How to Wax Your Car

This article originally appeared in the Castrol Blog.

Waxing your car does wonders to protect your car’s surface from pollution and the elements. You don’t have to wax every time you wash your car – a couple of times a year should suffice. If the finish begins to look a bit dull, or if water is no longer beading on the surface, then it’s likely that a new wax job is in order.

It’s a good idea to apply wax right after you’ve washed your car. Applying wax over a dirty surface could cause scratches on the finish, so make certain that your car’s body is as clean and dry as possible. Then follow the Expert’s step-by-step advice and give your car the best protective coat possible.

What you’ll need…
– Clean cotton towels (preferably terry cloth)
– Clean water
– Wax (clear-coat-safe only)
– Polish (clear-coat-safe only)


Polishing before you apply a coat of wax will ensure a deeper sheen and is excellent for removing any small spots or scratches from the surface. If your car is a 1980-or-later model, the Expert recommends that you be certain to purchase products that are clear-coat safe.

Ideally, you will have just washed your car, so it will be parked in a shady area. If not, be sure to move it to a spot away from direct sunlight – the heat will make it difficult to apply the wax after polishing. Apply the polish to your car in sections from top to bottom (roof, front and back hoods, right and left sides). The polish may come with an applicator, or you may use one of your cotton towels to apply it sparingly, using gentle, circular motions.

Once you have completed a section, allow it about 10 minutes to dry, then use another clean towel to gently rub away the residue.


After you have applied polish to each section and removed the residue, it is time to perform the actual waxing. Apply the wax with another clean towel, using the same gentle, circular movements. Wait 10 minutes or until you notice a slight change in color on the coat of wax, then gently remove the residue.


As a finishing touch, take another clean towel and buff your car’s newly waxed surface to a high shine.