Consumer Reports' top car waxes

October 3, 2011

But how well do they hold up? Consumer Reports ran tough tests to see if you can get professional results at home.

Consumer Reports tested 19 different products.

Included in the tests were liquids and pastes from companies like Nu Finish and Turtle Wax to higher-end ones from Zymol and Auto Glym.

"We rated the waxes on several factors. Among them, how well each wax improved the shine of a painted surface and how long it protected the paint's finish," said Rik Paul of Consumer Reports.

To assess how long a wax protects, testers applied the waxes to pre-weathered panels and left them outside, exposed to the elements.

Using a machine, testers inspected the panels weekly.

With a good wax, the water beads up, but with some the bead is flatter, which means the wax is wearing off.

Testers then moved to real cars to see how easy the waxes are to use. Some were tough to remove.

"You want to pick a wax based on your car's condition and how often you wax the car," said Paul.

If your car lacks that new-car luster, Consumer Reports says try Meguiars Next Generation Tech Wax 2.0. It's pricier at $18.50 a bottle, but was one of the best waxes for restoring shine.

If your car's in decent condition, testers recommend Nu Finish NFP-80 paste wax for $8 a container.

Consumer Reports says when removing the wax, make sure to use a microfiber cloth. It makes the job easier and a lot less residue is left behind.

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