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When I get a few minutes, I plan on giving my ’93 Miata a good driveway washing, then roll it into the garage for a hand-applied wax job.  I’ve always used Meguiar’s cleaner wax — rubbing just hard enough to remove imperfections — but today’s (rare) nice weather got me to thinking: what’s your favorite car wax?  And has anyone tried Meguiar’s “clay bar” treatment?  Let us know in comments.

(Thanks to CypherSwarm for the great CC-licensed photo.)

Cleaner Wax [Meguiar’s]


28 Responses to Reader Question: What’s Your Favorite Car Wax?

  1. John says:

    MOTHERS has always been my wax of choice.

  2. Michael B says:

    I use mostly Meguiar’s products. I have used the clay bar treatment and was amazed with the results. To complete an entire car will take a long time – 4+ hours to do a small BMW, but the finish will look like water when you are done. I figure it is something I’ll do once a year or so from now on.

  3. Charlie says:

    So far, I’ve been impressed with Turtle Wax’s ICE products. Haven’t had a chance to try their “liquid clay bar” yet, but my car isn’t ready for that kind of treatment. It still needs to get rid of its iron cancer.

  4. eschoendorff says:

    Ah jeez… this comes up all the time on automotive boards. I, personally , stay with Meguire’s products – except I have been using something called Rejex by CorrosionX.

    If you really want to get into the wax discussion…. try reading here first:


  5. I’ve used a product called race glaze. The first time I used it was when I was a firefighter, and we used it on all of the department vehicles. The stuff works great! By the way, the wax that Harley Davidson sells is the same stuff, just happens to have the Harley sticker on it!

  6. Rob says:

    mothers or meguires here nothing else
    I have a hand full of products from each

    they work great

  7. Evan N. says:

    Regular old Turtle Wax. I’ve recently been removing the oxidation from my paint job, first using 3M Perfect It II rubbing compound and a wool buffing pad followed by Meguiar’s Swirl Free Polish with a foam polishing pad. Follow that with Turtle Wax and I’m good to go. Just haven’t brought myself to pop for Mothers or Mequiar’s wax yet. I once had good luck with Nu Finish, “The once a year car polish,” but it’s not really a wax although it acts that way; lately I just keep waxed up with Turtle Wax. Lastly, I don’t like the extra gloss stuff in the bottle, but the green stuff in the round can. Haven’t tried Turtle Wax Ice yet.

  8. Rick says:

    Wow.. no one has mentioned Zaino yet.

    Tomorrow I have a buddy coming over and we’re going to do the full Zaino treatment on both our cars (his is a black ’93 CR-V that’s taken some abuse on the road over the years, and mine a ’90 535i whose red paint is a tad oxidized.
    Last week, by hand, I applied the new Zaino All-In-One which is supposed to cut back on some steps, but at the end of the day is a compromise. Even so, the results were nothing short of amazing. I just went and added the pictures to the Toolmonger Photo Pool.

    That said, tomorrow I’m doing the full treatment (last week I just gave it a regular wash and applied the All-In-One. Tomorrow I’m washing it with dawn dishwashing soap (to strip it of any old waxes/finishes/polishes), clay bar-ing the entire finish, washing with dawn again once I have a smooth surface on the paint (Clay can work wonders with the most abused paint) Then I’ll be applying the Z-PC Paint Cleaner by machine (Porter Cable), followed by Z-5 Swirl remover by hand, and a few layers of Z-2 Show Car Polish as time allows. By the time it’s done, I hope to have some good before/after pictures. My buddy is an amateur photog, so I expect they should be pretty telling.

    And before you go off thinking that it’s too much work for a daily driver, keep in mind that I’m doing this once. Subsequent applications don’t involve the Paint Cleaner, or the clay, or the dawn. And even the Z-5 and Z-2 are only needed once or twice a year to keep it like new. I’ve seen the Zaino results first hand, and I can’t say enough about it. I’ll post the pictures from this weekend to the photo pool when I get them sorted.

  9. bc says:

    zymol (higher % of carnuba).

  10. MarkH says:

    As I was taught in my youth:

    “Turtle Wax leaves a hard shell finish… Turtle Wax!”

  11. Tbirdsaw says:

    I’ve tried Mothers… it’s okay, but the first time I did my car, I used Black Magic wax. It left a very slick feeling vehicle, something I like. I’m waiting until I get some free time to redo my car with that wax.

    If you want more information on waxes (or anything car-washing-related), go check out http://www.autopia.org. They’re a huge site dedicated to just cleaning/washing/waxing cars. Some of those guys are nuts!

  12. Brau says:

    I used Turtle Wax for years, but then friend gave me a bottle of Finish 2001 and I was very surprised at how much easier it was to buff away than my ol’ TWax. As always though, most folks apply wayyy too much wax and create a lot more hard work than is necessary. Buying a buffer to apply it lightly was the best thing I did, regardless of what brand of wax I choose to use. Mother’s is real good, and Maguire’s has an excellent swirl remover.

  13. Brent says:

    Zaino all the way.

    My father-in-law turned me on to it, and now several of my coworkers and I swear by it.

  14. Chris S. says:

    Another vote for Zaino. Although its kind of retarded that they ship to all the mainland states except NJ, for NJ you have to contact them to find a distributor.

    Either way, its worth the extra trouble. The method Rick recommends above is pretty good. When youre done youll have a beautiful deep rich color back to your car paint, and if feels nice and smooth.

