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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thought i'd start a thread for detailing OUR cars! So we can be specific on what products work best on what surface.

I generally only pick products that are well-reviewed or used by professionals. If you can think of any products to add to the list, tell me with a post reply.

Most of these products are on my Amazon Wishlist, located here.

Exterior Cleaning Products:


Microfiber Mop - or any similar product
Budget-friendly.

The Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Soap- 1 Gallon - be sure not to use dove/dawn dish soap. Since they're de-greasers, they strip wax from your paint. Also, if you're not into purchasing gallon-sized soaps, a 16oz size of the same soap is available here under $10.00.
Budget Alternative-Gold Class Wash Soaphttps://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-Cla...TF8&qid=1394954986&sr=1-1&keywords=gold+class


Microfiber Drying Towel - any microfiber will do, but to prevent scratching, go for 550+ GSM .
Use coupon code RDT5 on their site. Thanks @nokcha!



Waxing/Finishing/Protection:


Collinite 845 Carnauba Wax - I've been very satisfied with how long this lasts, even though the price is a bit high. A highly-reviewed alternative is the Meguiars M20 Sealant, which is for longer-lasting applications that don't require as much "showtime shine".
No Budget Alternative

Aquapel is my absolute favorite glass protection product. It provides the same benefits as Rain-X except lasts far longer. Note, glass must be fully cleaned for it to bond properly. I haven't tested many strong glass cleaners, but Autoglym Polish has been a favorite among enthusiasts for a while.
Budget Alternative - Rain-X


(Hand) Wax Applicator Pads
Budget-friendly.


Wax Removal Towel (microfiber, could be the same as above, but use a second dry towel)


For Tire Shine, I now use (at 2:1 dilution) Meguiars Hyper Dressing
Budget Alternative -Meguiars Hot Tire Shine, which is cheaper in stores than online.


For Clay Bar Lubricant I use ONR, or Optimum No Rinse. Multipurpose cleaner- can technically be used on the interior, exterior, and as a clay bar lubricant.
Budget-friendly- product is diluted heavily for almost all uses.



For Interior:


Stoners Glass Cleaner, for Windshield interior front and rear. Only product I've found to leave zero streaks or lint. For cleaning all the other windows, Sprayaway Cleaner (Cheaper in a 4-pack at Sam's Club, thank you @cpnfantsk) works wonders as well.
Budget-friendly.


Meguiars Interior Detailer - Nothing special, and not really a strong suggestion.
Budget Friendly - @Vengenz Suggested Meguiars All Purpose Cleaner which can be diluted 2 to 1, or more if preferred, making it great for budgets.

For interior cleaning any soft MF towel will do, for non-glossy surfaces. Surfaces like touch screens, translucent plastic, glossy plastic transmission piece, etc, require a very soft MF towel, and some type of cleaner spray, as dry-wiping will scratch these glossy surfaces.



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Tips/Tricks:


For washing, I personally don't use the two bucket method, as my wash bucket is deep enough so I never reach the bottom. I use a large garbage-sized bucket filled to the top with clearcoat-safe soapy water (Mr. Pink Soap). Fully rinse the car in the shade, and begin soaping up from top to bottom. Wheels are always last to be cleaned, as you don't want grease or dirt in your bucket or trapped in your mitt.

If you have time, wash your paint twice (after rinsing the mitt thoroughly to get out trapped dirt), especially if you're going to be doing any kind of Waxing or polishing.

Drying methods vary depending on paint color for most people, but I'd suggest sticking to the following method for all colors to be safe.

To avoid the most common drying-inflicted clearcoat scratches, you need to dry the paint in a vertical motion ONLY (top to bottom). Don't go left to right, otherwise from a distance you can see lines in the clear coat. You can dry differently on the front, as there's no real way to 100% prevent scratching for those areas...but on the left and right sides, vertical drying is best.

For colors like white, drying will rarely be an issue, but you can't be too careful!

