Should You Wax A New Car? (Yes, But…)

Image Credit: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr

Image Credit: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr

Should You Wax A New Car? (Yes, But…)


Yes, you should wax a new car or apply another better form of paint protection as soon as possible to keep your finish looking new. This question gets asked because it was necessary to wait before car manufacturers perfected the car painting method and were able to cure the paint before it left the factory.

I suggest you keep reading to learn more about waxing a new car and some better paint protection alternatives that will look great and do a much better job of protecting your new automobile.

Should you wax a new car?

You should apply car wax or some other type of paint protection of some kind to your new car or truck as soon as possible to help preserve the factory-fresh finish.

Long ago, you needed to allow car paint to fully cure. The purpose was to allow all of the gases to escape and the paint to completely harden before applying wax or other protective coatings. This is no longer true with advanced painting methods used in the production of new vehicles.

Waiting 3 Months To Wax A New Car

It is highly recommended you wax your car as soon as it leaves the dealer. The longer you wait the more environmental elements and road grime your automobile will accumulate and damage your finish. In today’s world, vehicle manufactures can cure paint before leaving for the factory. You can wax your car without any problems. It is highly recommended that you or a professional detailer apply paint protection your car or truck as soon as possible to protect it.

When To Wax A Newly Painted Car

It’s common that fender benders and other accidents happen which lead to needing to repaint a portion of your automobile. If your dealing with a freshly-painted car that hasn’t come from directly off the manufacturing line, you’ll want to check with you person painting your car or truck to ensure that you don’t need to wait before waxing it. The body shop or paint shop your dealing with can let you know whether it’s safe or not. They usually use similar equipment to manufacturers so it’s likely perfectly fine to wax it but you should ask just to be sure.

Depending on the process used you may need to wait 3 months to give the paint time to fully cure before you try to apply any time of paint protection. If you’re unsure and can’t get a clear answer, it may be best to wait 3 months just to be safe.

How To Keep New Car Paint Looking New

Applying paint protection as soon as possible is the best way to keep new car paint looking new. Car wax is only one form of paint protection, and honestly it isn’t the best choice. Here are all of the choices you have for protecting the paint on your new car or truck:

Pure Carnauba Wax

Carnauba wax is known for its gloss and deep, wet look. Unfortunately, carnauba wax has a few downsides.


  • Inexpensive
  • Generally regarded as the best looking paint protection
  • Helps keep contaminants from adhering to your finish


  • Typically only lasts around a month
  • Doesn’t protect from scratches
  • It takes just as much effort to apply wax as it does to apply a more durable paint sealant

Paint Sealants

Often, when people refer to car wax they really mean paint sealant. There are many paint sealants that use the name “wax” in their description. Some of them actually contain carnauba wax in them to help improve their look.

Paint sealants are generally better than pure carnauba wax in almost every way except the depth of gloss and shine.


  • Inexpensive
  • Good paint sealants last well over a year
  • Isn’t any more difficult to apply than carnauba wax
  • Better UV protection


  • Doesn’t offer much better protection than wax other than improved UV rejection
  • Doesn’t protect from scratches

Ceramic Coating

Ceramic coatings are essentially advanced paint sealants. They create a thin and durable coating that bonds to the surface of your clear coat and provides much better protection than waxes or normal paint sealants.


  • Lasts years easily
  • Gloss and shine that rivals carnauba wax
  • Protects from ultraviolet rays as well as fine swirls and scratches
  • Available in both consumer-grade and extra-durable professional-grade formulations


  • More expensive, particularly if you have to pay a professional to apply it
  • Can’t protect from rock chips or deep scratches
  • More difficult to apply

Paint Protection Film

The most protective paint protection you can buy is paint protection film. It can repel small rocks and other things that can chip or scratch your finish. It’s far from the miracle paint protection though. I’ve written in depth about my experience with PPF and I’m personally not a fan. But there are many reasons you might disagree with me.


  • Provides the absolute best paint protection currently available


  • Not DIY-friendly
  • Extremely expensive to have a detailer apply
  • Usually needs to be replaced every 5 years or so
  • Yellows with age
  • Doesn’t look as good as any of the other options
  • Damage to a section of PPF requires the entire sheet to be removed and replaced

What is the best paint protection for a new car?

In my opinion, the best way to protect new car paint is with a ceramic coating. I used to prefer Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant, and I still love it. But ceramic coatings have one me over for their better shine and their almost apply-and-forget longevity and durability.

Your needs and desires will obviously determine what is the best fit for your needs. I suggest researching each of the options well yourself before you settle on one option.

Is it necessary to wax my car? (Or apply any other type of paint protection)

I consider it necessary. If you don’t apply wax or another paint protection and keep it protected, your clear coat will begin peeling. You’ll also end up with fine swirls and scratches in the clear coat if you don’t have at least a ceramic coating applied or paint protection film.

If you get a new car every few years you may not “need” to wax your car but it won’t look as nice if you plan to sell it a few years later. Also, a good paint protection can help prevent issues that may arise when turning in a leased vehicle.

Why should new cars be waxed?

In addition to helping to keep your car looking new, wax and other paint protectants will help keep your finish cleaner by preventing harsh elements from adhering to the paint job and breaking down the clear coat. Also, wax helps resell dust, acid rain, and other harsh weather your vehicle may be exposed to. Quality paint protectants will also protect from damaging UV rays from the sun.

If you do keep your car or truck for many years, you will definitely want to strongly consider a high quality hybrid wax at a minimum. Regular carnauba wax will help but reapplying every month will likely be too much effort to maintain yourself or too expensive to pay to have done.

A ceramic coating will provide the longest lasting protection with the lowest amount of maintenance of all of the options and is DIY friendly. It is more involved than simply applying wax or sealant but it is easily done by the average DIY detailer.


How to wax a new car

Waxing a new car really isn’t much different than waxing a car that has been waxed before. Actually, I encourage you to follow the same steps. You may want to skip decontamination since the paint is new. I suggest still going through the decontamination process to ensure that you remove any impurities before applying wax or some other paint protection.

A brand new car may have had bird droppings, iron fallout, or other contaminants on the surface despite being brand new.

Here’s a high-level process I suggest for waxing a new car or truck:

  • Thoroughly wash with a wax stripping shampoo
  • Decontaminate with a clay bar and iron remover
  • Prep the surface with a pre-wax cleaner
  • If you’re applying a ceramic coating, you may want to consider polishing out any paint defects
  • Apply your chosen car wax or other paint protection
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