Store Bought Car Waxes (No Zaino Posts, Please)

vivonavivona Member Posts: 410
edited March 2014 in Honda
There is a topic on waxes that is mostly
discussions about products, like Zaino, that
require many hours of works and several costs, with
waits between each coat. I am sure that those
kind of waxes have their place, but not everyone is
a detailer.

I, like the most of car owners, have other
interests and demands on my time. I do want my car
to look nice and be protected, but realistically
can only get around to waxing once every six
months, or even once a year. And I need a wax that
can be easily applied and removed.

So how about this topic being for recommendations
about products you find at the local store, like
Turtle Wax, NuFinish, Meguiars, etc.

I'll start the discussion. I have used NuFinish
for many years and find the paste wax to do a great
job of cleaning. I get water beading for at least
8 months, sometimes up to a year, as advertised.
The only downside is if you get some on black trim,
it is hard to remove. I just bought a new car and
decided to try another product, Turtle Wax Emerald
Paste. I just did the whole car in Emerald,
except a section of the hood which I did in
NuFinish paste as a test.

Consumer Reports did a test of car waxes in 1994
and rated Meguiars as best for shine and NuFinish
paste as longest lasting. Turtle Wax Carnauba Soft
Paste was rated in between those two, but that
product has been discontinued. I am hoping that
the Emerald product will perform as well as the
discontinued Carnauba Soft.

What store bought waxes do you use and how do you
like them?

And, please, don't use this topic for waxes, like
Zaino, that cost $25 or more and take a lot of
time. Keep those discussions in the topic already
set aside for that.



  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioMember Posts: 864
    I would not use ANY paste wax that hazes to a hard finish. It will scratch your vehicle. Regardless of price, it doesn't make sense to scratch while you wax, right?

    I have Meguiers gold carnauba. I'm not sure how long it lasts, but it seems to last longer in the cold months, and evaporate pretty quickly during hot months. It is relatively easy to apply and take off, temperature being right, and the can lasts an awful long time as it spreads very thing :)
  • mt1mt1 Member Posts: 4
    I use finish 2001 its last for a year. It does aecent job and just wipe on and wipe off. I have never tried the real expensive brands, I do not have patiemce to be working for 4 or 5 hours waxing my beaters. My cars do look nice though.
  • sebargesebarge Member Posts: 50
    Use Meguiars paste carnauba wax #26 and get a great shine. Used the Meguiar's #7 polish cleaner and it did quite well, but after trying Clay, (specifically Erazer clay) have switched to that for yearly removal of contaminants. Meguiar's still is time consuming for me, (& I work out my arm muscles) but probably less time than Zaino.
    Thinking of trying the Meguiars liquid wax.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    I'm with you all.

    Tried Turtle Wax Emerald on a '98 Escort, was pretty disappointed with poor water beading a couple of weeks later (sorry, that is how I measure wax performance). I think the exact scientific definition is hydrophobic contact angle.
    Had much better performance from Rain Dance many years ago on a non-clear coat trooperII. Also had pretty good experience with finish2001. Used Meguiar's on a motorcycle a couple of years ago - not sure of the type but I was pretty happy.

    My new Silverado will be here in a month and I would love ya'lls input.
    PS. If it costs more than around $10, aint gonna buy.........function over form!
  • joecarojoecaro Member Posts: 44
    Years ago I bought a can of Astroshield, "World's Finest Auto Polish and Glaze. Contains no wax."
    I just found it behind stuff, so I decided to kill the can and use it on my old toyota. Easy to put on, great shine, and if my memory serves, it lasts a LONG time. Sayes you can also use it on aircraft, trailes, tractors.
    Contains petroleum distillates and various polymers. Haven't seen it on the market for years, though.
  • vivonavivona Member Posts: 410
    markbuck -

    I had previously tested Turtle Wax Emerald on a portion of the hood and the beading only lasted two weeks. I am hoping that was because I had used a car wash that had strong detergent. I just did the whole car with Emerald and it was very easy to apply and buff off, no dust or scratching. I did a strip of the hood with NuFinish Paste as a test. I hope the Emerald lasts (beads) like the NuFinish did on my previous car (up to a year), but if it doesn't, I'll probably go back to the NuFinish.
  • vivonavivona Member Posts: 410
    joecaro -

