Determine the Best Car Wax for Your Vehicle

Car wax and a rag sitting on the hood of a car
  • 2-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15-50

Waxing your car is an important step to protect the finish and prevent rust and corrosion; however, determining the best car wax for your vehicle is not always an easy task. There are many types and varieties of wax available for your automobile, and choosing one can seem daunting at times.

The type of car wax you choose for your vehicle will usually depend on your preference for a type of wax (liquid or paste) and how much work you are willing to put into waxing your vehicle. With that in mind, here is some comparison information on the various types of wax you can choose from so you will be armed with the details you need to make a better decision.

Synthetic Wax vs Natural Types

Car buffer

Generally speaking, car wax comes in two types: natural and synthetic. Natural car wax is usually made from the leaves or seeds of natural plants or trees. In some cases, it may be made from beeswax. For instance, carnauba is a very popular type of natural wax that is often used on older antique vehicles and high-end showroom vehicles. Some car owners prefer this type of wax as it is usually softer and less abrasive. It does require more buffing and polishing; however, the gloss and shine that is achieved with natural waxes is usually much more natural and appealing to the eye.

The downside to many natural waxes is that they often will require a rubbing compound be used before the wax is applied to remove scratches and swirls in the paint. This is considered an old-school type of waxing method and requires a lot more work.

On the other hand, modern engineering and manufacturing methods have been able to combine the steps of applying a rubbing compound and wax into one. Modern synthetic finishes help to get rid of fine scratches and condition the paint with oil additives. This makes the need for the rubbing compound obsolete. Synthetic waxes also allow car owners to achieve a glossy, wet look shine on their vehicles. In general, synthetic waxes are considered to be easier to use than natural types.

On the downside, some people complain that synthetic wax shines are not as authentic or natural as those achieved with natural beeswax or carnauba waxes.

Liquid vs. Paste

Car wax

Another choice you have to make when choosing a wax for your vehicle is whether you want to use a liquid or paste wax. If you will be going with a natural car wax, you will have little choice but to use a paste wax. On the other hand, if you'll be going the synthetic wax route, there are many excellent liquid car waxes and polishes that are easy to apply and can be quickly buffed with a dry towel or buffing machine.

Colored Waxes

Many people have had varied results with colored waxes for their vehicles. While some people are able to find an exact color match for the paint on their vehicle, many others have experienced poor results because the color of the wax doesn't properly match the paint on the car. Therefore, if you intend to use a colored wax, you should always test the wax by applying a very small amount on an inconspicuous part of your vehicle. Better still, choose a high-quality carnauba wax or synthetic wax and forget about trying to match the color.