Best Wax for Black Cars: Achieving a Mirror-Like Finish
Master the art of waxing your black car with our top picks
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.
PUBLISHED ON April 24, 2019
Waxing your vehicle protects the paint from harmful UV rays and environmental contaminants. There are many waxing products out there, but which is the best wax for black cars? If you’ve asked yourself this question, keep reading our wax-buying guide for tips, suggestions, and all the information you need to invest in the right wax the first time.
- Best OverallTurtle Wax Color Magic Jet Black PolishSummarySummaryAs part of an entire black-car-specific system, this wax and car polish combine the protection of a wax with the paint correction of polish for long-lasting, brilliant results.ProsProsEasy application and removal make this product simple to use, no matter your experience level. A little wax will go a long way.ConsConsYou’ll have to buy an applicator pad since none is provided. Black cars that are heavily scratched and swirled will need more attention than this product can provide.
- Best ValueMeguiar’s Black WaxSummarySummaryAn easy-dispense tube and specially-designed applicator pad are all that stands between you and your shiny, glossy black vehicle.ProsProsIf you’re looking for a versatile wax that can be applied by hand, via dual-action polisher, or with a rotary buffer, add this item to your cart now.ConsConsA measly 7 ounces won’t last you very long and may not be enough for vehicles larger than a midsize SUV.
- Honorable MentionTurtle Wax Black Box Finish KitSummarySummaryTake the effort out of picking a wax with this all-in-one waxing kit. Turtle Wax makes this kit specifically for black cars, whether you’ve got flat or metallic paint.ProsProsTurtle Wax clearly labels each step so you know what to use next. The included waxing pads make for easy application and disposal.ConsConsA bit on the pricey side, these products won’t improve anything more than light scratches. The pre-wax cleaner should be prefaced by a thorough wash as well.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Wax for Black Cars
- Protection from harmful sun rays. The number one cause of paint oxidation is direct sunlight. A brand-new car left out in the sun for a handful of years will oxidize faster than a 10-15-year-old car that’s been garaged all its life. Apply some sunscreen (i.e. wax) to your car to keep it from degrading quickly.
- Maintain your investment. For all the money spent on vehicles, it’s important to maintain them both internally and externally to keep their value at its highest. Routine waxing is part of such a maintenance schedule, even though it may not be suggested by the manufacturer directly.
- Remove light surface defects. Depending on which application method you choose, waxing can actually remove light surface scratching on your vehicle’s paint. Since black cars show defects more easily than any other color, it doesn’t hurt to take care of those scratches as you wax.
- Get better results than with a general wax. Though waxing your vehicle is the same basic process no matter what color car you drive, some generic or basic waxes can’t achieve the same results as waxes meant for black cars. If you’re looking for a better result, look for waxes meant for black vehicles.
- As a final-step sealant in your paint correction process. You know how to get your black paint job looking better than factory, but that final step requires a wax that can boost the shine and extend the life of your vehicle’s paint. Don’t let your hard work go to waste—choose one specific to your dark-colored ride.
Types of Wax for Black Cars
Most car waxes available these days are synthetic. Like the compounds detailers and body shop experts use to correct paint defects, synthetic waxes are specially-blended to evoke the best shine from your vehicle’s paint. The alternatives to synthetic wax are natural and carnauba, though many manufacturers offer blends of these three as well.
There’s a lot of science that goes into the wax you put on your car. A lot of auto enthusiasts swear by carnauba wax, mostly because it provides a deeper shine and better protection. However, it won’t last as long as a synthetic wax, so you’ll end up having to reapply it more often. Carnauba wax isn’t necessarily a higher-quality product either, as you can achieve similar results with both carnauba and synthetic waxes. Both paste and liquid waxes can contain carnauba.
A detail professional’s best friend and ultimate quick-detail method, spray wax is the type of wax you’ll want to have at your side if you’re looking to get the most cleaning power out of a single product. Spray wax should be used as a final step before the car is ready to go. You won’t get superior protection from a typical spray wax but it’s better than leaving dirt and grime to eat away at your paint.
