These Are the Best Car Waxes to Make Your Paint Shine

If you’ve spent any time around cars this already sounds familiar: A man stands in his driveway, a freshly washed car in one hand and a bottle of car wax in the other. It’s a cathartic exercise that can help your car, truck, or SUV in a great many ways. A good day of waxing can help keep your paint factory fresh and protected from the elements. Additionally, that nice clean paint will help your car’s resale value. Lucky for you, I took the time to use both on my new-to-me E46 M3, and am here to report on the results.

Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

Chemical Guys Butter Wet car wax sits on a stool while a man polishes a white Nissan GTR in the background
Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax | Chemical Guys

Wax for your ride can be cheap or expensive. Shockingly, some polishes can go for north of $50. Now, the world of detailing is somewhat of a dark art, and it’s common to hear that you can spend five minutes or five hours cleaning your car. Thankfully, Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax doesn’t break the bank. It can be found nearly everywhere, including Amazon, usually for under $18 a bottle.

What’s more, this car wax is a Carnauba wax, considered to be the best, made from the Carnauba tree. Happily, there’s also some convenience benefits here, too. The brand’s Butter Wet Wax can be used while your car is still wet, helping your (hopefully clean microfiber) rag to glide easily across the paint. Having personally used this, I can attest it’s easy to wipe away and doesn’t leave any sort of haze on your vehicle.

Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax

A black bottle of Meguiar's Ultimate liquid wax shows a freshly shined car on the front
Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax | Meguiar’s

Our next candidate is Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid wax. This Irvine, California-based brand has been in business longer than most of us have been alive, starting back in 1901. Obviously, that means the brand has learned a thing or two about making dull cars shiny again. Critically, this wax is a little different than Chemical Guys’ more traditionally Carnauba wax. It’s a synthetic polymer blend, and yet another attempt by mankind to outdo nature.

However, there are some upsides to a synthetic blend, and Meguiar’s certainly capitalizes on them. Due to its slightly different chemical composition, the Meguiar’s holds up a little longer than Chemical Guys’ more traditional Carnauba wax. So, if car waxing and detailing isn’t your thing, stick with Meguiar’s. However, shine and sparkle aren’t as noticeable on the Meguiar’s side of my car. Regardless, this wax can be found anywhere, including Amazon for under $20.

No matter your car wax, prep is key

A man runs a microfiber cloth over the hood of a red Ferrari 250 GT
Your car doesn’t need to be a Ferrari to be worthy of a good wax | Antony Jones via Getty Images

With that out of the way, it’s time for a verdict. I left my car to sit for about a week, driving it as usual, rain or shine. It rained a good bit in my neck of the woods this week, and I found the Chemical Guys wax held up a little better to water. The Butter Wet Wax also held up a little better in the shine department. In contrast, when I rinsed off my car, the Meguiar’s came out on top with more shine.

So, there you have it. If longevity is what you want, Meguiar’s is the way to go. However, if you’re like me and don’t mind a day of detailing, go with the Butter Wet. No matter your pick, always make sure to clean your car before applying wax, or you’ll be wasting both your time and money.

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