How Often Should You Wax Your Car?

How often you should wax your car depends on variou factors. This guide explains everything you need to know so you know when to wax your car next.

Wax provides protection and adds shine to your car’s paintwork. If you aren’t familiar with detailing, it could be tough to know how often you should wax your car.

Even the best car detailer cannot give an exact answer to how often a car should be waxed.

It is tough to give an answer because it depends on numerous factors.

For example, if you regularly take your car to an automatic car wash with brushes, the wax will deteriorate much faster than if the car was hand washed.

If you hand wash your car several times a week, you will have to wax more frequently than someone who washes their car once every two weeks.

As you can probably tell, different car washing habits will affect the need to wax a car, as will other factors.

Don’t worry, this guide will list the biggest factors that determine how often you should wax your car to make it shine like never before.

Let’s jump into the basics, which are the different types of wax!

Table of ContentsShow

Type Of Wax

car wax

The greatest factor that determines how often you must wax your car is the type of wax you use.

Generally, synthetic wax will last longer than natural carnauba wax. In other words, if you apply synthetic wax, you will be able to re-apply the wax much later.

Wax also comes in many shapes, forms, and formulas. Each of these components will affect how well the wax will set on the paint.

Paste, Liquid, Or Spray

The three main forms of wax are paste, liquid, and spray.

Depending on which form you use, you can expect to apply (and re-apply) at different intervals.

The paste and liquid forms are most commonly used when waxing a car.

Liquid wax generally lasts longer and is easier to apply when compared to paste wax. On the other hand, paste wax will provide a better shine.

Spray wax is unique. It does not provide the same protection as the other two forms. Instead, it is best used to strengthen the layer between “traditional” waxing.

Without going into too much detail, you can see that they differ not only in their form of application but also in how long they stay on the paint.

If you use natural carnauba paste wax, you can expect it to last a few weeks, while liquid wax should last a month or two.

These are only estimated as other factors also affect the longevity of the wax, which we will look at below.

Washing The Car

Summer Car Washing

Every time you wash your car, a small amount of the paintwork layer will wear down regardless of how you wash it.

If you have done your homework and ensured your car has a layer of wax, only the layer of wax will be eroded (which can be easily replaced).

This means that if you wash your car more regularly, the layer of wax will wear down more quickly, meaning you will need to wax the car more often.

A gentler handwash will be kinder to the layer of wax, but it will still damage the layer to some extent.

An automatic car wash with brushes will affect the layer far more significantly. You should always try to avoid automatic washes.

Taking your car to an automatic car wash with paint that is unprotected by a layer of wax will almost guarantee scratches, making the wash counterproductive and potentially very expensive.

Environmental Factors

car driving through rain

The role of car wax is to protect the paintwork from the surrounding environment. This includes dust, dirt, bugs, rain, and much more.

In most cases, you won’t be able to do much about environmental factors. However, there are some ways to reduce the risks of damage to your paint.

For example, if you have the option to park your car in a garage, you should do so. The next best thing is to park the car in the shade, as UV light will damage the surface of the car.

Regarding the weather and driving conditions, there is not much you can do, but it is worth knowing that these things will affect the waxing interval.

The harsher the conditions, the more frequently you should wax your car.

Inspect The Layer

man wiping and looking at car spots

The best way to check if there is a layer of wax is to inspect the surface of the car.

You may notice that the shine is not the same as immediately after waxing. This is your first indication that the wax is due for a reapplication soon.

A waxed surface will have little resistance when running a finger over it. On the other hand, a surface with a small amount of wax will provide some friction when trying to slide your finger across it.

Depending on the car wax, lack of water beading might be a sign. However, this is not always reliable.

Some wax can still offer a good amount of protection even when the water-beading effect has diminished.

Some types of car wax lack the hydrophobic properties that others have, meaning not all types will produce a water-beading effect.


car wax application

How often you should wax your car depends on many things.

The type of wax, application technique, environmental factors, and driving habits will all affect how long the wax will stay on the paintwork.

This will affect how often you should wax your car.

It is difficult to pinpoint a single factor that plays the largest role. The easiest of all these factors to adjust is the type of wax used.

This means it will probably be the biggest factor in determining how often your car should be waxed.

Synthetic wax is the most durable. Many waxes are a blend of natural and synthetic wax.

Car Sealant vs. Wax – Which Is Best

In general, the more synthetic ingredients in the product, the more durable it will be.

A fully synthetic wax could last for several months, while a fully natural carnauba wax will only last a few weeks.

There are ways to prolong the effects of the wax and thus extend the time between waxing the car.

In addition to avoiding dirty roads, gravel, and other rough terrains, always try to park the car out of direct sunlight as UV light damages the top layer.

It can be stressful needing to wax your car more frequently. If you use carnauba wax, you could consider switching to synthetic wax or taking your car to a professional detailer.

You can never go wrong when waxing your car. Whatever wax you choose, be sure to keep an eye on the car’s paintwork and apply wax when needed.

You Might Love These Too

Can You Use Dish Soap To Wash Your Car
Can You Use Dish Soap To Wash Your Car?
Bajro Muric

Bajro is an ASE-certified master technician and car enthusiast with a love for writing and teaching. He writes about anything regarding cars, from common problems and fixes to racing.