How to Wax a Car by Buffer or Hand

A shimmering car is always a beautiful sight as its sparkling effect draws everyone’s attention. Waxing a car makes it shiny and makes the paintwork look more attractive. Car waxing also helps the car to last longer because the wax shields it from harsh weather conditions and abrasive dirt. Now, you may ask, how to wax a car?

Usually, you’ll find a car waxing service nearby if you offer money, but you can learn how to wax a car and have fun doing it yourself. That way, you’ll have fun, save your car from the elements, and also cover scratches on the car’s surface that make its paint look dull.

How to Wax a Car

Preparation for Car Waxing

It is essential to have everything in hand before you begin to wax a car because the right preparation will make the waxing easier and more fun. If you are wondering how to prep a car for polishing, here are some steps.

The Right Temperature: You should ensure the temperature is not too hot or too cold. The wax tends to dry out too soon in very hot weather, making it hard to buff and difficult to remove after application.

If the weather is too cold, you’ll find it difficult to apply the wax and even more difficult to work with it if you succeed in applying it. Having known this, it is best to wax in optimal weather, which could be around 55 to 85°F.

The Right Location: Choosing a good spot to wax your car is very necessary. The best place to wax a car is where there is no direct sunlight so that the sun won’t affect the wax. A car garage or any shaded place is a perfect location.

Wash the Car: The car you wish to wax has to be clean and dry before the waxing process. The reason is that the wax works better on a car that has a clean surface, but it’s difficult to apply on a dirty or moist surface.

What cleaning product can I use to wash my car? Well, there are a variety of choices; it is best to wash the car with soap for washing cars as using other types of soap can harm the car. An example of such an effect includes the soap being harsh on the car’s finish.

Fix All The Damaged and Scratched Paint: If your car paint is damaged or has some scratches, you should deal with it by polishing or applying some gentle abrasive compounds to it before you begin waxing the car. The compounds will help to give the car an even color.

When you have treated the scratches, you can cover your hand with a plastic bag and run it over the car’s surface to ensure that the scratches are gone and the car is ready for waxing. You have to work on any scratch you discover before you begin the waxing.

How to Wax a Car with a Buffer

Using a car buffer can make the whole car waxing process a very fast one. Electric buffers ensure that the wax is properly distributed across the car’s surface and give your car an attractive shine. It also saves you time as using it is easier and faster.

Some of the materials you need to wax with a buffer include a car wax applicator, microfiber towels, liquid wax, a cloth for wax removal, and a machine buffer. When you have all these in place, you can take the following steps to wax your car.

Find an area with no Direct Sunlight:

You don’t need direct sunlight when waxing a car because the sun can make the wax dry up too fast while still applying it, leading to some problems. So, ensure you use a garage or somewhere that has a shield.

Prepare the Surface of the Car:

Next is to wash your car clean before waxing it. Also, remove any stubborn dirt with a clay bar and remove soapy residues if there are any. Also, ensure that the car dries completely and that its paint is very smooth and ready to receive the wax before you continue.

Apply the Wax:

Fix the car wax applicator to the pad of the machine buffer and apply wax from it to your car while the buffer is still turned off. The application process is in a linear movement that could be vertical or horizontal.

Now, turn on the buffer and gently apply the wax again over the surface of the car to avoid damaging the paint if you apply ample pressure. The buffer will seamlessly slide on the vehicle’s surface, giving a smooth application.

Now, give the wax some time to become dried and make the vehicle appear foggy or hazy.

Buff the Car’s surface:

When the car is dry, the next step is removing the applicator pad from the buffer and fixing a piece of wax removal cloth. Switch on the machine and begin to buff the wax off the car’s surface while applying a little pressure.

It is essential to use long linear strokes while buffing a car and not circular motions, as circular motions make swirl marks on the car’s surface. Once you are done buffing using the right motions, then your car is ready to give the desired shine.

Types of Buffers

The two major types of buffers are the dual-action orbital polisher and the variable-speed rotary polisher.

The Dual-Action Orbital Polisher offers ease of use as it spins in both directions. It helps the user not put much pressure, making it great for a car with a less-damaged surface and simple for beginners to use.

Variable-Speed Rotary Polisher removes serious damages like heavy scratches and swirl marks, but it may not be ideal for beginners as the user tend to add more pressure which will end up causing more damage to the car.

how to wax a car with a buffer

How to Wax a Car by Hand

You can wax your car by hand, and it’ll still look like a pro did it. The important thing is to follow the right procedure, and you’ll get the right result.

Wash the Car Thoroughly: Begin the process by washing your car to remove dirt and make it clean after you have located the right place that is neither too sunny to ensure your wax doesn’t dry out too fast and make the work difficult.

