Wax On or Off? It All Depends

Posted by Lydia on 12 June 2018

Categorised in General

First released Down Under in 1984, The Karate Kid taught us a lot of valuable lessons. Daniel LaRusso’s wise karate teacher Mr. Miyagi taught us there are always good people around to help stand up to bullies – and, most crucially, the importance of good car waxing. Sure, the movie was all about martial arts, but it also delivered the iconic line ‘Wax on, wax off’.

Wax On

Waxing is fantastic for two key reasons. The first is aesthetics. We all know a good-looking car when we see one, and a coat of wax can really add ‘oomph’ to that first impression. A good coat of wax adds an extra shine that makes a car look great whether parked or in motion.


Beyond the looks factor, wax also plays an important role in the maintenance of your car’s decal. Adding an extra layer of protection will help defend it against fading from UV rays, as well as from minor scratches and other damage. It won’t stop a dent if a tree branch drops on your car, but it may stop a scratch if you accidentally brush by a branch driving through the neighbourhood.


In addition to being a protective coat for your car’s decal, a good wax polish can also help restore it. Let’s say you did get a minor scratch from brushing by that tree branch. A cleaning of the surface area followed by a new coat of wax may fill the scratch. For minor damage and imperfections, building this habit into your regular maintenance routine can save lots of time and money in the long run.

Wax Off

After a while, a coat of wax can begin to become a nuisance instead of a benefit to your car.

An old coat of wax can begin to run, get streaky, and fade, creating discolouration. A good test is to run your hand over the surface of your car. If it feels rough instead of smooth, it’s time to change the wax.

Removing the wax itself is a pretty straightforward task; it just requires some pre-wax cleaner.  

A wash of your car, an application of the pre-wax cleaner, and then a wipe-down with a hand cloth at the end of its application will do the trick.

Like waxing, using a quality product here is critical to getting the best results. Also, be ready to do the job a second time if it seems like some wax remains that didn’t wash off the first time around.

When Shouldn’t You Wax?

Waxing is always a good task to do for your car, but there are some exceptions to this rule.

Every wax job requires a thorough cleaning of the car before the wax is applied, or it could ruin the whole job. So if you’re looking to do a wax one evening or weekend and find you’re running out of time, it’s best to leave it until later.


Usually when it comes to good car maintenance, the rule is to take care of things ASAP, but waxing is one of those exceptions. If you don’t have the time to do a full wash beforehand, you can (and should) leave the waxing until next time.

Do You Need a Professional?

Nobody is saying John or Joan Citizen should completely rebuild an engine block by themselves, but DIY is definitely something Aussies can do well. It can save you time and money along the way.


Waxing is an area where confident car fans can take charge, too. It’s important to note that professional waxers do have premium products and equipment – it’s part of the reason the Aussie car wash and detailing industry makes $559 million annually. Good products cost good money, but they also get good results. So if you’ve decided to DIY wax and want results that mirror a professional job, make sure you spend some time researching what the professionals use, and then take the time to acquire the proper products.

Weather Worries

Alongside the general rule that you should wax every three months, the time of year is a factor too. Before the summer season kicks into high gear, it’s important to give your car a fresh coat of wax. That will help protect it from harsh UV rays. This is especially important to do if, like most Aussies, you spend lots of time in direct sunlight on road trips, or even just parked at the beach.


The same applies to the winter season. The great majority of car fans across the Great Southern Land won’t regularly deal with snow throughout the colder months. But all that extra moisture and water can still have a damaging effect on your decal.


That’s why giving your car a coat of wax before the temperature really starts to plummet is essential. It’s true some parts of Australia have some weird weather trends. For example, October gives Melbourne its wettest month of the year in springtime.


Alongside confirming the famous ‘four seasons in one day’ saying about the Victorian capital, such conditions make planning a wax trickier than in more predictable climates. In cases like this, use your local knowledge and pick a time on the calendar you think is best.


The legacy of The Karate Kid is big – there’s even a new YouTube series – but for a movie about martial arts, it really got car fans talking. As a car fan, it’s unlikely you need a reminder to keep on top of your maintenance; but just in case you do, next time you see The Karate Kid on TV, ask yourself how long it’s been since you last waxed the car. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to do so.

Best of all, waxing can be fun, so put on an 80’s playlist and have at it.


Do you wax your own car, or prefer to have someone else do it? What tips can you share? Let us know in the comments below:


Image: Pixabay






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