I was looking to walk in with a Ceramic Spray Wax and spray it on the white car before driving it off the lot. But the ceramic spray wax needs water to start working - can't really hose it off at the dealer. So my question is, what can I do on a brand new car so I protect its paint (and shine) for the longest time possible? I am ideally looking to be able to walk in with a bottle of the product and a few lint free towels to protect the paint. Looking to do everything myself and avoid anything the dealer wants to sell in regards to paint protection. I am in Sydney (Aus), if that matters.

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    What does doing it on the lot give you that doing it at home doesn't?
    – Caius Jard
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 14:03
  • @CaiusJard Lesser exposure to the elements. Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 12:00
  • So the car has been on a lot, (outside?, exposed to the elements?).. You're going to drive it home (30 mins?) and then wax it (coating thickness a few thousandths of a millimeter) with an aim of prolonging the paint life by.. How many months/days, realistically? I think perhaps the psychological effect for you, of applying this treatment, will be more beneficial than any tangible physical benefit - but the dealer should darn well let you do as you please; I know what I'd choose from "promise the customer they can wax their own car before they drive it away and make a sale, vs not make a sale"
    – Caius Jard
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 12:40

2 Answers 2


Honestly, doing anything on the lot is a waste of time at best and detrimental at worst.

New cars don't come in packaging so the paint is rarely in "factory fresh" condition when you pick them up, they've been shipped, sat at the docks, sat at the lot etc And in my experience they aren't often particularly clean - a cursory hand or jet wash is the best you can hope for. And if you're unlucky they've "cleaned" it badly with the same ratty sponge they've washed fifteen other cars with that day and you get a nice set of swirl marks included free of charge. I've known more than one person who has specifically requested that their new cars not be washed by the dealer prior to delivery, and honestly I can't say I blame them.

You're absolutely right to avoid any of the sealant/wax/protection packages the dealer offers - they are (without exception) hugely overpriced and more often then not applied in a slipshod manner by someone who either doesn't know what they're doing, doesn't care, or hasn't been given enough time to do it right. The old adage of "If you want something doing right do it yourself" most definitely applies here.

If you want to get a car looking and staying it's best the better approach is to take it straight home give it a good two-bucket method hand wash, light clay bar for any surface contaminants then buff clean and dry with a microfibre and then apply your protectant/sealant of choice.

Doing this ensures you're getting the "real" finish of the paint under the sealant and nothing else - and if there are any paint issues you can spot them and correct them at the time (or shout at the dealer until they do).

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    To second what you said about "overpriced" stuff at dealerships, when I worked selling cars, our aftermarket guy would try to sell people on these products. He'd sell them for $400 to $600 for sealant, Scotchguard, & undercoating. It would only cost the dealership $60. Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 12:49
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    Well, "don't come in packaging" is not always true, e.g. sueddeutsche.de/auto/…. Presumable exactly to avoid the kind of dirt and small damage the OP is trying to prevent. Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 14:00
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica True enough - some manufacturers are starting to put some protective film on cars for export/shipping. It's far from universal though and you would certainly want to clean them after that was removed before applying sealant Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 14:13
  • Every car I've received new from a dealership (and there have been quite a few, yay company cars) came sparkling clean. Dealership takes them through a carwash, has a detailer work on them, then takes it into their own workshop to remove any waterstains. Maybe I've dealt only with good dealerships, but every single one I've dealt with has done that and my dad had the same experience all the way back to the 1960s.
    – jwenting
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 9:13
  • @jwenting impressive! not sure where you are in the world but my (and those I've known) experiences in the UK are sadly rather lacking by comparison :( Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 9:25


I keep cars for their life - until they don't run. I have never looked at one of the old cars and said "I sure wish I had waxed that car".

Half a century ago the metal used in bodywork and the paints applied were inferior. Some were so poor they would rot as you look at them. But those days have gone.

Not only that, but getting wax on the windshield can be positively dangerous. When it rains and you use the wipers, the rain smears so you can't see through it at all.

I rarely use an automated car wash, because even if I select a non-wax program, residual wax on the rollers still gets on the windshield. And when I buy a car, the exterior has been "helpfully" waxed and the interior is coated with slimy silicone. All of which takes a few hours to remove.

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    I'll add that if your doors have an annoying squeak as you drive, it can be because that pesky furniture polish has got on the rubber surrounds. Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 16:37
  • I have looked at a few cars with paint caking and thought 'Gee shoulda cleaned that bird poo'- if the paint had a layer of protection there probably would have been some hope Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 12:02
  • Well yes, I do clean off the bird poo. If you don't want to clean the car it might need more protection. Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 17:08

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