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Waxes 101: Types of Waxes & Their Uses

Introduction Waxing your car regularly is important. It keeps it protected from moisture and makes it much easier to clean. Best of all, it gives the car a noticeable shine

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Old 12-29-2008, 03:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Waxes 101: Types of Waxes & Their Uses

Introduction
Waxing your car regularly is important. It keeps it protected from moisture and makes it much easier to clean. Best of all, it gives the car a noticeable shine and helps keep it that way for decades. I've thus decided to make my first contribution to this forum one about the different types of waxes available on the market. There are five common types of waxes available to the everyman, and each will be explained in much greater detail a bit further below. Like anything in life, each wax has its pros and its cons and it's important to understand each and every one of them in order to choose the wax that best suits you and your needs. I will divide the waxes into carnauba-based, synthetic polymers and acrylics, and Teflon and silicone classes.

Carnauba-based Wax
This is an all-natural wax extracted from the carnauba palm, typically found in its native northeastern Brazil and other South American countries. The wax is harvested from the coating on the leaves of the trees and is used to make, of all things, car wax! The best-quality carnauba waxes are from Brazil, and it is typically written on the bottle where the wax was harvested from.
Carnauba wax has best results on dark colors such as black and midnight blue, but also has a lasting, brilliant effect on vibrant reds. The wax brings about a shine that has a lot of depth and warmth; a complexity you want when you have a dark-colored car. However, carnauba-based waxes have more cons than they have pros.

Pros
- Depth and warmth in dark colors.
- Inexpensive.

Cons
- Application is difficult, especially with the paste variety. Novices will have a hard time.
- The wax leaves behind residues that are difficult to polish efficiently.
- Requires a lot of effort and time to apply and remove.
- Low resistance to washes, even with least invasive techniques.
- Less durability (2-3 months without any QuickWax maintenance).
- Must remove last waxing before applying a fresh coat (time-consuming).
- Protection level is low.
- Low resistance to high and low temperatures; it is a natural wax and will melt in high temperatures and yellow your paintjob.

Carnauba-based waxes are thus for experienced car owners who have a little too much time on their hands, and who are looking for a show-car shine that is inexpensive yet also one of the best-looking the industry has to offer. You will need to wash your car, clay-bar it, wash it again and then apply the coat of wax.

Top 5 (in no particular order)
- Meguiars' Mirror Glaze #16
- Meguiars' Gold Class
- Zymol Concours
- 3M Perfect-It Show Car
- Pinnacle Souveran (for deep pockets only)

Synthetic Polymers & Acrylic-based
These types of waxes are the easiest to apply and they are also relatively new to the industry. How they are made, I am not exactly sure, but they are the best types of waxes for a novice car-owner. Unlike carnauba waxes they do not leave unwanted residues and last a long, long time. This wax is best for colored cars, seeing as it lacks depth and warmth in darker colored cars. I've always used a synthetic polymer wax on my black Mazda 3, though, and I've found it to be an exceptional shine even for dark cars. Unlike carnauba-based waxes the pros far outweigh the cons.

Pros
- Easy application.
- No need to remove old waxing.
- High resistance to washes, even harsh car washes.
- Very durable (8 months, can be stretched to a year if places with no winter).
- Robust protection, high resistance to hot and cold temperatures (does not melt or yellow).

Cons
- Can be expensive.
- Cannot be mixed with carnauba-based waxes; i.e.: you must remove your carnauba waxing if you want to put on a polymer coat.

The choice is limited when it comes to synthetic polymer and acrylic waxes. As far as I know, there are only three polymer and two acrylics which are outstanding. (SP = synthetic polymer, A = acrylic). Some experienced detailers will often put a coat of acrylic wax and then finish it off with two coats of carnauba wax for added depth and warmth.

Top 5 (in no particular order)
- Meguiars' NXT TechWax (paste or liquid) (SP)
- BlackFire All Finish Paint Protection (SP)
- Klasse AIO (A)
- Mothers FX (SP)
- Klasse Mastic (A)

Waxes with Teflon and Silicone
Some waxes have some interesting additives. The most common one we see are Teflon and silicone. Now, both of these ingredients were designed to be applied as non-stick chemicals. They are great products and will keep your car looking great for months, maybe even years, but, at what price?

