How long to wait before waxing a new car?

Close your eyes and inhale… mmmmnn… beautiful smell right? Intoxicating even! That’s the unmistakable (and I would add sensational), new car smell.

After days, weeks or even months of research you have finally figured out your dream car. Buying a brand new car is a huge commitment and after some negotiations, you are able to purchase it and drive it home for the very first time.

I know I know. We’re not here to talk about ‘new cars’.

But bear with me…

New cars smell amazing and it’s thrilling to know that you are the first and only owner this car has ever known.

Ok, here it comes…

And of course, you want to protect your newest asset and keep it looking brand new for as long as possible.

However, you’ve heard a lot of misleading and conflicting information in regards to waxing a new car, right?

What did uncle Larry say?

He told you to wait at least three months or you could ruin the paint job. On the other hand, a few of your co-workers told you to wax it as soon as you brought it home for the first time.

WTH! Ugh, I know. So let’s take a look.

Why Do People Wax Their Cars?

Many people think that only guys with sports cars or muscle cars spend time waxing them but in all honesty, everyone should be waxing their car not only for the glossy shine but to protect your investment. Even if you park in a garage while driving your car around it is exposed to all the outdoor elements which include rain, hail, wind, dirt, tiny rocks, and constant sun exposure. This makes the outside of your car very vulnerable while you drive around safe and dry inside.

The process of waxing involves applying the wax to the body of the car, waiting to let it dry and harden a bit, and then buffing it off with a towel or polisher. It may look as though you buffed all the wax off your car but actually a light coating of wax has formed over the body. This protective coat is where the magic happens.

Waxing a car lessens damage from the sun. It will keep the paint from fading. Wax also prevents microscopic scratches from dust and dirt. It also leaves the car looking sleek and shiny like you just drove it off the car lot.

Waxing Your New Car

Back to the question at hand, how soon should you wax your new car? Anyone that tells you that you have to wait 2-3 months to wax a new car isn’t completely wrong, the advice is just old. Twenty plus years ago you did need to wait a few months to wax a brand new car. This is because the car paint needed time to cure (harden by heat) properly before you washed and waxed it or you risked messing up the paint job. Newer paint and spraying advancements have made it so that your new car arrives with that new coat of paint already cured in the factory. So if you bought a brand new car today, you can wash and wax it as soon as you want. In fact, it’s encouraged that you wax your new car as soon as possible to start protecting it from the elements right away.

Can you wax a car too often? How often should a car be waxed, exactly? The answer varies a bit. If your car spends a good deal of time parked and sheltered then 2 times a year is probably enough. If your car is more commonly exposed to the elements outdoors then you should wax it every 3 months or so, up to 4 times a year or once per quarter. If you are using the right products and techniques, waxing it more often than this will probably not hurt your car but it isn’t necessary either. A solid waxing job done right should last several months and there is no need to spend every weekend waxing your car. The temperature will also have an impact on a good waxing job. Ideally, the temperature should be between 60 – 80 degrees so if it’s waxed during the summer months you might want to do it in the morning before it heats up or closer to dusk when the sun is going down. In the winter or fall, you might have to wait until around noon or lunchtime to reach the peak heat of the day.

Additional Tips For Washing And Waxing Your New Car

The number one thing you can do to protect your car is to wash it regularly. This rinses away dirt and debris that could scratch and damage the car body exposing it to rust conditions. This is especially true if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow because the salt on the road can be very damaging to your paint job.

On the day you want to wax your vehicle, wash it first and make sure it is completely dry before waxing. Make sure you aren’t using dirty or worn out towels or polishers to wax your car. Use fresh or clean rags, sponges or polishers each time you wax.

Use circular motions to apply the wax and to buff it off after. Avoid applying wax to any external plastic surfaces like headlights. After you buff the wax the car should appear shiny and glossy.

If you are going to run your car through an automatic car wash make sure to choose a high-pressure touchless wash without the swirling brushes. It is a real bonus if the wash includes attendants that dry by hand as drying the car is key to avoiding streaks and keeps the car looking its best.

Don’t delay washing your car just because it’s about to get dirty again. This is especially true in winter, people assume that since the car will keep getting covered in ice and snow that it’s alright to just wait for warmer weather to wash the car. Dirt gets trapped against the car when it’s covered with ice and snow and the chemicals from the salt and road treatments are especially bad for your car. It’s best to keep washing the car regularly even in yucky weather conditions.

Take care of scratches immediately. When washing your car also take the time to inspect it for any new scratches. Tiny scratches can be buffed away DIY style but larger or deeper scratches need to be treated at a body shop. Even tiny scratches can expose the car to further damage and also make the paint look more faded. Keep that new car gloss as long as possible by following all of our car care tips.



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About Me

Hi there, I’m Rod. Honestly, I don’t do much cleaning around the house (and until recently – my car)…

But I’ve always been strict and disciplined in keeping with my workspace clean and organized; my office, my desk, my bookshelfs, etc. A lot of that discipline comes from studying Lean methodologies in the past.

One thing I’ve struggled with has been keeping my car clean! So lately I started buying a few items and putting in some work!

I became interested with “best practices” for detailing a car, and that’s what you’ll find on this website. Hope this information helps you!

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