How to Tell When Your Car Needs to be Waxed

There are many reasons to regularly wax your car. It looks good, it repels water, and it increases your car value over time. It also protects your paint job and clear coat against environmental damages caused by UV rays, chemicals from the road, dirt/debris, bird droppings, tree sap, and mineral deposits in your local water source, just to name a few. In fact, if you never wax your car, you’ll eventually see the damages in the form of dulled paint and areas where the paint is peeling or chipping away.

By default, you should wax your car at least every two-to-three months (although some experts suggest you do it monthly). While this works as a good general rule of thumb, your unique driving situation could have an influence. Where you live, where you park, and how you drive will all change how often your car needs to be waxed.

For the most personalized input on how often to wax your car, we suggest you perform one of the following “wax tests.” 

Car Wax Tests

  1. Water Bead Test: When a car is properly waxed, water will quickly and easily bead on the surface. This is a sign that your wax is still in place and capable of repelling the elements. All you have to do is dump a little water on the surface and see how it reacts. Beading is a good sign; water that forms “sheets” on the surface usually means it’s time for a new coat of wax.
  1. Finger Test: Your hand can do a good job of determining the state of your car’s wax job. When your car is clean and dry, run your fingers over the surface. If you can feel grit or texture, that means the dirt is worked into the surface of the car. You’ll need to use a clay bar to get rid of the imperfections and then apply a new coat of wax.
  1. Squeak Test: Rub a cotton terrycloth towel quickly over one area of the surface. (Terrycloth isn’t ideal for paint jobs, so keep the area small and use a twisting motion.) If you hear a squeaking or squealing noise, it’s time for a new wax job.

You can also ask your friendly car wash professional. We make it our job to keep cars, trucks, and other vehicles looking great. During your next car wash, ask about a good routine for you based on how long your car spends out in the sun, how often you park under trees, and how much drive time you spend on the road. We’ll come up with a personalized plan that fits both your lifestyle and your budget.