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If your car looks dirty, it may be time to visit your local car wash. When you arrive, you’ll undoubtedly be presented with many choices and add-ons. Take time to understand the options and whether they’re worth it before you purchase anything. One common car-wash extra is spray-on wax. But is this product worth the extra money?

Why wax your car?

Whether you wax your car yourself or pay someone to do it, it is important to understand the benefits of waxing. Applying wax involves a couple positive benefits.

  • Avoid scratches: Your car’s clear coat is susceptible to scratches. Wax adds an additional layer of protection.
  • Keeps paint fresh. Waxing your car keeps the paint job looking new. It also keeps dirt and other particles from becoming embedded in the paint. Oils in the wax also add shine, giving your car a sleek look.
  • Safer from the sun. Exposure to the sun can cause faded paint spots due to damage to the clear coat. Consistently applying wax to your vehicle can help prevent sun damage.

If you want your car to look shiny and new as long as possible, you can add wax to your car maintenance routine. This makes it all the more important that you ensure the waxing is done effectively.

Is car wash wax worth it?

While a car-wash wax may be better than no wax at all, it’s certainly inferior to wax applied by hand. Spray-on wax at the car wash will be applied uniformly and quickly. It has cosmetic benefits, like enhancing the car’s existing shine and preventing water spots. It can’t, however, address your car’s individual needs. In some instances, spray wax may actually do damage to your car. The spray’s pressure can grind leftover dirt or debris into the paint.

Hand-applied wax, on the other hand, allows the person applying the wax to focus on areas that may be duller and in need of extra attention. High-Quality hand wax is likely the best way to preserve your car’s value.

The final verdict

A wax job from a car wash probably isn’t worth your money. Consider saving those dollars and applying them to either a professional detail job or the supplies you need to wax your car yourself. If you opt to tackle it yourself, these tips should help:

  • If your car is generally protected from the elements, waxing it twice a year should do the trick. If it’s frequently exposed to the elements, consider waxing four times a year.
  • Make sure the car is clean of debris. Wax in a shaded area to prevent the wax from drying too quickly.
  • Wax in a vertical or horizontal pattern, which will help avoid swirls. Apply a light and even coat of wax, and buff it off with a microfiber towel when finished.

Depending on your car’s size, the entire process should take about an hour. As with most things, practice makes perfect. Your skill and efficiency should increase over time. One this is for sure, your care will appreciate the TLC.