Should You Wax Your Car Wet or Dry?

Waxing car

What’s the best way to apply car wax? Your approach makes a huge difference in the appearance of your vehicle and the longevity of its shine. Here are a few tips to get the most out of the next waxing.

Dry Your Car Before Waxing

While skipping drying will cut down on the initial time you spend caring for your vehicle, it’ll create more work later. Moisture acts as a barrier between the wax and your truck’s surface; if you try to apply wax before the vehicle is completely dry, it won’t adhere. The results will be patchy and won’t last. In the end, you’ll have to reapply the wax sooner.

Instead, dry your car beforehand. You can do this with microfiber towels or letting the water evaporate naturally.

Park Your Vehicle in the Shade

Wax applies best to a cool surface out of direct sunlight. Heat makes the wax dry too quickly, interfering with adhesion and making removal difficult.

For best results, you should park in a shady spot or a garage before applying wax. If you let your truck air dry, wait for the surface to cool before waxing. While a tree-lined driveway can work in a pinch, waxing your car indoors is the best option. It decreases the risk of bugs, dirt and other debris blowing onto the freshly applied wax and messing up your hard work.

Wash Your Truck First

You don’t want to wax a wet truck, but waxing a dirty truck may be even worse. Even if your vehicle doesn’t look dirty, there can be specks of dirt hanging out on the surface. If you apply wax over them, you risk scratching the paint, which makes the truck vulnerable to rust.

Dirt also makes it difficult for the wax to grasp the paint. Therefore, you need to thoroughly wash the car, preferably by hand. That way, you can work on any stubborn bits that need extra attention.

Use the Right Tools

The quality of the microfiber cloths, chamois and applicators you use makes a huge difference in the effectiveness of waxing. Applicators should be supple and soft to ensure even application with no scratches. While you don’t need to use a new buffer pad every time you wax, the pad should be clean, with no lingering dried wax. Using a Car Polisher can help ensure an even application and superior shine.

Similarly, the chamois or microfiber cloth you use for buffing should be clean. It’s essential to use one of these options, as a regular towel is too coarse. Buffing should be relatively easy if you applied a thin coat of wax. If you have to use a lot of pressure to wipe off the film, you used too much. While this won’t necessarily hurt your vehicle, it’s a waste of wax and will make what should be the easiest step more difficult.

Waxing your vehicle takes some elbow grease, but it protects the paint job from dirt, sunlight and rain. It’s simple enough to do at home, as all you need are a sprayer, wax and microfiber cloths. Once you’ve set up, you can easily wax your car in a few hours.


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