Washing your car thoroughly before anything else is a necessary step to avoid pressing particles of dirt on the car surface into the paintwork when buffing. Ensure you rinse off with lots of water, preferably from a hose, to get a good supply of water,

After washing, you should let the car dry. Use an absorbent towel to dry it, making sure that all the moisture is gone, then leave the car to become completely dry and ready for the next step.

Clay Bar: Next, check the car’s painting to see if any dirt is left after washing. Ensure you get rid of any of such dirt using a good clay bar and clay lubricant. Spray the clay lubricant on the paint and use the clay bar to rub the surface of the paint.

Then, fold the clay bar continuously to avoid dragging dirt over the surface of the paint. Clean off the lubricant and remove dirt using a microfiber towel, and your car is set for polishing.

Polishing: Is it necessary to polish a car before waxing? Well, it may not be necessary, but it’s a good option to include polishing while preparing your car for waxing because polishing your car will help to cover imperfections such as scratches and swirls.

It also brings back your car paint’s glow and gives you a great result when you have completed the waxing process. So, you can get a good car polisher and get on with the task. If you are wondering how to polish a car by hand, the simple steps to take include:

First Step: Make the paint surface ready by using a car wash soap to wash it thoroughly. Allow it to dry completely, then remove all tiny dirt from the surface using a clay bar and clean with a microfiber towel after claying.

Second Step: Bring out all the materials you need for polishing, such as the polishing compound, some applicator pads as you may need more than one when the one you are using gets dirty, and a buffing cloth made of microfiber for residue removal.

Third Step: Next is to work in the polishing by putting a small quantity of polish on the applicator pad and working it into smaller paint sections. Polish till you have just a thin film, and you should not use your fingertips to do the polishing; rather, use the face of your fingers to apply pressure to the pad.

Fourth Step: Finally, buff polish the residue in sections using a microfiber buff cloth. Ensure you buff polish when the polish is not fully dried to avoid having a foggy finish.

  • Check Imperfections: You can look out for any imperfections at this stage and correct them to make your waxing come out great.
  • Apply the Wax: Spray the wax straight on a section of the car’s surface. Then, use a part of your microfiber towel to rub the wax to the car surface and use the other part to buff out the excess wax. Repeat the process until you’ve covered the entire surface.

How to Wax a Black Car

Black cars need a little more care when waxing them to achieve the breathtaking shine you expect as a result. The process involves washing, clay baring, polishing, and waxing.

How to Wash a Black Car

If you want to know how to wash a black car without spots, follow these steps carefully.

  • First, use clean water with a garden hose to rinse your black car from top to its bottom to remove abrasive dirt that may scratch the car’s finish when you apply shampoo.
  • Clean your car thoroughly, starting from the top move down to the bottom. From the hood and roof, down to the doors and fenders, these bottom parts are usually dirtier than the top parts.
  • Use top-quality car shampoos to wash your car and not dish soap.
  • Rinse the car properly after washing and allow it to dry completely.
  • Check the car surface for asphalt stains, scratches, and swirls to determine if you should apply polish before waxing.
  • Always wash your car weekly or fortnightly.

Clay Barring

You may have to clay-bar your black car after washing and drying it as it helps you to get a shiny and attractive look. To clay- bar, check the painting for stubborn dirt, remove them with a clay bar, drag the dirt off the paint’s surface, and then clean with a microfiber towel.

Polishing: The next step to waxing a black car is applying polish. Polishing will help to prepare your car for waxing further and make it shiny.

How to Polish a Black Car

  • Apply a little polish on your applicator pad and carefully work it into the paint. Ensure to polish from the top to the bottom parts of the car.
  • Using a microfiber towel, buff the residue instantly or after some minutes, depending on the instructions on the bottle.
  • Use another clean microfiber towel to clean the finish.
  • Repeat the polishing process till you have covered the entire paint surface.

Waxing: It is now time to wax your black car, and of course, you’ll need black wax. It is best to use the best black car waxes such as Meguiar’s black car wax, P21S Carnauba wax, and others that’ll give your car a shiny result and make your black paint last longer.

Steps to waxing a black car.

First Step: Put a little amount of the wax on a neat pad applicator and work it into the paint, starting from the top to the bottom parts of the car. Try not to apply a heavy coat at a time; rather, put several thin coats till you get the result you desire.

Second Step: Let the wax dry for some minutes, and then remove its excess. Swiping your clean finger on the waxed area will help tell if the car has dried completely or not. A smear indicates that the car needs more time to dry.

Third Step: Remove the wax from the top to the bottom parts of the car with a neat microfiber towel. Then use a second microfiber towel to buff the paint when you have removed the wax lightly.

Now your black car is shining, and you may have to wax it monthly if you desire to maintain its black paint and current attractive look.

