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Products from Meguiar and Nu-Finish top Consumer Reports’ ratings of car waxes

Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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YONKERS, NY — Meguiar’s NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0, $18, and NU Finish NFP-80, $8, A CR Best Buy, topped Consumer Reports’ latest tests of 19 car waxes, for liquid and paste, respectively.

CR’s tests also revealed that premium car wax brands don’t necessarily out-perform their lower-priced counterparts: Liquid or gel waxes from premium brands like Autoglym, Eagle One, Mothers, Zymol scored lower than products from Nu Finish, and 3M, although Autoglym Super Resin Polish (liquid) and Mothers California Gold Carnauba Cleaner Wax (liquid) were both Recommended. Among paste waxes, Mothers FX Engineered Synwax 20011 (Recommended), and Mothers California Gold Carnauba Cleaner Wax were outscored by Nu Finish NFP-80 and Turtle Wax Synthetic Paste Polish T-465.

CR’s tests ultimately found that overall, pastes performed no better than liquids in a head-to-head comparison, with both wax types sharing similar scores for ease-of-use. The better liquids tended to improve gloss better and the best pastes lasted longer.

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Other products that scored well in the Ratings included Turtle Wax Ice Synthetic Paste Polish, ($17.00), and the liquid Nu Finish NF-76, ($8). Turtle Wax Ice Synthetic Paste Polish and Nu Finish NFP-80 were rated Excellent for durability, and left little or no residue on plastic trim, though Nu Finish was slightly harder to remove. The Nu Finish NF-76 was rated Very Good for durability, but gloss improvement was not as good and it left some staining on plastic parts.

With cold weather coming, now could be an excellent time to wax your car and help protect it from the potential hazards of falling leaves and road salt. Before buying a car wax, be aware that premium car wax brands don’t necessarily hold up any better than lower-priced alternatives, based on CR’s latest tests.

In fact, some moderately priced liquids scored near the top of the Ratings—better than some products costing twice as much.

Still, none of the 19 products tested were good enough to be Rated excellent, overall, with most showing signs of deterioration within a few weeks. Turtle Wax Ice Synthetic Polish T-468, $17, and Turtle Wax Carnauba Cleaner Wax T-5, $7, scored the lowest for liquid and paste waxes, respectively.

The full results of Consumer Reports’ tests of car waxes including tips on how to wax your car are available to subscribers of Updated daily, Consumer is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information. Check out CR’s ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars.

CR did not evaluate spray-on/wipe-off products this time, because earlier tests have shown them to be less effective for cleaning, to be ineffective against weather, and to rate the worst for durability. They’re best only for newer finishes and if you wash and wax frequently.

“Thanks to today’s clear-coat finishes, Consumer Reports’ testing shows that even the best wax will probably not improve the shine on a new car,” said Jeff Bartlett, deputy online automotive editor, Consumer Reports. “Regular washing is still the most important step to preserving your car’s finish and periodic waxing with a quality product can provide proven protection.”

But a coat of wax can add a layer of protection against tree sap, bird droppings, and other contaminants at least for a while. Most products CR tested showed a significant loss of protection within about five weeks. For this reason, CR recommends waxing even new cars every two or three months. And if your car is older or the finish has begun to dull, the effects can be even more dramatic. Waxing can fill minute finish imperfections, and waxes that scored highly for gloss improvement removed oxidation and made paint appear darker and more vibrant.

With more than 7 million print and online subscribers, Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union, the world’s largest independent, not-for-profit, product-testing organization. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Website and owns and operates a 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut. The organization’s auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe, consumers can call 1-800-234-1645 or visit

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this newspaper's web site.

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Products from Meguiar and Nu-Finish top Consumer Reports’ ratings of car waxes
Meguiar’s NXT Generation Tech Wax 2.0, $18, and NU Finish NFP-80, $8, A CR Best Buy, topped Consumer Reports’ latest tests of 19 car waxes.
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