Can You Still Buff a Car in the Rain?

When you’re busy, it may be challenging to find enough time (let alone the right time) to care for your car. For example, you may be outdoors in the middle of your car care session when the sky becomes overcast and ready to release some rain.

Buffing a car in the rain

You shouldn’t buff your car in the rain, or wax it. If a shower starts before you finish doing either, buff off the wax you’ve already applied as quickly as possible. Wait for the rain to stop before continuing.

Below, I’ll explain why you shouldn’t buff your car in the rain and what the rain does to your car wax. I’ll also go over what you should do if it rains when you’re waxing and buffing, the types of car wax, the best time to wax and buff, how to do both properly, and how to make waxing more effective.

Why You Shouldn’t Buff Your Car in the Rain

Wet car due to rain

Buffing your car involves wiping off the layer of wax you’ve applied on the surface of your vehicle.

Rainwater gathers all kinds of contaminants from the air before reaching the ground. Those contaminants can get mixed up with the buffing pad or microfiber rag you’re sliding over your car’s surface, spreading them all over your vehicle and causing scratches, swirls, and other unwanted marks.

What Rain Does to Your Car Wax

Waxing and buffing your car is meant to protect your car’s paint from rain, harsh weather, and ultraviolet rays. This treatment also gives your vehicle an extra layer of protection from contaminants like bird droppings, salt, tree sap, and industrial pollution.

Rain gradually wears down the protective layer created by the car wax. Car wax can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the type of wax you use and the degree of wear and tear your car paint experiences.

What Should You Do if It Rains in the Middle of Waxing?

Wet window shade due to rain

If it rains in the middle of waxing, buff out the wax you’ve already applied as quickly as you can. Leave the rest of the waxing and buffing for after the rain has passed. Be sure to dry your vehicle thoroughly before you reapply any wax.

Rain can leave residue and debris behind after it dries, so a light wash might be necessary before waxing and buffing again.

When and Where You Should Buff Your Car

Buffing the car

You should only wax and buff your car after properly washing and drying it. Washing and drying remove any contaminants and debris accumulated on your car’s surface and removes anything that may cause scratches and swirls.

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You should also wax and buff your car when the car’s surface is cool. Waxing on a hot surface can cause the wax to dry before you can buff it out.

For the above reasons, it’s recommended that you wax and buff your car indoors — or, at least, in the shade.

How Often Should You Wax Your Car?

You only need to wax your car three or four times a year. There’s no such thing as overwaxing your car, but applying new wax before removing old wax makes your car’s paint more prone to swirls and other unwanted marks.

You can also gauge when it’s time to wax and buff your car by observing the shine of your vehicle’s paint. If it looks duller, it may be time for a new coat of wax.

Types of Car Wax

Applying cax wax
  • Spray wax: It doesn’t last as long as the other waxes, but you can use it for quick detailing and making a thinner layer of protection that lasts from a few days to a few weeks. I recommend this Car Guys Hybrid Wax (available on because it’s easy to use, lasts for three to six months, and works well with any car color.
  • Liquid Wax and Paste/Tub Wax: This is a more durable wax that can last from a few weeks to a few months. It also provides the most protection for your car.
  • Carnauba Wax: This is one of the more expensive and popular types of natural wax. Though it doesn’t last as long as synthetic car waxes, it can provide the best shine for your vehicle.
  • Synthetic Wax: These waxes have been engineered to better bond with your car paint, so they last longer than carnauba wax. They also give your car paint the best protection. However, these waxes don’t provide the level of shine carnauba wax can give.

If you can’t decide between carnauba or synthetic wax, get the best of both worlds with Meguiar’s Premium Liquid Wax. It’s a carnauba-polymer blend that gives you a brilliant shine and a strong, in-depth protective layer for your car.

How To Make Your Car Wax Last Longer

Applying car wax that last longer

The longevity of your car wax depends on the type of wax you use, along with factors like weather and how often you take your car out for a drive.

For example, synthetic waxes are more durable than natural carnauba wax. Liquid and paste waxes can last for weeks to months, much longer than spray waxes.

Here are some tips to lengthen the life of your car wax:

  • Take time to wax your car correctly. Apply a thin coat on a smaller area before buffing it off. Well-applied wax lasts longer.
  • Always read the instructions that come with your car wax. Different brands and types of waxes may have special instructions for the best way to apply their wax for the best results.
  • After buffing off your car wax, quickly spray on some detailer. It’ll give an extra layer of protection over your wax and give your car some extra shine.
  • Use a PH-neutral soap when doing maintenance car washes.
  • After regular maintenance washes, apply a quick layer of detailer or spray wax to your car.

Also, when you wax your car, use a high-quality, plush, seamless microfiber rag to buff out the wax. This will remove any remaining dust and residue on your car’s surface. A seamless rag also prevents swirls when buffing.

The Chemical Guys Microfiber Towels are perfect for your next car waxing job. They are scratch-free, lint-free, super plush, and stay soft even if you use them multiple times.

First published on Sep 15, 2022 by

Final Thoughts

You shouldn’t buff your car in the rain. Doing so can leave scratches and swirls in your vehicle due to the contaminants that come with rainwater. Exposure to rain, other elements, and everyday wear slowly removes the protective layer of wax, so you’ll need to reapply wax every few weeks or a few months.

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CarCareReport dot com first published this article on Sep 15, 2022..

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