Pros and Cons of Waxing your Car

Here are some of the major advantages and disadvantages of waxing your car.


  • Waxing protects your car from light scratches by adding a protective layer to it. Although the layer fades and gets clear with time.
  • It makes your car shiny and gives it a showroom appearance. This happens because the wax adds a smooth layer across the vehicle’s surface and makes it mirror light.
  • It makes water bead up and runs off the car’s surface. This shows that the polar water molecules are not attracted to the wax layer, which is nonpolar. It is a good way to protect the car against rust.
  • Waxing protects the paintwork from the effects of the sun. The ultra-violent light from the sun speeds up oxidation which makes the car’s paintwork weaken. The wax brings a protective layer that reduces the sun’s effect and makes the car look new for a long time.
  • It covers minor imperfections on a car’s paintwork. It does this by making the edges smooth, and they don’t get easily reflected by light, especially if you polished the car before waxing.
  • Your car looks cleaner for a longer time when you apply wax on it because the wax fills the small ridges on the car’s surface and makes it difficult for particles of dirt to enter them. The dirty particles fall off the car’s smooth surface.
  • Wax makes your car easy to clean because dirt hardly stays on its smooth surface and even the ones that are able to stick easily go off once you wipe them off.


  • The water beading can result in water sitting on the car’s surface, and the water may carry contaminants that can harm the clear coat.
  • Waxing only covers minor scratches, not major ones.
  • Wax is not cheap as it’ll cost you both time and money if you don’t DIY.
  • A waxed car requires the right car wash for maintenance. You have to use a shampoo that is pH neutral to protect the protective layer.

How to Wax Your Car YouTube Video

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What type of car wax should I use?

The type of car waxes you use depends on your necessities and the one that suits you. There are different wax types: spray wax, liquid wax, and paste wax. The spray wax is easier and faster to apply.

The liquid wax is a bit easier than the paste, while the paste wax is harder and takes more time before you can apply it, but its outcome lasts longer than the others.

Q: What is the best way to wax a car?

You can wax a car either by hand or with a buffer, and whichever one you choose is best. The important part is to follow the instructions carefully, and you’ll have your car shining like brand new.

Q: How can I wax my car myself?

Waxing your car by yourself involves the process of washing your car first. You should wash with a car wash shampoo and ensure you rinse off all dirt. Dry the car and still give it some time to dry completely.

Next is to check the car’s painting and remove stubborn, leftover dirt. Then, polish if you can, and then go ahead to apply the car wax section by section until you have covered the entire surface. Ensure to read the wax’s guidelines on its bottle for proper usage.

Q: Do you wax a car wet or dry?

Usually, it is best to apply wax to a car when the car is completely dry. However, some carnauba wax can be applied on both wet and dry cars.

Q: Should I rinse my car after waxing?

You don’t have to rinse your car as part of the waxing process. Once your wax has completely dried up, and you buffed it, the car is shiny and ready to take a ride. However, you can rinse your car as soon as it needs the next rinsing.

Q: Does wax ruin car paint?

No, wax does not damage car paint unless you didn’t follow the instructions or used a bad product. Remember not to do car waxing under direct sunlight as the UV rays can cause damage to the car’s paintwork.

Q: How can I make my car shine without wax?

You can make your car shine by using a hair conditioner. Here are the steps to take.

  • Collect the necessary items: a hair conditioner of any good brand, two large buckets, a clean and dry hand towel, two microfiber cloths, and dish soap.
  • Ensure your car is parked in a place that has shade.
  • Fill water in the bucket and add a little quantity of dish soap to it.
  • Clean a section of your car using a microfiber towel dipped in soapy water. Ensure to change the soapy water once it gets dirty and clean in long strokes, not circular motions.
  • Rinse off the section that you have cleaned immediately before you move to other sections. This action ensures that the soap won’t dry off and leave smears on the car.
  • After cleaning and rinsing the entire car, get the other bucket and pour two cups of water into it. Also, add 1/2 cup of the hair conditioner and mix gently.
  • Apply the mixture to your car using a microfiber towel and let it cover the entire car surface.
  • Rinse the mixture off the car, preferably with a hose, and dry it with a microfiber cloth. Your car is as shiny as a new one.

Q: Which car wax lasts the longest?

It’s pretty hard to tell actually. Most car waxes last, but usually, synthetic car wax tends to last longer than natural wax. Natural car wax comes with components that fade away over time easily.

Final Words

Waxing your car will make it shinier and protect the paint, making it last longer. The process may be much, but the result will make it worth it. Paying attention to details and carefully following instructions will help you a lot.

So, if you have always wanted to know how to give your car an enviable showroom appearance, following this guide on how to wax a car will help you achieve that.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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