Waxes 101: Different types of waxes - Lexus IS Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-25-2008, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Waxes 101: Different types of waxes

Introduction
Waxing your car regularly is important. It keeps it protected from moisture and makes it much easier to clean. Best of all, it gives the car a noticeable shine and helps keep it that way for decades. I've thus decided to make my first contribution to this forum one about the different types of waxes available on the market. There are five common types of waxes available to the everyman, and each will be explained in much greater detail a bit further below. Like anything in life, each wax has its pros and its cons and it's important to understand each and every one of them in order to choose the wax that best suits you and your needs. I will divide the waxes into carnauba-based, synthetic polymers and acrylics, and Teflon and silicone classes.

Carnauba-based Wax
This is an all-natural wax extracted from the carnauba palm, typically found in its native northeastern Brazil and other South American countries. The wax is harvested from the coating on the leaves of the trees and is used to make, of all things, car wax! The best-quality carnauba waxes are from Brazil, and it is typically written on the bottle where the wax was harvested from.
Carnauba wax has best results on dark colors such as black and midnight blue, but also has a lasting, brilliant effect on vibrant reds. The wax brings about a shine that has a lot of depth and warmth; a complexity you want when you have a dark-colored car. However, carnauba-based waxes have more cons than they have pros.

Pros
- Depth and warmth in dark colors.
- Inexpensive.

Cons
- Application is difficult, especially with the paste variety. Novices will have a hard time.
- The wax leaves behind residues that are difficult to polish efficiently.
- Requires a lot of effort and time to apply and remove.
- Low resistance to washes, even with least invasive techniques.
- Less durability (2-3 months without any QuickWax maintenance).
- Must remove last waxing before applying a fresh coat (time-consuming).
- Protection level is low.
- Low resistance to high and low temperatures; it is a natural wax and will melt in high temperatures and yellow your paintjob.

Carnauba-based waxes are thus for experienced car owners who have a little too much time on their hands, and who are looking for a show-car shine that is inexpensive yet also one of the best-looking the industry has to offer. You will need to wash your car, clay-bar it, wash it again and then apply the coat of wax.

Top 5 (in no particular order)
- Meguiars' Mirror Glaze #16
- Meguiars' Gold Class
- Zymol Concours
- 3M Perfect-It Show Car
- Pinnacle Souveran (for deep pockets only)

Synthetic Polymers & Acrylic-based
These types of waxes are the easiest to apply and they are also relatively new to the industry. How they are made, I am not exactly sure, but they are the best types of waxes for a novice car-owner. Unlike carnauba waxes they do not leave unwanted residues and last a long, long time. This wax is best for colored cars, seeing as it lacks depth and warmth in darker colored cars. I've always used a synthetic polymer wax on my black Mazda 3, though, and I've found it to be an exceptional shine even for dark cars. Unlike carnauba-based waxes the pros far outweigh the cons.

Pros
- Easy application.
- No need to remove old waxing.
- High resistance to washes, even harsh car washes.
- Very durable (8 months, can be stretched to a year if places with no winter).
- Robust protection, high resistance to hot and cold temperatures (does not melt or yellow).

Cons
- Can be expensive.
- Cannot be mixed with carnauba-based waxes; i.e.: you must remove your carnauba waxing if you want to put on a polymer coat.

The choice is limited when it comes to synthetic polymer and acrylic waxes. As far as I know, there are only three polymer and two acrylics which are outstanding. (SP = synthetic polymer, A = acrylic). Some experienced detailers will often put a coat of acrylic wax and then finish it off with two coats of carnauba wax for added depth and warmth.

Top 5 (in no particular order)
- Meguiars' NXT TechWax (paste or liquid) (SP)
- BlackFire All Finish Paint Protection (SP)
- Klasse AIO (A)
- Mothers FX (SP)
- Klasse Mastic (A)

Waxes with Teflon and Silicone
Some waxes have some interesting additives. The most common one we see are Teflon and silicone. Now, both of these ingredients were designed to be applied as non-stick chemicals. They are great products and will keep your car looking great for months, maybe even years, but, at what price?

As I've mentioned before Telfon and silicone are non-stick, which means that they keep dust and dirt off your car and keep it looking at its greatest. Both of these products, though, do not remain on the surface of your paint like other types of waxes. They penetrate deep into the paint, down to the primer, and can make repainting the car practically impossible without sanding down to the sheet metal. A Teflon-coated car is a car painter's worst nightmare. It can also make even minor touch-ups difficult, especially if you plan on using a blob eliminator product afterwards.

