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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there

Aspiring at home detailer here that actually despises washing cars. But, with the challenger, figured i should change that. As with anything these days, finding the "best" of anything is pretty much impossible due to so many options and opinions. But here we go. What are others considering the top quality products? I've heard chemical guys has turned into a marketing juggernaut and doesn't actually have the best stuff. I am trying to do the best job I can without investing a ton in equipment (read, pressure washer). I have the foam gun to use with a garden hose but it's kind of weak on the foamy action. Not sure if it's the lack of pressure, or soap, or both. Currently use meguires gold. It struggles to get the bugs off.

Also struggle to find good condition to wash. Either too sunny or too windy or too cold or all three. Not sure there is a whole lot I can do there.

Then, a good all around wax? Nothing fancy for car shows, just good ol protect the paint type stuff.

Input is appreciated. Thanks!
 

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"Best car detailing products" is as subjective as which color Challenger is the best. A lot of it will depend on your circumstances; time, money, etc.

You won't go "wrong" using Chemical Guys, if all you want are the basics and ease of procurement (Walmart now stocks their products), but you can do better. I prefer many of the Mequiars products (again, talking chain store access). McKees 37 is also fairly available at auto parts stores, walmart, etc.

Above this bottom tier you then have to shop online unless you happen to live right near a distributor. I'm talking about shopping at Autogeek, or Detailed Image. Both are great sites because they carry a wide variety of brands, and more importantly, have blogs or forums specifically for detailing where you can learn a lot about both products and "how to".

True detailing (aside from simply washing and waxing) can be time consuming, and requires a bit of investment (call it $200 initially) for good tools such as a DA (dual action) polisher, pads, microfiber towels, and your products.

Again, a lot is subjective; I know some very skilled detailers who love Adams' products, and others (like myself) who are more "meh" about them.

My best advice is start with buying a very basic DA (Griots, Harbor Freight), some quality pads (I prefer microfiber pads over foam, but started with foam), good basic polishes like Mequiars, and a decent powerwasher. No, a foam gun on a garden hose won't really do the trick; you need some "oomph" behind the water to combine with the dissolving/lifting action of the foam (which is the whole point of the foam in the first place). You don't need to generate tons of foam; some of that is marketing hype and for show. Get a good pH neutral shampoo, regardless of whether it foams a lot, like 3D Pink).

Learn how to use a clay mitt (I've actually come to prefer them to the actual clay bar) because, just as in building a house, you have to have a solid foundation upon which to build a truly effective finish to your car. Autogeek, Detailed Image, and YouTube are very good sources of information. On Youtube, look for the first few years of the Junkman2000 series of videos; back before he cashed in, he was truly a "shade tree" detailer and gave detailed instructions on how to clay, how to use a DA, etc. He's now more of a marketing spokesperson, but his early videos are what taught me.

The key is to make your car's finish as hydrophobic as possible; this means the water (and any contaminants in it) just won't be able to sit still on your paint. The key to this, is to remove any and all contaminants already stuck to your car. You may think you don't have any, but unless you've clayed, you do. Put a thin plastic grocery bag on your hand, and ever so gently run the pad of your fingers over your "clean" paint. Via the bag, you will both feel and hear all the little microscopic contaminants stuck on your paint (really, the clear coat, but whatever).

These are what you have to remove via the clay bar/mitt; once these are gone, whatever finishing product you choose (wax, sealant, ceramic) will have the flattest surface achievable to bond and thus shed water.

Learn "how", then begin using the basic stuff like Mequiars. Once you're comfortable doing the "how", and satisfied with the results, then start experimenting with different products, adjusting your "how" as you go. If I had tried to use Menzerna polishes at the beginning, I would have given up and never used them again. But since I learned through trial and error the outcomes of too much polish, or too high a speed, or drying it out on the Mequiars, when I became skilled enough, the true quality of Menzerna's products stepped up. Price-wise, they're not much more, but the final product (and the effort to achieve it) is worth the small premium.

If you're not really into car washing and waxing, you might want to consider getting your car ceramic coated. There's a lot to learn there as well, to avoid being over charged or not getting what you thought you paid for, but in the end, coatings reduce the amount of time you have to spend getting your car's finish just right.
 

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"Best car detailing products" is as subjective as which color Challenger is the best. A lot of it will depend on your circumstances; time, money, etc.

You won't go "wrong" using Chemical Guys, if all you want are the basics and ease of procurement (Walmart now stocks their products), but you can do better. I prefer many of the Mequiars products (again, talking chain store access). McKees 37 is also fairly available at auto parts stores, walmart, etc.