Paste wax is the typical consistency of anywhere from a gritty toothpaste to candle wax. It’s much harder to apply than liquid or spray wax. Some people swear by paste wax, though liquid wax is typically most widely-used. Liquid wax requires a bit of heat to sink down into the paint pores, while paste wax relies on elbow grease to remove the top layer of paint to reveal the shiny layer beneath.
Liquid wax is the most common form of wax on the market. It’s usually applied with a dual-action (DA) polisher or a rotary buffer. You can also apply it by hand. Some liquid waxes will be slightly scented to make the waxing process more enjoyable even though the smell has no effect on the end results.
For a wax on the go, check out wax wipes. They’re a convenient solution to removing surface contaminants and applying a thin protective layering of wax. However, they won’t last as long as a liquid or paste wax. Most wax wipes come in a resealable package that’s easily stored for your next use.
Headquartered in Irvine, California, Meguiar’s has been in the car care industry for over 100 years. If you’re looking for a Christmas or birthday gift for that car lover in your life, check out the Meguiar’s Classic Wash & Wax Kit. It’s a great starter pack for any car owner.
If you’re a die-hard wax paste fan, check out Turtle Wax’s Super Hard Shell Car Wax. The company began in 1944 and is headquartered in Illinois.
Based out of California, the folks at Chemical Guys have been in the car business for quite some time. Take a look at its Black Light Hybrid Radiant Finish.
Black Car Wax Pricing
- $5-$10: You really don’t have to spend more than a few dollars to get a quality wax on your vehicle. At this low price point, you should be able to find a package of wax wipes, a 16-to-24-ounce bottle of spray wax, and/or a bottle of liquid wax. Any of these products are plenty to keep your car protected.
- $11-$20: If you’re looking for paste wax, you’ll have to spend around $15 minimum. Most of the higher-quality, bigger-brand-name liquid waxes are priced in this range as well. There are also some waxing kits available for under $20, most of them including the wax itself, along with a microfiber towel, applicator pad, or both.
- $21 and above: Brands that mix their wax and polishing compounds into one product fall into this price point. You can also find a variety of car care systems available, many of them addressing black cars specifically. If you’re serious about a clean (black) car, consider investing a bit more to stock up on supplies.
It’s never a good idea to just slap some wax on your vehicle and call it good. Doing so will seal in those harmful contaminants that can eat away at your paint and cause lasting damage. Some vehicles will require more preparation before waxing than others, but you shouldn’t have to spend hours prepping the paint before you’ve even begun waxing it. The best waxes will only require a thorough washing before they can be applied.
Easy Application and Removal
Not everyone has access to a dual-action polisher or a rotary buffer, but that’s okay. The best car waxes, especially those intended for use on black or dark-colored automobiles, should require little effort to apply and remove. The instructions should be clear about how much product to use over a specified surface area. A few swipes with a microfiber cloth should be all that’s necessary to remove wax as well.
Spend a few hours on your car each month, and you’ll soon tire of the wax-on, wax-off routine. Choose a car wax that goes on thick enough to protect your vehicle for months at a time. That way, you won’t have to spend more hours and cash on keeping your car’s paint clean. Longer-lasting waxes aren’t necessarily thicker, they’re just a better wax, to begin with.
The ideal wax should not only protect your car’s paint from the elements but boost it as well. Minor scratches can be removed if you use wax correctly, but the best waxes correct as they are applied. No extra steps or special knowledge necessary. Black cars are especially prone to scratches and marring defects, so removing those imperfections as you maintain the paint itself is a win-win for everyone involved.
The best car waxes wipe away without leaving a trace—except for a protective layering. There are a variety of factors that play into how well a wax wipes off, but generally speaking, the wax shouldn’t harden immediately once it is applied. Paste wax is a bit different, but liquid wax should act more like lotion when it is applied. A wax that wipes clean is also easier to use overall.
- Commitment Level: The level of time and money you want to invest in waxing your vehicle will dictate what you look for in a wax. If you only want a simple wax, take a hard look at our suggestions above. If you want more from your wax than that, consider investing in an advanced application method like a DA polisher or a rotary buffer. They’ll cut your waxing time down tremendously.