I thus recommend to never, EVER having your car treated with Teflon or silicone, no matter how much both these products are revered for keeping your car clean and good looking.

Conclusion
I sincerely hope this little article will help you choose the wax that is right for you. Every wax has its pros and its cons, and no choice is a bad one. Make sure you apply your wax regularly, and keep it refreshed with a coat of QuickWax every two to three washes.

I will answer any questions and add any pertinent points raised to this article.

Happy waxing!

~ Obsidian 2009 IS 250 RWD | X Wheels | F-Sport Intake | F-Sport Big Brake Kit ~
~ Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2008 IS-F | Mark Levinson Audio | Navigation ~
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-25-2008, 04:13 PM
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Wow!
Fantastic article and informative read!

Thank you very much for writing this. I also appreciate the suggestions! Very well done!

(lol... I owe you rep... I'm all rep'd out for the day b/c of X-Mas Rep lol.)
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-25-2008, 09:02 PM
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definitely a good read....i think something for everyone that details their own cars should read. its very much appreciated and well written. thanks. +repped for this article.

2005 MSM Lexus IS300

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Perhaps a sticky is in order?

~ Obsidian 2009 IS 250 RWD | X Wheels | F-Sport Intake | F-Sport Big Brake Kit ~
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 09:54 PM
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what products do you use and recommend? from doing some reading online and stuff i've gathered that i should clay bar, polish and wax. so what stuff do you use?

Wash?
Clay Bar?
Polish?
Wax?

i've been trying to figure out what order to do everything to really get my car as well as my brothers, sisters, and girlfriends looking nice. i'm still kinda confused. but i've gathered that i should..

wash and dry (twice)
clay bar
polish
wax

but what if i want to use some scratch remover. do i do that before the polish or after? and i've also read that some people use a polish then a sealant and then a wax. do you recommend this? or should i just use one or the other?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-17-2009, 01:20 PM
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Is it recommended to wash the car AGAIN with soap and water between the clay bar and polish/wax steps?
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-21-2009, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for being EXTREMELY late on replies. Real life had taken a toll on me since this was last posted and although those that posted the questions are likely long gone I do believe they bring up some good points that need be addressed!

I'm not thoroughly up to par on the English language terms, as it is not my mother tongue believe it or not (French is)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by white_is View Post
what products do you use and recommend? from doing some reading online and stuff i've gathered that i should clay bar, polish and wax. so what stuff do you use?

Wash?
Clay Bar?
Polish?
Wax?

i've been trying to figure out what order to do everything to really get my car as well as my brothers, sisters, and girlfriends looking nice. i'm still kinda confused. but i've gathered that i should..

wash and dry (twice)
clay bar
polish
wax

but what if i want to use some scratch remover. do i do that before the polish or after? and i've also read that some people use a polish then a sealant and then a wax. do you recommend this? or should i just use one or the other?
Yes, you will want to wash your car twice with a proper car body shampoo. Do not use the all-in-one products (soap, wax, paint cleaner, &c.) as you're just putting more muck on your paint! I recommend Meguiars' Deep Crystal. You will want to use your scratch/swirl remover (I recommend ScratchX from Meguiars') after you have completed your clay bar process, but only if you're not laying down a polish. If you are not comfortable with a clay bar, as you can damage your paint if you don't do it correctly, I recommend getting the liquid version; it works just as good if not better and it is practically fool-proof. A good polish followed by a finishing polish will get rid of most if not all minor scratches and imperfections, so no real need for the scratch remover (it's more or less just a finishing polish in itself). You will want to work your polish in a small spot before you lay it down over the whole car; during this first application of a new polish it's a good idea to keep track of the amount of time it takes for the polish to settle! Clean up the spot you've worked on regularly and check the finish of the paint. When you see no more marring and imperfections, your polish has been worked thoroughly and you now know how much time you have to work per panel in order to get the most out of the polish! I'm personally not a big fan of polishes… they're a lot of work. I'm a lazy detailer!

You will then want to seal up the paint with a wax. Now I'm not up to date here when it comes to the English-language terms but as far as I know, regular waxes are made from a natural base (carnauba) and a sealant is just a fancy term for waxes made from synthetic polymers. A true paint sealant such as the Quantum Sealant System, I don't recommend applying yourself. Remember, stay away from Teflon and silicone based waxes and "sealants!"


