Tech Tip: A Word About Wax

( This article was reprinted by permission of the original creators, the ZCCA)

Wax is an organic material that is solid at room temperature, melts at a fairly low point and is not a polymer. Wax comes in many types, including vegetable (carnauba), mineral petroleum (paraffin and micro-crystalline), animal (bees) and fossil (montan) and yes - also synthetic.

It has many properties, including hardness, water repellency and resistance to breakdown and melting points (about 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit).

Wax is the last step in car care and serves as a paint protectant and also makes it shine.

It is a barrier against things in the environment including acid rain and other contaminants that affect the car's paint finish. When wax is applied to the car's surface, the contaminants attack the wax and not the paint.

Wax protects by improving slip resistance, preventing dirt and dust from abrading the surface, preventing contaminants from corroding the paint's surface. Wax also improves the appearance of the car by making it shine. It improves the reflection of light off the car, making the finish look smoother and brighter.

Manufacturers continue to debate what is more important: looks or length of protection. Some manufactures feel looks are more important than protection, while other feel the importance lies in how long the finish will last.

Waxes contain more than just wax. Other substances are often added to wax to help it work better, making it easier to spread and last longer.

Polymers and silicones may be added to give wax more durability. Waxes typically last one to two months or less depending on the formula and how much of the product is applied.

A polished, clean surface will make applying the wax easier, enhance the appearance and help the wax cover imperfections in the surface.

The same wax formulation can be used for old and new cars, as long as the car is prepared properly. However, the age of the car can affect the outcome of the wax job, or the length of time the shine lasts.

It has been proven that a natural product has the best overall performance on new and older cars.