How to Apply Car Wax by Hand for a Flawless Detailed Finish and Is It Good to Wax Your Car?

You may be wondering what car wax does to your car and why it is necessary? Waxing your car’s bodywork can help preserve the clean and flawless finish of your vehicle by protecting the exterior from dirt and debris. Even if you are washing your car with a product that contains wax, experts recommend you specifically wax your car once every 3 months. Cars exposed to harsh elements, such as dirt, snow or salt should be waxed more frequently than this. Caring for your paintwork can even help maintain your car’s value. In this article, we offer advice on how to wax a car to achieve a flawless finish and discuss how often you should wax your car to preserve your paintwork.

Things You Will Need to Wax a Car

If you are wondering how to wax car bodywork and car paintwork then there are a few things you will need.

  • High-quality car wax product
  • Poly Foam Wax Applicator
  • Microfiber cloth or similar soft cloth
  • A clean and dry vehicle

1. Buy a high-quality car wax

You can find a range of car waxes at your local automotive store and supermarkets. Choose between a Liquid, Paste or Spray Car Wax (dependant on personal preference). Paste and liquid waxes offer protection that lasts a longer period of time, whereas spray wax has a shorter application time, but you will need to apply the wax more often than you would with paste or liquid waxes. Some tub waxes are sold with an application pad. If you do not have a pad, we suggest using a Polyurethane Foam Wax Applicator to achieve a thin even coating on your car’s bodywork.

2. Prepare your car for waxing

Using car shampoo and water, thoroughly clean your vehicle in preparation for waxing. The car should be completely clean and dry before applying car wax to achieve the best results. Always be sure to read through the instructions on the wax packaging you have chosen, and follow the guidelines of the manufacturer. You can also try to park in a shaded area so that the car wax does not dry too quickly.

3. Apply the wax to your vehicle

Choose an area of your car to begin waxing. Dip the applicator pad into the car wax, using a thumb-sized amount and apply the wax using a small, circular motion to your car. A thin layer of wax should be applied to the entire car, the more wax you use, the harder it will be to buff later. Apply the car wax in either horizontal or vertical rows of circles to ensure the whole surface of the vehicle is covered in wax. Tip: Do not apply car wax to the exterior plastic such as headlights, tail lights, or any other area advised against on the product’s instructions.

4. Removing the car wax

Now the hard work begins! After you have waxed the entire vehicle, leave it to dry – the wax may appear matte and chalky but don’t worry the next step will fix this. Using a microfiber or similar soft cloth begin to remove the wax. Use the same circular motion you used to apply the car wax, to buff the surface of your car. After all the wax is removed, your car should appear shiny, glossy and have a flawless detailed finish.

Regularly waxing your car with car wax is necessary if you want to protect your car’s paint from the elements but can also improve the appearance of your washed and polished paint.

How Long Does It Take To Wax a Car by Hand?

Car waxing is not just the process of applying the wax, as we talked about above, the car needs to be prepared first (involving a full wash, rinse and dry) and the wax buffed out after application. This does make it a lengthier process than a typical wash and go.

The factors that affect how long this whole process could take are:

  • The size of your car – the larger the vehicle the more time to wash, rinse, dry, wax and buff.
  • How dirty your car is – as we mentioned your car needs to be washed first. If it has been washed recently this will take less time but if it’s been a while it will take longer to prep the car.
  • The type of car wax you’re using – Spray waxes are easier and quicker to apply than their liquid and paste counterparts.
  • Polish or not? – You may want to consider using polish between the wash and wax phases. This will impact how long the process takes but can seal your car’s paint and help the wax stick easier bringing out more shine too.

So, taking all of this into account how long should waxing your car by hand take? Firstly, the wash, rinse and dry process, done correctly, should take between one to two hours to do.

Secondly, the application of wax to your car, when done by hand, typically takes between one to two hours depending on the factors above. You can however speed this up and potentially make the finish more consistent by using an electric polisher as it is faster and smoother than doing it by hand. Be careful to not damage your paintwork if trying an electric waxing method as it is easier to damage your car this way than by hand waxing.

Finally, is the removal stage, this is where you buff out the wax to leave a shiny finish and this typically takes between one to one and a half hours. This means that overall waxing a car by hand takes between three and five and a half hours if all the stages are followed correctly, this time can be shortened by using an electric polisher but that does come with its risks.

Does Car Wax Remove Scratches or Scuffs?

Car wax will improve the shine and gloss effect of your car’s paintwork and may lessen the effect of very minor scratches, however, any other scratches, scuffs, or swirls in your paint won’t be removed by car wax. To remove a scratch correctly it may need machine polishing or even a respray, which are jobs best left to the professionals.

If you have paint blemishes you want to remove or this guide has inspired you to improve the condition of your vehicle, then make sure you get any scratches and scuffs repaired ASAP by our professionals so they don’t turn into more extensive, and therefore more expensive, damage!

Get your FREE, no-obligation estimate today.

Ready to book your repair?
Ready to book your repair?
You're just a few short steps away from fixing that damage!
Get a Free Estimate
Keep me updated on news & offers

Our affiliates & accreditation
  • 3M
  • IMI Approved Centre
  • ISO 9001 Registered
  • ISO 14001 Registered
  • PPG
  • Supagard
Go back to the top