Is the "wax" at the car wash a scam?

My experience with car wax is that it takes a lot of effort to apply it to a vehicle, yet car washes advertise a sprayed-on (apparently) wax treatment for a few dollars extra. Are they just preying on the stupid or is there actually some benefit to this treatment?

Try this link

This was my favorite part of the link-

“As part of the settlement, the two original plaintiffs will each receive $2,000 and their attorneys will get a total of $220,000 if the court approves the terms. Any member of the public who can prove they were part of this class — in other words, who can verify that they purchased these products at a carwash between 1993 and 1997 — is entitled to a rebate of $1.34.”

Yep. Imagine the horror if we were dropping class action lawyers into Kandahar.

Stupid? To quote Forrest Gump. “Stupid is as stupid does.” As has already been said, any wax added to water will go mostly down the drain with the waste water. It does take at least some effort to put a coat of wax on your car. Wax diluted in water is, for the most part, useless. I mean, if you put a coat or two of wax on your car by hand, what happens if the car gets wet? The water beads up and runs off. That tells me that wax and water do not mix. So, therefore, if wax is applied in that manner, the water just carries it down the drain. I guess the main thing is this. You get what you pay for.

Sheesh. I am not very impressed with that linked site. I mean, all it proves is that the wax lobby is on the job. They’re protecting the unsuspecting public from the evils of the misuse of the term “wax.” Big deal.

Just because the juice they squirt on your car may not be strictly and scientifically called “wax,” does not mean it’s useless. Same holds true even if 99% of it runs down the drain.

Let’s face it people, this is the post-space age. Is the concept of a waterbased, sprayed-on waxlike (so sue me) coating really as far-fetched as posters are implying?

My experience with this miracle “space age” wax is that it screws up my car’s windshield wipers, making them chatter incessantly and thus driving me nuts.

Sorry about the unimpressive link. Here’s one where Click and Clack don’t answer the question either:

Just doing some general browsing, I found that:

  1. No, a spray on coating is not far-fetched. What is used is mixed with water, and it coats everything, including glass. But, even the car wash dealers and operators note that the coating protects for only about two weeks in normal use.

  2. When used as directed, it can help bead water and offer some protection.

  3. It’s not expensive, so even if you wash your car every other week, and spend an extra $2 each time, you’ve only spent $52 for the year: even if 100% DOES go down the drain, it is only $52 right down the drain, not kabillions.

  4. No operator would EVER dilute any of the various cleaning solutions even a teensy bit more than what is required on the label, so you are absolutely assured that you are getting EVERY LAST DROP of SuperWetGloss 5000.

  5. The car wash lobby is benevolent, unlike the ghastly wax lobby, and would never recommend putting anything on your car that did not benefit it. [sub]Here, here is fragrance. Only $3, you smell like CK1 or new car [/sub]

  6. “Preying on the stupid” is too harsh, and does not accurately describe the vast majority of car wash operators who do a good, honest job, and who will tell you up front that their products are not permanent, and will not replace a good quality hand wax.

Even though the benefit of the spray on “wax” may be small, it is not like they are selling you undercoating, factory floor mats, dealer installed stereos, or deluxe pinstripes.


Its pretty much a waste of money. A person is far better off (and money better spent) spending $5-$10 on a can of real wax and using it.

pardon me; but in the 70’s I bought at the auto store a spray on wax. It worked really nice too. I forgot how you spell it, ‘caranabu’ or something. But it did work. I bet I can still get it at the store.

Carnuba wax is usually a liquid wax, but it is still better to be applied by hand or with an orbital waxxer.