ALL ABOUT CAR WAX waxed painted surface protects the paint from many contaminants including minor abrasions, along with protection from UV rays and infra-red light. Waxes which supposedly clean and wax in one application compromise both processes. Brazilian Carnauba (car-NOW-ba) wax is wax of choice for automotive paints. Wax provides an invisible barrier to protect the paint. Since carnauba is hygroscopic, meaning that it naturally absorbs water, it expands upon application to a car's painted surface and protects it from the elements.

Pure carnauba is impossible to apply in such form -- it is rock-hard. Pure high grade carnauba, when mixed with natural oils in ranges from 25 to 50 percent produce the deepest and richest shine to a painted surface. There are compromises in achieving such a result. Ease of application durability, and speed in getting the job done often require a greater mix of silicone's and polymers and less carnauba.

Those types of waxes often sacrifice depth of gloss and shine to the paint. Your needs may be suited by specific products which balance the ease of application, depth of shine, and durability of the end result. With pure waxes with natural oils as the carrying agent, wax will adhere to the paint immediately without white residue or deposits left. Wax is applied in straight strokes in either direction and taken up with a clean terry cloth towel before it dries at the point where it becomes tacky. If wax is applied in high humidity it may streak. It may also streak due to uneven application if you apply the wax in a circular motion.

Small areas should be waxed at one time. Constantly rotate the cleaning towel to apply a fresh area of the towel for proper wax removal. Use a foam applicator for the wax application rather than a cloth. The closed cell foam will not absorb wax into the material -- all you want to do is apply a thin film onto the paint for a proper application. Only a microscopic portion of wax adheres to the surface of the paint.

Excess wax will only be wiped off and wasted in the process if too much wax is applied at one time. An eight ounce container of wax should enable you to do ten to twenty applications of your car's finish. The Facts Behind Wax For many de tailers, nothing finishes off a well-detailed car like a high quality finish wax or polish. Done right, the shiny finish will instill you with the pride that comes with a job well done. More importantly, a shiny car will impress customers and keep them coming back too your shop. But what, exactly, is wax?

Depending on who you talk to, it's any number of things, from a specific chemical substance to a general term for anything that shines and protects a car. 'A lot of people misunderstand the work wax,' says Bob Wemmer, president of marketing and development for Hi-Temp Products, Omaha, NE. Wax is actually much more than just wax, he says. Waxes are generally blends which contain other ingredients.

'Polishing products contain more than just wax,' says Rowell Sims, vice president of Motorcar Valet, Inc., Cottonwood, UT. 'The best thing to do when you " re talking about wax or polish is to stress that it's that its' going to protect. A polishing compound is different from polish or wax. Depending on the type of compound used, abrasion, chemical action and / or heat from the buffing pad are used to rectify paint-work problems and bring back paint luster. On the other hand, a polish or wax is designed as a protective topcoat to the paint-work surface.

' The line is blurry between polishes and waxes. Though polishes and waxes can be similar or even identical, finishing wax may differ from a finishing polish, according to Craig Burnett, a chemist with Mother's Polishes & Waxes, Huntington Beach, CA. 'A true wax is simply a coating that goes on tip of your surface,' he says. 'Polishes often provide two steps -- they polish and clean, and wax.

' Defining the Terms The strict interpretation of the word wax is: the actual substance, as in carnauba wax, beeswax or paraffin. Wax is an organic material which is solid at room temperature, melts at a fairly low point and is not a polymer, according to Dave Phillips, chemical operations manager for P&S Sales, Inc., Hayward, CA. Waxes come in many types, including vegetable (carnauba), animal (bees), mineral petroleum (paraffin and micro-crystalline) and fossil (mont an). They may also be synthetic. "h Waxes have a wide range of properties, Phillips says, but in the automobile finish business, four are most often considered: hardness "h melting point (about 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit) "h water repellence "h resistance to breakdown.

Waxes are also often described by their consistency. 'There are several different grades of wax,' Wemmer says. 'There are hard waxes, like carnauba, and softer waxes. When different waxes are used, they " re often blended in products for ease of applications and hardness of finish. ' To Protect and Shine As a general term for the final step in car, after compounding and other automobile finish repair techniques, wax is any of several blends which protect a car's paint and make it shine -- whether or not the mix actually includes a wax (like carnauba). 'Typically, when people talk about a car wax or finish product, the term wax has grown to indicate that it's the final step, 'Phillips says.

