When I washed my Jeep Wrangler JKU after an off-road trip with some friends for the first time, I realized that my hard top wasn’t the same material as the rest of the body and that I might have to care for it differently. So, as you just did, I went online to search for the best way to care for the rig or in my case my new baby. While I found quite a few tips and tricks to care for the jeep hardtop, there wasn’t an awful lot out there helping with my question.
Can you wax a jeep hardtop without ruining it? Sure? Should you? That could be a topic for debate depending on where you live in the Jeep lifestyle and ecosystem. However, I am here to tell you the best way I’ve found to wax my Jeep hardtop.
I took the few suggestions from forums and Facebook friends, tried a failed a few times to eventually find what I thought worked best on my 2015 Jeep Wrangler JKU to share with you.
How I Wax My Jeep Hardtop
I found a spray wax that actually protects my Jeep hardtop from the weather elements. However, no wax yet has stood up to the low hanging tree branches on the trails. The best part is that the 303 Spray Wax is super simple to apply. Here is my routine:
- Wash and dry the Jeep
- Seek shade
- Choose your application and buffing cloth with care
- Spray & Wait
These six steps are important but not all for obvious reasons. Here are my tips for each phase and some things I have learned along the way.
Wash and dry the Jeep
A clean Jeep hardtop is an easier hardtop to wax. About a year ago going into winter I decided to wash and wax my Jeep while the top was off. This way I think I could get to all the nooks and crannies. I didn’t even think about washing the hardtop with had sat in the corner of my garage for the entire spring and summer. Somehow during that time something sticky, I think it was a soda, got spilt on the top. When I applied the wax on top of the soda, or whatever that was, it turned into a gooey mess. I could get the rest of the hardtop to look new; however, that one spot just wasn’t the same. After I put the hardtop back on and washed my Jeep, I hit it again with 303 Spray Wax and everything turned out okay.
- ULTIMATE PROTECTION – 303 Marine Aerospace Protectant provides superior protection against the sun's damaging UV rays. This protector spray repels dust, dirt, and staining while also helping to prevent fading and cracking, to keep marine surfaces looking newer, longer.
- NON-GREASY – This restoration product dries to a smooth, matte finish with no oily or greasy residue. When treating your boat, canoe, kayak, or any other watersports toy, trust 303 Marine Aerospace Protectant to keep your prized possession looking like new.
- VERSATILE – This multi-purpose detailing spray restores and maintains a like-new appearance, texture, and color on a variety of surfaces including vinyl, plastic, synthetic and natural rubber, PVC, metal, gel coat, fiberglass, stainless steel, and more. Apply every 3 – 5 weeks for maximum UV protection.
- DIRECTIONS – Use only on clean, dry surfaces. For best results, use 303 Multi-Surface Cleaner to prep the surface. Place a drop cloth under the item to be treated to catch any overspray. Out of direct sun, spray product on surface and wipe completely dry with a clean, dry microfiber towel. Product can also be sprayed onto microfiber towel or applicator and applied to surface. If streaking occurs, too much product has been used. Use a wet towel to remove excess, and immediately wipe dry.
- SHELF LIFE – All 303 Products are good for use up to 2 years from the bottle fill date which can be found as a Julian Date being a 5-digit number on the back of the bottle and is read as YYDDD. YY indicates the last two digits of the year of production, and DDD represents the number of the day of that year of production. Proudly made in the USA by a family-owned company in Chicago, Illinois.
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Washing and drying my Jeep Wrangler makes sure all of the heavy dirt or mud is gone.
Shade is one of those not so obvious pointers when it comes to waxing any vehicle. First, hot sun can bake wax into the car. With the textured hardtop of a Jeep Wrangler, this is a nightmare to rectify. The idea of shade when waxing your Jeep hardtop is more than this though. The 303 Spray Wax contains carnauba wax which simply evaporates if it’s too hot. This means you end up spraying cleaners from the 303 Spray Wax and the wax disappears. Not the intended outcome.