    You can buy Astroshield at:
  • ruskiruski Member Posts: 1,566
    I think the Meguairs Gold Class is better than Turtle Wax emerald series. Used both, the Turtle Wax seemed to be OK at first, but did not last.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    Any comments? It is the orange bottle that won Consumer Reports a while back.
  • vivonavivona Member Posts: 410
    markbuck -

    NuFinish Paste (Orange Can) was rated as most durable. NuFinish (Orange Bottle) was rated slightly lower, but still in the top section of the list.

    To the group -

    Any interest in me posting the results of the Consumer Reports test? Though it was in 1994, most waxes are still the same and are still available. And it was surprising how price was not a guide to quality.

    As to Turtle Wax Emerald (too new, not in the Consumer Reports test) anybody else use it? Please post your comments.
  • vivonavivona Member Posts: 410
    My wife's car was only 3 months old when it got oversprayed with white paint from a nearby construction project. Since the car was white we opted to not try to compound the overspray off the paint. Got it off the glass with a razor blade.

    After 10 years of having a car that looked nice, but upon closer inspection had little bumps in the finish that you could feel, I found a way to remove the white paint overspray without removing any of the actual car paint. It's a product called Clay Magic. You spray a little lubricant on the paint, then rub a blue clay block on the paint and all surface contaminants, overspray, tree sap, etc. comes off. Leaves the paint silky smooth. Then you wash, wax and it looks like new. I would have never believed it if I hadn't done it myself.

    I bought my Clay Magic at an auto parts store called Pep Boys. It comes with the clay and lubricant for $20. If you can't find it locally, enter the words "Clay Magic" in a search engine and you can find places on the web that sell it.
  • joecarojoecaro Member Posts: 44
    I just started using clay magic, and it is great stuff. It is helpful to clean your vehicle really well first. This will keep the clay lasting longer since then it will only have to pick up the embedded dirt. Then give it a thorough waxing. The results are amazing.
  • 1timer1timer Member Posts: 2
    where does one aquire Clay Magic? Local auto shop, or specialty store?
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioMember Posts: 864 mail order also.
  • sebargesebarge Member Posts: 50
    which does what Clay Magic does, you can get it at
    I was quite impressed w/ the difference it made on my '98 car.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    I like this brand a lot. The shine and duration is great. Available at Pep Boys and Discount Auto stores. On the can it states that it's a pure carnauba wax with no cleaners.

    It smells nice, applies, and comes off easily, but be sure to moisten the applicator pad, and only apply a small amount at a time; putting on too much is a common mistake when applying paste waxes, which is the reason most people think they are very hard to work with.

    You can touch up in between waxes with Mother's California Gold Show time instant detailer.

    My 2 cents. ;-)
  • sebargesebarge Member Posts: 50
    Meguiar's paste carnauba and Mother's paste carnauba? Any difference seen? Is one easier to use over the other? Am about out of Meguair's #26 paste, and was wondering. It does a great job, but I may try the Mother's to see if there's a difference.
  • clintonjohnclintonjohn Member Posts: 99
    well, based upon the recommendations I've seen here, I went out and popped the $20 for clay magic. haven't used it yet, so I'll post here later, but just had to say that as I've never paid more than $3 for car wax, I'd better get tons of women drooling over my '92 Tracker.
  • jvcnjvcn Member Posts: 50
    The problem with the report is that they mixed very different products together (cleaner/wax vs. polishes vs. pure waxes, etc.) Also there was no comparison (for example) of Meguiar's one step cleaner/wax vs. doing Meguiar's own 3 step process. There also wasn't much discussion of whether product X might be good for a new car, but product Y might be better for an old beater with a worn finish. Meguiar's doesn't recommend using the cleaner wax on a new car with a good finish. A polish plus a pure wax might be better.

