Fall Car Care: Choosing The Right Wax For Inclement Weather

Winter will soon be here and hand washing a car in the cold isn’t something people daydream of doing.

Thankfully, there’s still time to protect your paint job with a specially formulated wax that can withstand some of the coldest, wettest days of the year.

“‘Winter waxing as a preparation should generally be done in the fall,” said Mark Taylor of Collinite Corporation, an automobile wax manufacturer in Utica, New York. “If the surface is too cold, the wax will not bond correctly--if at all.”

Wax provides a layer of protection, allowing water to bead and easily wick away.

“Insulator wax is the best choice when someone wants lasting protection and simplicity, especially when hard buffing and frequent reapplication are impractical,” said Taylor, who operates the fourth generation business with his brother, Patrick. “It’s a durable coating that preserves finish and shields against the elements, like ultraviolet rays, rain, snow, salt, dust, dirt, grime, bugs, staining and more.”

Routinely washing and waxing your vehicle proves vital to helping the exterior stand up to the elements, like snow, ice, road salts and constant rain.

And it’s important to do it before temperatures turn frigid, Taylor said. For example, the air temperature shouldn't be less than 55 degrees when you apply wax.

The Taylors offer the following tips on applying the right winter wax and making it as efficient as possible:

  • Look for a wax formulated for winter. These specialty waxes contain ingredients that insulate, providing further protection against the elements.
  • Apply to a freshly washed vehicle. Wax works best when applied to a clean, dry surface. While hand-washing your vehicle is preferred, save time by going to a local car wash facility.
  • Keep a pair of waterproof gloves handy. A pair of waterproof gloves and boots can help keep your hands and feet warm and dry while working the hose and suds.
  • Use small amounts of wax. Don’t overdo it--use small dabs applied to a microfiber applicator pad. Spread thinly, evenly across one small section of the exterior at a time.
  • Polish after wax has dried. Polish off with dry microfiber towel as soon as wax dries/hazes.
  • Fun Fact: Insulator wax didn’t begin its life as a car care product. This heavy duty solution was originally developed for electric utilities for protection against high-voltage power failures, explosions and fires. It just so happens the solution also provides a lasting finish on durable, high-gloss finishes.