All automobiles require maintenance from time to time, but many individuals don't realize the importance of waxing. By waxing your car, you can not only improve it aesthetically but you can help protect it from the elements. The best way to wax a car is to wait for a cool, cloudy day; wash the car first; and use a clean, lint-free cloth or applicator. Working on one panel at a time, apply the wax in a circular motion, and once it's dry, remove it in the same fashion.
The first and foremost factor when preparing to wax a car is the weather. It's pretty obvious that you can't wax a car in the rain, but many don't realize the best time to do it is during a cool, preferably cloudy day. The reason for this is simple — if it is too hot (above 75°F, or 24°C) the wax will remain too warm to harden. If you try to apply the wax on a cold day, it will become too hard, making it difficult to remove.
Before you attempt to wax a car, it is very important to wash off all of the dirt. If there is dirt on the car when the wax is applied or removed, it will leave ugly streaks and damage the paint. Wash the car thoroughly and several times if necessary. After washing, use a micro fiber cloth, or any cloth that won't leave lint on the paint, to dry the car. Drying the car properly will prevent water spots.
Some people will recommend that a polish be applied before waxing. Do this only if the paint is extremely worn, since automotive polish is an abrasive and will wear down the paint if used too often. A professional can tell you that a clay bar will work just as well. The clay will remove dirt, impurities, and even hardened tar from porous paint without damage.
The next step is applying the wax. Again, use a towel or commercial applicator that will not leave lint on the paint. If you drop the applicator, get a new one to avoid spreading dirt in with the wax.
Apply the wax in a circular motion to one panel at a time, working from top to bottom. Then, apply the wax to another panel in the same manner. Once you have finished applying the wax to the second panel, the first panel should be dry and ready for removal. Avoid getting wax on plastic or trim because it will leave an ugly white stain.
A hand-held buffer is a common tool used to remove wax, but since buffers can be difficult to keep clean, you may want to use a soft towel or washcloth instead. Remove the wax with slow, circular motions. When you're finished, use another towel to buff the car, which will remove any leftover wax residue.