How to Wax a New 2021 Tesla

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Image Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

If you thought your Tesla looked good when it first left the showroom, just wait until you see it after a good coat of wax.

Once you learn how to wax a new car safely and using the best techniques you’ll have even more amazing results.  

You’ll find it difficult to walk away from your car without glancing back to admire it.  And you’ll have a deep sense of satisfaction that you did this.  And the surprising thing is : its actually very easy.

But did you know you can scratch your paint if you don’t learn the safe way to wax?

The most important things to remember when waxing a new car are

  1. Wash and dry your car first.
  2. Read the instructions of whatever wax you bought
  3. Apply wax in the shade.

How to wax a new Tesla and get incredible results.

  1. Carnuaba Wax will give a deep rich shine.  Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax is a quality Carnuaba Wax thats quick and easy to apply.
  2. You’ll find they talk about how important the preparation phase is as I mentioned above.  So at least wash and dry your car first using one of the safe washing methods.
  3. You’ll get even better results if you use an iron remover spray like Carpro Iron-X once or twice a year.
  4. It might be worth using a clay bar on parts of your car.  This will leave a perfectly clean surface.
  5. If you have swirls and scratches consider using a pre-wax glaze like Meguiars Ultimate Polish.
  6. Don’t apply too much wax.  It wont make the shine any better and can be difficult to buff off.
  7. Don’t apply wax to plastic or rubber trim unless the the instructions say its safe to do so.
  8. Apply wax in the shade and when the paint is cool to the touch.
  9. For liquid and paste waxes, apply using a foam applicator or a microfibre cloth or sponge.
  10. Allow to dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer.
  11. Buff off with a plush microfibre towel.
  12. Use tire shine to make your tires look waxed too.

Prepare your Tesla for waxing.

You need to get your car as clean as possible before you wax it.  Any dirt or grit on there will get ground into your paint and result in scratching and marring.  

I usually use the two bucket method or a version of it.  It’s easy to add more scratches to your paint by washing it the wrong way.  Read my page on HOW TO WASH A BRAND NEW TESLA to learn about some of the best scratch free ways of washing a car.

Should I Dry my Car Before I Wax it?

Yes, you should carefully dry your car before you apply wax.  Especially liquid or paste waxes.

Some spray waxes can be applied to wet cars.

Use a super soft car drying towel and not an old bathroom towel.  Drying your car the wrong way is a fast way to scratch it.  But letting it dry naturally causes water spots.

Dry your car with a large drying towel and don’t use any detail spray or drying aid as they also contain ingredients that might prevent the wax from bonding properly.

Do I need to remove old wax before applying new wax?

You probably don’t need to remove old wax from a new car because it’s unlikely to have very much wax on it.  

The reason some people like to try to remove old wax is so the new wax bonds better and lasts longer. 

To be honest I don’t think it’s that important for most of us.  If there is any wax on there it wont cause any problems and your new wax will simply add another layer of protection.

But if you do want to make an attempt to remove old wax you can use a more powerful shampoo designed to clean a little deeper.  

If you are adding a ceramic or graphene coating to your Tesla you should definitely remove the old wax first.  These coatings are difficult to apply and are designed to last years so getting the best bond possible will give better results.  

Best Shampoo to use on a new car before waxing.

Adams Stripwash is a shampoo that will help remove old wax or sealant and also any grease that might have bonded to your paint. Its often used on high-end cars by professional detailers before they polish or apply wax or a ceramic coating.  Most car shampoos are Ph Neutral so that they can protect any wax on your car.  Adams Strip wash is not pH neutral.

I use a product like this if I plan on polishing my car first and then apply wax.  But if I’m just adding a top-up coat of wax to a new car Ill use regular car shampoo.  So don’t spend money on products you don’t need or will rarely use.

Strip wash came in very useful for me once when I applied some wax on a black car and it looked very streaky and uneven.  The weather was too cold and the wax didn’t evaporate properly so it didn’t look good to me.  So I washed it off with Stripwash.

But if you don’t have Adams strip wash you can use car shampoo, it’s not going to cause any big problems.  Just get your car as clean as possible without scratching it.

Probably the shampoo I use most often is Meguiars Gold Class.  Its ph Neutral which protects paint and plastic.  It gets your car clean and that’s the goal.

Should I use a clay bar before waxing?

Does your paint feel rough to the touch after you wash it?  I find it usually happens low down on the car behind the wheels.

This roughness is called contamination by professional detailers.  And it can cause problems when waxing.

These little pieces of contamination can break off and scratch your paint as you wax it.  This is especially likely if you use a polishing machine or buffer machine to apply wax.  

But it can also cause scratches when buffing with a microfibre towel or sponge.

So for that reason it can be a good idea to use a clay bar before you apply a wax.  Your paint will feel perfectly smooth and clean again.