    I found the article a useful first pass. Wish they would follow up with more systematic tests and the latest products.
  • vivonavivona Member Posts: 410
    The Consumer Reports article compared the kind of waxes usually found, and bought, from the auto department of a department store. Regardless of what the can said (wax, polish, cleaner/wax) the intended outcome of the purchase was the same: Wipe it on, buff it off, great shine, go do something else for many months. They did not test multiple step waxes because the average person is not going to do their car several times to complete a wax job.

    They did identify, and group separately, some waxes that were too abrasive for a new car.

    Though Consumer Reports tests may not always meet every reader's particular needs, they are one of the few sources of actual comparisons of products based on a disclosed measurement process. With no advertising clients to cater to, I trust their independence.

    I wish they would do another wax/polish test and include some of the new stuff.
  • vivonavivona Member Posts: 410
    This is a followup to my previous post regarding using Clay Magic. I just finished the entire car and the results are truly amazing. It's hard to believe that my wife had to drive a car with white specs on it for 10 years when it was so easy get them off with clay. But, then I didn't know about clay until recently.

    I agree that it is important to thoroughly clean the car before claying. I missed some dirt on the bottom half of the doors and that made the clay dirty. Some of the pros recommend that you wash the car with diswashing detergent (they like Dawn) to really strip off all dirt and wax before claying. Probably a good idea.

    It took about the same time to clay the car as it would to wax it. The finished job left the paint silky smooth and very glossy. Then I did the entire car with Meguiars Cleaner Wax (chosen for its gloss ability) the the car looks absolutely striking. It's hard to believe a car that will turn 11 in April can look as shiny as a new clearcoated car, but it does!

    If the Meguiars doesn't last long, I will switch back to Nu Finish for durability and use Meguiars when the gloss needs a boost.
  • jvcnjvcn Member Posts: 50

    You're right that CR just wanted to test stuff at the store. But surely they could have informed readers that, for example, a cleaner/wax has abrasives. In contrast, a pure wax works best on a brand new car or one that's been polished and has no abrasives to clean an older surface.

    Of course a buyer walking into a store just wants to buy something off the shelf and use it. But CR should at least inform me of what was going on.

    Further to compare different products without noting their different functions would be like rating cars as different as a sedan, coupe, minivan, and light truck in the same grouping.

    But I agree the test was helpful.

    I would note that if you've taking the trouble to clay the car, don't use the cleaner/wax, use the Gold Class Wax or one of the other high quality Carnauba Waxes from different manufacturers. And heck, if you're doing the two step, may as well insert a polish step in between.

    Once you start claying you're moving into the world of the dedicated wax types. :)
  • shcst12shcst12 Member Posts: 34
    I am new in this discussion :) I want to know how often does a car need to be "clayed"? Can you use clay for any type of car--clear coat safe?
    I am currnetly using Meguairs Gold Classic, and I found this wax doesn't last, but it shines nicely right after applied. It's useful for car lovers who have lots of time caressing their car, but it's not practical for me--I am studying/working at the same time. Anyone tried Nu Finish Soft Paste? Is it easy to apply and wipe off? Sounds like the wax for me! Comments are appreciated
  • shcst12shcst12 Member Posts: 34
    Correction: Meguairs Gold Class not Meguairs Gold Classic, sorry

    BTW, Anyone tried Meguairs Quik Detailer (mist & wipe). Is it safe to judt "spray & wipe" and not scratch any part of the body? Comments are appreciated
  • clintonjohnclintonjohn Member Posts: 99
    Ok, just did the clay magic yesterday. I can't say that I was especially impressed, not for $20. Sure, the car looks nice now, but I could have achieved the same results, I think, with a good wash and wax. Yes, the clay picked up dirt and residue off the car, but honestly, I could not recommend the product considering it's price. A bottle of car wash concentrate and a can of wax paste, and I think you'll get very similar results for a fraction of the price.
  • vivonavivona Member Posts: 410
    shcst12 - Nu Finish Soft Paste is easy to apply and buff off. Keep it off textured black trim, hard to remove. It provides a good shine and will outlast anything else out there. Not unusual to see good beading 8-12 months later.