- Additional Materials: Even spray wax requires you to own a soft microfiber towel or two to wipe off the excess liquid. If you’re going to be waxing a lot, look into the additional materials you’ll need to purchase for the best results. Items such as a clay bar, a waxing pad/applicator, and a polisher/buffer are just a few things that come to mind. The more prepared you are, the better your results.
- Comfort Level: Waxing your vehicle doesn’t have to be your thing. If you want the results of wax but don’t have the (insert reason here) to commit to waxing, check out what deals your local dealership or detail shop offer. Waxing doesn’t take but a few hours and won’t cost you much more than an oil change. You can still have your car waxed and drive it too.
Best Wax for Black Cars Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Turtle Wax Color Magic Jet Black Polish
The cute little green turtle logo representing Turtle Wax isn’t the only reason we chose its Color Magic Jet Black Polish as our top pick for black car wax. Really, it’s the combination of wax and polish that makes waxing your black or dark-colored vehicle well worth the time and effort. Whether you use the product by itself or as part of the entire Turtle Wax Jet Black lineup, you’re bound to see noticeable results.
Generally speaking, waxes are designed to cover your vehicle’s paint with a protective layer. That means those light scratches will often be filled in by the wax itself. However, Turtle Wax has taken that one step further by designing its wax to not only protect but to polish as well. We wouldn’t expect the entire car to look like it rolled off the showroom floor, but at the same time, you can improve the look of your black vehicle without spending a lot of money—or knowing more than the average person about how to correct paint.
The biggest drawback of Turtle Wax’s Color Magic Jet Black Polish is that it doesn’t come with an applicator pad. You’ll have to spend a bit more for either a foam pad or a couple of microfiber rags, depending on your vehicle. This product is also geared more towards maintaining a deep, glossy finish, rather than achieving one. However, as long as you can spread wax on a vehicle, you can use this product.
Best Value: Meguiar’s Black Wax
Combining two steps into one is the main reason we chose Meguiar’s Black Wax as our top value pick. With lighter-colored vehicles, polish isn’t as necessary, but a polished black car stands out—in a good way. Since there’s less room for error with black cars, being able to both polish and wax your vehicle makes car care less of a headache at the end of the day.
Meguiar’s also makes applying this product easier by providing a handy applicator pad. Similar to the yellow pads it also offers, the black pad is specifically designed to avoid scratching your black paint. It can easily be held between your thumb and four fingers and promotes a circling motion as you apply the wax. The ergonomic tube makes it easy to dollop out enough wax to cover your vehicle liberally without creating a huge mess.
At the same time, you’ll have to keep an eye on how much product you use on your vehicle. The small tube isn’t something we recommend relying on for larger vehicles, especially if you prefer to go heavy-handed with your application. Since you’ll likely need about a quarter-sized helping of wax for a section of paint, achieving maximum coverage on a truck or three-row SUV might prove challenging. However, anyone with enough time and desire on their hands—and a black car, of course—can use this product.
Honorable Mention: Turtle Wax Black Box Finish Kit
With the number of wax products out there designed for black cars, it can be hard to know which to choose. For an entire black-car care system, Turtle Wax has put together its Black Box Finish Kit. Priced affordably for all the products included, the kit includes a four-step process that will restore some life in your car’s black paint.
Numbered for easy reference, the four steps begin with a pre-wax cleaner and end with a spray detailer. Straight-forward instructions on every product mean you can achieve a great waxing, even if you’ve never waxed a car before. The two included applicator pads make it easy to get the wax on the vehicle and not all over your hands.
If you’re looking for a simple wax, this kit might be overkill. You’ll still need to wash your vehicle thoroughly before you begin with this kit, as it won’t replace a good soapy cleaning. And though there are four steps involved, you won’t be able to correct any paint defects beyond light scratches. Still, the kit is designed for those who want a bit more than your typical wax and requires little experience to achieve respectable results.
- Before you purchase a black-car-specific wax, watch at least four or five videos on various products and how they are applied. Knowing how to properly apply wax will have a huge impact on your final results. If you still have questions, speak to a local dealership or a representative of the manufacturer whose product you bought.