Find some shade to make sure you spray 303 on a cool surface in a uniform layer on the Jeep hardtop.
Note: I sprayed 303 Spray Wax on hardtop and fender flares of my Jeep Wrangler which are not painted on the JUK Sport edition of the Jeep Wrangler. The Rubicon or Sahara edition of the wrangler is painted and treated just like the rest of the Jeep body.
Choose your application and buffing cloth with care
Personally, I like cotton terry cloth to spread the mist from the 303 Spray Wax over the hardtop; however, the directions state you can use any cotton or microfiber rag as well. Having rags ready for the application or to help evenly spread the mist from the 303 Spray Wax available as well as very (note VERY) clean rags to remove the dried wax is in my experience the most important step in the process. Being stringent on rags just doesn’t make sense and turns a 15-minute job into something I end up spending my entire Saturday afternoon.
Spray & Wait
Well, it’s not quite spray and wait but pretty close. Spray the 303 Spray Wax evenly across your hardtop and then gently rub the spray into the texture with a clean rag. After about 5 minutes, the 303 Spray Wax will form a light film or haze on the hardtop. Let it dry as the next step is much easier when the wax is dry. The trick here is to try to keep the spray and application as even as possible for the best result.
I guess the words “buff” and “elbow grease” go hand in hand. The more TLC the better the result. Buff the film off for a clean protected look. The texture of the hardtop will require a bit more elbow grease than the rest of the body, but the wax will work into the texture of the top with effort. If you have a power buffer it works; however, I found I get better results by hand. The trick for a great finish is to buff with a clean fresh terry cloth and I change the rag or cloth often.
What didn’t work and why?
Paste wax. It was a nightmare to get off of the textured hardtop. I tried everything to get the wax off, but the hardtop still looked faded. The paste wax wouldn’t wash off either even with pretty hot water. Stay away from paste waxes for the Sport edition hardtop and fender flares.
A non-wax trick I just had to try
Peanut butter. I was pleasantly surprised by a trick I saw in one of my Jeep Facebook groups where a Jeep owner used creamy peanut butter to renew the look of his Jeep hardtop and fender flares. I couldn’t believe it, so I tried it. The grey left-over paste wax I still had on my hardtop after a year, came right off. The oil in the peanut butter made the hardtop shine like it just came off the new car lot. After I was done, I washed my Jeep and went through my process above of washing and waxing my baby.
Can you wax a Jeep Hardtop? The answer is yes, and this article provides tips I have found which work best. The first time I took my Jeep Wrangler off-road (literally the day I bought it), I ran under some tree branches which scratched the hardtop of my JKU. I remember my wife screaming at me because I just spent shy of $40,000 on this vehicle. When I got home, I thought I could buff those scratches out and apply some wax. While the scratches came out, the wax stayed for a while. It wasn’t a heavy film or grey look, but the new look of my Jeep was gone.
It took me nearly a year to find [amazon_textlink asin=’B000XBCURW’ text=’303 Spray Wax’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’offroadable-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’85b96d96-dd3f-11e8-88c5-abd190a887f4′] and the peanut butter trick. Waxing your Jeep hard top isn’t difficult if you take the time to learn from mistakes like mine.
Can I Wax my Stock Jeep Wrangler Sport Edition Fender Flares and Bumpers?
Yes. The same process of waxing your hardtop is effective for stock Jeep Wrangler fender flares and bumpers.
How Does Car Wax Affect Windows on my Rig?
Wax on my windows has helped bead the rain. I always take the time to clean and dry my windows well before applying 303 Spray Wax in the same manner as the hardtop.
What Is the Best Way to Get Wax Out of the Bolt Heads on my Jeep Wrangler?
A rubber eraser on the old-fashioned number 2 pencil works great. You might need a couple of them; however, the rubber takes old built up wax right off.