Just How Effective is Spray-On Wax at the Car Wash

posted 30 October, 2017 by Julie Briggs
Car Care

For those who use drive-thru car washes to save time, one of the most aggressively marketed “extras” you’ll pay for is spray-on wax, which is supposed to keep your car shiny and prevent scratches. While most car experts agree that spray wax is better than no wax, the professional consensus is that if you want it done right, it should be done by hand.

But what's the best option for your car? Why should you consider waxing by hand instead of an easy-to-apply spray wax? Let's break down how spray-on wax works and why wax protection done by hand is the better choice to make your car's paint last.

Shiny Waxed Car

How Spray Waxes Miss the Mark

For starters, spray-on wax, also known as liquid wax, does help protect your car's finish and shine a little. What spray wax excels the most at is bolstering any residual wax left on your paint, which can make it look good wet or dry.

That said, even the best spray waxes are unable to come close to the same level of paint protection for your car as paste wax applied by hand.

Where the average spray-on wax misses the mark is with car paint that has been minor imperfections or damages. These can range from common damage sources like bugs or sap, water spots or UV damage from direct sunlight, or even small scratches. Thinking that you can fix these issues with spray waxes can be problematic, as even the best spray waxes struggle under these conditions.

You might say, "But getting a wax with a car wash is so cheap and convenient!" While that's true, it's always worth thinking about your car's paint in the long term rather than pursuing the cheapest option as your local automatic car wash.

In fact, if you want to get your car cleaner and conserve water at the same time, you’re better off having a professional wash and wax your car by hand. The spray-on wax at the car wash is often short-lived and can get onto your windshield, which causes smearing. No car wax is worth to price if it compromises your visibility,  resulting in dangerous driving conditions for you and your passengers.

Why Waxing by Hand is Best for Your Car

To get the most benefit from car waxing, it should be applied by hand by someone with a good eye. This means that as they go along, they can go over spots that may be duller and give them the TLC they need to buff out spots and create a lasting shine.

Spray-on wax at a car wash simply cannot provide the personalized attention to detail your car needs. And if there is any leftover dirt or debris on your car, it may make scratches worse as they get ground into the paint by the pressure of the spray.

Since waxing by hand comes towards the end of a car wash service, all the dirt or grime is off of your car, which leaves a nice clean paint surface for the wax to adhere to and protect.

Get Superior Paint Protection with Spiffy

If you're looking for the best paint protection for your car's finish, then you're better off ignoring spray-on wax entirely. In fact, a ceramic coating may be right up your alley.

For those looking for a consistent and affordable option, our professional Spiffy Technicians always recommend that customers get a hand wax about four times a year for maximum protection. Unlike automated car washes, we use professional-grade carnauba wax with an orbital buffer for a consistent application and finish up by wiping it down with a microfiber towel.

The end result is a showroom shine and over 90 days of protection from the elements.

Did you know that using carnauba paste wax by hand can help increase your car’s trade-in value by hundreds, if not thousands of dollars at trade-in? Reap the benefits of a professional car wax service from Spiffy and save $20, just for giving us a try!
Save $20 Spiffy

Posted in Car Care

Written by Julie Briggs

Cat mom and skeeball enthusiast based in New York, NY.