    Also I would recommend everyone pick up a random orbit buffer. You dont have to break the bank on it either, I have a cheapo 6″ Ryobi one from home depot ($20) and picked up a few packs of terry towel covers from walmart ($3 for 2 or $4 for one microfiber). It will save your arm from falling off and does a good job at applying/removing the products.

    However, if you have the cash laying around the porter cable 7424 is supposedly the best. You can pick up kits that come with quick release velcro polish pads too so you dont have to unbolt everytime you switch pads. Theres a few places online that sell it, just google it. Goes for around $250 with the pad kits.

  15. VacaSteve says:

    I formerly used Meguire’s gold wax. But now trying Meguire’s Techwax. Both leave a nice finish on my truck. Now, just have to give the truck a bath and see how it looks.

    I’ve been wanting to try zymol, but will have to look at some of these other choices.

    BTW, toolmonger is a great site. Thanks! (Tim Taylor tool grunt)

  16. Ken says:

    Don’t have a favorite wax.Never use it

  17. _JK_ says:

    Zaino Users: Go hit your local Carquest and pick up Duragloss. I used to be a Zaino zealot myself till I tried this stuff. Half the cost, performs EXACTLY the same, smells the same, people online theorize that Sal just slaps new labels on Duragloss bottles and resells the stuff as Zaino, it’s that similar.

    Claybar is a DEFINITE must-do first step of a good detail job. It’s not snake-oil, there’s a definite, tangible difference, especially on a car that hasn’t had the best care taken of it. I’ve had nothing but issues with Meguire’s claybar products though, too soft. Use Mother’s clay. Then Duragloss the mofo up, and thank me in the mornin.

  18. Paul Sparks says:

    I use only meguiar’s and have attended one of their classes and learned a lot from their forum Meguiar’s Online .com . It is a family friendly site with tons of useful info pertaining to the care and maintence of the automotive finish . Give it a try.

  19. Saluki1 says:

    I use Meguiar’s all the way, especially the clay and the cleaner wax liquid (applied with an orbital buffer). My 92 Miata (199,000 miles) looks nearly new after a good wax job!

    The Tire Gel product from Meguiar’s is phenomenal as well…

  20. Alex says:

    Count me as a clay-bar supporter. I’ve found that ClayMagic’s claybar is cheaper than the Meguiars (both are around $12.00 but ClayMagic gives you 100 oz. bar vs. Meguiar’s 50 oz.)

    Regardless of which clay you get, it does pull-out any impurities still left on your car’s finish after washing – and you don’t want to put wax on impurities.

    For wax, I’m currently on a jar of S100 wax that I picked up from a Harley store. Goes on fairly clear and buffs out without much effort.

    I prefer hand-buffing over orbital only because it keeps me out of the house longer and I can’t find 9″ bonnets for the orbital waxer I have…

    As an aside, I think the above picture has too much wax on the hood.


    Turn towel often.

  21. Shimon P. says:

    Great information on car waxing and detailing.

    Here’s a great article on how to get the best shine possible from the detailing experts. Its an absolute must read for everyone:

    How to get the best possible shine and protection for your cars finish from MDWholesale.com

    Shimon P.

  22. I have used “KIT” wax for 30 years. It works well for me.

  23. Wolf says:

    First off I would like to say that the picture has WAY too much wax on it. You are suppose to wax the car to where the wax is barely visible.

    Your best bet is with Meguiar’s as they are one of the few companies that live up to what they say and have without a doubt, the best support system to make sure you get the best possible results. There are plenty of other companies that do produce good products, but none of them have the experience or support Meguiar’s offers…for free!

  24. oh well, everyone has their own way of doing auto detailing…

  25. Sue says:

    I don’t know how some of you guys can still use the old Turtle Wax. It’s hard to buff off and leaves wax in crevices. I will never go back to the old hard to rub off stuff. Try sealants, they wipe off easier and last longer than your Turtle wax.I’ve used quite a few sealants and waxes. The last sealant I’ve used is by Duragloss, the 111. I had 3 different Zaino’s on different places, then I put Duragloss on one part. It looks the same and applies the same. It’s WAY cheaper priced too. Some people use a carnauba on top for more shine, I find I like to layer the sealants and that does the job. I also use Rod & Custom Show car creme, It protected my car from lit cigarette butts someone threw on my car. It also protected well against bird droppings. So guys don’t rub hard anymore. lol

  26. Raven says:

    Old thread pickup..

    I’ve been trying LOADS of different waxes in my line of work (Detailer)
    Must say that Autoglym HD wax works very well on daily drivers.

    My definite favourite when it comes to showcars and supercars is Swissvax.
    They have different kinds of waxes for different painttypes.

    But a waxjob is wasted if the prepwork isnt done properly!

    1- Degrease entire vehicle

    2- Wash vehicle with ph neutral shampoo using microfibre mitt or towel

    3- dry off using microfibre drying towel (to reduce swirlmarks)

    4- Use claybar on entire vehicle, giving extra attention below windows.

    (5)- paint rubber using rotary machine (Only if needed)

    6- “Polish” using cleaner fluid from Swissvax or simular products

    7- applicate carnaubawax with atleast 40% carnauba

    8- enjoy your flawless vehicle!!

  27. D Redd says:

    ***Wash & Clay Bar first, then use one of the following***

    All Purpose: Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax

    Carnauba: Meguiar’s Yellow Wax 26

    Synthetic: Mother’s Synthetic Wax

    Try Mother’s Synthetic Wax, followed by a coat of Meguiar’s Yellow Wax 26 for an incredibly reflective surface.

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