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What Are the Different Types of Wax for a Car?

Black car hood covered in car wax

There are several different types of wax for cleaning your car, so how do you know which is the right one? It all depends on what you want for a final result as well as the age of your vehicle and the condition of the paint.

A good waxing can not only make your car’s paint look great, it can help protect the paint from the elements — it’s a key part of keeping your car clean. Here’s a look at the different types of wax available to help you figure out which one will help your car look its best.

Liquid Wax

A liquid wax is a good choice to clean while adding gloss and protection. It can be a bit tricky to apply evenly and buff out, but it dries quickly. The haze that indicates a wax is dry and ready to buff can appear in just a few minutes. Liquid wax is an excellent choice for older cars with lots of mileage. Look for one with carnauba wax for an extra high gloss and durability.

Paste Wax

Paste waxes also take a bit of work to apply but dry quickly with the haze appearing in as little as 30 seconds. The extra effort required to apply paste wax gives you a more durable shine that lasts longer. It can be tricky to remove from the bottom of the container as you near the end.

Spray WaxBuffing a Car

These are the easiest type of wax to apply and buff. Some can even be buffed off without drying first. The downside to a spray wax is that it doesn’t clean as deeply, is less resistant to the weather and is the least durable of the lot. This doesn’t mean it’s not a good choice. If you have a newer car with paint in great condition, a quick spray wax is an easy way to refresh the shine. A spray wax is also a good in-between option when you don’t have the time to apply a paste or liquid wax.

Once you wax your car, it will look better and be protected for about five weeks before the shine begins to dull. It’s recommended that you reapply wax every two to three months to keep your car looking its best.

Check out all the waxes, polishes and cleaners available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on different types of wax, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


Nicole Wakelin View All

Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.

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