Above this bottom tier you then have to shop online unless you happen to live right near a distributor. I'm talking about shopping at Autogeek, or Detailed Image. Both are great sites because they carry a wide variety of brands, and more importantly, have blogs or forums specifically for detailing where you can learn a lot about both products and and "how to".

True detailing (aside from simply washing and waxing) can be time consuming, and requires a bit of investment (call it $200 initially) for good tools such as a DA (dual action) polisher, pads, microfiber towels, and your products.

Again, a lot is subjective; I know some very skilled detailers who love Adams' products, and others (like myself) who are more "meh" about them.

My best advise is start with buying a very basic DA (Griots, Harbor Freight), some quality pads (I prefer microfiber pads over foam, but started with foam), good basic polishes like Mequiars, and a decent powerwasher. No, a foam gun on a garden hose won't really do the trick; you need some "oomph" behind the water to combine with the dissolving/lifting action of the foam (which is the whole point of the foam in the first place). You don't need to generate tons of foam; some of that is marketing hype and for show. Get a good pH neutral shampoo, regardless of whether it foams a lot, like 3D Pink).

Learn how to use a clay mitt (I've actually come to prefer them to the actual clay bar) because, just as in building a house, you have to have a solid foundation upon which to build a truly effective finish to your car. Autogeek, Detailed Image, and YouTube are very good sources of information. On Youtube, look for the first few years of the Junkman2000 series of videos; back before he cashed in, he was truly a "shade tree" detailer and gave detailed instructions on how to clay, how to use a DA, etc. He's now more of a marketing spokesperson, but his early videos are what taught me.

The key is to make your car's finish as hydrophobic as possible; this means the water (and any contaminants in it) just won't be able to sit still on your paint. The key to this, is to remove any and all contaminants already stuck to your car. You may think you don't have any, but unless you've clayed, you do. Put a thin plastic grocery bag on your hand, and ever so gently run the pad of your fingers over your "clean" paint. Via the bag, you will both feel and hear all the little microscopic contaminants stuck on your paint (really, the clear coat, but whatever).

These are what you have to remove via the clay bar/mitt; once these are gone, whatever finishing product you choose (wax, sealant, ceramic) will have the flattest surface achievable to bond and thus shed water.

Learn "how", then begin using the basic stuff like Mequiars. Once you're comfortable doing the "how", and satisfied with the results, then start experimenting with different products, adjusting your "how" as you go. If I had tried to use Menzerna polishes at the beginning, I would have given up and never used them again. But since I learned through trial and error the outcomes of too much polish, or too high a speed, or drying it out on the Mequiars, when I became skilled enough, the true quality of Menzerna's products stepped up. Price-wise, they're not much more, but the final product (and the effort to achieve it) is worth the small premium.

If you're not really into car washing and waxing, you might want to consider getting your car ceramic coated. There's a lot to learn there as well, to avoid being over charged or not getting what you thought you paid for, but in the end, coatings reduce the amount of time you have to spend getting your car's finish just right.
Lots of good info.
 

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I like Adam's. Only thing out of a couple dozen products I'm not happy with is the glass cleaner. There are lots of lesson videos on their site too.
 

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The owner of the detail shop that did my ceramic just told me to use this and the 2 bucket method. Seems to work fine.

wash.jpg
 

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If not ceramic coated, any quality shampoo is OK. The Meguiar's above is 1st class. There are also quality wash and wax products that will also impart some shine, or even some protection with SIO2




The McKee's can be used in full sun

That said, I always wash in the early am before the sun is overhead. Wind, or cold are not an issue as far as making the washing harder

They make shampoos specifically for bugs, but they are usually stronger, and may remove any added protection when used

A Guy
 

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I don't drive in rain, hand wash only. Last several years been using No Rinse Wash and Shine. Do a section at a time, wipe on from bucket and dry with micro fiber. Go to next section.....no rinsing, no water house. Cleans and shines. 41WdIGCZK1L._AC_.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I was at the parts store getting a code read for my dart and right next to the stand was a shelf with the meguiers blue Ceramic so I figured it was a sign and grabbed some.
 

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Blue ceramic. Read and follow directions carefully. First use, mist and dry without second rinse. 2nd time forward a piece of cake. Good results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Blue ceramic. Read and follow directions carefully. First use, mist and dry without second rinse. 2nd time forward a piece of cake. Good results.
I had already washed and dried before I picked up the product, and then read that it needed to be wet. So I'll use it next go round.
 

