Yonkers, New York – Premium car waxes don’t necessarily outperform their lower-priced counterparts, according to a new report by Consumer Reports.
Meguiar’s NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0, a liquid wax, and NU Finish NFP-80, a paste wax, topped the test of 19 car waxes in the magazine’s tests.
The magazine said that lower-priced products from Nu Finish and 3M outperformed more expensive liquid or gel waxes from premium brands like Autoglym, Eagle One, Mothers and Zymol.
The magazine gives its “recommended” status to Autoglym Super Resin Polish and Mothers California Gold Carnauba Cleaner Wax liquid waxes. However, among paste waxes, NU Finish NFP-80 and Turtle Wax Synthetic Paste Polish T-465 outscored Mothers FX Engineered Synwax 2011 and Mothers California Gold Carnauba Cleaner Wax.
Overall, the magazine found that paste waxes performed no better than liquids in a head-to-head comparison, with both wax types sharing similar scores for ease of use. The better liquids tended to improve gloss better, while the best paste waxes lasted longer.
Other products that scored well in the ratings included Turtle Wax Ice Synthetic Paste Polish, which was rated “excellent” for durability and left little or no residue on plastic trim, and the liquid Nu Finish NF-76, which was rated “very good” for durability although it left some staining on plastic parts. Also rated “excellent” for durability was Nu Finish NFP-80, which left little or no residue on plastic trim but was slightly harder to remove.
Spray-on/wipe-off products were not included in the test “because earlier tests have shown them to be less effective for cleaning, to be ineffective against weather, and to rate the worst for durability,” the magazine’s editors said. “They’re best only for newer finishes and if you wash and wax frequently.”
“Thanks to today’s clear-coat finishes, Consumer Reports’ testing shows that even the best wax will probably not improve the shine on a new car,” said Jeff Bartlett, deputy online automotive editor. “Regular washing is still the most important step to preserving your car’s finish, and periodic waxing with a quality product can provide proven protection.”
A coat of wax can add a layer of protection against tree sap, bird droppings and other contaminants, but most products tested showed a significant loss of protection within about five weeks. For this reason, the magazine recommends waxing even new cars every two or three months. On an older car with a dull finish, waxing can fill minute finish imperfections. Waxes that scored high for gloss improvement removed oxidation and made the paint appear darker and more vibrant.