Offering both paint protection and shine, car wax is a vital step when detailing your car. But how often should you apply it? Here’s what you need to know about waxes. 

Waxes, they’re loved by car enthusiasts the world over, and there’s plenty of good reasons for that. Not only do the best car waxes add plenty of protection, but they’re the only way to get the warm, glossy glow that makes every true-blue detailing connoisseur get all red-faced and out of breath… er, in a good way.

Yep, the truth is that nothing beats the look of a freshly-detailed, waxed-to-perfection car. But, that said, it’s not all a case of wax on, wax off and suddenly you’re able to defeat all of life’s bullies with a swift crane kick. There’s a lot of science to creating the perfect product and using it to get a perfect finish.

There’s also what seems to be the biggest question around the world of waxing – how often should you apply car wax? So, that’s exactly what we’re here to answer.

Paste car wax is much harder than liquid wax

How long does wax last on a vehicle?

Car waxes are available in various forms. They range from liquid spray waxes, through to creams and pastes, and on to more traditional hard waxes.

From a product standpoint, the longevity of a car wax is dictated by the solid content. A hard wax will have a high level of solids, this is what gives them a semi-solid consistency. Generally speaking, more solid wax in the blend means more durability, and this why a hard wax will last for months and months. On the other hand, a liquid wax – which has less solid content to enable it to spray – will usually last a few weeks. A cream or paste-based wax offers durability that’s somewhere in between the two.

That said, durability isn’t the only concern here, liquid waxes are designed to be the easiest to apply, while hard waxes take a little more effort to get on there and buff to a shine. Creams offer a good compromise, too, but the thing to remember here is that they can all be complementary to each other. Most detailers will apply a hard wax or a cream for the initial protection, and then use a liquid wax to top up the protection after every wash. This prolongs the life and performance of their first wax layer.

Sprays are also infinitely useful for treating other areas aside from the exterior paintwork. Both the unseen areas, such as inside panel gaps, and the more awkward areas like door jambs and boot shuts.

Leaving the wax to cure onto the paintwork before buffing

How often should you apply car wax?

The easiest answer is however often your car needs it. If your paintwork isn’t beading off water when you wash, the protection is failing. So, it’s probably time to top up with a new coat or two.

If, however, you’re asking how many times a year you should apply your car wax, again it depends on the products that you’re using. Plenty of experts will say twice a year, four times a year, every other month, or something like that, but it all depends. Let’s say you’re using hard wax that lasts for up to 4-months and you’re maintaining your car properly (but without topping up along the way). Well, even we can do the math there.

What’s most important to remember though, is that every time you polish or fully decontaminate your paintwork – whether that’s a couple of times a year (commonly before and after winter) or for a specific event – you need to add protection after. Simply because you’ll be stripping away your wax layers. And, even if you’re not polishing, you don’t want to leave your paint unprotected from the onset of oxidation and corrosion. So, if you have a new car, or one that doesn’t need any paint correction, you’ll want to wax that, too. Then you can simply top up during routine maintenance, or when you think that your protection is starting to run out. Easy peasy.

Be sure to check out our step-by-step guide on how to apply wax.