Waxing a black car will more likely leave swirls and odd spots than other colors. So how do you properly wax a black vehicle? We want our cars to look nice with a glossy sheen of paint. Improper waxing results in a look that isn’t so nice, detailed, and mirrored as many drivers prefer. So how do you make it right?
Table of Contents
- How do you properly wax a black car?
- Why are black cars hard to wax?
- What should I use to wax a black car?
- Why wax a car?
- What if I do “wax on, wax off”?
- Why carnauba wax?
- Should I use clay on my car?
- How do I get a good look at my black car to see paint swirls?
How do you properly wax a black car?
To properly wax a black painted car, a couple of tried and true methods include using carnauba wax as well as paste wax. Gently rubbing the wax onto the surface of the vehicle will also help reduce swirl marks.
Properly waxing a car isn’t easy, especially if you want it to look good. We’ll go over why we chose the waxes we did and what motions and methods we suggest to wax your black car.
We’ve worked with detailers before and have good sources in regards to how to give a black car a warm, rich finish without swirls.
Why are black cars hard to wax?
Black cars are more difficult to wax and shine then average because their deep color shows mistakes and swirl marks more easily.
Given the higher contrast nature of black paint, water spots, residue, and most anything else that can stick to a car is easier to spot with the naked eye. Lighter colors have similar problems, but they aren’t as prominent as they are on black paint.
What should I use to wax a black car?
Our first suggestion here is not to use the basic and very catchy method of waxing “promoted” by Mr. Miyaga in the Karate Kid. The vehicles that Mr. Miyaga was waxing were 50 years older than cars today, and had a different method of clear coating. The paint had additional thickness back in the day, even in the clear coat. You didn’t notice the same problems you’ll see now.
Wash your car
The first part of waxing a black car is washing it thoroughly. Don’t go to an automatic car wash. They will likely leave your car with lots of spots and less than dry.
Use a water hose armed with a spray nozzle instead. Use the spray nozzle on the lowest setting possible – which means not squeezing that hard or changing setting in whichever way the nozzle presents. You can also use a foam cannon if you have one.
When hand washing the vehicle, use two buckets. You’ve probably heard of a two-bucket system- but this one might be modified.
One bucket for soapy water and one with a ringer or spinner system. The spinner system uses a kick pedal or clamp to squeeze the rest of the water out of the sponge or applicator. This system allows you to wash the black car with a clean sponge constantly.
The difference between our system and the typical way is that a rinse bucket is also commonly used. The issue with a rinse bucket is that the dirty water will inevitably get back to your car while rung out by human hands, so it doesn’t really “rinse” your towel or sponge/
Dry your car
Use microfiber clothes -and several of them if needed, to dry your vehicle completely.
What wax should I use?
We suggest using carnauba or paste wax. These are not typically synthetic and are made of natural ingredients.
The first thing you’ll want to do is apply your wax to a small, inconspicuous, and easy-to-clean part of your car to see if the wax leaves a stain. If it doesn’t, you can move forward.
Apply small amounts of wax to a sponge or applicator and gently rub the applicator on the surface of the paint. You could choose to move in a horizontal or vertical manner – it doesn’t really matter a lot.
Waxing requires some patience, as you’ll likely be making small movements just to ensure you are going gently, and it’s really easy to miss a spot.
There are a couple of things to look out for: If your applicator gets dirty, either clean it or start with a new one. The waxing process is meant to protect the vehicle and give it a shine, so spreading dirt around isn’t a good idea. You could also accidentally create small scratches if the applicator gets dirty enough.
Wait for the wax to dry completely. You should also consult the bottle or container of wax you used to determine how long that should take.
You’ll want specific, soft pads for buffing. You don’t necessarily need an orbital waxer, though it does speed up the polishing process and encourages the use of the same motion every time. Still, you don’t need anything electrical or mechanical. Just be sure to replace pads if they wear down or get hard.
Why wax a car?
Wax provides a mixture of the shine many vehicle owners are looking for and a level of protection against UV rays and scratches. Black paint can have a nice, warm glow to it when done right – and right off the show floor.
You’ll probably start to notice your black vehicle lose its luster over time, so waxing is a good option to amp up the protection you got from the factory.
What if I do “wax on, wax off”?
While you’ll relive the nostalgia of a great ’80s movie, the repeated motions on less than thick clearcoat will likely result in swirl marks that are magnified by wax and black paint. Your car will still be protected, but there’s a greater chance it won’t look as good.
Why carnauba wax?
Carnauba wax is tougher than softer waxes. It’s also natural and has a high melting point. This kind of wax actually isn’t as protective as synthetic wax, but it still does a good job. You’ll want to replace carnauba wax more often than synthetic wax, but in our opinion, it does look better right away.
Carnauba is specially formulated for people who like old-school shine and don’t drive their vehicle many miles every single day. People who do use their cars quite regularly might want to consider synthetic wax to avoid frequent reapplication.
Is there black car-specific wax?
Yes, black car wax is often made of carnauba and some solvents, as well as silicone oil. Carnauba itself is actually flaky and hard to apply. Including solvents is normal with flaky wax in order to make it much easier to get on your vehicle.
Should I use clay on my car?
Clay is an option to add some shine and truly deep clean your car. You would use clay between the initial wash and the addition of wax.
Clay also provides a layer of protection against rock chips and other road debris. Totally up to you!
How do I get a good look at my black car to see paint swirls?
Looking at the vehicle in direct sunlight helps. You can also use a flashlight or a mobile light bank a few feet from the car to get both the mirror effect and to attempt to magnify any swirls or scratches. These are commonly used to hunt down dents among people who perform paintless dent repair.