How To Wax a Car With a Buffer – A Beginner’s Guide

I'm part of Amazon Associate and some other affiliate programs, If you buy through links on this site, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read Full Affiliate Disclosure

how to wax a car with a buffer

Waxing a car with a buffer is a much quicker way to apply paint protection to your vehicle when compared to waxing a car by hand. Not only is it quicker, but you’ll also be able to apply wax much easier, without elbow grease and overall too much physical activity. Today, I decided to show you steps on how to wax a car with a polisher to get the best shine.

Waxing a car with a machine is simple, and all you have to do is to follow some basic guidelines in order to do it properly, in a way that the wax will bond to the car’s surface and last as marketed by the company.

Preparation For Waxing

Before you start waxing your car with a machine, you should first prepare everything and make sure that the car is ready for waxing. Furthermore, you must gather all the materials you’ll need to wax a car and make it shine.

Make Sure The Car Is Out Of Direct Sunlight

You can’t wax a car in direct sunlight or during high heat. The car surface will be too hot, and it may cause car wax to dry too quickly, so you won’t have enough time to buff it out. This is especially important if you have a black car, which is proven to heat up much quicker than other car colors. So, make sure the car is in the shade and that the clear coat is cool to the touch.

Wash and Dry The Car

In order to wax a car properly, the car’s surface needs to be spotless, without any kind of dirt on it. So, you’ll have to do a thorough exterior car wash, decontamination, and polishing if needed.

If you don’t know how to do these, here are my articles that may help you with that:

When you do all the steps above, you can then proceed with this guide. Also, polishing and decontamination may not be needed if you take care of your car and detail it regularly. So, it will depend on the condition of your car’s exterior.

Get The Materials You Need

To wax your car with a machine, you’ll need the following:

  • High-quality automobile wax – I suggest using liquid wax instead of paste wax. Paste wax is better to use when applying wax on the car by hand.
  • Car buffer (rotary or orbital) – You don’t need expensive polishers to wax a car. Some simple and cheap buffers from Amazon will do the job.
  • Soft buffing pad that you’ll use as an applicator. I suggest using Chemical Guys Hex-Logic Black Finishing Pad (check here).
  • Few microfiber cloths – Make sure to pick only soft cloth MF towels. You don’t want to scratch your car and cause swirl marks and scratches on the clear coat.

Now that you have all the materials let’s see the step-by-step guide on how to wax a car with a machine.

How To Wax a Car With a Buffer: Simple Steps To Do

Finally, here’s the guide on waxing a car with a buffer. The process is simple, and I’ll try to describe each step you should make thoroughly.

Step 1: Apply Wax on The Pad

pouring wax to a buffer pad

First things first, you should apply the wax on the pad. As I already told you, I suggest using liquid wax because it’s better when waxing a car with a buffer. It will more easily spread evenly over the surface.

  • Pour a few dots of wax on the buffing pad. 4-5 dots are enough to wax an entire car panel.

Step 2: Spread The Wax With a Machine Polisher

spreading the wax over the car panel

Now you should start spreading the wax all over the clear coat. I suggest splitting the car into sections and doing one section at a time. I like to split it to the front and read. So, I do the front first, and when I finish everything, I apply wax on the rear side of the vehicle.

  • First, dab the wax across the surface. That will make you spread the wax more evenly.
  • Turn on the buffer on the lowest speed setting and start buffing that car panel.
  • Don’t apply any pressure with your hand. You want to spread wax, not polish a car. Just let the machine do its job and work the wax into the paint. 
  • Do this for the entire section of the car. (front or rear, or however you split your vehicle into sections).

Sometimes, you’ll accidentally spread the wax on trim or rubber surfaces. If that happens, make sure to immediately remove the wax from car trim and rubber surfaces because it may cause discoloration, and once the wax dries, it may be hard to remove. Just spray some all-purpose cleaner on the MF towel and clean it.

After spreading the wax over the surface, let it dry for a few minutes. Make sure to read the instructions on the bottle because each car wax needs a different curing time. With some car waxes, you won’t even need to wait for them to dry.