    clintonjohn - If your car was merely dirty or oxidized, you are correct. A good was and wax will do fine. But if your paint has impurities, or as in my case, actual overspray you could see and feel, then clay does the trick. The overspray came from a construction site and was oil based paint. It was there for 10 years and all those years of waxing/polishing did not remove it. One claying and it was gone! If you want some more information on the reasons to clay a car, go to and read through the material. Of course, the detailers say clay a new car and do it once a year, but I would only do it when you have overspray, tree sap and other impurities on the paint.
  • doc7doc7 Member Posts: 6
    Zaino, Zaino, Zaino. Nyah, nyah, nah nyah, nah.
  • jvcnjvcn Member Posts: 50
    Please, please, please don't start this!!!

    Respect the topic.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    I'm a big believer in clay. Even for a new vehicle, there are often small impurities left in the paint from that plastic wrap they put on at the factory... so with clay, you'll often notice a difference. At least I did. My van looks better than the day I bought it.

    Clay is good for maintaining that new car shine. Every time I've traded my vehicles in, the car dealers have been impressed that the paint on my trade-in looks shinier than the new cars in their lot.

    Of course I realize, as with clintonjohn's post, there are exceptions to the rule. Clinton- perhaps try claying again, you may notice a difference with a second application. Just a suggestion. ;-)

    To shcst12-
    How often to clay really depends on how you use your vehicle, and how dirty it gets.... If you use you wash it on a fairly regular basis (once a week), I recommend claying once every four to six months followed by a wax.

    btw, I use Clay Magic, the blue colored bar. That's less abrasive than the red bar and it will be very safe for your clear coat. Also, the same clay bar is good for at least several applications.

    Since I take a lot of out of town trips, and my van is subjected to lots of bugs and sticky residue... I clay more often. Once every 2-3 months. This really helps to get all the grime off in a non-abrasive way.

    I also posted this in another frozen topic:
    Another good thing to do with clay, is to clean your windows with it. This will really get all the film and residue off. I recently clayed the inside/outside of my front wind shield; it was so clear, I couldn't even see the glass! ;-)
  • sebargesebarge Member Posts: 50
    It is a superb product, IMO. I always thought I kept a clean car, and no exception to our new '98 Sebring convertible. But I clayed this "clean" car last month, and the difference was amazing! The paint was smooth as glass to the touch, no drag. I still can't believe the difference. Where one lives and what's in the air can make a lot of difference in the car's finish, as well as how often and where one drives. So, results may vary. But, this really did a fantastic job. I followed up w/ Meguiar's carnuaba paste wax.
    I use the Erazer clay, but hear the blue Clay magic and yellow Erazer are comparable.
    I'm not sure how often it is to be used; I had heard about once per year.
  • shomanshoman Member Posts: 97
    One thought about what clintonjohn said about his clay experience. Some people might misunderstand what clay does. Clay will remove embedded junk in your paint like spikes of metal/glass sticking in and out of the paint, or stuff stuck on top like overspray/tree sap etc.

    What clay will NOT do is have any effect on the gloss (or lack of) on paint. Used properly, it glides over the actual surface, not really touching it.

    I think Clintonjohn expected clay to perform like a fine-cut polish and it just isn't designed to work like that. It's easy to see how someone could make that leap of logic by some of the good experiences and glowing comments by users. Clay makes your paint FEEL smooth, but doesn't effect gloss.

  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    By smoothing out the surface of the clearcoat, does this not make it reflect the shine better? That's what I've experienced.
  • shomanshoman Member Posts: 97
    It is possible that the lubricant spray/liquid you are using with the clay is providing the gloss/shine effect you are seeing.
    Also clay will tend to get dirt out of your current wax, even after a good wash with detergent.
    Maybe by removing this thin layer of dirty wax, it is helping your shine?

