One of the biggest questions car owners have about waxing, is about layering. How many layers should you use? How long should you wait between coats? Can you wax a car too much?
In this article, I’ll be answering all your questions about laying waxes so you can get the best results. So let’s get started.
The Quick Answer
There is a limit to how much will stick on the car when applying multiple layers. Layering waxes makes little difference to the gloss and protection. However, applying one coat of wax, and then going over the car with a second layer can be beneficial by ensuring you’ve got total coverage.
I’ll explain all this a bit more in the rest of this article. But if you want a more visual explanation, then check out this video on the Auto Care HQ YouTube channel.
Looking for some of the best waxes and sealants on the market? Make sure you check out my recommended products page for all my current top picks.
One Coat is Enough, Two is Plenty
In my opinion, one coat of wax is enough for any car. As long as you coat the car evenly and have covered every area, then there isn’t really any need to apply more layers.
The only real reason to go over your car again with a second layer, is to ensure you’ve covered every area of your car. It can be quite easy to miss small spots of paintwork which will remain unprotected.
Applying a second layer of wax is a good way to ensure you’ve not missed any sections. However, it’s not really necessary if you take your time with the first layer to ensure you’ve covered the car evenly.
What Happens When You Layer Wax?
So what actually happens when you put another coat of wax on top of the existing layer. Well, most of the wax you apply will actually be removed when you buff it off.
Wax doesn’t really stick well to itself. So when you apply it on top of a layer of wax, it’ll most likely be removed when it comes time to buffing. This isn’t always the case, it really depends on what wax you’re using.
Some waxes will stick better than others. But generally, the wax is designed to stick to your paint and cure.
The best waxes for layering are natural carnauba waxes, which are often used on show cars. They’re not very durable, but do offer a nice warm shine.
Does Layering Wax Improve Durability?
One of the main reasons why car owners layer wax, is because they think it’ll improve durability. However, this is rarely the case.
Again, it depends what wax you’re using. But generally, the second coat of wax you apply is likely to be buffed away again when it comes time to remove the excess.
So you only really ever have a thin coat of wax left on your car, even if you apply several layers.
It’s important to know that adding 3 coats of wax, won’t give you triple the durability or protection compared to one coat of wax.
Sometimes it may give you marginally more protection, but it’s unlikely to make a huge difference.
Unsure how long your wax should be lasting? Check out my guide to wax durability to learn more.
Does Layering Wax Improve Gloss and Shine?
Layering natural carnauba waxes can increase the level of gloss and shine on your paintwork. However, the difference you’ll see is likely to be very minimal.
Layering carnauba wax is often done on show cars where every incredibly minor detail is vital. However, for daily drivers, you’ll hardly notice the difference.
It’s far more important to have a well-prepped surface and good clear coat condition to enhance gloss. Waxing will only do so much to improve the shine.
Check out this article I’ve written about prepping your car for waxing to learn how to get the best results possible.
Can You Apply Too Much Wax?
So can you apply too many layers of wax? Sure, we’ve already said that there’s little to no benefit of doing this, but will it actually cause any harm?
Applying lots of wax is unlikely to cause any issues because the excess is mostly removed. Hence, applying lots of layers won’t really provide any benefit or harm.
However, if you apply the layer too soon after applying the first layer, and don’t give it enough time to cure, then the results can start to look a bit messy.
This is when the you’ll actually be able to see the wax on the surface, and it can take a lot of elbow grease to rectify it.
How Long Should You Wait Between Coats?
You should wait around 30 minutes between layering coats of the same wax. However, some waxes will require longer and this will typically be stated on the instructions.
This gives it enough time to cure so you actually layer the wax on top, rather than just mix it into the layer underneath. Generally, the higher the temperature, the quicker the curing time will be.
Is One Thick Coat of Wax Better Than Multiple Layers?
So if layering wax doesn’t make a whole load of difference, then is it better to just put one thick coat on instead?
Adding a single thick layer of wax is a bad idea because it’ll make it a pain to buff off, and only a thin layer will actually bond to the paint. That’s why layering is a better approach because it gives time for each coat to bond.
Can You Layer Different Waxes or Sealants?
Final question, what about laying different brands of waxes and sealants. Is there any point in this? Will it even work?
Sometimes car owners will apply a more durable synthetic paste wax, or sealant to the paint, and then top it with a natural carnauba wax to enhance the shine.
Is there any point?
The idea behind this, is that the sealant or synthetic wax is more durable than natural wax. So if you put it underneath, your paint will stay protected for longer.
You can then top it with a natural wax to add that nice warm shine, whenever you feel like it. But there’s no pressure to do it very often because your paint will be protected by the sealant when the wax wears away.
I get the reason behind this, but it’s something I very rarely do.
This is because you only get the properties of whatever is on the top layer.
So if you use a sealant that’s super hydrophobic and dirt repelling, and then top it with a natural wax, you’ll lose all the properties of the sealant until the wax wears away over time.
Will it work?
Most sealants and waxes are compatible with each other though, so it’s not an issue if you want to try this out. Just remember to wait enough time between applying the layers.
If you’re using a sealant underneath, then always wait at least 12-24 hours before applying a wax on top.
Never put the wax underneath the sealant. Sealants need to bond to bare paint to have the most durability. Waxes on the other hand, will sit nicely on top of sealants.
Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog to learn more about making your car look its best.