Should I Remove Old Wax Before Waxing Car? (Answered!)


Many beginner car detailers and regular car owners ask themselves whether or not they should remove old wax before waxing a car. This is a solid question. I mean, think about it. The old wax on the car might interfere with the new wax.

So, I wanted to find out more about this matter. I went out to a local detailing shop and talked to a detailing professional that has been working on cars for over 15 years. This is what he told me about removing old wax.

Should I Remove Old Wax Before Waxing Car?

Should I Remove Old Wax Before Waxing Car

Yes. You should remove old wax before waxing your car because adding a fresh layer on top of an older layer of wax will haze your paint. The wax lasts for about three months and you want to add a fresh layer of wax that will protect your car paint. Wax is an organic substance that’s put on the car paint and is designed to protect it from scratches and environmental elements.

Wax is used for protection on car paint. Compared to polish which thins the clay coats out, the wax actually sits on top of the clear coat. It provides more protection to the paint by adding that extra layer. Since it offers protection to the car paint, there is no reason why you won’t want to wax your vehicle.

Wax usually lasts for about three months and costs around $135 to get it done by a shop, or about $15 if you do it yourself. Since there is a big difference in the cost, more and more car owners tend to wax their cars by themselves. However, just because you have the will to do something, doesn’t mean that you know how to do it.

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That is where the question should remove old wax before applying a new layer of wax arise. It is a fair question that, to be honest, not even I knew before. So, I got up early and went to a local detailing shop. A professional detailer always removes the old wax before applying a new layer of wax to a vehicle. They say that adding a fresh layer of wax to an old layer of wax will make your paint look hazy. That is something that we do not want.

How To Remove Old Wax On a Car?

Should I Remove Old Wax Before Waxing Car

Whether you are a professional auto detailer or just a DIY car enthusiast, you need to know the importance of removing old wax before applying a new layer of wax. Although there are many methods for removing old wax on the internet, I think this is the easiest and cheapest way.

Here is how to remove old wax on a car:

1. Required items for the job

2. Wash the car

Should I Remove Old Wax Before Waxing Car

Washing your car before removing old wax is very important. When you drive your car, a lot of dirt and debris get stuck on the actual paint. Some of them are large enough and you can see them, but some of them are very tiny. So, if you do not wash your car and remove the dirt and debris, when you scrub your paint with a mitt to remove the old wax, you will scratch the car paint. So, wash your car and then proceed to the next step.

Before actually removing the wax, you need to spray water on the car. I normally go panel by panel. So, what I would do is I would spray the hood with water, then remove the wax and move it onto the side panels, doors, trunk, etc. Grab a hose or a bucket with water and get the working surface wet.

3. Add some of the soap to the wash mitt

The Meguiar’s hyper wash is a highly concentrated soap that many detailers use. It has 400:1 dilution or one ounce per five gallons of water. Do not use the soap without diluting it because it might damage the car paint. So, dilute the hyper wash soap into the water and then soak the mitt in it. Make sure that the mitt is fully soaked. Do not worry about your car paint, this soap will only remove the old wax.

4. Scrub to strip the old wax

Using a polishing-like motion, apply pressure to the paint using the soaked mitt. If the wax on the vehicle is old and has begun falling by itself, you will be able to remove the wax easily. However, if you waxed your car about a month ago, you might need to add some elbow grease. While you remove the old wax, this hyper wash soap will also remove any swirls that may have been there for years from improper washing and drying.

Let me shed some more light on here. If the wax on your vehicle is very old and has begun falling by itself, you can easily remove it with an all-purpose cleaner (that has no bleach, no fragrances, and no abrasive chemicals). This means that regular dish soap can remove the wax. However, if the wax on your vehicle is around three-four months old, you will need a stronger soap, like the one I mentioned above.

5. Test to see if the wax has been removed

When a surface is properly waxed, the water beads up and runs off very quickly. It has a very distinct way of doing that. However, when the surface has no wax on it, the water kind of sits and doesn’t run. That is how you can test each panel of your vehicle and verify that you have indeed removed the old wax.

So, grab a hose or a bucket of water and test each panel one by one. In the car panels where the water beads up, you will need to re-do the whole process and remove the old wax. On the panels that the water just stays, those are good to go.

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Hi there. I am a certified Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) mechanic since 2018 and a car detailer for 10 years.

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