Next, always keep your car waxed. Apply wax every few months, or even more, if weather permits. Once water no longer beads properly, it's time to re-apply. You need to protect your paint from sun damage, environmental damage, etc if you want it to last. Two Collinite 845 bottles have lasted a year for me so far. As far as applying wax by machine, be sure to pick a ROB, or Random Orbital Buffer, and use high-quality terry bonnets and wool bonnets. Lake country is the best brand for bonnets.


In an emergency I have 3M Rubbing Compound at home (as well as Meguiars Ultimate Compound). If you have a DA, or Dual Action Polisher, do NOT use the 3M product (too harsh on paint at faster speeds), only the Meguiars Ultimate Compound or for heavy-duty work, Meguiars M105.

Note, I'm a detailing freak and wash/clean my car (when possible) once a week, for about an hour by hand. Remember that when reading this thread :lol:



@SilverL Suggested the brand AMMO, as well as some of their training videos. To be more specific, I find the Paint Chip Touch-Up video to be fantastic.





Thanks all!​
 

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I use a mainstay..Blue Coral carnauba car wash & wax. I wash the car always on cool, shady mornings (never under the radiating sun nor reflections). I rinse the body well before the soapy regimen (to soften/remove any muck or dust) and after. Followed by quick dry down and frequent microfiber towel rinse and wringing, along with a bucket full of water.

Interior, nothing else but a microfiber duster followed by a damp, clean microfiber towel rubdown. I use no fancy, harsh chemicals of any sort. All exterior and interior microfiber wiping under light, gliding hands of mine (too much hand pressure increases the chances of fine scratches on surfaces, except of course, in wax-off). For wax, I use Mother's California Gold Ultimate Pure Brazilian Carnauba Wax (ditto, away from the sun).
 

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I do the regular drive thru car wash at gas station that includes air drying, as that is the only option available for me. Meguiar's clay bar followed by Turtle ice premium care liquid wax. I am pretty satisfied with this liquid wax though my next bottle is going to be Turtle ice premium care spray wax as that requires less effort, have no idea if spray wax will be as good as liquid one. I typically do it on a warm sunny day out in the sun (yes, Turtle ice premium wax says on the bottle it can be done in sunlight).

Interior cleaning by Meguar's detailing wipes and tires with Black Magic.

I never used to be a car freak until I got my soul red M6. Never took this much care of my old Maxima except for an occasional car wash, it speaks volumes about M6's looks.
 

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So far I use Chemical Guys products for everything except my glass and wheel cleaning.

Wash: Ecosmart RU, a waterless wash. Spray on and wipe off. Its surprising how the microfiber will hold the dirt. It contains carnuba wax so it usually requires a second wipe off. Hasnt cause any scratches or swirls. Has helped cover ones made by previous washes.

Sealant: Jetseal 109
Wax: Pete 53
With the above, I use Hybrid V07 or Extreme Slick Synthetic Detailer when wiping off the sealant and wax.

Interior: V.R.P, used Mothers VLR before and it didnt last. VRP lasts a looong time. My interior looks darker and shinier.

Tires(cleaning): Eagle One Enviroshine to clean brake dust from wheels and rims.

Tires(shine) and Trim: Black on Black, an aerosol spray. It has easily become my favourite product for black trim and sometimes even on tires(gone through 2 cans and on my third but I use it on every car in my household, and just ordered 3 more cans). Otherwise I use G6 Hypercoat on my tires or Tire and Trim Gel for Plastic and Rubber for tires.

Undercarriage: Barebones. Keeps the wheel wells black and can be sprayed on tires but has to be wiped in to prevent sling.

Glass: Stoners Invisible Glass. Unfortunately I still get streaks inside and may just buy the wipes like OP uses. For the exterior, I follow up with RainX.

So far I've been loving the Chemical Guy's stuff. Only downside is having to order and waiting. They're cheap and can be bought in 16oz or Gallon sizes. Some concentrated, and some ready to use.

