To Wax or not to Wax

In the salvage auto industry, sometimes we get an old car which is in really beautiful shape.The outside has been lovingly tended, and you can tell just by looking at it that the owners got years of enjoyment out of it. What about you? Is your car shiny, or does it need a little lift? Furthermore, maybe it needs even more than a wash. What about waxing? Do new cars even need to be waxed anymore?

Your car, the jewel of the garage, no longer needs to be waxed every week. If your car is pre-80’s, just ignore this and keep rubbing. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most of us don’t fall into that category.

To seal the paint and create a beautiful shine, automobile manufacturing process now includes a clear protective finish to the paint. It looks great.  But, as anyone who lives in Arizona can tell you, a few years in the hot sun can take its toll on that finish. Cars which are never waxed start to look pretty dull. Sometimes, we’ll even see a car where the coating has started to flake off.

So, the answer to the waxing question is, yes. You need to wax your car. However, it no longer needs to be waxed every week like your granddad did. Cars don’t even need to be waxed every month.  

Keep that pad nice and flat against the surface.

Keep that pad nice and flat against the surface.

How often is often enough?

So, a general answer is that a car should be waxed three to four times a year if it isn’t kept in a garage, and twice a year if it is kept in a garage. There is the matter of habits and personal taste, as well. If your house is on a dirt road, if monsoon season finds your car parked on the street, or if you put quite a few extra miles on the car, have it washed and waxed.

Car washes also provide waxing serivices.

Car washes also provide waxing serivices.

Me or Thee?

Some people prefer to do their own waxing. Others like to throw an extra couple of bucks at the car wash attendant. If your paint is in sad shape and you own an orbital buffer, buy these: 

Buffing pads
Buffing compound

Please use goggles or other protective eyewear.

The buffing pad should be nicely coated with buffing compound. In addition, problem areas such as scratches or really dull spots should also have the compound applied. Avoid getting any on glass, chrome, or rubber. Buff the car evenly and methodically until it’s shiny and smooth. Some people like to imagine the panels in quarters and go each quarter section at a time.

If your paint looks okay, just use the polish, but the same rules apply; polish in sections until your car is shiny and smooth. 

This might not be the wax you use, but chances are, you've heard of it.

This might not be the wax you use, but chances are, you've heard of it.


Wax according to the manufacturer’s directions. Some waxes require a certain amount of setting time. If you go over the time, it won’t make your car look shinier, it will make the wax set and almost impossible to remove. Products like this Turtle Wash and Wax can be applied if you live in an area where a hose isn’t available, or where the HOA will take exception to a river of water washing down the street.

Final touches

When you’re finished, don’t forget to wash your windshield and mirrors. If your tires and/or wheels are looking a little sad, try one of these tire products. By the time you call us with your old salvage vehicle, we hope that you, too, have enjoyed years of happy service from your car.


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