Duel Autocare Element Hybrid Wax review: pretty in pink

This hybrid wax is more Porsche 918 than Toyota Prius.

An open tin of Hybrid Wax on a yellow buffing towel

by Ryan Gilmore |

Car wax from a tin may sound as old-fashioned as vinyl records or suspenders, but it's still a very popular way of adding extra protection to a car and is arguably the best wax for durability and shine. Modern paste waxes are now full of scientific developments, meaning they last longer and look better. Duel Autocare is one such company committed to paste wax, and its Element Hybrid Wax looks to be a really impressive way of keeping a car safe from the elements.

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Is it however a gimmick in a world of more convenient spray waxes, or is there a genuine reason to wax a car by hand like your parents probably did? To find out we've waxed our moustaches, ordered an artisan coffee and completed other tired hipster stereotypes to see if the old ways are still best.

What is it?

The wax itself may come in a metal tin but that's the only traditional part of it. Instead of being natural, this wax is a combination of T1 carnauba and synthetic waxes to offer long-term protection while still retaining that warm glow that a natural car wax offers. This is also partially where the Hybrid name stems from.

The Hybrid name has another meaning too, this wax also combines elements of a show wax (really glossy, the durability of a cheap sock) and a durable wax (excellent hydrophobic properties, slightly less impressive finish) to create what should be the best of both worlds, an ultra-glossy yet long-lasting wax. Duel Autocare claim four months of protection from the wax but proudly claim six months of durability in real-world testing.

Unscrewing the lid reveals the bright pink wax neatly pressed into the tin. This is an immediate sign of quality, compounded by the lack of surface cracks in the wax. There's a performance bonus to that pink hue too, its visibility allows for easy regulation of the wax, ensuring less wasted product.

How is it to use?

There's a general rule of thumb with waxes, the easier they are to spread the less protection they'll eventually offer. A buttery wax will go on incredibly smoothly but won't offer the same protection as a wax that requires a little convincing to spread evenly. This wax bucks that trend though, the wax is really easy to apply to a car but offers genuine protection.

The wax produces a clear haze to show an area has been covered and it's rare you'll need to top up the applicator for a panel. Duel Autocare claim that a 100ml tin will do 10 cars and it's entirely believable with how little product you need to get a proper coating.

Swipe a finger across the haze and if there's a residue-free line it's cured and ready to buff. The supplied coral-fleece microfibre towel buffed the wax incredibly well leaving no marks behind. Duel Autocare don't supply a curing time as it depends on a whole host of factors, but we found that five minutes was enough for a panel to cure. It's such a slick operation that you'll start to wonder why paste waxes have a time-consuming reputation.

Once buffed the paintwork looked spectacular. The wax left a deep, almost wet-looking glossiness to the paintwork that genuinely made the car look better than new. There wasn't the natural glow carnauba wax often produces, but that didn't take away from the overall finish.

Long-term durability will be revealed in time, but the wax has survived one pressure washing, still sheeting water after a quick shampooing. The wax hasn't started to lose its gloss either, still holding onto a deep shine despite being washed.

Verdict

The key hallmarks of a good wax are ease of use and durability. On both fronts the Duel excels; it's really easy to apply and our testing found it to be durable. It also adds a rich gloss to the paintwork, another important consideration which again makes it one of our favourite waxes.

In many ways, it's the ultimate car wax that doesn't use ceramic (SiO2) or graphene science. It may be more expensive than similar hybrid waxes from Bilt Hamber or Meguiar's, but its easy application really sets it out as a class leader. If the wax came with an applicator and buffing towel (available on the Duel Autocare website as a bundle), it'd be our favourite paste wax.

4.5/5

Pros Cons
• Easy to apply • A touch expensive at first glance
• Excellent protection • Graphene and ceramic waxes can last longer
• Overall quality is outstanding

How we tested it:

This wax was tested on two cars using the supplied tools from Duel Autocare and all instructions were followed, including preparing the cars with a panel wipe. We've previously tested sealants and other waxes which helped form comparisons in how this wax performed.

Other products used in this test: Duel Autocare Assault Snow Foam | Duel Autocare Bahama Blue High Concentrated Shampoo | Kärcher K3 Power Control | Duel Autocare Panel Prep | Duel Autocare Microfibre towels | Duel Autocare Wax Applicator

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