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Cleaning the Streets: How Long does it take to Wax a Car?

(Last Updated On: March 3, 2018)

Riding down the street in your ride can be one of the most pride swelling activities you do every day. Unless you have a dull paint, then you try to get from point a from point b with as few people seeing you as possible. A good wax job can solve all of your problems if your put in the time. But how long does it take to wax a car?

The answer to this question depends on what method you use to wax your car. Those who like a personal touch might prefer the hand wax method. While those who want a quicker job might prefer a using an electric buffer. This is also a good option if you don’t want to put a lot of elbow grease into the work. Simple factors that will impact the time it takes will also include the size and type of your vehicle. Don’t expect your tricked out Escalade to wax as quickly as a two door coupe.

Before you wax

Waxing your car will be all but a waste of time, unless you wash it first. Removing all those bugs, dirt, and road junk from your car will go a long way to make your wax look clean and even. When it comes to a wax job, this actually takes longer than the waxing itself. When you wash the car, you have to really put the effort into cleaning. A quick hose down and rub with a towel just will not get the job done. If you don’t get all the gunk off your car the wax won’t stick, and all your time will be wasted. Plan on spending at least an hour or two washing and drying your car before you even bust out the wax.

You will also want to apply polish and seal your car before moving on to the waxing process. Polishing often takes the longest to accomplish because it can help clear up surface blemishes, and again will help the wax stick to your car to bring out the best shine.

Hand waxing

Waxing a car includes moving systematically from area to area of your car in a swirling motion applying and removing wax. Every rotation takes your own physical effort which takes a little more time. But it also lets you control what is being done to your car. For the big car enthusiast, the time and effort spent in waxing by hand will create a bind with the car, and as you drive down the street you will know that your beautiful, metallic, piece of perfection is turning heads thanks to your hard spent sweat.

That being said, a hand wax job will likely take another 1-2 hours to complete, if done right. If you rushed through it your wax job will look uneven and streaky, and you may have to go over it again. Take your time when waxing to get it looking beautiful the first time around. Pick a good wax such as Meguiar’s D15601 Synthetic X-Press Spray Wax will help make sure that you get the shine and protection out of your wax, and is a little more forgiving for novice car detailers.

Using an electric buffer

The nice thing about using an electric buffer is that all those repeated circles are done by the machine. Your effort comes from holding it stable and gliding it around the car’s surface. Since the buffer moves faster than you can applying and buffing are done more smoothly and efficiently. The other plus side is that the machine is consistent, which can give you a more even look as you wax.

The problem with using a buffer is that is you get a little too excited with your waxing, you may end actually damaging the paint job. Again going a little slower and more methodically will make sure the job is done right the first time.

How long does it take to wax a car using and electric buffer? Even moving slowly with a buffer you can get the waxing portion done in as little as 30 minutes.

So how long does it take to wax a car?

With all the factors of washing, drying, polishing, sealing, and finally waxing plan on spending about 3.5 hours if your using a buffer, or about 5 hours if doing it by hand. Either way you will not regret the time you spend making your ride look absolutely perfect.

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