Keeping up with car maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure your car delivers optimal performance and holds value for its eventual trade-in or resale. As a car owner, this typically means regular visits to the mechanic for service. in addition, you have to do your part by keeping the interior and exterior clean in the meantime.
Whether you head to the carwash or manage cleaning duties at home, you've probably discovered that adding wax after washing helps to protect against damage like scratches, water spots, environmental harm, and more, all while keeping your car looking shiny and new.
The question is: Can you wax your car too much? Here's what you need to know.
What's in a Wax?
Generally speaking, the idea of over-waxing your car is fairly far-fetched. There are instances in life when you can have too much of a good thing, but this probably isn't one of them. That said, there is an important caveat: The type of waxing product you use.
The average driver may prefer a liquid wax, simply because it's quicker and easier to apply. Paste wax is more often used for professional detailing. This is good news, as using paste wax, especially on a brand-new car, could damage the factory clear coat, which you obviously don't want.
For general reference, it's always best to use cleaning and waxing products that are non-abrasive, so as to avoid tiny scratches in the clear coat that make your paint job look hazy instead of smooth and shiny.
The most important thing, however, is to use products and tools properly to avoid unintended damage.
How Often Should You Wax Your Car?
While you can't really wax your car too much, doing it too often is probably a waste of time and money. So how often should you do it? A good rule of thumb is to wash your car every one-to-two weeks to remove dirt and grime that could damage your paint if left sitting and to wax about four times per year.
That said, the amount of waxing that you'll need to protect your paint and maintain a high shine may vary, depending on several factors. A car that is rarely driven and kept in a garage, for example, may not need washing or waxing as often as a daily driver. Cars left outside and exposed to the elements might need more frequent waxing. Vehicles frequently subjected to off-road conditions or salted winter roads could be more susceptible to damage and require additional protections.
If you're not sure whether your car needs wax, a good test is to look for beading. Pour some water on the hood of the car. If it beads up (i.e., separates into individual droplets), your wax is still holding strong. If the water sits like an unbroken sheet on the surface, it may be time to wash and wax, especially if you're nearing the three-month mark since your last wax.
While the prospect of over-waxing is pretty unlikely, performing this protective activity too much can impact your wallet. When in doubt, plan to wax quarterly and check for water beading in between.