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Ammo NYC products are the best I have experienced as far as cleaning and ceramic coatings. Adam's has pretty well documented inconsistencies in products so it really depends on what batch you get. If you are ever in doubt, Meguiars products are always a safe best and some of the best for novice users. Chemical Guys and Adam's is a brand to avoid in my opinion so don't buy it just because it is on Amazon. Optimum as mentioned above makes one of the best rinse free washes. Just depends on your needs.
 

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The most recent stuff I have been using is actually the Leno's Garage stuff. There are some good packages for various things such as leather care or whatever part of detailing you are focused on. So far, it all seems to be very good and they smell quite nice too, which is good, although it doesn't really matter that much, I guess. Are these products better than all the others out there? I honestly couldn't say, but I have been pretty happy with everything so far. I have also used various other brands. For instance, I have used a car wash from Armor All, I think, which was one where you put the car wash directly on the car, rather than in a bucket, which worked pretty decently, but I think you end up using a lot of that stuff each time as a result. Can't remember what car wash I used before that, as it was too long ago. One of the best things I found on the Leno's Garage site is the hose slides. They are just two simple pieces of plastic you put under the tires, so that the hose slides across them smoothly, rather than getting stuck under the wheel, which always annoyed me to death before. Don't know if anybody else makes something like it, but those were the first and , so far, only ones I have seen.
 

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The most recent stuff I have been using is actually the Leno's Garage stuff. There are some good packages for various things such as leather care or whatever part of detailing you are focused on. So far, it all seems to be very good and they smell quite nice too, which is good, although it doesn't really matter that much, I guess. Are these products better than all the others out there? I honestly couldn't say, but I have been pretty happy with everything so far. I have also used various other brands. For instance, I have used a car wash from Armor All, I think, which was one where you put the car wash directly on the car, rather than in a bucket, which worked pretty decently, but I think you end up using a lot of that stuff each time as a result. Can't remember what car wash I used before that, as it was too long ago. One of the best things I found on the Leno's Garage site is the hose slides. They are just two simple pieces of plastic you put under the tires, so that the hose slides across them smoothly, rather than getting stuck under the wheel, which always annoyed me to death before. Don't know if anybody else makes something like it, but those were the first and , so far, only ones I have seen.
Given the beauty of Leno's car collection, and the fact he lent his name to a line sold by his detailer, I'd say that must be some good stuff.

HOWEVER, knowing first hand how WalMart treats manufacturers of the products it sells, you won't find me buying any of the Leno's Garage products that are sold at WalMart. The manufacturers will be squeezed and squeezed and squeezed on the unit pricing to the point where they have to decide whether to give up Walmart as a client, or find "creative" ways to recapture some profit (meaning, using lesser quality ingredients that cost less than the original, and/or dilution of same).

For those interested (I have not tried, nor am I endorsing the following), Leno's detailer is Jeremy Porrazzo who is President of a car detailing supply company called System 51 - Advanced Waxes and Polishes.

A 22 oz bottle of their detail spray costs $8.25; a quart of their shampoo concentrate (dilute 55 to 1 with clean water) costs $12.75. Not unreasonable prices. Again, I have no first hand knowledge of the quality of these products; just offering alternatives to feeding the corporate behemoth.
 

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To go into the whole Jay Leno thing, I wasn't really a fan of the Tonight Show, but I do enjoy his YouTube channel. I do not try to pretend like I am some car expert, either. I know a good bit about certain cars, and that is about it. My nephew is a different story, but he is still a child, so, I will see how that pans out. On his YouTube channel, Jay comes off as a likeable, down-to-earth kinda guy to me. As a result, I checked out his products when he started doing them. I haven't tried all of them, but they certainly seem to do the jobs they were meant to do. I think it is also the stuff he uses on his own cars, which is good, in my opinion. If I am wrong about this aspect, please let me know.

I am curious as to what other people have experienced with his stuff. If I can highlight a bad point, it does seem like it takes a long time to get the stuff in the mail, or FedEx as seems the preference for his company. Personally, I am not a fan of FedEx, but his stuff has gotten to me undamaged, so that is good.

Also, to get off-topic a bit, a car that I really dig that Jay has is a De Tomaso Pantera. I love those cars, as they are beautiful. Gotta dig that American 351 under the hood, too. Yeah, not a Chrysler engine, but it is still a great of that era. Of course, I also have a real fascination for Italy and Italian stuff, so there is that.
 
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