Car and truck owners recognize that a certain measure of upkeep is necessary to maintain safe, efficient and good-looking vehicles. Making sure what's under the hood - and under the chassis - is in excellent condition is important. So, too, is safeguarding against damage to the exterior of a car or truck.
One of the ways to protect against environmental damage is to wax the vehicle. Bird droppings, rain, salt, and sun can take their toll on a vehicle, and waxing can help combat these often inevitable environmental factors.
The experts at Popular Mechanics say that, even though modern paint jobs have improved considerably in recent years, wax formulations have improved as well. Both can work wonders with regard to defending against color erosion, scratches and dullness. Furthermore, waxing increases resale value at trade-in time and can make it easier to clean vehicles.
The consumer advocates at Angie's List recommend that vehicles be waxed not less than twice a year. However, many detailers advise drivers to have their vehicles waxed once every three months, or one time per season.
In addition to protecting a vehicle from the elements, waxing provides the following benefits.
· Deep shine: Wax is the easiest way to make a vehicle look brand new again. While a carnauba-based wax may be recommended, many synthetic waxes are now available, and such products provide excellent shine capabilities as well.
· Fills in scratches: While wax will not remove scratches, it can fill in shallow scratches to make them less visible.
· Reduces friction: Car wax smooths the surface of the paint and will reduce the friction between debris and the car's exterior. This means debris will be more likely to slide right off than cause paint to chip.
· Catches contaminants: Airborne contaminants will be trapped in the wax rather than settle into paint and etch the car or truck.
A number of tests can indicate when a car needs a new coat of wax. The water-beading test is one such test. If the water beads up nicely while washing or during a light rain, the wax is still performing. If the water runs in large "sheets," it's time for a new coat of wax.
Drivers can conduct the towel test as well after the car is washed and completely dried. The resource How To Auto offers guidance on how to perform this test: Fold a 100-percent cotton terry cloth towel until it's hand-sized and thick. Apply firm pressure to the car's surface and twist the cloth back and forth in a clockwise and counter-clockwise direction. If you hear a squealing noise, then it's time for a wax job.
Before waxing, the vehicle should be clean, dry and free of contaminants. Afterward, work in a shady area. Work carefully, but do not go so slowly that the wax dries too quickly. Do not apply the wax too heavily; a little goes a long way. Try to keep it even during application. Buff the wax with a microfiber towel when done.
Waxing remains an important part of vehicle maintenance, safeguarding a vehicle from the elements while also keeping the car or truck looking new.