Car Wax Comparison Guide: Which Wax Is Best for You?

July 2, 2012

This car wax comparison examines hand buffing vs. electric buffers, and the relative strengths of Carnauba, Nuguiar's Number 26, Turtle Wax and SynWax.

Electric Buffer

The following car wax comparison should be all you need to choose the right product. If you have a clear base paint job on your vehicle, you have to find a compatible product using the following guidelines.

Color of Paint Job
The color of the paint job is important because there are car waxes made to be used on specific hues. There is a definite purpose to using waxes that have colors. For instance, if you accidentally scratch the enamel on your car you need something to cover it. Some car waxes are specially made for this, and have agents in them to help cover scratches up. If you have a red car, buying the same color wax can offset the scratch.

The older your vehicle becomes, the less the paint job on your car will remain. Some vehicles may actually rust or the paint will look dull. Car wax can help restore the shine the vehicle once had. Older vehicles tend to benefit the most from car wax applications.

Weather Conditions
The weather conditions where you live can determine how often you have to apply wax. UV rays from the sun can damage the paint job. If your vehicle is exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day, it is necessary to get a wax that will allow you to reapply as often as possible.

Common Wax Products

  • Carnauba Car Wax. Most reviews rate this to be the best of the car waxes available to the general public. It is made from a natural plant, and comes as a paste. It is not very durable, lasting only 8 to 10 weeks, but you will find that it has the best shine of any wax and is easy to apply and remove.
  • Meguiar's Number 26. This is a cheap, but highly popular car wax, which combines Carnuaba with synthetic car waxes, making it a hybrid between the more natural Carnuaba product and the more durable synthetic products. It is best used on darker cars, as it has a yellowy appearance, and is considered to be one of the best car waxes for black cars around. The makers, Meguiar, also produce a range of sprays, liquids and pastes to suit every need.
  • Turtle Wax. The Turtle company make a range of different waxes for cars. This is one of the most familiar makers of car wax on sale to the general public. The waxes are noted for being durable and hard-wearing, as well as very easy to remove and re-apply, which is a benefit to those car owners who have to do all of this work themselves. As it is more durable than most other car waxes, Turtle Wax is cost-effective and provides a strong protective cover for your car.
  • SynWax. SynWax, as its name implies, is a synthetic wax specially designed to combine with the paint, rather than sit on top of it, so you have a deeper, more durable shine to your car. This product is designed particularly with the Southern States in mind, as it protects against sunlight and UV damage.

Car Wax Buffer Techniques for a Lasting Shine

There are many different ways in which to buff the wax on a car, including using a car polisher tool, which will help to bring up the shine, while still keeping the look modest and not too bright when you are driving.

Hand Buffing
Doing the job by hand can be a slow and tiresome process, and you may be inclined to bribe the children or the spouse into doing the buffing for you. Start at the top of the panel you are buffing, and move from left to right. As you reach the other side of the panel, drop down about two inches, and buff towards the left. Repeat until you have buffed to the bottom of the panel. Move from right to left until you have gone top-to-bottom all along the panel. Repeat until the entire car is buffed.

You need to have a firm, but soft sponge without any hard corners that could scratch your paint. Use a professional waxing brush, rather than a cheap one or a dish cloth. Cover your whole hand with the cloth, and press downwards to cover the widest possible surface with your hand.

Electric Buffers
The electric buffer takes a lot of work out of buffing your car wax. You apply the wax to the car, and then the electric buffer moves over the surface, taking the wax over the body and leaving a brilliant shine. Machine buffing is the way to get the best paint polish. You can get results using a machine buffer that can't be produced by hand. If you have the money to rent or buy an electric buffer, this will help you to create a great shine.

Related Questions and Answers

Is There a Best Way to Wax a Car?

Many people aren't aware that there is indeed a best way to wax a car. Most people will wipe the wax on the car's paint in whatever way feels most comfortable or is easiest. This is wrong. When applying and removing an automotive wax, circular motions that overlap each other are what all the paint care experts recommend for use. This helps ensure that the wax is pressed deeply into any microscopic cracks or scratches in the clear coat and seals then. The smoother the finish of the paint or clear coat, the shinier the end result will be.

How Often Should I Use a Car Wax Sealant?

Manufacturers state that a car wax sealant will last up to six months under optimum conditions. A car wax sealant is a car care product that requires a curing period of 12 to 14 hours after application before it can be removed. If you want a bright and very reflective shine, then a wax sealant product is what you want to use. When you want a deeper shine with more luster, then you should be using a wax. A sealant needs to be applied to a clean and uncontaminated surface, so it should be applied immediately after you thoroughly wash the car. If you prefer the appearance that a sealant gives, then every six months is how often it should be applied.

What Is the Best Rated Car Wax?

Who makes the best rated car wax is a discussion that has been going on for quite some time. At one time, years ago, you only had Turtle Wax as an option. According to the reviewers at Consumer Reports, Black Magic car wax is the overall best car wax on the market. These reviewers mentioned the luster, shine and especially the compatibility with plastics and rubber, to what made them vote for Black Magic. However, if you visit an automotive Show and Shine event, you will find most car enthusiasts are using products from Meguiars and Mothers.

What Type of Car Wash Sponges Should I Use?

If you're looking into supplies to use for your car wash, sponges aren't something you should look too closely at. Sponges have a habit of trapping grit and other particles on their surfaces which can cause scratches. What you really want to use for washing your car is either a real wool wash mitt or a terry towel wash mitt. These two wash mitts will trap grit and other particles deep within the material of the glove. This action will protect your car's finish from scratches and swirls. Sponges are good to use when cleaning your wheels, as they are easy to manipulate into the small openings found on many modern wheels.

Does the Vehicle Wax Color Have to Match the Car's Paint Job?

Vehicle wax comes in many different types, styles and colors. New innovations from the industry have given you a spray on and wipe off type of liquid wax. Color matched waxes were quite popular a number of years ago, especially for those cars where the finish had swirls or minor scratches. These colored waxes worked well to help cover these minor imperfections. However, use of colored waxes isn't required, even with minor imperfections. The recommended way to rid your paint of imperfections is to use a polish or a rubbing compound, and then a wax compound.

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