Quote:
Originally Posted by ISx300 View Post
Is it recommended to wash the car AGAIN with soap and water between the clay bar and polish/wax steps?
After a clay bar your car will be as clean as you will ever get it! I don't recommend washing your car between the steps, but giving it a good wipe-doy with a microfiber cloth and the detailing spray provided with the clay bar sure doesn't hurt!

~ Obsidian 2009 IS 250 RWD | X Wheels | F-Sport Intake | F-Sport Big Brake Kit ~
~ Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2008 IS-F | Mark Levinson Audio | Navigation ~
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-24-2011, 07:18 PM
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Lots of questions:
i just recently used turtle wax's black box. i still have some left over and now my plan for my next round of detailing would be two washes, then the black box turtle wax then the polish. but i thought that wax and polish was the same thing? so what should i buy to use as a polish? and what is your opinion on orbital buffers?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by durcwillliams View Post
Lots of questions:
i just recently used turtle wax's black box. i still have some left over and now my plan for my next round of detailing would be two washes, then the black box turtle wax then the polish. but i thought that wax and polish was the same thing? so what should i buy to use as a polish? and what is your opinion on orbital buffers?
There is lot here, but I'm not sure I even understand the question. Let me try to parse it out a bit and see what you say.

When you talk about "polish", I just want to know what you mean. In the general sense, most people talk about polishing as means of defect correction. However, at the Meguiars website, "polish" means the use of a glaze, so I want to make sure we understand one another.

Typically, what you want to do when you doing a proper detail is the following:

1. Wash

2. Clay

3. Polish

4. Wax (Seal)

So, you want to wash your car first, make sure it is clean and get it ready for step number two.

Somepeople don't dry their car, they go straight into step 2 and clay the car with the proper clay lube, while the car is still wet. You will dry the car while claying if you haven't already done so. Claying is used to remove above surface contaminents which have bonded to the paint and also to remove things like paint overspray or rail dust.

Next, is the polishing step. This can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Lets say you have serious defects, you might neet a two or three step approach. In most cases, guys using Dual Actions Polishers (also called random orbitals) you can get away with using Meguiars M105, followed by M205. M205 is less aggressive and should (in most cases) leave you paint LSP ready.

Last is putting on your "wax" or a "synthetic sealant". This is a matter of preference, but synthetic sealants generally last longer than waxes.

If you put on your "wax" before the polishing step, you will likely remove most or all of your wax and your car will be left with no protection.

Random Orbitals, like the Porter Cable XP, Meguiars V110 v. 2 and the Griot's Garage machine are really all you need nowadays to have your car "show car" ready. Because of the recent improvements in polishes, DA polishers and pads, DA polishers are replacing rotary polishers for detailing cars. They are much safer, easier to use and now, almost as efficient.

I think the three I list above are the best out there.

I hope this answered your questions.

2008 IS350 Starfire Pearl
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 03:13 PM
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Rain Or Shine

Race Glaze is the ONLY thing I use on my paint. It was developed for NASA to be used on heat tiles but now for auto detailing. I've only used the Polish & Sealant and can tell you, once you use it, I would bet you'll never use anything else. I use it on my World of Wheels award winning Harley with a $6000 custom hand paint job.

You don't have to order from the link above. That's just for reference. I buy it at my local specialty auto store.

IS300 - it's a Love/Hate relationship.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valhallab View Post
Rain Or Shine

I would bet you'll never use anything else.
LOL.

I have about 23 waxes/sealants in my arsenal right now. I have a single favorite, but I've never gotten close to trying something that would make me think I would never try anything again, but you're more than welcome to send me a sample to see if it holds true.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razal View Post
LOL.

I have about 23 waxes/sealants in my arsenal right now. I have a single favorite, but I've never gotten close to trying something that would make me think I would never try anything again, but you're more than welcome to send me a sample to see if it holds true.
Well, I know body men, custom motorcycle builders, and car collectors with collections that would rival Jay Leno's collection who say they've never seen anyting like it, and still use it years later, but if you have something you love, to each there own. If you pm me your address I'll send you whatever is left in my bottle.

IS300 - it's a Love/Hate relationship.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-18-2011, 07:07 AM
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thank you very u gave a nice nifo about washing really sucking with car wasy ur info helps me

Last edited by broads; 11-18-2011 at 02:03 PM.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-03-2011, 07:58 PM
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what kind of polish do you guys use?
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 03:09 PM
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Meguiars is the best!!! In My Opinion! If you are new to cleaning products, I would for sure recommend Meguairs as they make everything so basic and simple and their results is superb!!! =) Just thought I would share My opinion=)
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