How Long Car Wax Lasts and When To Reapply (With Examples)


Most car owners want to know how long a wax will last before applying or buying, to make sure it’s worth their while. There are tonnes of waxes on the market, which all have different durability potential, so in this article, I’ll go through popular options, real-world examples on my car and how to get the most longevity out of the wax.

The Quick Answer

Most car waxes last between 2-3 months. Spray waxes last 2-4 weeks, whilst liquid and paste waxes often last up to 3 months. The ingredients in the wax also affect durability. Natural carnauba-based waxes generally do not last as long as synthetic waxes, which can last up to 1 year.

Average Durability of Waxes

There are many different car waxes on the market, all offering slightly different durability. Here is a list of some of the most popular car waxes, and how long they will last in ideal conditions when the paint is prepared properly.

Car WaxMaximum DurabilityType of Wax Natural or Synthetic?
Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik Wax2 weeksSpraySynthetic
Blackfire Carnauba Spray Wax3 weeksSprayNatural
Autofinesse Glisten3 weeksSprayNatural
P21S Carnauba Wax1 monthPasteNatural
Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax1 monthLiquidNatural
Meguiar’s Gold Class Paste Wax1.5 monthsPasteNatural
GYEON Q² Wax2 monthsPasteSynthetic
Soft99 King of Gloss3 monthsPasteNatural
Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax3 monthsLiquidSynthetic
Bilt Hamber Double Speed Wax6 monthsPasteSynthetic
Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste Wax6 monthsPasteSynthetic
Pyramid Car Care Ceramic Wax6 monthsPasteSynthetic
Collonite 476s6 monthsPasteNatural
Soft99 Fusso Coat12 monthsPasteSynthetic
Maximum durability of popular car waxes

I have listed in the table above, whether the wax is classified as natural (Carnauba-based) or synthetic. However, this refers to what the product is marketed as. In reality, a lot of the waxes have both synthetic and natural elements. It is rare to get a purely natural wax, although you can get a purely synthetic wax quite easily.

Key Points:

  • Spray waxes are less durable than paste and liquid waxes
  • Synthetic-based waxes are usually more durable than natural Carnauba-based waxes
  • The average wax lasts around 3 months, but can last as little as a couple or weeks, or up to a year

Real-World Durability Testing

In the section above, we assessed maximum durability, based on the “ideal conditions”. However, in most cases, a wax will not last as long as it says on the back of the tin, because often the cars are subjected to harsher environments and not prepared as well as possible for waxing.

Also, some people have different opinions over when a wax has failed and is no longer protecting the paint. This is often judged by the level of water repellency, however some may consider a wax to be have failed if they notice any dip in performance from the day it was applied, and others simply when there is no water sheeting or beading whatsoever.

In this next section, I’ll go through some popular waxes that I’ve tried and how long they lasted compared to their maximum durability claims. In all cases, the car was decontaminated before application.

P21S Carnauba Wax

  • Maximum durability is around 1 month
  • Durability on my car was 2-3 weeks

I noticed a significant decline in performance after 2 weeks of using P21S Carnauba wax, when maintained with pH neutral snow foam and shampoo. When washed with alkaline snow foam, the wax completely failed after 1 wash, only a week after application.

You can see my review of this wax on YouTube.

Pyramid Car Care Ceramic Wax

  • Maximum durability is around 5-6 months
  • Durability on my car was around 4-5 months

Pyramid Car Care Ceramic Wax lasted around 4-5 months on my car, which is similar to its durability claim of 5-6 months. I started to notice a decline in performance after 3 months of use, however I would consider reapplication necessary at the 4.5 month mark.

Pyramid Car Care Ceramic Wax lasted around 4-5 months on my car, which is similar to its durability claim of 5-6 months. I started to notice a decline in performance after 3 months of use, however I would consider reapplication necessary at the 4.5 month mark.

Soft99 Fusso Coat

  • Maximum durability is 12 months
  • Durability on my car was 10 months

Soft99 Fusso Coat is a very durable wax and lasted around 10 months on vehicles that I have used it on. These cars were well prepared by decontaminating and maintained using both pH neutral and alkaline wash products. The wax is very chemically resistant so is capable of lasting for most of the year.

How to Make Wax Last Longer

To try and achieve the maximum durability claim of a car wax, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure to apply the wax to the car out of direct sunlight, and in temperatures between 45-68 degrees Fahrenheit (7-20 degrees Celsius).
  • Decontaminate the clay using iron fallout remover, tar remover and clay to prepare the car when trying to apply a very durable wax (do not do this more than twice per year).
  • For less durable waxes, uses a wax-stripping shampoo e.g. Chemical Guys Clean Slate or Garage Therapy Decon Shampoo, or a pre-wax cleaner e.g. Dodo Juice Lime Prime.
  • Apply two coats of wax in thin layers, at least a few hours apart.
  • Wash the car at least every 2-3 weeks using pH neutral prewash and shampoo if possible.
  • Store the car in a garage if possible, and never under trees where it is a magnet for bird poop and tree sap.

How to Tell When a Car Needs Waxing

As mentioned earlier, looking at the level of water repellency is a good way to figure out if a wax needs reapplying. If the performance has diminished significantly, to the point where you are no longer happy with the level of beading and sheeting, when it’s time to apply it again.

I’ve also written this article which takes you through some simple tricks to tell when a car needs waxing.

Best Way to Reapply a Wax

So when your wax is on its last legs, you just put some more on right? Well, not if you want the best results.

When you apply a wax on top of another wax that is pretty much dead, the new wax will essentially stick to the old one. This means that when the old layer slips off the car, the new layer will go with it. Of course, the new layer will slow down the rate at which the old layer will slip off, because it is essentially shielding it. However, if you want the new application of wax to last as long as possible, then its best to completely remove the existing layer.

The best way to do this is to use a pre-wax cleaner e.g Dodo Juice Lime Prime or a wax-stripping shampoo e.g. Chemical Guys Clean Slate or Garage Therapy Decon Shampoo. These will help cleanse the paintwork and ensure it is free from any old waxes and sealants. This will allow the wax to stick to the paintwork as much as possible, and improve the longevity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some more questions and their answers about waxes and how long they last.

Is it bad to wax a car too much?

Waxing a car too much will not damage the car, however it is often unnecessary. Applying too many layers of wax can cause the finish to look cloudy and hazy, so it is best to remove an old layer before applying the wax again.

What type of car wax lasts the longest?

Synthetic waxes often last longer than natural Carnauba car waxes. Ceramic-infused, and PTFE-based waxes often lasting the longest. One of the longest lasting synthetic waxes is Soft99 Fusso Coat which can last up to 1 year on the paint.

Which lasts longer, spray, liquid or paste wax?

Liquid and paste waxes usually last much longer than spray waxes. Liquid and paste waxes typically last between 2-3 months, whilst spray waxes usually last between 2-4 weeks before they need reapplying.

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Heather

I first became interested in car detailing around 3 years ago and learnt all the main techniques on my very first car. I spend a lot of time detailing my current car, and trying to keep my family's cars looking presentable too!

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