How Long Do Waxes Last and When Should I Reapply?by Eric Schuster
Wax durability varies by manufacturer and what is used in their makeup. I have seen waxes last 2 weeks and some last as much as 6 months. Carnauba waxes will typically last 3-5 weeks at most, while sealants will offer better protection for about 4+ months. No wax will last a year no matter what hype you have been told, so its best to reapply before you think the wax is completely gone!
Carnaubas will usually look deeper and wetter, but at a cost! Their durability lacks where the appearance makes up for it! Sealants are the opposite in which the durability is superior, yet the look is often more reflective.
Some of the waxes I have personally used and durability I have seen:
Blackfire wet diamond – 4-6 months (my personal favorite for ease of use on and off, plus the slickness and wetness as a result of use)
Meguiars 21 – 3-4 months (sealant wax from well-known company)
Pinnacle Souveran – 2-3 weeks (best for looks and regarded as a beauty wax)
Poorboys EX – 2-3 months (nice slickness and durability, more reflective looking rather than wet looking)
Reapplication of wax protection will depend on a few factors: How long since the previous application, what kind of conditions the car was driven in, how the car is washed, etc. If you can feel the car and it isn’t slick, its time to re-wax. If you can wash the car and dirt is not coming off with ease, it may be time to re-wax. If while washing the car, the water isn’t beading up like it did the first few washes after the first application, it may be time for a new application. You never want to let the wax completely disappear and degrade leaving your car with zero protection. At the very least, wax once every 4-6 months for constant protection, even if you feel the car doesn’t need wax, it more than likely could use it after 4 months!
One more thing to consider is the use of a pre-wax cleaner! This will allow a stronger bond between the paint and the wax, which in turn will give you better protection and durability! You don’t want to just layer wax on top of old wax. For best results, using a product like Chemical Guys Ez Creme Glaze or P21s Paintwork Cleanser will clean the paint and prep it for the up and coming wax application. The light cleaners in the EZ Creme will help strip off any old oils / waxes from the paint.
What I like to do is to do a Chemical Guys Wash and Gloss traditional wash. By using a higher soap to water dilution ratio, this shampoo will break down anything on the paint. Following the wash, I will use an IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) wipedown all over the paint as the alcohol will further break down anything the CGWG didnt remove! One little test I will do is try to fling a towel across the hood of the car and if it slides across, there is still something on the paint! If the towel just sticks, then it’s bare and ready to be waxed! This is the point where I will either use CGEZC or just go straight to the wax application!
Please let me know if you have any additional comments or questions.
Orange County, CA
Eric great write-up!! Another thing I think has to taken into account is the climate the vehicle is in. What I mean is if your car is a DD garage kept or not garage kept? Down here in Texas my DD’s are totally different than your findings. I would be lucky if I get 2 months out of BFWD! I just had to reapply another coat today! The last application was 42 days ago? And that was 3 coats over three days(BFWD)! Now my DD is not garage kept, white GMC. Washed with ONR a least once a week! My other DD is Metallic Gray garage kept and I can get 6-7 weeks at most! Washing reveils it all, no beading paint grabs the micro-fiber, slickness totally gone. I have been looking into the paint cleaner thing but haven’t tried it. I have used Meg 7 before sealing but the results are the same! The climate I’m sure the temperatures have alot to do with durability? I took some sureface temperatures this morning and they were impressive to say the least! 332 degrees at 10:30am on white paint?? That crazy hot! And summer has’nt even started here! When I do black cars down here the water during washing literally steams off the paint! Thanks Eric let know what you think.
No doubt weather, washing style, frequency of washing, driving conditions, mileage logged, etc all have to be taken into account when saying a certain wax will last X months, or X weeks!!! Everyone will see different results!
I hear you on the heat and washing a car…its unreal how much better ONR works in that situation, yet the heat softens up the paint so much that swirlmarks are inevitable at that point with either wash technique, traditional or rinseless!
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Would you recommend multiple coats of BFWD? Are there diminishing returns during this approach? Let’s say that a car is sealed with BFWD and topped with Pinnacle Souveran. If one wanted to apply a new coat of the wax is there any prepping that must be done to remove the existing WAX (but not the sealant) or can the wax simply top the previous layer?
Thanks for your help!
I highly recommend doing 2-3 coats of BFWD. It already has a pretty wet, carnuba like, look to it.
As for removing the souveran and not the sealant…thats going to be tough, so you might as well just plan on starting over. I dont see a way to remove just the carnuba on top and not the sealant below. I would wash the car thoroughly with chemical guys citrus wash at the lsp stripping ratio. after that, do a couple alcohol wipedowns. At this point, your car should be prepped for application of BFWD. Apply the coats 8-12 hours apart to allow proper curing. another option is to use chemical guys ez cream glaze after the dawn wash and alcohol wipe downs for added wetness.
Hope that helps
Thanks for your awesome help! I see; so essentially you’d continue topping with carnuba every 2-3 weeks until the approximate life-span of the sealant is achieved then start over with lsp removal and glaze/sealant/wax reapplication? What percentage of iso solution should I look for for the wipedowns; what product do you recommend? Afterall, some rubbing alcohol mixtures are as low as 70% iso. The alcohol doesn’t have adverse effects trim pieces does it? Also, do you recommend layering the carnuba to any degree?
Thanks again, sir!
I hear it is possible to wax your car too much which can result in wax buildup, how often would this be?
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