'It tends to have good gloss, good durability and good polishing, but is low in the cut range so it doesn't scratch the surface. That's what people are looking for when they " re talking about a wax or finish product. ' The finishing coat on a car serves two basic purposes: Protection -- Waxes serve as a sacrificial barrier so that acid rain, pine pitch and other contaminants attack the wax rather than the paint finish. 'You want to use wax because you want a barrier to slough off rather that have the paint oxidize, whether it's a clear coat or a color coat that's on the top surface,' Sims says. Waxes protect in three ways, according to Phillips. They prevent acid rain and other fallout from corroding the paint's surface.

By improving mar and slip resistance, they prevent dirt and dust from abrading the paint surface. And they prevent oxygen from reaching the finish and oxidizing it. Shine -- Waxes help improve the reflection of light off the car, making the finish look brighter, smoother and more attractive. Neither purpose is necessarily more important that the other.

In fact, some manufactures may stress looks over length of protection; other may stress how long the finish will last. 'There is a difference in philosophy,' says V ibert Kesler, president of Motorcar Valet, Inc. 'Some people want to put something on the paint that will last six months or five years. Others want something that will slough off as a protection against environmental hazards, that you can keep putting on without building up.

' Kesler says his company recommends the latter. Other Ingredients Waxes are blends of more than just wax. Substances are added to wax to make it spread more easily, shine brighter and last longer. Ingredients which can affect a wax's performance, rather than just its color or consistency, include silicone and polymers. 'Plating polymers and silicone's are going to give more durability than just wax,' Wemmer says. 'A lot of waxes don't contain only wax.

They " ve got silicone's in them or air-curing polymers for detergent resistance and higher gloss, but it may not say it on the can. ' Phillips adds, 'Generally speaking polymers are included to improve the durability. But polymers is a really broad term and can be misused. ' Formulated properly, polymers (chains of molecules) will cross-link and form a bond over the paint surface.

However, many of the thickeners used in waxes are polymers, so it's easy to use 'contains polymers' on a bottle label, Phillips says. He suggests that de tailers judge products by how they work, not what they say. Silicones may also be added to a wax to enhance its performance. 'Silicone is technically a polymer, but it's a short chain polymer,' Phillips says. 'It will add to ease of use, and it definitely adds to the slipperiness of the coating. It also adds depth and gloss.

' Waxes also vary by the amount of water that's in the mixture. Hard paste waxes often contain very little water. Softer pastes and liquid waxes generally have more water in them. Durability and Frequency Waxes are temporary barriers against the elements. They are expected to last about two to three months or less, depending on the formula and the level of protection and shine that the car owner desires. Often, however, the more often a consumer gets their car waxed, the better.

Sims says that while the wax coating may last longer than a month or two on some areas of the car, frequent waxing will ensure a car is protected. 'The wax may last six months to a year,' he says. 'But it isn't going to be uniform all over the car. ' Phillips agrees.

While some products may last several months, he says, car finishes will look much better and feel much better -- and provide more customer satisfaction -- if the waxes are applied more often. Where the motorist stores their car can affect this schedule. A car that is garaged at both home and work, and thus spends little time exposed to the elements, will have a tendency to hold onto its wax coat longer. Detailers sometimes try to blend brands or lines of waxes on their own, hoping to come up with a special mixture. But manufactures says this is not the best way to use the products. 'The best thing that can be done is to use the product as specified by the manufacture,' Sims says.

Surface Preparation Before adding the top coat of wax, de tailers have to ensure that the car's finish is properly cleaned and prepared. This involves buffing or polishing the car. 'The most important part of getting a vehicle to look good is polishing,' Burnett says. 'If you " ve done a good job in polishing, and you " ve got a good, clean surface, then the wax you put on top of it will enhance it. ' Kesler says, 'Specialized refinishing polishes used in the buffing process are designed to remove scratches. The secret to a good buffing compound and good buffing technique is to rectify scratches and other imperfections with little or no removal of paint.

' Phillips adds that waxes do a great job of covering imperfections without much preparation, but says that de tailers who don't prepare the are fooling their customers. 'If you " re really going for the nicest job you can get, what you really want to do is make sure the finish is flawless,' he says. 'Then you put the protection over the top of it. Now your protected a really good surface instead of just hiding it.

' Old or New Cars As long as the car is prepared properly, the same wax formulation can generally be used for old and new cars. 'It doesn't really matter if the vehicle is old or new, because with either vehicle you have to first remove scratches and oxidization,' Wemmer says. 'You have to use some kind of leveler, compound or mild abrasive-type product. After you get past that point it doesn't really matter what you use on it or how old the vehicle is. Then, any type of wax product, sealant or glaze will work on the finish, as long as it's been cleaned properly.