  • doc7doc7 Member Posts: 6
    Sorry, the anarchist in me temporarily got the upper hand. I have absolute respect for the topic and shouldn't have used the "Z" word (which, BTW, I haven't even used on my van yet).
  • mortifymortify Member Posts: 9
    I've use Meguiar's cleaner/wax on my previous two vehicles and was never impressed. It only lasted ~1 month. Application required elbow grease and it took all day. The shine was good.

    I've recently used Zymol polish, followed by Mother's Pure Carnuba Wax. The shine is slightly better, but the durability is impressive. Two months going, and we just had a full week of heavy rain.

    Application was much easier, but I also clayed the car first. I think that was the only difference I could tell after claying; the the polish and wax process took much less time than I am used to.

    I still use Meguiars cleaner/wax when I need to get bird crap, or other bits of nastiness off in between polishes. It's very convenient.
  • ejsjdejsjd Member Posts: 2
    I just bought my first new car 4 weeks ago. It is black. I have two questions: (1) Are there certain products that should be used on new cars? and (2) Are certain products better for darker colors, such as black (and if so, what are they???? Both cleaners and waxes/polishes)

    Thanks for the help.

  • shomanshoman Member Posts: 97
    Congrats on the new car! You must be into self-punishment to get one in black! :)
    (beautiful when clean, but a bear to keep that way!)

    Lots of products will work well on your car, but I have a couple of things I would advise you to stay away from.

    1. Any product that dries to a white or other color chalky film.

    2. "color" waxes of any sort

    3. anything with abrasives in it (at least for a while).

    Unless your new car has been assaulted by the dealer, it should still have a superb shine. Use products that clearly say "clearcoat" safe (I assume your car has clearcoat, most do). Usually this means no abrasives, but not always.
    You should only need abrasives if you get paint damage of some sort. Keep a good coat of wax on your car, keep peoples bodies away from it (belt buckles, metal buttons on jeans etc scratch) and never "dry" wipe your car. (this includes any spray and wipe wash NOT use these!)

    Use a good sudsy car wash on your car, with lots of water and suds using a big soft wash mit rather than a towel to wash the car. Dry with a quality synthetic chamois or soft cotton towels.

    Keeping to the topic! ;) For a generally available "shelf" product, I like Meguiars Gold Class in the paste version. Not much dust (there is a little though) and it is non-abrasive and lasts a good long time. Several carnauba products also will give excellent results.

  • clintonjohnclintonjohn Member Posts: 99
    I'm not really sure what I expected the clay to do. I suppose, more than anything, I think I was expecting some kind of 'wow' experience. Yeah, the car looked nice for a few days, then it rained, streets got muddy, and the car looks lousy again(yes, mine is black also and it's true that when they're clean, they look great. Perhaps if I had some kind of Ferris Bueller/vintage Ferrari sitting in my house, clay would be appropriate, but I think that for my, and probably 95% of the population's purposes, a wash and hand wax are more than sufficient. Like I said before, the car looked nice, but no more so than had I waxed it with my $2 bottle of Walmart Tech 2000 liquid wax.
  • needavanneedavan Member Posts: 13
    I bought Erazers clay so I could try it on my cars. I have two: a Civic Hatchback that is going on eight years old, 94K miles. And a Honda Odyssey that has 2K miles after one and a half months.

    The clay made a MUCH bigger difference on the older car, there was all kinds of crud coming off that thing. And this was after I washed it TWICE to the best of my ability without driving it in between (granted, I'm no car-washing god, but I can get 'em squeaky clean, or so I thought).

    The difference I am noticing has less to do with things like shine and more to do with how the car feels when you run your hand across it. Smooth as a baby's butt (I have a baby so I'm qualified to make that comparison :-) I think this helps a bunch when it is time to put on the wax of your choice. Ideally, you want to put on a thin coat and wipe it off, right? Less work that way? If the car / truck / boat or whatever is really smooth, that should be (and in my case is) easier.

    Using the clay on the van removed some dark spots, particularly on the lower portions of the front doors (just behind the front wheels. I haven't installed my mudflaps yet). Had I NOT clayed there, I would have just waxed over these spots. Sure, it would have been smooth and shiny (due to the wax) but the dirt would have still been there. I tried to get the spots off the old fashioned way (lots of elbow grease, and soap, and water) and they just wouldn't budge. Five seconds with clay (and barely rubbing, more like pushing a bar of soap across a wet tile countertop) and they were history.

