Let's face it, looks do matter. At Advance Auto Parts, we understand the need to have your car both running right and looking good. Follow our guide for key tips on how to wash your car, choose the right car wax, apply tire dressing, and much more. Once you've finished the job, you and your ride will be guaranteed to make a big splash this season!


Step 1: Wash & Dry

While there are multitudes of makes and models out on the road, there really is just one correct way to wash your car. And it's easy to do, especially if you've got the right car wash products and a little knowledge on hand.

Wash your car easily and efficiently – with these key steps:

Step 2: Surface Prep

Before waxing your car, use a clay bar or compound to remove stubborn dirt, contaminants or swirls. The clay bar will make the surface smoother, allowing for optimized car waxing.


We recommend:

Meguiar's Smooth Surface Clay Kit

The non-abrasive clay bar removes paint overspray, fallout, environmental contaminants and more when used with Meguiar's Quik Detailer, which comes included in the kit.

The compound will help eliminate swirls and restore consistency.



Meguiar's Ultimate Compound Polish

This advanced compound polish uses micro abrasive technology to help restore color and clarity to damaged and neglected finishes.

Step 3: Wax & Shine

Learning how to wax a car or truck is easy, especially when you've got the right car wax accessories on hand. Waxing your car regularly is key to maintaining its finish and luster for years to come.

Choosing the best car wax is an important step.
We recommend car wax products like Meguiar's Ultimate Synthetic Liquid Wax or Mothers California Gold Carnauba Cleaner Wax Liquid.

Here are a few tips for waxing your car the right way:

  • Pick the place – avoid direct sunlight.
  • Apply the car wax. If using a paste car wax, apply a small amount to a clean, damp sponge. Don't over-saturate. If using liquid car wax, apply directly to your car's surface.
  • Wax away. When waxing your car, split into sections to ensure even coverage.
  • Buff with a clean cloth in a circular motion. We recommend Autocraft Microfiber Towels.
  • For extra shine, repeat the process above. Experts refer to this as "double waxing."


Step 4: Wheel & Tire Care

Keeping your car wheels and tires looking slick can radically alter its overall appearance.

For details on how to wash your car tires and wheels, please refer to the Wash & Dry section of this page. For dressing and shining, read on.

Wheel Care

  • Depending upon the type of wheel you have, you may use a brush or mitt. The mitt is safe for all types of wheels.
  • If your car wash cleaner is not tough enough, you can use a dedicated wheel cleaner. We recommend Eagle One A2Z All Wheel and Tire Cleaner along with the Autocraft Tire Brush for complete cleaning.
  • Once you've thoroughly cleaned your car wheels, you may use a clay bar to remove stubborn debris or contaminants.
  • If your wheels have a clear coat, polish them the same way you would your car. For metal wheels, use a metal polish with a sponge of foam pad. Then, apply a wheel protectant to keep brake dust from sticking. We recommend Blue Magic Wheel Polish.
  • Use a microfiber towel to ensure the wheels are dry and spot free.


Tire Care

Once you've cleaned your car tires, it's time to apply the tire dressing.
We recommend Meguiar's Hot Shine Tire Coating Spray.

  • Apply a small amount of tire dressing to an applicator pad.
  • Work into your tires.
  • Apply a thin, even coat. Do not oversaturate.


Step 5: Interior Maintenance

Now that your car's exterior looks shiny and new, it's time to take a look at what's happening inside.


  • Vacuum your interior
    Besides vacuuming your floor, seats and cargo areas, use attachments such as a crevice tool or upholstery nozzle to clean your dashboard, panel and buttons—to dislodge dust and particles that can eventually lead to failure.
  • Clean your interior
    Clean your carpets, upholstery, trim, glass and hard-plastic surfaces.
  • Condition, protect and freshen up


    Use leather conditioner to revitalize leather trim and seats. Use a protectant on your dash to avoid fading and cracking from sunlight. We recommend Armor All Original Protectant.

    When all is said and done, if car odors persist, use air freshener scent sticks. We recommend Refresh Your Car Scented Vent Sticks.