Step 3: Buff With Clean Microfiber Towel To Remove Residue and Make the Car Shine

buffing out wax with a microfiber cloth

Now when the wax is dried on the clear coat, we should buff it out with a clean microfiber towel to remove any wax residue and achieve amazing results. For the whole car, you’ll need two to three microfiber towels. This is the only step requiring you to invest a bit more energy, haha.

  • Fold the microfiber towel and start buffing the car to remove any wax residue.
  • After each car panel, flip the towel over to a clean side.
  • Apply only light pressure with your hands. Just a light, gentle pressure is enough to buff it out.

And that’s how you wax a car with a buffer. If you’ve done everything correctly, you should have a fantastic

Helpful Tips To Get Better Results When Waxing

I just wanted to share a few helpful tips that may help you to get better results. So, here are a few tips I can give you:

  1. Don’t use large backing plates. You’ll often see companies promoting extremely large 10-inch backing plates and pads for applying waxes and paint sealants on cars. You don’t need them, and it’ll be hard to spread the wax with large polishing pads evenly. Pick a 5″ or 6″ backing plate and the corresponding pad. That’s all you need to apply wax to literally any vehicle.
  2. Make sure that the buffer and pads are completely clean. You don’t want any dirt or dust to end up on the car’s surface. A dirty pad can cause swirl marks and scratches on the clear coat.
  3. Don’t use high-speed settings on your machine buffer. You only need slow speed to spread the wax evenly, especially if you’re using a rotary polisher.
  4. Always read the instructions on the bottle. This is especially important for beginners since you don’t have so much experience, and every type of wax may need a different curing time or not need it at all.
  5. Do the paint correction if needed. If your car’s paint is full of swirl marks and scratches, don’t go straight away and wax the car. You should first remove swirl marks and scratches from the clear coat to get amazing results.

What’s The Best Car Wax Buffer?

It may be hard to answer what’s the best car wax buffer, but I’ll try to keep it simple. If you don’t need something for polishing and compounding, you can pick some cheap machine buffers from Amazon. Just make sure that it has the option to reduce the rotation speed.

If you’re a complete beginner, I suggest using an orbital polisher since they cause less heat and they’re easier to work with.

If I had to pick one buffer that’s best for beginners, I would pick this one:

black and decker random orbital polisher

If you need something more professional that you can also use for polishing and compounding, I recommend you visit my article on Best Professional Car Polishers

The Best Wax to Use With a Machine Buffer

There are three main types of car wax: paste wax, liquid wax, and spray wax. For waxing a car with a machine buffer, I suggest using only liquid waxes. I’m a big fan of paste waxes, but they’re only good for hand application. 

collinite insulator wax

In my opinion, Collinite 845 Insulator Wax (check on Amazon) is the best wax to use with a machine buffer. Buffing it out is easy, and it’s one of the longest-lasting waxes out there. You can expect it to last anywhere between 4-7 months with proper maintenance.

If you want more recommendations, feel free to check my list of the 9 best car waxes to make your car shine

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to wax the car by hand or by machine?

I’m a big fan of hand waxing because I love to use natural carnauba wax in a paste form. However, waxing a car by using a buffer is a much easier and more efficient way of waxing vehicles because you will quickly spread the wax all over the surface.

How often should you machine wax your car?

It will depend on the quality of the automotive wax you use. Some cheap waxes will only last a few days, while more quality waxes will last up to 6-7 months. On average, expect to machine wax your car every 3 months to keep your car shiny and protected all the time. 

Should you apply wax with a buffer?

If you want to quickly and effortlessly apply car wax on your car’s paint without doing too much work with your hands, I highly suggest applying wax with a buffer. If you’re a beginner, use a dual-action orbital polisher because they’re easier to work with. 

Can you wax a car with an orbital buffer?

Yes, an orbital buffer is probably the easiest type of machine to work with. It won’t generate too much heat, and it will be easy to spread the wax coat evenly on the surface. 


And that’s how you wax a car with a buffer. In this guide, I tried to make everything simple, so even a complete beginner can quickly learn everything in this full guide and make their car’s paint shinier than ever. 

Similar Posts