Black car polish

This is How to Wax A Black Car (By Hand or Buffer)

We all love our black cars.  And we really love them when they shine.  Waxing is the final stage in black car detailing. Getting this right and learning how to wax a black car safely will give you that showroom shine that you’ve been dreaming of.

For me, waxing my car is one of the joys of life.  I love to spend a Saturday afternoon getting the perfect dripping wet shine.

My research is based on information from professional car detailers as well as detailing enthusiasts.  Plus the experience gained from detailing cars for 30 years.

How long your coat of car wax will last depends on a number of factors.  But it’s mainly down to how wax is applied and the type of car wax you use.

And who wants to waste time waxing their car if they don’t get great results? These tips and tricks will mean you can get the best shine possible when you apply your wax.  

It’s super important to learn the right way to wax your car.  Did you know that waxing your car the wrong way can actually scratch it?  But once you understand what can go wrong, you’ll be blown away by the results you can achieve.

It best way to wax a black car is by hand application of liquid wax. Waxing using a buffer doesn’t help much.  A polishing machine is great for paint correction but is not needed for waxing.  But you can get great results with either method.

The main reason we wax our cars is to make them look good.  But there are other great reasons too such as UV protection.  Read my post on the benefits of waxing your car if you would like to know more.

Step 1: Choose the right wax

Black cars need wax.  If you already have picked a wax then jump ahead to step 2.  But if you haven’t I have some tips that might like to check out my list of the best car waxes for black cars on the market right now.

Liquid Wax is probably the most popular type of wax.  They deliver the same sort of results you get from a paste wax but it’s usually easier to apply.  The shine and protection from liquid wax can last a long time.

Paste Wax is the classic form of wax.  Sometimes it’s called hard wax.  It takes slightly longer to apply and a little more elbow grease.  A downside of this kind of wax is that it can get dirty because you are continuously dipping your applicator pad into the jar.  This dirt can scratch your car.  Liquid waxes don’t have this problem.

Spray Wax usually has some ceramic or graphene content that helps them last.  However, the shine some of them leave behind can disappear after just a few washes.  But spray waxes are so quick and easy to apply that they are a must-have for black car owners.

Car wax will restore shine and gloss but it doesn’t hide scratches very well.  If your car hasn’t been detailed for a while or has been subjected to improper washing methods you can get better shine by applying a glaze before you apply your wax.  Glaze temporarily fills in scratches and restores shine.

Step 2 : Wash your car

Your car needs to be as clean as possible before you wax it.  This is especially true for black cars.  This is because wax needs to be massaged into your black paint. And any dirt or grit on there will get massaged in too which will result in scratches.

The best way to wash a black car before you wax it is to use a safe scratch-free method like the two-bucket car wash method. A pressure washer will help too. They can remove most of the dirt that can cause scratches without you needing to lay a finger on your paint.

Especially if you use a foam cannon with your pressure washer to do a pre-rinse as I do.

Use can use any car shampoo but if you want to remove older wax and get a deeper clean you can use a stronger shampoo or you can use an All-Purpose Cleaner diluted to the correct ratio.

Step 3 : Dry your car

Most waxes require your car to be dry. There are some exceptions to this. Some spray waxes can be sprayed onto your car while it’s still wet and rinsed off.

I use a spray and rinse wax almost every time I wash my car due to their convenience.  I simply spray some wax on each panel and rinse it off.  It’s super easy and super fast and especially effective on black cars.  They can add tons of gloss and excellent water beading.

But for regular liquid or paste car wax you’ll need to dry your car first.  Use a proper soft microfibre drying towel.  A good quality drying towel will greatly reduce scratches and help preserve your shine.  Some people like to use an old bathroom towel but this won’t protect your car from scratches in the same way.

Letting your car dry naturally could cause water spots which is something we want to avoid as much as possible – especially in dark-colored cars.

Step 4 : Decontaminate your paint (optional)

This step is not needed in many cases. But if your paint looks dull or cloudy after you wash it could benefit from some extra work.

An Iron Remover will dissolve tiny iron particles that have bonded to your paint.  Tar remover will do the same for tar spots.  Iron and tar particles will prevent wax from bonding properly.

A clay bar can be used to remove bonded contamination. So if your paint feels rough to the touch it will benefit from using a clay bar. You don’t need to be a pro detailer to use a clay bar. Read my clay bar FAQ here. It is easier than most people think but you could cause scratches if you do it the wrong way.

Instead of a clay bar, you can use a clay mitt.  These can scratch paint too so use plenty of clay lubricant or a quick detail spray.  But you can get around your car in no time.  A light clay mitt is perfect for use before waxing.

Step 5 : Polish (optional)

Use polish or compound to remove swirls or haziness from your paint. You can get really great results doing this by hand. This requires a lot more elbow grease because you are correcting the outer surface of the clear coat with this step. Black paint is probably the hardest color to polish correctly.

