Auto detailing has been a hobby of mine for the last 13 years, since purchasing my first car in 2003. That car was a Zinnoberrot E30 sedan, which was a true diamond in the rough. My dad convinced me that the dry, faded looking paint was nothing to be concerned about. “It will come right back with polish”, he said. After discovering how paint polish applied by hand brought the paint back to a rich glossy shine, I was hooked on that process of transformation.
Over the years I’ve experimented with many different waxes and cleaning products. Even though I have a great group of go-to products, I still enjoy trying new wax or polish each year as new technology evolves. Below are the five essential detailing products you should have in your garage.
Mothers pure Brazilian carnauba wax is one of my favorite wax products for a variety of reasons. This wax is 100% pure carnauba and does not contain any cleaner chemicals or micro abrasives that a cleaner wax would have. Cleaner wax can put swirl marks in paint that you just spent hours polishing with a machine- so always avoid cleaner wax. Mothers pure carnauba is liquid and is very easy to apply and remove. Buy it here on Amazon.
After carefully washing your car, it’s crucial that you dry the car to avoid water spots. Droplets of water that air-dry can create water spots on the surface of the car’s paint and glass. Drying the car with a new, clean synthetic chamois also allows you to start polish or wax right after drying the car. I like to replace my absorber each year. Find it here on Amazon.
There are so many professional grade compounds and polish products on the market, that it can be hard to choose just one. Last fall I tried Meguiar’s newly released D300 correction compound to remove scratches and etched water spots from our X5. Check out that video here. I absolutely love this product because it is so user-friendly, effective even on jet black paint, and is very affordable compared to some other compounds. Buy it here on Amazon.
That D300 compound won’t go very far unless it’s applied with a proper dual action machine polisher. The Porter Cable 7424XP is the industry standard in entry level polishing machines. It’s great because the dual action nature makes it virtually impossible for beginners to burn through paint, though more experienced users may prefer a more aggressive machine. I’ve used mine for several years on many cars and it’s held up to every project. Check it out here on Amazon.
Before polishing a car, it’s essential to get the paint 100% clean. Washing and drying the car will not be enough. Next time you wash, run the palm of your hand over the surface of the paint with soapy water and feel the contaminants on the paint. Sap, road tar, industrial fallout, bugs and pollen can all stick to the surface. Using a clean and fresh piece of clay, one panel at a time, is the best way to prep a panel for machine polishing. Get the clay here on Amazon.