A number of drivers like to have their cars spick and span at all times. That doesn’t mean the others don’t take (good) care of their vehicles, it just means that certain people like to have, see and drive an immaculately clean car ALWAYS. They perform regular car maintenance, clean it thoroughly at least once a day, wax it and don’t let you get in with muddy shoes and food in your hands. That being said, even if you do not fall into this category, you must have had your car waxed at least once in your driving lifetime – or may have done it yourself – which could have caused you to wonder how it’s done properly. The when, why and how of it all can be quite exhausting, especially having in mind that everyone you’ve ever talked about it and their mother seem to have an opinion on whether or not it should be done in the sun. Stick with us while we solve this mystery!
One of the misconceptions about waxing is that you should do it only during summer. That is simply not true. You can and SHOULD have your car waxed – or do it yourself – throughout the year, but the purpose of this action changes with the season.
In the summer, you wax your car because it looks kind of old and neglected in the sun, in the driveway and next to your flowers. But when the winter comes, you do it to protect your car from the elements.
In the winter, your enemy is not only the snow, but also the salt used by road crews to melt the ice and snow gathering on the roads. It has a nasty habit of sticking to the undercarriage, wheels and brakes of your car and leads to corrosion of metal parts exposed to it. Therefore, wash your car regularly to clean the salt, even in the winter, and wax it, especially behind the wheels, quarter panels and front grille to prevent corroding. In the summer, you don’t have this kind of problems unless you live in the region with snow melting excessively or rain falling in abundance.
But, car waxing does usually take place during the summer months, because there is more daylight available and you have more time to spend outside in the sun. Waxing during dry weather is important, since unless you are using a high-quality paste, the wax needs time to dry out before it is fully able to protect the car.
So, when waxing your car in the summer, should you do it in the (direct) sun?
First, we need to define the term DIRECT SUNLIGHT. If it means the sun is out, but it’s not a particularly hot day, or it’s morning or early evening, or it’s cloudy but the sun is out, that’s one thing. If by the term you mean direct sunlight on a black car at 1:00 PM in the middle of a black asphalt parking lot in a desert town, that’s a whole other thing.
Therefore, there are some factors that will determine how well the wax will perform when applied in the sun, since you have to be watchful of extremely hot temperatures whenever you are waxing your car.
As a rule of thumb, any day above 27 degrees Celsius will not be a good day to wax your car. Try not to place your car in direct sunlight while waxing and avoid intense heat from other sources as well – like the engine if the car has been recently driven. Before starting, make sure your car has been turned off for a while. If you have just turned off your car before starting to apply the wax, then it will be too hot for it to properly do its job.
It is also a good idea to try not to wax your car on a specifically hot day. While hot car wax is something that is used often for cars, the actual temperature of the car or the surroundings should be a cool summer day – if you can catch one. It is best to wax your car in the shade on especially warm days. If the sun is beating down onto your car as you wax, then it will bake the wax onto your car making the wax very difficult to remove, which can actually do more harm than good to your coat of paint.
When working on a cool surface in the shade, all waxes will perform their best. The recommended time of day to wax the car during summer is definitely in the evening, so that the car has several hours of darkness to fully dry before being exposed to the midday sun. However, if you are stuck between a rock and a hard place and for whatever reason you have to apply wax on a hot surface on a hot day in direct sun, a good way to improve your chances of doing a good job is to dramatically reduce the size of your work area so that you have the time to apply it properly before it sets.
Overall, whether you are waxing your car in hot temperatures (to beautify your car) or cold ones (to protect it) there are ways around it. It is always recommended to wax your car at a comfortable temperature. If it is too hot or too cold you will find the wax could be difficult to remove or could do damage to the coat. You are not required to wax your car more than once a year unless it is a show car or if you live in an extreme environment. If however, you don’t want to do it more than once a year, just do so during the spring or the fall when the temperatures are not extreme and save yourself a headache.
Or you could just come to our repair shops in Hamilton and Stoney Creek – we are expecting you!