As I've mentioned before Telfon and silicone are non-stick, which means that they keep dust and dirt off your car and keep it looking at its greatest. Both of these products, though, do not remain on the surface of your paint like other types of waxes. They penetrate deep into the paint, down to the primer, and can make repainting the car practically impossible without sanding down to the sheet metal. A Teflon-coated car is a car painter's worst nightmare. It can also make even minor touch-ups difficult, especially if you plan on using a blob eliminator product afterwards.

I thus recommend to never, EVER having your car treated with Teflon or silicone, no matter how much both these products are revered for keeping your car clean and good looking.

Conclusion
I sincerely hope this little article will help you choose the wax that is right for you. Every wax has its pros and its cons, and no choice is a bad one. Make sure you apply your wax regularly, and keep it refreshed with a coat of QuickWax every two to three washes.

I will answer any questions and add any pertinent points raised to this article.

Happy waxing!
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Pinnacle Souveran , the price..... wow!
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nice! +rep from me!
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Old 12-31-2008, 02:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the post +1rep from me.
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Old 01-03-2009, 12:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Sticky this mods.

People should post their reviews or experiences about certain waxes mentioned in this thread.
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It's not mentioned in the thread, but I have to add the wax that I've been trying for the past two months: Turtle Wax Ice.

Now I know, it's not Mothers, or McGuire's, or Zaino. I've been using NXT and Gold Class for a while now. But, a friend of mine told me I should try the Ice, and the part that sold me on it was that you can get it on plastic and rubber trim, and it doesn't leave white residue behind.

So What, you say? Well, it is a nice feature, and I thought it would be good enough for my MINI at least, which has black plastic fender arches that show wax horribly and are really difficult to clean due to their texture.

Anyway, the wax is easy to apply as you'd expect, and the shine is deep and rich. But the amazing thing to me is the staying power of this wax. I went to wash the car today after two winter months, and the water beaded up and ran off as if I had just waxed the car. Now granted, the car is garaged, and I don't drive it every day. Still, to go through typical winter weather and come out with this sort of staying power is pretty impressive.

I made a short video so you can see how the car looks and how the water beads up and runs off, even when the hose is really running:

Turtle Wax Ice demo after two months
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Last edited by drmike; 01-04-2009 at 02:01 AM.
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great article and definitely something every owner should learn about.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Great write-up!
I used NXT wax for a while, it worked well.

I have since switched to Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax (No. 845).
It's fantastic stuff, beads really well, lasts well, and can go over trim pieces without leaving them white with that annoying residue. It's also easy as pie to apply. Goes on clear, then dries to a slight haze. Easy to remove as well.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have been using Zymol Concour on my cars for some time now. It is an amazing wax.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Wolfgang

I use Wolfgang products for the most part and have been verrry happy with the results. I just finished doing my HD and Solara last weekend with Swirl and Scratch remover, followed by Polish Enhancer, and then Paint Protector and Sealer. Finished it off with Wolfgang Concourse Carnuba wax and they look beautiful with a deep gloss and wet look. Carnuba doesn't last real long, but the paint sealant does, so I get the best of both worlds by layering the Carnuba over the Paint Sealant.

Check out Autogeek.net for info. That's where I bought my products, just watch for specials or sign up for vip specials. The site has lots of help info on various products to educate yourself. Good luck.

I'm still waiting on my Z, have a vin# and supposed to be here any day now.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:49 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Daily driver = einszett

Einszett makes great machine polishing products comparable to Menzerna.

Great all around polisher Flex XC 3401
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Zymol Cleaner Wax. Rmoves water stains and spots left over from washing, and hides swirls. It does leave the white residue on the black trim though, and doesn't last too long. I wax about once a month with it.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:45 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Has anyone tried using the Mothers Reflection line of products?
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Old 05-07-2009, 04:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Zymol Works great on Silver cars.



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Old 05-07-2009, 05:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I have used Pinnacle Souveran, and i liked it.

But, i am using Autoglym High Definition Wax based on a friend's recommendation and i love it.

Both are carnauba waxes.
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