Additional Notes:
Max time taken for everything I do which include the sealant, wax and removal of both. 4 hours.
The other day i had two kids passing by and stopped saying it was the cleanest car they ever saw. So I was content with the time put in.
Cleaning depends on the week's weather. I usually clean every 2 or 3 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've got to try TheChemicalGuys products. Even though they're on the expensive side :(
 

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I've got to try TheChemicalGuys products. Even though they're on the expensive side :(
Depends on what you want to get. I want this so badly especially after I had seen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJAVeonVmHU. Soon.... very soon.

Otherwise I find a lot of the stuff you dont need the more expensive products. Like for me, I prefer the Extreme Slick vs Hybrid and the hybrid is more expensive.

But if you're trying to find what cleans the best... then testing things one at a time may run a good amount. Another thing... with their products, a little goes a long way. Exception is barebones undercarriage spray.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@SilverL Honestly, I have no complaints about my Collinite 845, though if I needed an alternative, that would absolutely be my choice.

As far as undercarriage washing, I've never used any special products, so Barebones is something i'm going to buy. The foaming wash soap looks great. These are my next products to buy as well...

Foaming hose nozzle:
Amazon.com: Gilmour 95QGFMR Foamaster II Cleaning Sprayer: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Honey Dew Foaming Soap:
Amazon.com: Chemical Guys CWS_110 HoneyDew Snow Foam Car Wash - 1 Gallon: Automotive
 

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Thanks for starting this post! I'm looking forward to some good ideas here, I can't wait for the weather to warm up and spend some quality days outside with my car.

I went the first 2 months of new car ownership without a wash at all because it has been so cold. We're finally getting a few days above freezing so I've been able to wash her a few times in the garage at work over the last few weeks, I haven't had time for wax yet though.

My plan for wax is to do a spring and a fall coat, I have used Meguiar's Ultimate on my previous vehicles. I find carnuba waxes easier to apply but I've stuck with synthetics be make sure they last a full 6 months.

Meguiar's Ultimate Liquid Wax - 16 oz. : Amazon.com : Automotive


Anyone heard of 303 protectant? I haven't used it yet but I'm contemplating getting a bottle:

Amazon.com: 303 Products 30350 Aerospace Protectant - 32 oz.: Automotive


Also looking for a new tire shine product and curious to know what everyone else is using.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you want the best tire shine, most professionals say to stay away from silicone-based sprays or rubs like ArmorAll.

I've absolutely heard great things about the 303 Protestant, from when I was back on the Subaru forums. Should work well on our dashboard & plastics.
 

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Just got a complete Meguires car detail kit, going to post some pics when I can use all the steps but with all the rain its a no go lately. what yall's thoughts about meguires?
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
@nobouncecap
Generally, their products are very good. A bit overpriced, but still good.

For waxes I tend to stick to non major brand companies. Most of the best waxes can't be bought at stores, including The Chemical Guys, Collinite, etc. But if you need to buy in stores, their stuff isn't bad.

Their Gold Class car wash soap is good. I also used their Clay Bar kit which I liked a lot. Their compound is pretty good as well.

For wax application, my go-to products are both Meguiars:

Soft Applicator
EvenCoat Applicator
 
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Ah, good thread Dan...

Its actually starting to thaw in Chicago so I can do some detailing soon.

I a big fan of Meguiars, especially the ultimate line. I used many different over the counter (stuff you can get at auto stores) and online only products on my G35 and I still like Meguiars results the best.

For the wash, I use Gold Class. The Ultimate Wash and Wax is OKAY, but the GC is cheaper and get just as good results if you make sure to at least wax the car once in a few weeks.

I do follow up with Ultimate quick detailer or Ultimate quick wax (if I have not waxed in two weeks) after a wash to continue the great water beading protection.

For my Volks on my G35, I used the tech wax to keep the wheels clean. On the 6 stocker's I use their Hot Rims dust and grime repellant. it works very well and does not leave any residue. One word of warning, do short waving sprays on the wheel and not concentrated spray or else you gets some drips on the wheel that will dry up. The repellant works well enough that I only use soap and water to clean my wheels.

