What Is the Best Automotive Wax?

by Michael Hinckley

You love your car; it's your pride and joy, and you want it to look its best. There are literally dozens of waxes on the market, all promising to be the best. Though opinions might vary, there is only one consistently-high-ranking automotive wax that is the best for any car, new or old.


Mothers Wax has ranked in the top 10 at Consumer Reports, and has garnered the approval of automotive enthusiasts in online forums (see Resources). Particularly popular is their carnuba cake wax (which, unlike liquid wax, is a solid used at room temperature).


Mothers makes several types of automotive waxing and polishing products: "clay bar" waxes, carnuba cake waxes and liquid waxes. All three are excellent at restoring shine to your car. The clay bar is used to prepare your car by removing debris and environmental contaminants. Both the carnuba cake and carnuba liquid wax are used to repel water, protect the paint and reflect light, which results in a "shine."

About Carnuba Wax

Carnuba, sometimes spelled "carnauba," is a waxy resin from the Copernicia Cerifera palm tree that is indigenous to Brazil. Although typically liquid or paste-like in its final stage, the wax is actually a yellow-brown when harvested. After it is processed, it tends to be slightly yellowish in appearance.


The function of Mothers carnuba wax is to repel water and enhance the visual appeal of a car. Because carnuba wax is a hydrocarbon, it is "hydrophobic," which means that it will not allow water to pass through it. This prevents microscopic deposits of dirt or other contaminants from adhering to the paint of the car, which would result in a "dull" finish. Because the layer of wax is relatively thin, it needs to be re-applied periodically to maintain better resistance to weather.


Sold singly, the carnuba wax retails for less than $20 (with the average price being $15 to $16), but Mothers also sells "car care kits" that can range in price from $30 to $166, depending upon the products included.

About the Author

Michael Hinckley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in US history from the University of Cincinnati, a Master of Arts degree in Middle East history from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Hinckley is conversant in Arabic, and is a part-time lecturer at two Midwestern universities.

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