Introduction: What Products to Use and How to Wax a Vehicle

Quickly remove any doubts you have about waxing your vehicle. Follow these simple steps and see your car shine like never before!

Background:
I have waxed and detailed cars professionally at dealerships and in my spare time for other individuals. Also, I have waxed large boats for boat dealerships.

Why wax your vehicle?
Waxing a car removes small scratches and can potentially increase the value of a car. Also, rain leaves less spots and it is easier to keep your car clean afterwords. If you have larger scratches, it might be of interest to use a buffer. This will not be discussed in this instructable due to the liability from possibly "burning through" the clear coat of your vehicle.

Step 1: Suggestions on What Products to Use to Clean Up Your Vehicle

Wax: Turtle Wax Car Wax
Chrome / Metal Polish: Turtle Wax Chrome & Metal Polish
Glass Cleaner: ArmorAll Glass Cleaner
Tire Shine: ArmorAll Tire Foam
Black Plastic Restorer: Meguiars Ultimate Black    Optional
1 Microfiber towel
3-5 clean rags

All of these products should be available at your nearest auto parts store.

Side notes:
I have experimented with other products, but ArmorAll and Turtle Wax both make quality products. Almost all other products are used in the same fashion. Still, it is important to make sure to read the labels to avoid a poor outcome or even damage to your vehicle.

Step 2: Wash and Detail

Get it clean:
Wash your car by hand or simply go to your local car wash.
When done, make sure you park in a location that is not in direct sunlight. Grab a towel and wipe off any excess water.


Check that all dirt is off of painted areas. Dirt and bugs in the front and rear of vehicles tend to not get removed perfectly by automatic car washes. Pay special attention to those spots when detailing.

Step 3: How to Apply Wax Properly

Remove the applicator from the Turtle Wax container. When applying to vehicle, use circular motions to apply the wax as shown in the video. You can be fairly liberal with the amount of wax applied.



If no pad is supplied with the wax, use a new microfiber cloth. Do not be concerned as this will work just as well.

Step 4: Applying the Wax

Wax:
Open the Turtle Wax and Apply to the vehicle starting with area 1 in the picture. Area 1 covers the front fascia, hood, and front-sides. Do not be afraid to get wax on emblems or non-painted areas.
Area 2: Move towards the rear from the windows down. Do both sides of the vehicle.
Area 3: Wax top of trunk, sides, and rear.
Area 4: Wax roof and all areas not covered in step two.

I suggested this order as it is easy to remember where you have started and ended when removing the wax in a future step.

Total time:
This step should take approx 20-45 min depending on the size of vehicle.

Step 5: How to Remove Wax

First, find your microfiber towel. Microfiber is used since it is unlikely to scratch your vehicle and is durable.
Removing wax is similar to applying except you will need to apply more pressure onto the towel to remove all the wax.
Once again, a small circular motion is used. Do not be afraid to press hard if necessary!

Step 6: Removing the Wax

Removal:
Work again following the same order that was used to apply the wax. This is done because the wax has been applied in the first location the longest. Make sure all wax is removed before moving onto next location.

Reminder of order:
Area 1: covers the front fascia, hood, and front-sides.
Area 2: Move towards the rear from the windows down. Remove wax from both sides of the vehicle.
Area 3: Remove wax from top of trunk, sides, and rear.
Area 4: Remove wax from roof and all areas not covered in step two.

Total time:
This step should take approx 20-45 min depending on the size of vehicle.

Step 7: Perfect Wheels

Polish:
First make sure all wheels are clean before applying Turtle Wax Chrome & Metal Polish.
Apply with rag to all the rims.
Once completed, wipe off all rims with clean side of a rag.

Shine:
Next, apply tire shine to all wheels. Do a counter-clockwise fluid motion covering all the black with foam.
The foam will disappear after 2-5 minutes. Do not be concerned if foam covers some of the metal rim!

Step 8: Restore Black Exterior Plastic (Optional)

Optional
Restore:
If wax got onto black matte exterior plastic it may make the plastic appear faded. This can easily be fixed by applying Meguires Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer with a microfiber towel.

Apply liberally using a microfiber towel to all black plastic trim. Should appear instantly darker and this will also protect against future sun damage.

Step 9: Glass Cleaning

Spotless Glass:
It is likely that as you were applying the wax, some got onto the glass or mirrors. Take out your ArmorAll Glass Cleaner and a clean rag.

Start on one side of the car and spray a liberal amount of glass cleaner onto a window. Do each window individually and wipe from the top-down.

Side Notes:
Look carefully for streaks. If any streaks are noticed, respray the window with glass cleaner and repeat.
Lastly, make sure to switch sides of the rag since any dirt on the rag will make it very difficult to have the desired outcome.

Step 10: Wax Complete

Congratulations, your car should be looking clean, shiny, and ready to show off!

If you want to retain this shine, repeat this process one or two times a year. I will typically do this once in the spring and again in the fall.


Reminder:
Remember to seal all your products and store them in a dry location for future use.

Comments

author
The Arbiter made it! (author)2014-10-14

Beautiful Stang man. I have a 2012, in Race Red. I do like the Tri-bar emblems on the fender of your though, mine does not have that. I use all Meguiar's products, except the Eagle One rim cleaner. I will have to try the Ultimate Black though... some wax was gotten on the plastic in the grille (not by me). I want to darken it again.

author
Dakota Joel98 made it! (author)2014-08-02

Daniel-san! Wax on.......

author
rpillott made it! (author)2013-07-22

What is the best way to wash the outside of your vehicle so you don't end up with scratches? Car wash brushes need to be cleaned well before use but they will still leave scratches.

author
nikolast made it! (author)2013-01-13

I will definitely try to add a section for this next time I wax the Mustang. Too bad it is mid winter here but in the spring I will try to do that for you!

author
jake82465 made it! (author)2012-11-23

Do you recommend clay barring a car?

author
nikolast made it! (author)nikolast2012-11-26

If you want to go one extra step, you could use it before a polishing wax. It seems to make the wax last slightly longer.

author
andrea biffi made it! (author)2012-11-13

or you call Karate Kid! ;-)

author
audreyobscura made it! (author)2012-10-29

What are your thoughts on mechanical buffing tools?

author
nikolast made it! (author)nikolast2012-10-30

I would say that mechanical buffers are great investments and will increase the likelihood of removing scratches. I use one once a year prior to hand wax with a polishing compound. The only issue is you do have to be careful with the speed and pressure as you can potentially damage the paint.

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