For tire shine, this I am still having trouble finding a product I like. I been using Meguiar's endurance tire gel recently, but I still like the hot shine tire foam the best, but the results have been iffy depending on the application (how clean the tire is, temp outside, etc)

Ultimate interior detailer is amazing for the interior. I just need to find a good leather cleaner/protectorant, maybe I'll try the Meguiar's one this year (I used Zaino before and was fairly happy with it).
 

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My biggest problem is drying my cars. Can anybody comment on an air drying system like Adam's Air Force Master Blaster Car Dryer by MetroVac or similar product. They seem pricey but if it works well I may buy. Any input wouold be appreciated.

As for leather... I have always used Lexol Leather cleaners and conditioners and have been fully satisfied. Hope this helps. Ty
 

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I actually work at a car wash locally and I get free washes, chemicals, etc. I usually run my car through the wash every Wednesday night before I leave. It has a huge industrial dryer at the end so there is nearly no water on my car when I get out. Whatever is left I usually just brush off with a microfiber, I'm extremely careful with drying. I keep my own tire shine in my trunk, ours is fine, but I prefer gel over water based. I usually do it in this order.

1. Drive car through wash.
2. Dry off excess water.
3. Wipe down windows (in/out).
4. Briefly wipe down interior.
5. Vacuum and apply protectant.
6. Apply tire shine/wipe down wheels.

I rarely do any interior stuff though besides vacuuming because it never really seems to get dirty since most of the time since its just my girlfriend and I. I've only waxed my car once and I was EXTREMELY careful with the process. My car has almost none, if any swirl marks at all.

I think my car wash is one of the few I would actually trust with my car though. Most of the guys take pride in detailing/cleaning cars rather than treating it like a job. Its an awesome place to work, especially if you're into cars. I have detailed numerous Porsche's, Ferrari's, etc.
 

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My biggest problem is drying my cars. Can anybody comment on an air drying system like Adam's Air Force Master Blaster Car Dryer by MetroVac or similar product. They seem pricey but if it works well I may buy. Any input wouold be appreciated.

As for leather... I have always used Lexol Leather cleaners and conditioners and have been fully satisfied. Hope this helps. Ty

@VWGTI123
With drying I use either waffle weave or microfiber towels. Afterwards I use my Stihl 60cc backpack leaf blower (14,000rpm engine, nearly 200mph blowing velocity!) to blow out all the remaining water stuck in the mirrors door jambs, bumpers, fenders, grill, wheel wells, etc etc. Yeah I'm talking about the big gas backpack blower that require hearing protection.. Works very well.

You can even dry the car entirely with the powerful gas leaf blower, without a towel if you want. But I find towel drying first yields better results.

You can even use the blower to blow the snow off the car...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
@vwgti123 I use this, and love it. The company warrants it 100% and if you don't like it takes returns, or will buy you a competitor towel. I even complained in an Amazon review about the size of it (it's a little big IMO) and they contacted me personally.

Other than that, a leaf blower definitely works. If you don't like the waffle weave towels, I can suggest you some other towels, mainly from TheRagCompany.
 
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Sounds like I need to up my game. ;)

I've been washing my car myself, but I haven't waxed it yet (only owned 3 months). I had a few scuff marks I was able to get out with a scratch removal product from Meguiars, but I need to use the polish over the area and then wax the car. It still beads up nice though, so I haven't made a big push to take care of it. I just figure I should before the weather gets too hot down here.
 

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I concur on using a leaf blower. I have a cordless one that I use that does a good job. But the thing that will help out the most is making sure your car is waxed and doing the 'cascade' treatment (basically, let the open hose flow over the car so it sheets the water off the panels, makes drying easier).

I may do a video of my wash techniques for the 6 if it ever gets decently (y'know over 45 degrees) in Chicago.

Finally, one thing I forgot to mention for anyone using ultimate quick detailer on a dark car... make sure you spray not in the sun or the panels are hot (especially the hood), cause the results are not too good otherwise.

BTW - Dan, thanks for the towel recommendation. I'm looking at getting another one this spring.
 
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