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Car Wax Challenge

Car Wax Challenge

We are almost to the middle of June, and I’m willing to bet that many of you have not waxed your car in some time.  Perhaps you gave it a good cleaning and waxing right before winter (which is great if you did!).

Now that the sloppy winter and spring months are behind us, it’s time to apply a coat of wax to protect your paint and bring back that shine.

Related articleCar Care Basics

Other than which brand of motor oil to use, the next big debate among car enthusiasts is which wax is best for your car.  I have used many different waxes over the years, and learned that price is not a good indicator of wax effectiveness.  Just like with wine, sometimes a cheap one is all you need.

side by side pictures of two cars

The Challenge

On April 24th, I decided to put my two current favorite waxes to the test.  I just washed my wife’s MINI and my Subaru, and waxed both using different waxes.  After 30 days of car washing (both cars received weekly hand washes), I decided to see which wax was best.

My strictly unscientific results can be found below.

bottle of Nu Finish wax on hood of car

Nu Finish

This product has been around for years.  I first used it in the late 1980s, and is the one I keep coming back to after trying something different.  It is easy to apply and remove, which is one reason it is a favorite.  Waxes that require a lot of buffing to produce a great shine will discourage you from even trying.

If you have been around a while, you may remember the TV commercials where they applied Nu FInish to the hood of a junkyard car.  It instantly brought back the shine.  Nu Finish is actually a polish and not a wax.  The key difference is in the chemical makeup of the product.  For most of us, the difference is hard to tell.

Nu Finish can be purchased at most auto parts stores, WalMart, Meijer or for under $10.


After one month of car washes (all by hand), the paint on my wife’s MINI still looks like the day I applied the Nu Finish.  I did notice, however, that it took longer for the water to drain off the hood.

Just for kicks, I measured the time it took the water to drain away.  For the Nu FInish, it was just four minutes, four seconds

yellow bottle of wax on car hood

Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

The Chemical Guys brand is pretty popular with detailers and hobbyists.  They carry a lineup of car care products ranging from interior cleaners, conditioners, exterior soaps, waxes, towels and more.  You can learn more on their website HERE.

I had an AutoZone reward that was about to expire, so I decided to buy this wax to give it a try.  After a few applications, I have to say that I am pretty impressed.  The Butter Wet Wax is just as easy to apply and rub off as Nu Finish, and it seems like it produces a slighter better shine.  Or, maybe the fresh banana scent of the wax hypnotized me!

Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax is available at most auto part stores and for under $20.


As I mentioned above, this wax is easy to apply and remove.  Nu Finish has always been my standard for ease of use, so claiming Butter Wet Wax is just as easy as Nu Finish means something.

After all of the car washes this past month, the Butter Wet Wax shine was just like the day I applied it.  The water did not bead up as well after 30 days, but it did run off the hood faster than Nu Finish.  I measured the total time of two minutes, 58 seconds, which is less than the four minutes for Nu Finish.

Based strictly on this very unscientific measurement of time for total water run-off, I have to give the nod to Chemical Guys.

The results were extremely close, so I don’t think you can go wrong with either of these products.  The important thing is to be sure to protect your paint with something.  Based on my experience, you are more likely to do that if it is easy to do.

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  1. Bob

    It’s funny to read this because I just recently used nu finish and applied the butter wax as a top coat for the polish. My 12 year old lexus shines like new.

    • Bill

      Timing is everything, Bob! I just used the last of my NuFinish on my wife’s dark blue car to remove some ninor swirl marks. I was thinking of trying the Butter Wax as a topcoat as you tried. How did it turn out for you?


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