Recommended Auto Detailing Tools
You can use some of the same tools that we do, to care for your vehicle. These are great mid-grade products that product EXCELLENT results. Not top of the line but will get you awesome results with proper technique. Last Updated: 10/18/20
The majority of these products have been chosen to ship either directly from Amazon, Car Supplies Warehouse or Clean Garage. I chose CSW and CG because they are both small/medium-sized businesses and have great customer service and extremely knowledgeable people working there.
EXTERIOR CARE PRODUCTS
This is our go-to soap for all non-ceramic coated vehicles. It has excellent cleaning abilities and leaves behind an awesome shine with its added glossifiers. It is also highly concentrated, so it can be used in many dilutions in a foam cannon and buckets.
This soap is our own formulation of soap. It is highly concentrated at 600:1, which means a little goes a very long way. This is a soap used for caring for vehicles with ceramic coatings or waxes & sealants that you don’t want to be stripped off the paint. It makes a TON of foam and is extremely lubricated.
This is a great way to apply some great shine & protection. You apply it while the vehicle is wet from the final rinse and then use a drying towel to spread it around the panel and level it. Works best when sprayed on to a very wet panel.
Amazing stand-alone spray sealant. Spray it on to your towel and wipe. You can find the “new sio2 enhanced formula” in stores. Don’t pay more than $15 for it. Some places are charging $25.
If you really want to machine apply a wax, don’t bother with an actual wax anymore. This is a polymer-based SIO2 enhanced sealant. It does the same exact thing that liquid waxes do but it lasts longer and protects better. This can be applied in direct sunlight and doesn’t need to be wiped off until you are done the car. (If you get it done in an hour). Its easy wipe off and VERY user friendly.
BEST VALUE & PERFORMANCE!
This is one of our own products. This detail spray offers the best value for your money and performance. It can be used for almost anything and leaves behind a really vibrant, bright shine. It doesn’t streak and is an amazing drying aid. Best when bought by the gallon.
This is a great product if you do not have access to running water and a hose (if you live in a complex) – this product is dilutable to be used as many different products. You can care for almost EVERYTHING on a vehicle with this single product. Use as a Quick Detailer at 1:16 and Clay Lube at 1:64.
This is just like ONR above but enhanced with SIO2 which means more lubrication and slickness. That means less chance of scratching. It can be diluted for other uses as well, such as a quick detailer and clay lube. If you order this directly from Mckees 27 and use DETAILERS25 code at checkout to save 25%.
This is an amazing exterior trim restorer. It has an easy, no smearing wipe off too, which is important since its an aerosol. This is great for dressing wheel wells. This also works for interior as well, amazing for air vents. Wipe off over spray
P&S makes a lot of great, quality products are great price points. This one is a really great performing iron remover. Remember not to let this dry on the surface and RINSE COMPLETELY.
Most clay bars do the exact same thing. What matters is their level of aggressiveness. This clay will generally get you great results if your vehicle is well taken care of. If you’ve never clayed it before and its years old, you may want to step up in aggressiveness. This clay bar is sectioned in 4 pieces.
Now you could make your own surface prep spray with IPA. Right now it’s hard to find. I personally like this product because of how it works. It has some added polymers that add some lubrication to the surface during the wipe, which helps prevent maring. If your paint is very soft and mars during the IPA prep stage, you should consider a Primer Polish, shown below. THIS IS ALSO AN AMAZING WINDOW CLEANER!
This is one of the most price friendly non-acid wheel cleaner. If you want to increase its strength, buy it by the gallon. This is NOT mean’t for totally trashed wheels with baked on brake dust.
This is an extremely powerful acid-based wheel cleaner. You MUST not let this dry in the sun AND you can’t use this on some wheel surfaces. This is for seriously stubborn, baked on brake dust.
This is one of the best, user friendly interior dressings you can buy. It is in most major stores too. It leaves a matte finish, without high gloss. Perfect for restoring the “new car” look without a greasy finish. This works on plastic AND leather.
These are currently the best grit guards made. When you bring your wash mit back in to your bucket, agitate it on the grit guard on the bottom. Its design prevents the most dirt from recirculating in to the water above it
This is the golden standard for cleaning sidewalls – WARNING, using too much pressure when going around the tire can cause tennis elbow / tendonitis. I know – because I have it from cleaning wheels.
REAL CERAMIC PRODUCTS
This is the best easy-to-apply ceramic spray coating. It can last for up to 6 months in real-world washing and driving. (Please don’t believe these unrealistic torture tests on Youtube.) It can be diluted to be used as a drying aide and detail spray as well.
This is a REAL resin based ceramic coating. You need to follow the directions AND do a proper surface prep prior to installing. The bare minimum of this coating is 6 months but as with all-ceramic coatings, if you take care of it, expect to see at least a year or more.
This is a REAL ceramic coating. It requires a garage and shade. Do NOT do this in direct sunlight. This is a single layer coating, with a bare minimum of 1 year of longevity. Again, if you take care of this, expect up to 3. It is easy to apply, has an easy wipe-off, DO NOT LET IT DRY. STAND OVER EACH SECTION AND WIPE IT OFF QUICKLY! Have lots of plus microfiber towels for wipe off.
POLISHERS & PADS
Best Entry Level 5″ DA Polisher. Be advised, the pads in this are of known very low quality. Consider purchasing the Lake Country Pads listed on this page as well instead. Orange is your best bet (Polishing)
POLISHES & COMPOUNDS
One of the most user friendly All-In-Ones on the market. Includes some polymer protection as well. Can reduce the amount of swirls you have, not meant for heavy correction. If you just want to hit it one time, use this with an orange/yellow pad.
This is a specialized product for a specialized purpose. YOU DO NOT REQUIRE THIS FOR CERAMIC COATINGS! This product is mainly used for very soft paint. If your paint is very soft, it can be marred and scratched during the IPA wipe down and during polish wipe off. This product is meant to be used as a final step between polish and ceramic coating. You use this polish and then wipe off with plush microfiber. Then let the vehicle sit for 24 hours. All of the water evaporates from the product, leaving the surface ready for ceramic coating.
You’ll want to have some of these to apply sealants and wipe off polish with.