- It’s always best to wax your vehicle in a covered, cool area. This is especially true for black and dark-colored vehicles because you don’t want to create swirl marks. At the same time, having an illuminated workspace will make it much easier to see the difference between your “before” and “after” finishes.
- When waxing your vehicle, avoid exterior materials like plastics and rubber trim pieces. The wax should only be applied to painted surfaces. If you do happen to get wax on plastic or rubber, use a damp microfiber towel to immediately remove it. Wax will wipe right off of window glass without issue.
- If you’ve never done any exterior work to your black car, you should ideally clay bar the paint before you wax it. The most effective waxing occurs when the wax applies directly to the surface of the clear coat, without any contaminants between the two that would interrupt coverage. Plus, a smoother surface will provide a deeper, fuller shine.
- If you dread waxing your black vehicle, consider the benefits of ceramic coating. Black cars are high maintenance when it comes to paint correction and you might spend hundreds of dollars each year just on paint correction alone. Most ceramic coatings cost a respectable amount of money upfront but can last for years at a time.
- When you are shopping for a new vehicle, consider color. Though it might not be high on your priority list, the color of a vehicle has a lot to do with the long-term value. Silver cars hide scratches much better than black cars do, while white cars require a clay-barring every so often to maintain their stark brightness.
Q: What’s the main difference between “regular” wax and those which are formulated specifically for black/dark-colored cars?
A: Car wax, broadly speaking, solves one main problem: protecting your vehicle’s paint from the elements. Wax you would use on lighter-colored vehicles can easily be used on black or dark-colored cars but waxes specially formulated for these models target paint correction as well. Dark exterior colors are not as forgiving as lighter paints, so whereas a silver car hides scratches well, black cars seem to frame them for the eye to see.
Q: If I wax over the scratches on my car, can they still be removed at a later date?
A: Yes. The only thing that would cause you (or a professional detailer) not to be able to remove those scratches (given that they can be removed) would be touch-up paint. Once you apply touch-up paint to a scratch, the touch-up paint itself then becomes the concern.
Q: Will I get better results if I use a dual-action (DA) polisher or rotary buffer instead of applying the wax by hand?
A: Understanding the results you’ll see from each of these methods requires a bit of knowledge about the processes involved. For example, hand-waxing a vehicle takes longer than using a DA or a rotary but it’s a cost-effective alternative to investing in tools. At the same time, the DA and rotary add heat to the equation, which allows the wax to penetrate deeper into the paint pores.
Q: Will waxing remove the oxidation on my vehicle?
A: No, in fact, you should not wax an oxidized vehicle. While oxidation can sometimes be repaired (temporarily) via certain buffing methods, the real solution is to repaint the vehicle. Oxidation means the clear coat has completely worn off the layer of paint beneath. Like nail polish that hasn’t been covered by a clear top coat, the paint beneath will begin to degrade quickly until the bare metal is revealed.
Q: Do black/dark-colored cars have to be waxed more often than other colors?
A: Yes and no. It’s a general rule of thumb to wax your vehicle every six months or so, depending on what climate you live in. The more elements you deal with, the more often you should wax. Because black cars attract sunlight, the clear coat takes more of a beating than lighter-colored vehicles and so it requires more maintenance. At the same time, garaging your vehicle can lengthen the life of the wax immensely.
Q: Does wax work better if I leave it on the car longer?
A: Most manufacturers will list a general time period during which the wax should rest on the vehicle’s paint. We recommend waiting at least 30 minutes from the time you applied it before wiping it off. While you can certainly let it sit overnight as well, you don’t want to leave the wax on for more than seven or eight hours. That extra hour or two won’t make much of a difference at that point.
Turtle Wax’s Color Magic Jet Black Polish won our top pick for the best car wax for black cars. Alone or as part of the Turtle Wax Jet Black system, it protects and polishes dark-colored and black-painted surfaces.
If you’re waxing on a budget, choose Meguiar’s Black Wax. It’s cost-effective and comes with an easy-application pad.