' But despite the quality of the refinished surface, Kesler says waxes should always be chosen carefully. He recommends de tailers make sure that the final product offers the best in protection, shine and luster. The age of the car can affect the outcome of the wax job, or the amount of time the shine lasts. 'You " re always going to have a pretty good gloss with a clear coat,' Wemmer says.

'But with a high solids or acrylic enamel., the paint is always oxidizing. The oxidization may come back fairly quick. ' Detailers may also have to remind owners of less expensive cars that consumers often get what they pay for. Burnett says most expensive cars have excellent finishes, but some lower-priced cars may not.

'With upper-end cars, American companies have done an excellent job with paint -- they are equal to or better than the Japanese paint,' Burnett says. 'But in economy cars and trucks, the Americans haven't done such a good job. The quality doesn't seem to be there. ' Kesler agrees.

Motorcar Valet, Inc. has dealt with inferior pain jobs on inexpensive cars from many countries. 'It has been our experience that lower-priced cars from all countries have economy paint jobs, be they Japanese, America or otherwise,' Kesler says. Even top-quality clear coats need protection, however. They still face attach by acid ran, sap, bird droppings and other substances that cause harm.

'Even the most durable paints need some sort of wax on them,' Wemmer says. Sims recommends that the car be buffed to repair the finish about twice a year, once before summer, once before winter, with additional costs of wax between each buffing PAINT PROTECTANTSDoes any of this sound familiar? Product is a protestant for the exterior paint finish or your vehicle - contains Teflon for durability - eliminates the need to wax your vehicle - protects paint against environment induced fading, oxidization, cracking, resists most common acids, alkalis salts and harsh detergents - enhances paint luster, keeps your paint finish looking great just by washing it - increases resale value - lifetime unlimited warranty, transferable to subsequent owners - seeps into the pores of your paint and expands causing it to seal itself to the paint - creates a protective coating from the harsh elements such as the sun, wind and saltwater - a special blend of resins and cleaning agents which gently emulsifies the oxidation and dirt out of your paint - restores the original luster, removes light scratches and repairs minor clear coat damages - is made of a special blend of resins and cleaning agents, from a secret formula which is classified - formula contains NO: wax, silicon, Teflon, acrylic, oil or grease, is also non-abrasive, non-toxic and bio-degradable - once you have applied it according to the directions provided, you will never have to wash with soap again, just rinse - all you have to do is RINSE, safe for all vehicles, especially boats, cars, RV's, motorcycles, trucks, bicycles, vans, airplanes, jet skis and much much more - never wash your car again, just rinse and wipe dry - protect ants that make metal, paint, leather, vinyl &; glass shine like never before - works tough to help resist the ravages of dirt, grit, salt water, UV rays from the sun - protect like nothing you " ve seen before - provides quality restoration and effective protection to all kinds of auto finishes - restore deep gloss to damaged and oxidized pain of most used cars - neutralizes acid molecules which penetrate auto finishes and protects the entire vehicle - contains a silicone sealant, which penetrates the surface of the finish, waxes - add luster to the paint, and a combination of resins and Teflon, which harden the surface and make it - impervious to further oxidation, acid rain and small scratches The claims go on and on when it comes to waxes, polishes, paint sealant. If you are considering buying a new car, you no doubt will be faced with the decision regarding the addition of paint sealant, normally, an add-on by the dealership.

These paint se alan t applications can run upwards to $500.00 depending on the warranty, etc. The question is are they really worth the cost? Well, the answer is - its your money! From my own personal experiences: 1 -a paint sealant applied by the dealership on a new 91 Ford Explorer ($329.95) and 2 -a paint sealant applied by an aftermarket company on a new 93 Dodge Dakota ($479.00).

BOTH vehicles were all Black. The big question is 'do they really live up to their claims?' From my own personal experience, it would be an emphatic NO. You still have to wash your car. After a point in time, you still need to apply a wax, polish, or cleaner to remove a build up of dirt, grime, oil, etc. that can't be removed with a simple wash or rinse. Is it worth the cost? If you are planning on keeping your car more than 4 years, it might be worth the investment, however, don't be lulled into a false sense that no further maintenance is required.

I personally have purchased new vehicles without any paint protect ants and kept them for five years with 125,000 miles. The paint and exterior was still in good shape. I might add that I am somewhat particular about the appearance of my vehicles and perform cleaning an waxing no less than two times each year, - - and - - keep them washed in the winter to keep road salt off. If you don't have the time to perform semi-annual cleaning and waxing, look into having a reputable detailing shop provide assistance. One last word, make sure you apply a good carnauba wax for a longer lasting finish.