A Dual Action Polishing Machine could be worth the investment if you really want to get the best polishing and paint correction results before you apply wax.

Paint correction with a DA polisher is a lot of fun but it’s a much larger job compared to just waxing.  

A Pre-Wax Glaze is another product that you can use before you wax your car.  It fills in light scratches and can make a big difference on dark-colored cars.

The results can be stunning, especially on cars that are a few years old and have been neglected. Applying a wax after all of this work is key to protecting it and giving you the levels of gloss we all dream of.

Step 6 : Apply your wax

Most waxes should be applied to a cool surface. So park your car in the shade and let it cool.

I usually use a soft foam applicator pad to apply paste and liquid wax.  You can also use a microfiber applicator sponge.  If you find your applicator is getting dirty you should grab another clean one.  Any dirt on there will definitely scratch your paint.

You need to work the product into the paint so apply in circular overlapping motions.  This helps to ensure you don’t miss any spots.

Some waxes can stain plastic and rubber trim. If your wax contains carnauba it will almost certainly stain trim but other waxes can too.

Some modern ceramic sealants can safely be applied to every surface of your car including plastic and even glass.

To protect your trim from wax staining you can use masking tape.  But it can take a lot of time to tape some cars as they have lots of plastic bumpers and trim.  So usually, I will just try to keep the wax away from plastic to save time.

If you do get some wax stains on your plastic you can try to clean it with an All-Purpose Cleaner. It’s also possible to remove wax stains with a pencil eraser.  A plastic trim restorer can also be used to cover stains.

If you want to use a buffer you should use a soft pad to apply wax or sealant.  You don’t need to have any “cutting” power as wax does not correct paint.  You are only trying to spread the wax out and work it into the paint.

The softest foam pads are usually colored black or red.

I don’t usually use a machine to apply wax because it can sometimes splatter the wax onto plastic trim.

Step 7 : Buff to a shine.

Check the label of the wax you have to see how long you should leave it to cure on the paint.  Some waxes need more time than others.  Read the label of whatever wax you bought and follow the instructions as best you can.

There are some waxes that can become difficult to buff off if you leave them too long. But usually, you can just use some detail spray to soften the residue and buff it off.

The towel you use plays an important role too.  Don’t use a dirty old rag to buff off your wax.  It will scratch your clear coat.  Use a number of plush buffing towels. This will make the job easier and will give better results.

If you find that the shine looks a little uneven you can use a damp cloth to wipe down the area and buff dry again to make it look even.

There is no need to use a machine buffer to buff the wax off.  But if you have one it might save you some time.  The pad you use needs to be as clean as possible.  So it’s a good idea to use a few of them to buff your whole car to keep scratches to a minimum.

Step 8 : Finishing touches

The paint might look good after a fresh coat of wax but it’s always worth using a tire shine to make the car look perfect.  Just washing tires with an all-purpose cleaner can remove the stains but a tire dressing just adds the detailed touch.  Most tire shine products don’t last very long but they are still worth it

I also love to use a trim restorer or trim dressing on plastic bumpers to make them pop.  This will make a huge difference if your plastic trim is really faded and oxidized. Don’t forget that many waxes stain plastic and rubber trim.

Step 9 : Now don’t wash your wax off.

A maintenance wash should remove dirt from your car but keep your wax. Use a dedicated ph-neutral car shampoo and some microfibre wash mitts.

I use a pressure washer and foam cannon but if you don’t have one it’s fine.  Just use the two-bucket method and your wax will still last a long time. Washing your car with a sponge or brush will scratch your paint and cause it to become dull over time.

You can top up wax each time you wash your car by using a spray and rinse wax. They usually contain SI02 which is a sealant and can be sprayed all over your car and simply rinsed off. It builds up layers of protection over time.


Q. How Often Should You Wax a Black Car?

A. You should wax a black car once a month using a simple spray wax.

Q. What does Waxing a Car do?

A. Wax is very beneficial for cars, especially black cars. At adds shine but it also adds protection which keeps the car looking good. Read more here … What Does Waxing a Car Actually Do?

Q. How Long Does Car Wax Last?

A. Car wax will last three months. 

Q. What’s the Fastest Way to Wax a Car?

A. The fastest way to wax a car is with a spray and rinse wax. 

Q. How Do You Prep a Back Car for Wax?

A. Get the car as clean as possible. Remove iron and tar contamination. Polish the car to remove swirls and oxidation. Read more here… How to Prep A Black Car for Wax.


We all want that perfect shine for our black cars.  It takes a little work but it’s worth it.  You can do just a good job as a professional detailer once you understand what can go wrong.

Detailing is such an enjoyable experience for most of us.  Learn what the different tools can do and you will be most of the way there.

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