Detailing Essentials #4 starts with a slightly weird statement. Wax is back! That’s right I said it, wax is back. Now before you start scratching your head thinking has he lost his mind, hear me out. When it comes to surface protection, we have seen a massive surge of new technologies in the last five years. Ceramic coatings were a major innovation that changed the way we protected our cars. Coatings provide an ultra-durable sacrificial layer with insane water behavior, candy-like gloss, and improved ease of maintenance. Coatings changed the game- plain, and simple. Over the past five years, I have installed hundreds and hundreds of coatings and seen first hand their benefit to long term vehicle care.
So, when does the wax conversations start? You might be thinking. Soon, I promise. Over the years, we have done a fair share of coating maintenance details and have seen how coatings perform under many different conditions. Climate, driving style, wash method, etc., all come into the conversation when analyzing a coating’s performance. What we found is that coatings are a fantastic protective option. However, they might not be suitable for every vehicle, paint system, or owner.
To maximize a coatings benefit, the owner needs to commit to a routine safe hand washing method. If a coated surface is well maintained, then the protective layer can perform to its full potential. If maintenance is neglected, that’s where the problem can start. When a coating is scratched, the only way to remove those defects is through polishing. That abrasive polishing action will remove the imperfections, but it will also start removing the coating you had applied. Now, you can have that isolated area polished and recoated, but it comes with a higher price tag.
Ultra soft finicky paints and car owners that don’t see themselves following a strict wash process can, in my opinion, benefit more from routine light polishing and waxing regiments. In this case, a finish that can be reset often makes the most sense for the owner. The wax finish can be applied and stripped off then reapplied again without a considerable investment of time and money.
Then there’s the feeling you get with wax, that sense of occasion and nostalgia. There is just something special about waxing your car, even in an era of high tech paint protection. The smell, slickness, and jaw-dropping depth all complement each other to create a user experience that is tough to top. I still remember the very first tub of wax I ever bought.
To sum it all up, don’t forget that wax can still be a viable paint protection option. Depending on variables a client’s vehicle might be subjected to, wax may be the best option for the paint. Is wax back? I don’t think it ever left.