    Your results (whoever is reading this) may differ; but I am personally very pleased with my $20 worth of clay. Doing the cars twice a year, that should last me several years (I got two little bars, one is still in the wrapper, the other is a little darker but hardly ready to be thrown out). IMO, a bunch of bang for the buck.

    College Station, TX
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    For those of you who wish to use the Z-word, Topic 8, Waxes and Polishes has been reopened.
  • ruskiruski Member Posts: 1,566
    clintonjon - you are supposed to polish and wax your car after claying it!

    Claying alone strips everything from the surface including old wax, so you just left your car unprotected and it is not surprising that it got dirty quickly after that.

    Back to the Z-world.
  • ejsjdejsjd Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info. I'll take your advice.
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioMember Posts: 864
    My Acura was 10 months old when I clayed, and man, the difference was unbelievable. The color of the car actually looked different, as more of the sparkly-rust color came through. I can't quantify it like a pro detailer, but it sure looks like that layer of crud was hazing up the color/shine. I used meguiers carnauba wax afterwards. Perhaps this made a huge difference. Can that be possible too? The car was waxed at the dealer originally.
  • clintonjohnclintonjohn Member Posts: 99
    ruski-I did wax after claying. the clay magic kit included a bottle of wax to apply after claying. I won't deny that the finish wasn't smooth after claying, but I don't spend my weekends running my hands over my car admiring the smooth texture. My feeling is that washing and waxing serve more as a protection against pollution and winter road crud. IMHO, appearance, while esthetically important, is secondary to the protective purpose of wax.
  • shomanshoman Member Posts: 97
    Just a thought on protection. One reason for giving your paint a superb shine BEFORE waxing is so your wax will protect the paint longer. Same thing applys to clay. The rougher your paint is either in scratches or things sticking into and out of the paint, the quicker the wax will wear off at the high points and let water/salt/dirt in under your paint. Tiny bits of steel/iron that get stuck in your paint may not be visible, but they will start rust that can then get under your paint and a bubble starts. Just food for thought

  • ruskiruski Member Posts: 1,566
    My GTP (Topaz Gold Metallic color) looks very nice after being waxed with Meguiar's Gold Class, but when I touch it occasionally, it feels rough, like a cat's tongue. I do not plan to spend hours at a time feeling up my car, but I can't wait to clay it. Plus when you wax your car without claying, what if one of those nasty particles detaches and gets rubbed all over the paint surface?

    Another reason I want to clay my GTP is some large dark blotches in the paint on the hood. I cannot get them out with cleaners or waxes. They look like dirt covered up with some old wax. Hope clay will help me.

    Another benefit of using clay on a new car - it can easily help remove the dirty glue marks that get stuck to the car when they put some protective plastic on it before sending it to the dealers.
  • ace326ace326 Member Posts: 1

    I would recommend Turtle Wax Emerald. I've used

    it on my 1997 Chrysler LHS and it's the best that

    I have used. It does not make any dust when you

    remove after it has dryed, and oh yes it does

    give a nice shine and last a good six months.

  • ruskiruski Member Posts: 1,566
    Turtle Wax Emerald that I used did not good as good a shine as Meguiar's Gold Class. It did not last as long as Gold Class either. And dust - give it time. Well actually Gold Class does the same too: many days after waxig the car, whie wax spots start appearing here and there, as if I missed spots when buffing. I could swear I did not miss any spots. Also both Emerald Series and Gold Class are nasty when they get in between panels on on black plastic trim.
  • tomtravtomtrav Member Posts: 5
    can anyone recommend a product that will remove scratches?i tried polishing compound (safe for clearcoat)without any success.thanks.
  • shcst12shcst12 Member Posts: 34
    Does COLOR MAGIC from TurtleWax works well on scratches?? Does it works better than others??
This discussion has been closed.