do to protect the exterior of their cars from environmental hazards and the elements in general is regularly waxing it by hand.
In addition to protecting a car’s paint job and clear coat from the elements, hand-waxing also preserves a car’s exterior and increases its resale value when it comes time to trade in. A car’s exterior is also much easier to clean in between waxes.
Because of the benefits offered by hand-waxing, all car owners should at least consider committing to a loose schedule for waxing their cars. Not doing so can cause a car’s paint to diminish faster and allow for more cosmetic damage, which can cost a great deal to fix. In terms of how often a car should be waxed, detailing professionals often recommend four times per year, meaning about every three months, to preserve a car’s finish. At the very least, to ensure some protection, a minimum of twice per year is recommended.
“We recommend once in the spring just before summer and in the fall just before winter,” says James Carter, who owns Paradise Mobile Detail out in Las Vegas. This is the case because wax can help protect cars from the stronger UV rays of hotter weather and the harsher elements of colder weather. Per Carter, if a vehicle needs to be waxed, splash a little water on the car. If that water beads up, the car doesn’t need to be waxed. If not, it needs to be waxed.
How to Wax Your Car
Regardless if car owners take their car to a professional or do it themselves, they need to take their time. In terms of supplies, waxing requires water, a bucket, a wash mitt, a microfiber towel, a microfiber applicator pad, and, of course, a non-abrasive auto wax. It’s also best to wax in shaded areas to keep the wax from drying out too fast and wash off any contaminants on the vehicle, such as bugs or bird droppings.
To begin, rinse out the wash mitt regularly to remove debris as well as rinsing soap off the vehicle to stop the soap from drying. Use your microfiber towel to dry the car and prevent water spots. In terms of waxing method, work vertically or horizontally to prevent swirl patterns. Avoid applying wax too forcefully or into cracks and crevices, which would be hard to remove. Apply the wax evenly before gently buffing off the wax using a microfiber towel when you’ve finished. This entire process ideally takes around an hour, but most people get faster the more waxing experience they get.
The Cost of Professional Waxing
While it saves money to wax a car yourself, costing maybe $20 in all, getting a professional waxing is another possible option. Many car owners report paying between $40-$90 for basic professional washes and waxes, but this price can go up further depending on the packages offered, which could include cleaning and degreasing wheels and cleaning trunk seals and door jams.
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