You should periodically remove old car wax and reapply new wax to keep your car looking its best. The car wax may not be streaking, but if the paint begins looking dull or no longer feels smooth, these may be signs that you need to reapply. Old car wax should generally be removed every three months or more often if exposed to harsh weather conditions.
Using Spray-On Pre-Wax Cleaner
Start with a freshly washed and dried car. Remove any surface dirt from the car’s exterior by washing it using a non-drying soap and water. Dry it clean with soft cotton towels or by allowing it to air dry. By removing as much dirt from the surface as possible, you allow the chemicals in the pre-wax cleaner to get directly to the layer of wax instead of having to contend with layers of grime and gunk first.
Choose the right pre-wax cleaner. Liquid pre-wax cleaners can be divided into two categories: spray on wax removers and non-abrasive polishes. Strictly speaking, a spray on wax remover is a more legitimate pre-wax cleaner.
Spray on wax removers strip the wax off a car but do not do much else. They do not clean deep and do not remove contaminants that lurk below the surface. However, because they do not cleanse deeply, they make a good choice for someone who likes to frequently strip old wax and apply new wax.
Non-abrasive polishes cleanse a little more deeply. They are used for less frequent stripping and clean dirt that settles beneath the surface of the paint. Their primary purpose is not to remove wax, but that is a secondary effect.
Spray the wax remover directly on the surface of the car. Apply the cleaner liberally, but make sure that you only get it on the paint of the car and not the plastic or rubber trim. If allowed to soak into plastic or rubber, wax removers have the tendency to discolor.
Wipe the surface clean. Use a soft terry cloth to wipe the wax remover along the paint using side to side and top to bottom motions. Spread the wax remover using long, even strokes.
Reapply as necessary. If your first application of wax remover did not remove all the wax, you may apply another coating. Avoid repeating this too often, however, since too many applications on unprotected paint can gradually start to damage the point.
Apply all-purpose cleaner to the rag to clean the trim. Since plastic and rubber can become discolored when you use wax removers, a milder all-purpose car exterior cleanser is a better option. Apply the cleaner directly onto a clean terry cloth rag.
Gently rub the surface of the trim. Apply light, even pressure along the trim to remove as much of the old wax as possible.
Using Detailing Clay
Wash and dry your car before using the clay bar. It is best to remove surface dirt from the paint before using the clay bar. The amount of dirt particles being picked up by the bar will be reduced, thereby allowing the bar to pick up more of the wax.
Work with a small area at a time. You should use the clay bar on an area that is no bigger than 2×2 feet (61×61 centimeters). This way, you can focus on each area more thoroughly, leading to more even removal.
Spray clay lubricant directly on the surface. Some clay bars come with clay lubricant, but sometimes, you may need to purchase it separately. A clay lubricant creates a smooth surface for the clay bar to pass over, making it easier for the clay to glide along the surface of the car without leaving pieces behind. The lubricant should be misted onto the paint evenly.
Slide the clay bar along the moistened area. Wipe from side to side or top to bottom, but apply a gentle pressure either way, allowing the clay to do the majority of the work. You may actually be able to hear the clay picking up wax and various contaminants. The clay bar will resist at first, but this is normal and acceptable as long as no clay is being left behind.
Continue sweeping the area until the clay bar no longer sticks. The wax is completely removed once the clay bar can slide across the surface without any resistance.
Use additional clay lubricant to remove clay residue. If any clay pieces did break off and stick to the paint, spraying them with clay lubricant should make it easier to wipe them away.
Tidy the area with a microfiber towel. Remove any excess lubricant and clay particles with a clean terry cloth rag.
Repeat the process only if necessary. Lightly rub the paint with your fingers. If it feels smooth, the clay bar did its job. If not, you may need to repeat the process once more, focusing on any areas that still feel rough.
Clean the entire car in the same manner. Continue working in 2×2 feet (61×61 centimeters) sections until all the wax has been stripped.