How to Power Wax Your Car

When it comes to preserving the look of your car, you may have stopped at washing your car. Nevertheless, applying car wax using a power waxer to your car can be that added step to maintain or restore your vehicle paint’s sharpness.

A power waxer can cost between $30 and over $500 in some cases. A car waxer is one of the best car maintenance tools you can invest in — especially if you want the paint to retain its original shine.

Why Should You Wax Your Car?  

What are the benefits of handling a wax yourself? There are a lot of perks to taking on this task:  

  • Save a few bucks – Getting your car professionally power-waxed can be pricey. The cost can add up even more, depending on the amount of labor. You can bring down that bill and only pay for the supplies you need by handling this yourself.  
  • Protect and reduce exposure – The right car wax can add a thin layer of protection over your car’s paint, preventing minor scratches and dents. Additionally, wax can slow down oxidation, which can cause your paint to chip over time.  
  • Increase your car’s resale value – A car with faded coloring and chipped paint can significantly drag down a car’s value. Resellers pay attention to the aesthetic of a vehicle, and it may factor into how they price the car. Ultimately, power waxing can help you hold onto a higher car value.  
  • Maintain your vehicle’s look – Overall, a power waxer can help you keep the original look of your car and seal the paint. The wax makes your car looks shiny, which adds to its attractiveness.  

If DIYing maintenance on your car is something you enjoy, power-waxing your car can bring many benefits to your vehicle’s look and your wallet.  

What is a Power Waxer? 

Wagan Euro Waxer

Power waxers are handheld machines that typically have a long handle with a circular surface at one end where you can install a foam pad.  

You would apply wax to the pad, which then rotates to apply the wax solution adequately. 

Power waxers can come in two types: dual-action, which rotates and oscillates the pad, and rotary, which only rotates. Dual-action power waxers typically provide a smoother finish, while rotary may offer a faster waxing experience.  

How to Wax Your Car Using a Power Waxer 

Power waxing is a great car maintenance practice to DIY, but it’s still a task you must be cautious about to avoid damaging your vehicle. Here are a few mistakes you need to watch out for.  

The Don’ts of Power Waxing  

  • Not going easy on the wax – You want to avoid applying too much wax. Overusing the wax brings about diminishing returns, as more wax won’t make your car shinier. Instead, it will create more work for you as you’ll have to buff off more of the extra wax with the power waxer.  
  • Not waxing in the right location – When power waxing, you want to pick a shady place. If you power wax under direct sunlight, the sun can quickly dry it, making it even hard to buff off the wax.  
  • Having dirty equipment –  From the microfiber cloth to the wax sponge applicator, you want to ensure everything is clean. The materials could have old and dry wax on them, damaging your car if they’re used.  
  • Not having the right equipment – You may be tempted to use a regular cloth for polishing, but it’s best always to use a microfiber cloth. Not only does it not leave residue behind, but it’s one of the most effective tools for applying a solution to your car because of the material.  
  • Bypassing the wax’s directions – First, you want to make sure you get the right wax product for your specific car. Then, you always want to look at the directions before applying the wax to avoid any issues.  
  • Applying wax to a wet car – One of the most critical principles of washing and waxing is that if you’ve just finished washing your car, wait for it to dry in its entirety. Moisture will prevent the wax from sticking to your car.  

Now that we’ve covered the don’ts, let’s look at the steps to correctly power wax your car.  

How to Power Wax Your Car

1. Get the right products

Before you get started, make sure you have the right materials: 

  • Foam car wax buffer applicator  
  • Liquid car wax or sealant (consider ceramic wax if you want a longer-lasting wax).  
  • Power waxer 
  • Microfiber towel  

2. Wash off dirt and debris

Make sure you always wash your car to get rid of dirt and debris before getting started on the waxing process. Dirt, dust, and debris left on your car during the waxing process can scratch it. Find a sealant and wax-safe car shampoo, and use it to sufficiently wash off the surface to prepare your car for waxing.

3. Prepare the power waxer

Attach the foam wax buffer applicator — which is a foam pad that’s made for buffing — to the power waxer. It should be new and soft but still durable enough to handle the task of waxing.

4. Apply the wax to the buffer

Squeeze a few lines of liquid wax onto the applicator. Make sure not to apply too much, as doing so will increase the work you must do to buff the remaining wax.

5. Spread the wax before turning the waxer on

Power waxers are robust tools and can make the waxing experience messy if you don’t use the proper precautions. A great way to avoid spilling wax is using the foam pad to gently spread the solution over the car before turning it on.

6. Turn on the power waxer

Once you spread the wax all over, turn on the power waxer to mid-speed. This will help you spread the wax evenly and avoid losing control of the buffer as you work. Also, always turn off your power waxer before lifting it off the vehicle to prevent spillage.

7. Finish the job with a microfiber cloth

You can switch out the foam applicator for a microfiber cloth to finish buffing the wax and set up that smooth and shiny finish. Use broad strokes instead of circular motions as the latter can leave marks.

Depending on how much of a finish you want for your car, it may be good to also consider polishing in addition to waxing. Check out our comprehensive guide on washing and waxing for more information on thorough car care. 

Power waxing is an excellent way to maintain the sharpness of your car’s paint and make your vehicle look new. Whether you need a liquid wax or a power waxer, you can find the necessary car care products at AutoZone. If the job is too big for you, seek out one of our Preferred Shops to help you do the job.

FAQ/People Also Ask 

What is the fastest way to wax a car?

Applying a spray and rinse wax is one of the fastest ways to wax your car.

How can I wax my car at home?

You can wax your car at home using a power waxer and a liquid wax that works for your car’s make and model.

Is it better to wax by hand or machine?

It depends on the goal of waxing. If you’re looking to finish the waxing quickly, and want to get rid of scratches and dings, then you may want to use a power waxer. If you want a more detailed and careful wax, doing it by hand is better.

How many coats of wax should I put on my car?

One coat of wax should be sufficient, especially if you can evenly apply and buff the wax.

Are you supposed to rinse off wax at a car wash?

No, you want the wax to harden before rinsing with water so it can stick to your car and give it that shiny finish.

Should I remove old wax before waxing the car?

Yes. Most wax solutions need a clean surface to bond to the car, so removing any old wax is best before adding a new coat.

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