A word of warning though.  You can really scratch your car if you dont learn the right way to use a clay bar.  But if you use the correct products and techniques it’s actually very quick and easy.  Read my post on clay bars to learn more.

Piece of Clay Bar

Should I polish my Tesla before I wax it?

You probably don’t need to polish a car that’s less than a year old.  The paint still looks pretty good with not that many swirl marks and scratches.

But if you can see what looks like cobwebs and the shine looks faded when the sun reflects on your paint it might be worth considering giving it a once over with a polishing machine.

These swirls and scratches are usually caused by improper washing and drying.  Read my post on what causes new cars to lose their shine so quickly.

Those of us that are obsessed with our shine would use a high powered LED light to search for swirl marks and polish them out.  

You can use a polish like Meguiars Ultimate Polish by hand before you apply wax to boost shine.  This also adds a protective glaze to the paint that fills in very minor scratches and can make your car look even more amazing.

Should I use an Iron Remover spray before I wax a new car?

I use an iron remover like Carpro IronX once or twice a year and before I apply a new coat of wax.  Iron particles are generated by brakes and other machinery and float in the air around heavy traffic.  They can stick to your paint like glue.  They can also rust and cause damage to your clear coat.

The good news is that iron deposits are easy to remove with something like CarPro Iron-X.  I usually apply Iron-X after I wash my car and before I use the clay bar.  

A clay bar can remove iron deposits too but as mentioned above, a clay bar can cause scratches.

So I recommend you use an iron remover a few times a year and it’s especially useful to get these particles off before you wax your car.

Should I use a Tar Remover before I wax my Tesla.

Tar can usually be removed with a clay car.  But if you have extremely bad tar (which is especially noticeable on a white car) it’s a good idea to use a tar remover. 

There are a number of great tar removers on the market but CarPro Tar-x is the only one I have used.  Its awesome.  But try not to let it dry on your paint.

What you need to wax a car

Like everything to do with detailing, microfibre towels are important.  You should always have a good supply on hand.  

For buffing I always use a more plush set of towels.  But if the towel starts to get clogged with dried wax and grab another clean one.  I might go through 4 or 5 smaller towels just for buffing.

Some waxes are applied using an applicator sponge.  In particular paste waxes.   I have used Meguiars soft applicator pads for years and have always been very happy with them.  They are also good for products that contain polish or glaze as you need to rub them in a little.

You can also use a larger microfibre sponge.  These are easier to hold and are perfect for spray waxes or liquid waxes.

Do you need to use a buffer machine to wax a car?

I don’t use a buffer to wax my car.  I find that almost all waxes are easy to apply and buff off by hand.

A buffer can shoot wax in all directions.  They can also generate too much dust.

The buffer can also get wax on your plastic and many waxes stain plastic. 

I use a DA polisher for compounding and polishing only.  Pro detailers tend to use buffing machines for wax because they say it’s faster and they have a business to run so it makes sense.

How to apply a spray wax.

  1. I use spray waxes a lot.  They save me so much time.  I apply a spray wax almost every time I wash my car.
  2. A spray and rinse wax is the easiest to apply.  Simply spray it on to your wet car after you wash it and rinse off.  Then dry as normal.
  3. Other spray waxes can be sprayed on to the wet car but then you wipe off and buff with another towel.
  4. Some spray waxes can be applied to a dry car for best results.

How many coats of wax should be applied to a new car?

Applying more than one coat of wax can make a big difference to the gloss level you achieve.

This is especially true for hard waxes or paste waxes.  And also for liquid waxes.

If you have spent a lot of time washing and claying your car and you don’t plan on doing again for months you might as well take the time to apply two or more coats of wax to get as much out of it as you can.  Its definitely worth it.

But for spray waxes, I don’t think it’s worth applying more than one coat.  

As a spray wax is so easy to apply I like to use one after every wash and each time it can add another layer of shine and protection.

Can car wax stain plastic trim?

Yes, some waxes stain plastic and rubber trim but not all of them.

I think all spray waxes are safe on plastic but almost all paste waxes need to be kept away from plastic.

Liquid waxes can go either way.  If the wax contains carnauba its usually stains plastic.  But some ceramic waxes I have tried can be applied to plastic too which saves you time.

If your wax is safe to use on plastic it takes less time to wax our car as you don’t have to be so careful.

Some people like to tape off plastic trim to protect it.

By the way, it’s possible to remove most wax and polish stains on plastic using a pencil eraser.


Waxing a new car is probably the most rewarding thing you can do.  It will give you that gloss and shine that you are dreaming of.  Its how your new Tesla was meant to look.

Once you learn the right techniques you can get amazing results.  But do it the wrong way and you will actually make your car look worse.

But when you’ve done a great job, you’ll find that you drive more slowly so that everyone can see you.

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