Best car wax?

just bought a new vehicle and opted against purchasing the dealer-offered “sealant,” as I distinctly recalled reading somewhere that it is a complete waste of money. More specifically, I recall reading that I would be able to achieve the same benefits using a consumer product. So, which one? Good old-fashioned wax (paste or liquid) or one of those new-age polymer sealant products (that sure look, feel, and smell a lot like good old-fashioned liguid wax)?

Nu Finish was rated #1 by Consumers’ Reports several years ago. I don’t remember reading a more recent rating report.

Maguires, no contest. As the owner of a classic car and attendee of many car shows, Maguires is the hands down choice. They make products for new cars too.

Consumer Reports did indeed rate NuFinish as the #1 swill. It’s passably good. I thought the shine was puny. Speaking as the owner of a couple show-quality antiques, my opinion is that nothing has a luster and deep shine that matches Zymol. Maquire’s is good stuff as well.


OK, why is McGuiar’s the best, no contest?

What does your classic car ownership or car show attendance record have to do with the question at hand?

Again why is McGuiar’s the hands down choice?

As far as I can tell, this particular company buys a lot of selective advertising and positions it’s products very well for the higher class or wanna be car snob. Their products are usually priced higher than other brands and they don’t move off store shelves as well.

I personally believe car polish is like toothpaste: It’s all in the “brush” you use and the “elbow grease” you use in moving it around.

I have really no preference among car polishes. Just about any one, applied regularly enough, along with regular washing and responsible car care, should protect the car’s finish.

I use Finish 2000, and I think it’s fantastic.

I don’t know what the best brand is, but I can tell you that the worst crap is that spray-on stuff. It lasts about three days if you’re lucky.

5starshine is used by the US Navy to protect the paint on radar antennas. Looks interesting.

Here is Choice Australia’s assessment of various products. I’m sure some are available where you are.

What does your classic car ownership or car show attendance record have to do with the question at hand?

Speaking as one of the aforementioned owners, I’ll speak for myself. Owners of antiques and classic showcars as a group generally have two concerns: A) preserving the vehicle in question, and B) Having a cooler, deeper, more lustrous. wetter looking shine that the guy in the next space. With these objectives in mind, myself and the other collects I know have tried more products than the general populace, and are more critical of the results.

Maquires and Zymol have in their formulas a higher percentage of wax, both bee’s and carnuba, enhancing durability and reducing the need to re-apply, and more oils to “wetten” the shine. Also, they have no hydrocarbons or solvents which are in cheaper polishes and can harm both enamels and lacquers. Cheaper polishes also tend to have courser abrasives and if you use enough “elbow grease”, you eventually won’t need any at all, because you will eventually remove the paint.

I think they’re worth the extra coin,


The OP was about protecting the finish of a new vehicle, not a show car. While certain attributes, like an “oily” shine are certainly desirable at a car show, I think we both realize that they are short lived when the car is driven regularly and exposed to the elements.

I personally have used many products on many vehicles, new and old, and I feel that it’s much more about applying just about any product frequently (as directed, of course) and properly, then about the brand name or product chosen. IMHO, most cars do not get waxed regularly or properly enough.

BTW, since it was apparently not clear from the toothbrushing analogy, “elbow grease” in my earlier post is a metaphor for proper technique, not excess pressure, hence the quotation marks.

The 1994 CR report showed Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax as #1, closely followed by Nu-Finish Paste, and Turtle Carnauba.

The May '00 CR found in favor of Zymol Cleaner Wax (the consumer brand, not the pro brand: different formulations), Prestone Bullet Wax, Nu Finish Paste, ArmorAll Car Wax, 3M One-Step. Meguiar’s Cleaner was way down in the list. Meguiar’s “Gold” were in respectable middle-of-the pack positions (They did not test the “pro” versions of Meguiar’s, though)

CR were thoroughly unimpressed with the mass-market (red-bottle) version of the 3-step Meguiar’s and Mother’s “systems”. Apparently not 3 times better than a good one-step product, at 3 times the work.

BTW, the CR test was deliberately aimed at “mass market” waxes/polishes, giving strong points to ease of use and to duration of protection. Remember, CR is not aimed at the “car lover” type. We’d all be driving Toyota Camry 4s, were it up to CR. (I can say that, I drive a Camry 4 and am a CU member).

Back to the OP: “Polymer sealant” is a bogus dealer pack. Proper care with any decent car wax product should be adequate protection… unless you plan on doing it like only once or twice a year. Contrary to ad/label copy, NO consumer product lasts that long; no way.

For an ordinary non-show car, Zymol or the “good” Meguiar’s should be as much as anyone cares to bother with.

MY experience: there is a hard to find car wax called “Liquid Glass”-it works great-plus, you can apply it in direct sun. I’ve used it with good results. However, if you decide to use it, you must NEVER apply a carnauba-based wax to your car again.

Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Before I drove my little auto-detailing empire into the dirt almost a decade ago, I had a chance to evaluate virtually every high-line car wax out there. I used to do a lot of experimenting, often with two identical dark green Toyota Land Cruisers, sometimes dividing a car down the middle and applying different stuff to each side. Things have no doubt changed, but here’s a short list of the products I liked, the products I didn’t like, and why:

Best Straight Caranuba: The Meguiar’s solid caranuba paste, applied with a pad in a circular motion, was undoubtedly the best looking caranuba for darker-colored cars (except black, which is in a different ballpark). Application was a complete pain in the ass, because you had to have the car perfectly clean and it required at least two applications to avoid streaks. More than two applications pushes the wax around on the surface. Only protects perhaps five weeks if your car lives outside, and its looks instantly deteriorate–faster if you apply it overtop of a polish. So why do I like it? If you want to show off, that cheap-ass Meguiars is equal to or better than virtually any other more expensive product, and it makes purist customers happy. A couple of my clients won shows with a night-before application.

Best All Around: This shit called Quick-Shine, a (very) liquid non-wax. This stuff was purportedly concocted by a race car crewman looking for whatever aerodynamic benefit a car wax may provide. Race cars have stickers, seams, and raised edges all over them, so it was made to dry translucent instead of that nasty white color. It’s applied straight on-and-off, wet pad in one hand and towel in the other so it’s fast, fast, fast. It looks great by itself, but it also does a great job protecting a previous professional job (somehow, it doesn’t seem to strip whatever is beneath it). You can wax a car in fifteen minutes with this stuff and make it look very, very good. Lasts maybe two weeks, but resists water well enough that you can run through a car wash or two with it–I suspect it’s loaded with silicone. Regrettably, I haven’t found it in a long time. Used to have a checkered flag pattern on the label.

Best protectant: Hands down, Liquid Glass is the best. It adheres to itself, so one can apply it over and over and build up a coat–and that’s not marketing BS. Last summer I put half a bottle of Liquid Glass on my Miata over two months, and haven’t touched it since because it hasn’t stopped effing raining for a year. It still beads water (the car had a shitty re-paint job on the rear deck which is peeling off, and the water beads on the paint chips). Liquid Glass has been around forever, but somehow they forgot to patent the name, so there used to be a lot of pretender Liquid Glasses out there. The real stuff has a picture of a red '60s Corvette on the can.

Best ever: The easiest, best looking shit I ever used was this crazy stuff called Ibiz. Ooooh, it’s made with fossilized caranuba! But here’s the thing: it goes on and off almost as easy as Quick Shine, and it is–I’m not kidding about this–the best looking stuff I’ve ever seen. It’s also applied sparingly, and it has superlative durability–perhaps six to eight weeks outdoors. My father still has the bottle I gave him ten years ago. Minimal streaking makes it really the only decent choice for black cars. At twenty bucks a bottle it’s a steal.

Worst Foo-Foo Shite: Sorry guys, that Zymol stuff is nothing more than liquified poodle in a glass jar. Have you ever read the instructions for the crap? Wash thoroughly, use the special wax-stripper, use the special polish, use the foo-foo wax several times, one square foot at a time. The secret is in the painstaking process, not the product itself. And, Zymol doesn’t look that great unless you do all that bullshit, and its “deep, lustrous shine” seems like it strips off in fog. If you get just as anal with the Meguiars I mentioned above you’re gonna get the same nice result, I promise. Ibiz, by the way, still looks (marginally) better, without all the work. You Type A’s out there can simply ignore the above statements, because I’m convinced that for you guys the shine comes from within. If you’re that kind of person, then go ahead and use it as per the directions, and make sure to tell everyone you know–it is impressive to see a car cared for that well.

That’s my outdated opinion, but my experience is that waxes and polishes have been getting more complicated and diversified, but not really much better.

You were smart to pass on the dealer coating. They coat right over the existing tarnish, which must be removed prior to waxing, if you want a finish that is going to look glassy.

I’ve used a LOT of products over the years and am very happy with the products from Griot’s Garage. Buy their car clay (lightly brush your fingers over your finish: feel the grit?), the “Best in Show” wax, and the “Speed Shine”, and you won’t need any other products. Spray the car with the Speed Shine and lightly go over the paint with the clay. Wipe off. This takes off all the “grit” and other tarnish on your finish which can scratch your paint when you buff. Then apply the wax, which is a top-grade carnauba. Remove water spots, etc. later on with the Speed Shine.

Zaino is the best product. Period.

But it’s not “wax”… it’s better.

Where did the hot wax from the car wash show up on the list? :slight_smile:

For the sake of clarification, I was referring to the Zymol liquid- consumer style one-step. Not the Career Opportunity Paste of the Foo Foo Shite variety. Also, I disagree about the shine “coming off in the fog” (although I found the alalogy amusing). I’m 6 or 7 weeks into my last application and it’s still all shiny.


Oop. Sorry. Little seizure, there. I didn’t go through the “one square foot at a time” crap, either. One panel at a time, yes.

This makes me like a Type J or something?


Zymol has a one step? See, I told you I’d been out of the biz for some time. I’m sure that it works just fine, as it is probably radically different from the foo-foo shite I discussed above.

As they used to day, Jaguar fans aren’t Type A’s; they’re Type E’s.

When you pay $2400 to have a car painted, and the painter is known in the collector car restoration biz as one of the best, and he says to use Meguiar’s and nothing else, most folks listen. The paint has been on my car for 5 years now and looks as good as the day it was painted. It’s only an opinion just like the other responses, whats the point quoting from my post. Are you going to critique all the other posts too?

The paint on my car is the factory paint, 10 years old, and looks brand new, too. I’ve used various waxes, including NuFinish.