Waxing your car

The following article provided by Autopia. As always use at your own discretion. -M.Gladstone

It was European coach builders that first applied coatings of animal fats and wax to protect the custom paint on their horse drawn carriages. This tradition has endured over 100 years and is still the best way to protect the paint on modern-day coaches.

Today, the multi-layered finish on your car, from the primer through the top (clear) coat is only .006 to .008 of an inch thick. Regardless of how fine the finish is now, it will deteriorate and dull. Radiant and ultraviolet energy, acid rain, salt, atmospheric pollution, insect fluids, and bird droppings wage a constant war on your car's finish. Waxing provides an easily renewable transparent barrier between the finish and a hostile environment.

Waxing also makes your car, new or old, look better. Quality waxes now combine enriching oils that "wet" the surface with protective formulas of Brazilian Carnauba or modern polymers for a high gloss shine. This brings us to the subject of selecting a wax. Waxes can be made from a natural wax, usually Brazilian Carnauba, or synthetically made of polymers and acrylic resins. In choosing a wax, here are some things to consider:

Carnauba Waxes
Carnauba comes from the fronds of the "Tree of life" (Copernica Cerifera) native to Brazil. It is nature's hardest, purest, and most transparent wax. Carnauba car waxes tend to produce a deeper, darker, richer shine that is often described as "three-dimensional". Many enthusiasts and show-car owners prefer the shine of Carnauba waxes, especially on black and red and other dark colors. Carnauba waxes bead water nicely, absorb the acid content in rain and hide minor swirls in the paint. Meguiar's No. 26 Pure Wax, Mothers California Gold, Eagle One Pure Carnauba Paste Wax, and Pinnacle Paste Glaz are just a few of the many Carnauba waxes available.

On the minus side, Carnauba waxes are not as durable as synthetic waxes. Depending on your climate, they typically last up to 90 days Paste Carnauba waxes will outlast liquid Carnauba waxes due to their higher wax content). Some Carnauba waxes can be more difficult to apply and remove. Additionally, Carnauba waxes can be temperamental, occasionally streaking under certain conditions.

Synthetic Waxes
Made from modern polymers and acrylic resins, synthetic waxes offer excellent durability and ease of application. Synthetic waxes can last six to nine months or longer and typically wipe on and off easily. These waxes create a very bright shine and are resistant to clouding and streaking.

On the down side, many enthusiasts feel synthetic waxes lack depth and richness. Black cars can look a little sterile or silvery white in the direct sunlight. And, the mirror-like polymers can collect minor swirls and actually highlight flaws.

Show-Car Tricks
Detailers that prepare show cars will often layer a Carnauba wax on top of a synthetic wax. The synthetic wax acts as a gloss layer while the Carnauba wax adds depth and luquidity. One combination that works well is an initial coating of Klasse All-In-One followed by one or more coats of Pinnacle Paste Glaz or Souveran wax. The latter two waxes are super-pure Carnauba waxes that can be layered without any yellowing effects.