It’s easy to think that running your car to the car wash every couple of weeks is enough to keep it looking good. But particularly when you’re living in the UK, learning how to wash your car properly isn’t always enough, as your car can be dealing with the four seasons all in one day.
When your car is constantly hit with rain, hail, snow, sun and (unfortunately) bird droppings, you’ll need to give it that extra bit of TLC every so often.
Waxing and polishing your car often can keep it in great condition, which helps boost the resale value if you own it, or can help you avoid lease car return charges if you’re leasing.
We already covered how to wax a car, so here we’ll run through how often you should wax and polish it, how long it lasts, and whether it’s really worth it.
When to wax and polish your car
Like we mentioned in our car waxing guide, polishing should always come before waxing. Just remember - polishing is used to perfect, whilst waxing is to protect.
But how often do you really need to polish and wax, and how can you tell when it’s needed?
When To Polish Your Car
If you’re taking good care of your car, polishing your car once or twice a year should be sufficient to fix up any minor scratches or wear.
If you frequently find yourself with scrapes or spots, you can take it to be polished more regularly. However most professional polishes are very slightly abrasive in order to remove imperfections from the surface of your car exterior. This means each time your car is polished, you begin to wear away at the surface coating.
This shouldn’t be an issue provided you don’t overdo it, but it’s something to keep in mind!
When To Wax Your Car
If you’ve never waxed before, you’re probably wondering how to tell whether you need it. As waxing acts as a clear protective layer on your car, it’s not always easy to work out. Wax naturally wears off, and this is hastened by the effects of rain, sun and even the dirty puddles that splash up on the sides of your car.
You can tell if your wax is beginning to wear by looking for water beading on your exterior. If there’s very little (or none at all) it’s likely time to get out the wax.
How often you should wax your car depends on a few factors, but a general guide is at least twice a year.
If your car is new, everything should still be in good condition, so you really just need to ensure it’s protected. For older, or more worn down models, you might want to polish and wax more frequently, up to every season.
The time of year can also affect how often you wax, as vehicles enduring rougher weather will need waxed more regularly to remain protected. Other seasonal factors can play a big part in your waxing schedule too. If your car’s going to face a buildup of salt, dirty water, mud and screen wash, a coat of wax every month or two can make all the difference.
How long does wax last on a car?
It’s hard to say how long your car wax will last since it depends on a number of variables. Poorly applied wax can last as little as a few weeks, whereas a carefully (or professionally) applied wax job can last you a good few months.
Like we mentioned above, poor weather doesn’t just mean your car needs more protection, but will wear down your wax more quickly. Even things like frequent bird poop on your car can reduce the life of your wax. Keeping your car clean is a great way to sustain the wax, but incidentally, regularly cleaning also breaks it down.
If you’re wondering how often you should wash your car, we’d recommend sticking to a fortnightly clean. Keeping your car in a garage or sheltered area can make a huge difference as you’ll likely reduce how frequently it needs cleaned, and protect it from the elements.
Can you wax your car too much?
Unless you’re religiously waxing your wax every week, it’s unlikely that you’re waxing your car too often.
However there’s a limit to how much your wax can do, so you could end up spending hours reapplying wax coats when the existing one was fine. Too many coats can lead to a build up of a wax and give your car a cloudy, even dirty, look.
Many waxes work better starting with a wax-free base, so it’ll be even more time consuming to constantly clean the existing wax from your car to start fresh. Other than extreme circumstances, your car probably doesn’t need waxed every other week, so doing it anyway is really just taking up a lot of your valuable free time.
Is waxing a car worth it?
Though regular waxing can help sustain your car’s factory-fresh shine, it’s main purpose is to protect your car. It helps maintain your car’s paintwork and keeps it looking good for longer.
Car waxing can feel like a tiresome job, but the satisfaction you’ll get of seeing your freshly waxed car and knowing it’s protected for the months to come, is always worth the effort.