When it comes to waxing your car after being cleaned, there are a variety of great options available at a host of retail locations.
The Best Car Waxes
Wax is designed to provide a layer of protection over your paint after your vehicle is cleaned. It can be time-consuming, but it is one of the many basic vehicle care tasks that can fairly easily be done at home with little or no experience. It is always important to understand how these products work and some of the best ones on the market so you can get your money’s worth.
1. Collinite No. 845 Insulator Wax
Collinite is not as well-known of a brand as Meguiar’s or Mothers, but they offer a wide range of highly-rated products, made in the U.S.A., and that works well for the jobs for which they are designed. Their No. 845 Insulator Wax is specifically made to deliver the last step for a complete DIY detailing job.
No. 845 Insulator Wax is designed to be both durable – able to withstand hard water, salt, winter weather, bug grime, road grime, and paint staining – and provide easy application and removal. Collinite does offer more durable and labor-intensive products for better UV and element protection, but No. 845 does protect against both of these for up to seven months.
Its use of natural Carnauba helps leave behind a high-gloss, intense finish that helps paint shine and helps water easily bead and run off paint finishes. Only minimal buffing is required, making overall application very quick and easy.
2. Meguiar’s Deep Crystal Step 3 Carnauba Liquid Car Wax
Meguiar’s offers some of the most recognizable car care products on the market, including their Deep Crystal Carnauba Liquid Car Wax. Because it is a liquid wax, it offers unparalleled ease of application and removal specifically designed to be used after polishing is complete.
Its high natural Carnauba wax content helps bring out the best in paint and offers months of natural protection from the elements, the sun, and road grimes. Gloss enhancers are added to its formula to provide a newly-washed look and to help provide one of the highest shine results on the market.
Deep Crystal is a bit more on the expensive side, but the results many buyers have experienced speak for themselves. Not only does this product produce a brilliant shine, but the Carnauba wax content produces extra water beading for maximum, lasting protection.
3. Pinnacle Natural Brilliance Signature Series II Carnauba Paste Wax
Pinnacle offers some of the finest products in the automotive car care industry. For their waxes, they only use top-grade, natural Brazillian Carnauba wax. This makes their Natural Brilliance product a little pricier than some other products on this list, but their insistence on using quality materials means that buyers also get a quality product.
Being a paste wax, application is a bit trickier than the liquid wax from Meguiar’s, but the thicker paste also provides outstanding durability, finish, and shine once applied. The finish has great depth of color for any vehicle, regardless of color, and it creates a newly cleaned, wet paint look for an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
It may not be as important in functionality, but Pinnacle’s products also come in beautiful packaging to convey a look of refinement. To back it up, their products are highly rated and widely used by both professionals and enthusiasts.
4. P21S Concours-Look Carnauba Wax
P21S is another manufacturer that is not as well-known to the general public as companies like Meguiar’s and Mothers, but they developed their product by comparing what they offer to competing companies so they can do what “the other guys” do not. The result is a great paste product that is also easy to remove and apply.
Concours-Look Carnauba Wax actually uses a blend of both Carnauba Wax and beeswax to create natural, long-lasting protection over your vehicle’s paint that also creates a high-gloss appearance after application. Additionally, this product is formulated to reduce streaking upon application or removal, a complaint that customers often present with other products.
For added versatility, and because of its high natural content, this wax can be used on plastic or rubber without staining it or leaving white powder markings.
5. Griot’s Garage Best of Show Wax
Griot’s Garage makes another appearance in another “best of” list with a great product in their “Best of Show” product line. This product has been around since 1994, but Griot’s Garage has been insistent that it continues to be the best wax product on the market. They have improved their Best of Show Wax formula over the years to make it the best it can be.
Customers have complained in the past that Best of Show Wax has been hard to remove, so Griot’s has revised its formula to make it easy to wipe off in one pass while still maintaining the highest levels of gloss. Its resulting high gloss is attributed to high levels of natural Carnauba within the product that also offers the highest levels of natural paint protection.
Griot’s Garage is also proud of the fact that it can be applied to both warm and cool paint surfaces to make application even easier, regardless of where your vehicle is parked.
What Is Car Wax and How Does It Work?
Car wax is a paint protecting substance that is applied after a car wash or polish. It can be applied using a machine or by hand. After application, it is usually buffed out to create a smooth finish that not only protects but enhances paint color by creating a glossy shine. It hardens on the surface to which it is applied, but it not as long-lasting of a protection solution as a ceramic coating.
Both protection and paint enhancement are accomplished through wax’s formula. Every automotive care company formulates their wax products a little differently, but generally speaking, wax is made with a combination of protective polymers, gloss enhancers, and some degree of natural wax, most often Carnauba or beeswax.
Though many waxes utilize several different polymers, protectants, and sealants to their wax products, the amount of each of these determines whether the wax is a natural or synthetic product. Synthetic waxes are almost entirely or mostly made of synthetic polymers and are more accurately described as paint sealants.
Natural wax products are mostly made of natural waxes and plant oils. Natural products usually do not provide the lasting paint protection of synthetic waxes, but synthetic wax cannot provide the level of shine that a natural wax can provide.
Types of Car Wax
Natural and synthetic waxes make up the two main types of car wax but the form in which any type of car wax comes can be categorized into three main categories.
Spray wax offers the quickest way to apply wax, and it is often paired with quick-wash soap products. It has the shortest protective lifespan of any other type of wax.
Liquid wax is similar to spray wax in its ease of application, but it is much more universally used, and it does a much better job of both protecting paint and lasting longer than spray waxes. Ultimately, it is a good, affordable middle-ground type of wax that is universally usable.
Paste wax is usually the highest quality type of wax available, and it is the type of wax with the most potential to be 100% or mostly all-natural. It is thicker than other wax types, and therefore, usually harder to apply, but in terms of protection and paint shine, it is usually the best.
Does Wax Add Color?
Some people consider color-specific car waxes to be a separate type of car wax, but they can come in any of the aforementioned forms. They are most often found in liquid or paste form and they are often made with colorants to match the color of the product to certain paint colors.
The theory behind these color-matching formulas is that no white residue or powder will be left behind after buffing – most regular wax products are white in color. Many of these products are also marketed with an emphasis on their high-gloss and color-enhancing formulas.
The truth is that many color-specific vehicle waxes contain high levels of natural carnauba wax. No wax product can add color to a vehicle – only actual paint can add to or change a vehicle’s paint color – but the natural wax contained in many of these products can enhance a vehicle’s paint quite vividly, making it seem like color-specific waxes are effective.
Why Are Certain Wax Products Marketed Toward Black or Richly-Colored Vehicles?
Even though there is no real scientific evidence or even experienced-based evidence to prove that color-specific waxes do anything different than regular waxes, the concept makes sense to many people. Applying a similarly colored product to your vehicle’s paint makes sense and becomes quite appealing to average buyers.
As a result, companies produce a product that emphasizes its high-gloss, paint-enhancing abilities that other products do not have to rely on to be sold. This creates the market, even if it is rather small.
Car wax produced specifically for black cars or for cars with darker paint is available for anyone to purchase, but its functionality compared to regular vehicle wax is not as efficacious as manufacturers would lead the public to believe. There is a market for color-specific car wax; therefore, car wax for black cars is still produced despite its lack of real results.
This does not mean that color-specific wax is completely ineffective. Many color-specific waxes are made with high Carnauba content and offer great protection and durability, just like many other typical car waxes.