TUCSON, Ariz. - As the summer sun sets and many parts of the country prepare for rain and snow, Consumer Reports car experts say it’s the perfect time of year to protect your car’s finish.
“CR suggests you hand wax your car with the change of every season," says Consumer Reports Autos Editor, Mike Monticello. "Waxing your car on a regular basis helps protect the paint from scratches, tree sap, and bird droppings."
First things first, before you apply the wax, CR says you’ll need to wash your car and dry it to get rid of any water marks.
“Then apply a coat of wax to the dried, cool surface," says Monticello. "Don’t work in direct sunlight because heat can make the wax spread unevenly and clump. Apply the wax in a circular motion, then let it dry and remove it with a microfiber cloth, also in a circular motion.”
Want to keep your car shining as long as possible? If you plan on visiting the drive-through car wash, make sure you opt for a brushless one; the brushes in the automatic wash can actually strip off some of your wax job! Maybe you’re tempted to skip all that elbow grease and opt for a spray-on wax treatment at the carwash? Not so fast!
“Spray on treatments at car washes give more of a cosmetic gloss whereas hand waxing puts on a protective coat that can last for several months," says Monticello.
That’s how you buff up on your car maintenance skills with a wax to the max. CR says that even the best car waxes they’ve tested will only last a few months, so it’s best to plan on hand-waxing your car three to four times a year.