Exterior - Waxing
Waxing your car is an important part of the basic appearance maintenance of your car, as it will help protect the surface to avoid aging and contamination of the surface from environmental elements such as acid rain, smog, bird droppings, atmospheric salt, dust and road grime. By placing a protective and invisible layer on the paint, the wax layer is bombarded by these harsh elements instead of the paint. The wax will protect the paint by sealing the conditioning oils of the polish, which will extend the life of your paint finish for years. We recommend you wax your car every 3-6 months, depending on the condition of your car, the elements it is exposed to and whether you keep it in a garage. You do not always need to wax your car after washing it - over-waxing can actually do more harm than good. A good rule of thumb is that if you spray the paintwork surface with water and the beads are larger than a nickel, you should apply wax to the surface. It is also important that you use a high quality wax, such as Diamond Professional Radiant Fast Wax, which contains cross-linking silicones. Cross-linking silicones offer more protection than regular silicones and make the wax easier to use. Radiant Fast Wax also contains mild solvents, which allows the wax to evaporate quicker and dry faster.
Types of Wax
There are two types of waxes generally used on vehicles – organic waxes and polymer waxes. Organic waxes, often called natural waxes, are made from natural substances such as paraffin and carnauba. The combination of wax, resin, polymers and carriers help soften the wax and allow it to spread better on the paintwork. An organic wax is very reliable and can produce a good shine and a glossy finish while the polymers enhance its longevity. The downside to organic waxes is that although they leave a decent shine, they do not provide long lasting protection and depending on the vehicles surface and condition, they may actually slightly dull the finish.
Polymer waxes are synthetic or man-made waxes that are similar to organic waxes but are much more durable. Polymer waxes are better accustomed to daily driving, repeated washing and general environmental stresses. They imitate real wax and allow the paint to breathe and flex. Polymers are durable and resist elements such as hard water, heat and de-icing salt. Polymer sealants are applied at the same intervals as wax and typically provide a higher gloss and longer protection. Synthetic waxes are equivalent in durability to the organic waxes and often are more resistant to the elements.
Keep in mind that both organic and polymer waxes should NOT be applied to freshly painted finishes for at least 90 days as they inhibit the paints ability to breath during the curing process.
Now that you know your waxing ABC's, it is time to get to work. First, be sure the car has been thoroughly cleaned. Keep your newly washed car in the shade or indoors when you wax, just like washing.
Before you start waxing, dress the tires and any rubber trim with Diamond Professional Dress All. Dressing the trim adjacent to the surfaces being waxed will assist in the easy removal of wax from trim black where wax is often seen as an unsightly white residue.
Be careful to apply silicone protectant by hand as airborne sprays will fall on the surface of the paint and look like spots after waxing. Dress the tires using a high quality protectant such as Diamond Professional Dress All so that your tires stay black. Cheaper simple silicone products will turn your tires brown and may promote cracking.
Wax On, Wax Off…
To apply the wax, use a clean 100% cotton towel, foam application pad, or microfiber towel as they will remove excess wax without scratching the surface. First apply Diamond Professional Radiant Fast Wax or Diamond Professional Cleaner Wax on small sections (again, dividing the car into panels and waxing panel by panel is recommended) in a side to side or circular motion, moving up the section you are working on. Apply the wax allowing for a 50% overlap of the area you just applied wax to on the panel. Allow it to penetrate the surface and completely dry to a haze, which should take about 5 minutes.Radiant Fast Wax dries fairly clear, so gently run your finger over a waxed, discreet area to see if it powders or is still wet. If it is still wet wait another 5 minutes depending on the humidity. As you wipe the surface clean, do not use pressure. As before, allow for a 50% overlap as you remove the wax and wipe the excess off with a clean cloth.
As for using multiple layers of wax to increase protection or shine, this is a misconception that does more harm then good. Some people believe ‘layering,' applying multiple coats of wax on top of each other, will give added protection. This is not correct – the additional layers of wax actually will remove some of the wax applied in an earlier waxing, as well as hazing the surface and leaving a dull gloss.
As stated earlier, waxing your car every 3-4 months is sufficient to keep your car looking good. You really can't wax too frequently, except for doing one layer right after another, which, as discussed above, is counterproductive. Reapplying the wax is beneficial on an as-needed basis and its frequency is dependant on the type of wax you use, frequency and type of washings and how often your car's paintwork is exposed to different environmental factors. You may want to do touch up wax jobs including the top panels, lower valences and the front fascia and rear deck lid more often.
Washing and waxing your car is definitely both an art and a science and it is important to pay attention to the type of products you use, both in chemicals and wash mitts and wiping towels. You want to keep your car looking good and appearance maintenance is critical to your cars long term success. It is a proven fact that a well maintained shiny finish can bring as much as 20% more in the resale price of a vehicle.